Discover how to harness the potential of ChatGPT for advanced keyword research in SEO with our comprehensive guide.
The Benefits Of Website Audits
Website audits are examinations of how well a page is performing before a full website redesign or large-scale SEO operation. If you audit your website, you can work out whether it is optimised to achieve your brand’s traffic goals while also giving you some ideas of how it can be improved to reach these goals.
There are several different kinds of website audit that marketers can use. They include:
Competitive website audits track your brand’s competitors as well as the online strategies that they are using so you can determine the opportunities that your brand is potentially missing out on. Competitive audits enable you to find out what is working well for other businesses in your specific market so you can then incorporate the same tactics into your strategy.
You can begin this kind of audit by performing SWOT analyses on your competitor’s website. During SWOT analyses allows you to track their site’s weaknesses, strengths, threats, and opportunities. In this type of audit, you’ll also have to consider the software and tools that they use to ensure their processes are streamlined.
That will enable you to find new ways of running your website more efficiently, making it even more accessible for your consumers.
This kind of audit will process the links that point to your site in order to find possible opportunities or issues in your site’s backlink profile. When you evaluate your links, you can start to optimise your website so that it ranks for the target keywords that you’ve chosen.
A link audit will consider the domain, anchor text, and URL source to determine whether equity and value are being transmitted to your webpage. That will allow you to determine how much links are hurting or helping your site’s SERPs visibility. A link from a well-respected website is far more valuable than a link from a poorly known, smaller site.
Lead conversion optimisation audits analyse the conversion opportunities and issues that a website has. This audit requires you to analyse how web traffic reaches your site and where it has come from. This will enable you to have a better understanding of your target audience’s behaviour while also helping you to optimise your website’s content so that it suits your needs.
You will also have to analyse your website’s content to ensure that it’s informative, up-to-date and helpful. Make sure that the information you’ve provided about your company is uploaded to your website and can easily be found by users, and the content that you’ve published contains key phrases and keywords that will boost its SERPs ranking.
Some other elements of your site to be observed include:
Forms – are they collecting sufficient information to allow you to contact leads?
Your checkout process – if customers are regularly abandoning their shopping carts they are probably having an issue with your website’s checkout process.
Layout and design – are your CTAs visible and clear? Is the copy hard to read? Is your site simple to navigate?
User experience – are your visitors experiencing any frustrations?
The online performance of your brand could also be affected by social media. When your social media profiles don’t push up the volume of traffic to your site you need to run an audit. You should begin by drawing up a list of all social media accounts help by your company.
Go through every one to work out whether they are all consistent with your branding, using identical tone, logo, and images. Next, you must evaluate the performance of each page to determine the types of content that perform best and making sure that each page is updated frequently.
This evaluation will allow you to gain a better understanding of your audience while enabling you to optimise your social media so that they can be more fully engaged.
SEO link audits analyse the links that are associated with your site, but SEO website audits evaluate every factor that may impact on your website’s SERPs performance including links as well as other elements like content, keyword usage, page speed, metadata, video optimisation, and user journey.
There are five key benefits of carrying out website audits:
When you carry out website audits, you can compare your site with that of your competitors, analysing how well you rank against them for keywords while determining possible new revenue sources. There are tools that allow you to carry out audits on competitors’ sites to gain greater insights.
You will be learn how they attract visitors to their webpages and how they garner conversions. This will enable you to brainstorm some new strategies and tactics to use on your website.
When you carry out website audits, you can identify opportunities for SEO that you have missed and put right any poorly executed or misguided SEO pitfalls such as keyword stuffing throughout your website’s content. It will also enable you to effectively refocus your efforts on the user first and the search engine second. That will protect your from having to constantly chase changes to the search rank algorithms and you won’t need to apply misguided practices to appear at the top of the search engine results.
A website audit will allow you to evaluate how effective your website is in regard to conversion and lead generation. That will enable you to spot opportunities that you may have previously overlooked to convert more visitors into leads and to identify any landing page deficiencies so they can be optimised to increase conversions.
A website audit will usually evaluate your website for its technical performance and content. That means it gives you the opportunity to check how robust its infrastructure and technical framework are as well as how search engine-friendly your site is and how simple it is for the user to navigate it in order to find what they’re seeking.
Website audits also find any issues that could be harming your conversions and SEO like hidden content, long load times, and broken links so that you can address them.
When you assess both the technical aspects and content of your site, you will have more opportunities to make improvements to the conversions and traffic that your site generates.
There are six steps to performing website audits:
The first step is to choose the right site auditing tool to help you analyse how well your site performs. It will give you specific recommendations while testing how well your page performs.
Any technical errors relating to SEO, performance, security, and mobile friendliness can have a negative impact on your users’ experience when using your site. If visitors don’t stay long on your website or shopping carts are regularly abandoned, carrying out a full website audit will help you learn why.
The next step is looking at any issues relating to SEO so you can boost your SERPs ranking. To do this, you’ll need to review your image alt texts, meta descriptions, and more.
You need to determine how well your design works for your consumers and which part of the design are drawing most attention from users.
Website audits enable you to assess your website content from website pages to blogs. You need to find out how well your existing pages stack up and how well your content is currently ranking in the search engine results. You also need to analyse whether your on-page performance and SEO is in alignment with your site traffic numbers.
Auditing the content on your website may not be a speedy job – it could take at least a few hours and may even take as long as a few months depending on your website’s scope. However, when it comes down to it, an effective website audit is going to have a major effect on improving your site.
It will determine any issues in the content of your website such as broken links and performance issues so that you can fix them and improve accessibility to your site. These fixes don’t just increase the search value of your site but they also make it far more appealing and enjoyable to use for both returning and new visitors.
It will also identify any opportunities to repurpose existing content. Up to date, valuable information will make a site more usable, boost its search engine ranking, and improve visitor loyalty. But it isn’t always essential to create brand new content from the ground up when there are contributed articles, blog posts and more that you can repurpose in order to achieve specific objectives.
It will allow you to diagnose any gaps in your content. Not only will a website content audit provide you with a full inventory of all the information that is currently on your site, but it will also highly key areas where your site is lacking the vital information that your audience wants to see. When you pinpoint the gaps in your website’s content, you can work towards creating new content that will add more value to both your brand and site.
It will allow you to evaluate the quality of your content. A site content audit will evaluate how good your existing content is, or pinpoint whether it is too long, short, or light. Google’s bots are highly aware of any repetitive, low value, and short content and will penalise your website in the search engine rankings if it perceives its content is poor.
It will allow you to improve the structure of your information. While your website content may be strong, if it cannot be accessed it won’t be helpful. Use appropriate analytics data like search terms to work out how your best content can be made easier to find not only by your audience by also by search engines.
A content audit’s primary goal is to give you a full content framework that you can then edit, reorganise, optimise, repurpose, or create from scratch.
When you create your site audit report it should clearly communicate all the website issues that you have uncovered and suggest ways of dealing with them. There are tools available to help you achieve this and that will draw up an in-depth report that provides you with a clear overview of the important site categories from SEO performance to how effective your security measures are before listing all of the individual problems found and the fixes that are recommended to address them.
When you have a comprehensive site audit report available to you, you can begin making improvements to your site that will ensure that it operates more effectively and efficiently in the future to achieve your goals.
There are a number of different assessments that you will need to make when you’re carrying out a full audit of your website. You may not need to run all of these assessments, however the more you run, the more you will be able to pinpoint where problems lie and take action to rectify them.
Here are the most important assessments that you should consider making when running your website audit.
One of the first things you need to do when auditing your website is to focus on the ways in which users can navigate your site, from its home page to its landing pages, and from its blog posts to all related content between. Draw up a comprehensive list of every page on your site then ask yourself these questions in order to evaluate each one for optimisation opportunities:
If you can attract the maximum number of visitors to your site, you can enjoy more opportunities to generate more leads and, in the end, more customers. However, this will only happen if your site performs well. Simply having a site for your brand doesn’t guarantee you results.
When you’re determining your website’s overall efficiency, you need to check that your site has been designed with the needs of visitors firmly in mind. Your website’s overall design and navigability must correspond with what someone visiting your site expects and needs to find when arriving at your site.
For example, they may be looking for more details about a topic relating to your business, seeking out further resources, trying to find information about products and prices, or wanting to read testimonials about your brand. This largely will depend on what your specific business does.
However, the primary goal is to simplify the process of enabling consumers to find the information they are looking for. When the process is as simple as possible, conversion rates will almost always improve without you having to make any other changes.
When auditing a site for usability, you should consider these aspects:
Is the website pay layout and design intuitive yet simple? Are the pages free from clutter? It’s best to avoid too many ads, links and CTAs littering your pages, although you should certainly check there are some internal links.
Is your path to conversion intuitive? How about the checkout processes and shopping cart? You should make sure there aren’t too many distractions to cause friction for website visitors.
You may want to think about carrying out user testing with target audience members to check that you’re surfacing the type of content they’re seeking effectively, and that they can easily navigate all the areas of your site they want to use.
How fast is your website’s speed? Are any of the pages excessively sized, or are there long server response and page loading times? Is your site regularly going down? The speed of your site can be negatively impacted if you have very large image files, or if the CSS and HTML needs cleaning up.
At the end of the day, optimised and fast-loading pages are going to result in better visitor retention and engagement as well as conversions.
Optimising your website’s performance is vital when it comes to retaining visitors, however ensuring that your site runs smoothly and speedily isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to boosting conversions – you must also audit all of the content that you publish on your site too, to ensure it actually solves the problems that your visitors are presenting with.
Do you have high quality content on your website? This is a question that you need to be asking yourself. Make sure that you’re evaluating your content from the perspective of your target audience and ask:
Did the information I found satisfy me?
Were all my questions answered effectively?
Could I find all the relevant resources to my topic?
Am I aware of what I need to do next?
Bear in mind that high-quality content must appeal to the needs, problems, and interests of your target buyer personas. You need to offer them content that is well-written and interesting. Your readers should always be left with next steps that are immediately actionable like resource links or CTAs.
You should ensure that all your webpages follow SEO on-page best practices. You can audit all of your content for its on-page SEO by conducting a keyword analysis. This is achieved by consulting your analytics in order to review each keyword’s performance – which ones give the most gains in terms of leads and traffic?
You should assess how effectively you’ve factored the performance of your keywords into your brand’s content strategy and identify whether you’re adding enough relevant content to target each keyword.
You should review all of the basic SEO on-page elements such as page titles, URLs, copy, and meta descriptions to ensure keywords have been included whenever relevant.
Although search engine-optimised, high-quality content is an excellent way of boosting your website traffic, you really need to focus on what happens when those visitors reach your website Optimised CTAs, landing pages, and marketing offers all have a vital part to play in your website’s performance.
They not only give you the chance to capture your visitors’ details so you are able to follow up on leads, but also help to keep visitors fully engaged with both your brand and content.
In order to audit your site for its conversion potential you should ask:
How many marketing offers are available to gate behind my landing pages?
Are my marketing offers varied enough to appeal to every different buyer persona?
Does my website have any conversion forms/landing pages to start with?
Are there any conversion opportunities for my visitors who are at different stages of their buying funnel?
Are CTAs being used effectively or are opportunities being missed to include them on various website pages?
After addressing the three main goals of your website audit, you need to carry out a full technical valuation. This may require the assistance of an IT professional or developer. Bear in mind that the three above assessments may have some carry-over in terms of SEO, conversion rate, and website performance. However, a technical evaluation will address all three of these to maximise the users’ experience.
When carrying out a technical assessment element of a website audit, you need to look for the following:
A responsive website design – you need to ask if your website’s design is responsive and mobile-friendly. Websites need to be compatible with the growing demand for internet access via smartphones.
An error message-free website – if response code error messages are appearing on your website when they shouldn’t be, you need to get to the bottom of the issue. It could be a sign that broken links aren’t being cleaned up and therefore, users are being led to dead ends. Finding error messages and cleaning up broken links is key to improving the user experience.
Optimised website URLS – if your website has extra-long URLs because of keyword stuffing, or they include lots of dynamic parameters or session IDs, you need to take action. These URLs are hard for the search engine to index property, and that results in a low click-through rate from the search results.
Such elements also cause a problem when it comes to usability. Often, visitors are searching for specific information when they visit your website. If they’re sitting through long visual introductions before being able to find what they’ve come to look for, they will get frustrated.
A website structure that is search engine optimised – site structure is important when it comes to users being able to access and use content, but it’s important too to ensure your website structure has been optimised for the search engines. When pages lack internal links to other website pages, those pages will have less chance of being indexed.
Have you defined how your pages are being indexed and crawled by the search engines? You can achieve this via several methods including sitemaps, tags, and robots files and these tools will enable you to guide the search engines towards the most helpful content on your website.
Robot meta tags allow you to use a page-specific, granular approach when controlling how individual pages should first be indexed then served to your users in the search results. The tags must sit in the given page’s <head> section.
Conversely, the robots.txt file is a text file which enables you to dictate how you want your website crawled. Before search engine bots crawl your website, they will usually request its robots.txt file from the server. In this file, it’s possible to include specific sections for crawlers with directives that tell them which areas shouldn’t or should be crawled.
Websites also ned to have public & XML sitemap files. Public sitemaps are ones that users are able to access in order to review which pages are on your website – similar to a book’s index.
An XML sitemap, on the other hand, allows the pages that you add to your website to be reviewed by search engines in a single location. Usually, sitemap.xml files are located at www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml.
All websites should have an XML sitemap since it gives a chance to inform Google (and other search engines) the pages on a website that you wish to be indexed and crawled.
Although there is no guarantee that search engines will adhere to your sitemap, there is anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that over and over again XML sitemaps give extra insurance that webpages will be found and more quickly, particularly if the sitemap dynamically updates newly added web pages.
The last major consideration in technical terms for your site is whether or not its content is canonicalized. In order to gain maximum control over the way that your URLs are appearing in the search engine results as well as to minimise any issues relating to duplicated content, you have to choose a preferred or canonical URL as your preferred page version.
It’s possible to indicate these preferences to Google in several ways. One is to insert a canonical tag in the page’s HTTP header.
Website Audit Checklist
Since there is a lot to keep in mind when carrying out a website audit, it can be helpful to have a basic site audit checklist to hand to make sure that you haven’t forgotten to review any key elements of your website’s performance, security, mobile, and SEO. Here is a simple checklist for you to use to make the process more effective and convenient:
With this handy checklist, you can set about embarking on a comprehensive audit of your brand’s website.