A site audit will help you to find broken pages, crawlability issues, and other common issues associated with website visibility on the web. As the saying goes, “you can’t improve what you don’t know.”
See a website audit as your report card for your site’s performance. It doesn’t matter how clean and well-designed your website is -- if there are issues with your pages all your marketing efforts would be futile.
What’s a Site Audit?
A site audit is basically the process of evaluating every aspect of the website to determine how it’s optimized to drive organic traffic, and if not, develop a plan to optimize it for search visibility.
A site audit can have several purposes.
But mostly, digital marketers and businesses are most interested in getting more people from search results. After all, traffic from social media isn’t as targeted as the search engine. More importantly, Search has the potential to drive more traffic than social and display ads combined.
If you’re excited about that, I want to show you how to conduct a website audit analysis in 6 simple steps:
1. Identify the Goals of Your Site Audit
What do you intend to achieve with this audit exercise?
You need to be clear about it. Indeed, if you don’t have a plan in place to use the insights and data gained during the analysis to improve your search performance, across devices, countries, and queries, then forget it.
Depending on your industry, your site’s audit goal might be different. However, all of the following are potential site audit goals:
- To determine the accessibility of your website on all terminals
- To understand the structure and usability of your website
- To check for link profile and referring domains
- To gauge the quality of your website content
- To determine the loading times of your individual pages on the site.
Analyzing your website is also critical since it helps you to stay abreast of Google algorithm updates. Website SEO audit is therefore useful for optimizing your visibility and indexing by search engines.
You can wrap all of the goals into these 3 core objectives you want your site to achieve at the end of the day:
- Improve conversion rate
- Enhance audience engagement
- Improve search visibility or SEO
OneIRIC set a goal prior to their audit to increase conversions. 6 months after conducting the audit and using the insights to re-optimize their pages, their results were significant. Overall traffic grew by 693% and a 436% boost in conversions was recorded.
2. Start With a Technical Site Audit
The technical audit focuses on the indexability of pages, logs, Googlebot crawlability, etc.
Contrary to what most people think, the technical audit is not so complicated provided you use the right approach and tools.
Use Screamingfrog crawler to analyze your website URL. You’ll be able to see technical issues relating to duplicate content, missing pages, title optimization, etc.
However, keep in mind that your site probably has tens or even hundreds of technical problems. And it is always possible to improve your site from a technical point of view.
There are several technical reasons why Google isn't indexing or serving your valuable content to your audience.
- XML Sitemap is missing in the Google Search Console (formerly GWT)
- Robots.txt blocks content want Google to index
- The website is timing out
- The site pages are redirecting to dead URLs or the site is down
- XML is uploaded to Google Search Console but don't reflect the valid URLs on the domain
- URLs are not discoverable by Googlebot and other crawlers
- Several error pages tend to return 200 status codes
And so on.
This SEMRush study conducted in 2017 shows that:
- More than 80% of sites analyzed have dead links (404 error pages)
- More than 65% of sites have duplicate content
The technical audit allows you to discover many errors that can be corrected quickly -- which will improve your website conversions and overall visibility in the search.
An independent furniture retailer in the U.K. had challenges growing their organic traffic and rankings. After conducting a technical audit on their site and fixing the errors, their ranking moved 11 positions up across 500 keywords. After 90 days, the site generated 21% more visitors and page views grew by 24% compared to the previous year.
We all want to have a site that’s better positioned in the search engine, generates qualified traffic, and attracts more customers.
Technical issues can really hinder your site from driving organic traffic or having a competitive edge over other sites in the SERPs.
3. Conduct an On-Page SEO Audit
For most B2B businesses, the aim of conducting an on-page SEO audit is to review their website to determine areas of improvement with respect to its current positioning in the search engines.
Through the SEO audit, you identify the factors you can improve -- using both on-page and off-page optimization strategies. If you optimize your pages well, you’ll see results.
For example, Wall Street Oasis, an online finance community increased organic traffic by 32% from on-page SEO changes they embarked upon.
On-Page SEO covers everything that happens with the domain. It entails:
- Analysis of the website architecture
- The page title, meta description, page URLs, internal linking, Image Alt, etc.
- Analysis of broken links, pages that give 404 errors, internal and external duplicate content
- Analysis of the sitemaps files and the robots.txt file
- Analysis of the page content
- Website loading speed
- Usability analysis and User response.
To get a full report of your website, you need the right on-page SEO tool. There are several options out there. I personally like to use SiteChecker.Pro. Simply enter your website URL (e.g., Bloominari.com) in the search box and hit the “Check” button.
After clicking the “Check” button, the tool will analyze your website URL. Here’s the result of the analysis for Bloominari.com.
From the results, I noticed some critical errors that must be checked. For example, the Title and URL. I also need to check the Content, Canonical link, Speed, Mobile UX, External links, and more.
Interestingly, the Sitechecker.pro tool even shows me how to improve these pages. So cool!
When I click on “Title check” which currently has 88 characters, I’m redirected to a section of the page where I see the correct way to optimize my titles. In this case, a good title shouldn’t exceed 65 characters.
Note: The most critical step in your SEO endeavors is taking action on the insights and data you get when you conduct an on-page SEO analysis of your website.
Remember that depending on the tool you use, you’ll get a different analysis. In the end, putting the corrective measures to work is what brings result.
4. Conduct an In-Depth Content Audit
How is your content working for you?
Are you getting the results you want from it? At Bloominari, our digital marketing agency in San Diego, we know that it’s not enough to spend hours creating a piece of content with no plan in place to make it work.
TL;DR: What grows a business is when you’re turning content readers into customers.
A content audit is a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the content strategy put in place on your website.
It looks at key figures, such as the number of visits or the bounce rate, but it also looks at more subjective data about the relevance of content and its relevance to your goals -- whether to improve or keep as it is. You need a spreadsheet to keep tabs of what you’re doing.
If, for example, your content pages are driving traffic but you’re not getting any email subscribers, user signups, sales, or ebook/software download, it’s obvious that your content needs some improvement.
To achieve results with your content audit, follow the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. In this concept, it means you should find the 20% of your content that will get you 80% results.
For example, if you want more organic traffic, then find out which 20% of your content pages drives 80% traffic to your site. Pay attention to this 20% and keep improving it.
Analyzing the content of your site means checking that everything is correctly optimized -- the page titles, the navigation of the page, the content value, the tone, the internal and external linking, etc.
When you’re done auditing your content, make a plan to optimize, create, and massively promote your content for the next 6 -- 12 months. That’s when you should see a tangible result.
5. Off-Page SEO Audit
The Off-Page SEO Audit mainly concerns linking. That’s the links pointing to your homepage and internal pages.
Rather than wasting your time trying to do it manually, take advantage of the handy tools to make the process pretty easier.
You can use Moz’s Link Explorer, Majestic, Ahrefs, and so on. However, my favorite tool is SEMRush. It delivers clear results, showing you ‘problem pages’, referring domains, number of links, and more.
The good thing is that you can also compare your backlinks with your competitor. For example, here’s a comparison between Salesforce and Zoho. From the chart, Zoho tends to have stronger links.
You want to know the quality and quantity of links your site has, the source:
- Are the referring sites trusted?
- What is their theme (i.e., topical relevance)?
- Are the links dofollow or nofollow (what’s the percentage)?
- The attributes of the links
- IP diversity, the rate of link acquisition, among others
A healthy link profile will consist of links from several trusted sites and in different themes such as:
- Links you gained editorially from other sites
- Links from directories
- Link from industry blogs
- Links from media sites (e.g., Mashable or Inc.)
- Links from comments
And so on.
In a link audit analysis, you also need to check any possible Google penalty on the site or pages. This is important because it helps you understand the level of work you need to do to clean up your site.
6. User Experience Site Audit
Thanks to the User Experience Analysis (UX) audit. You can, among other things:
- Understand why your conversion rates are low
- Improve user acquisition and retention in your funnel
- Discover why users bounce from your pages
Once you see the areas of your site that users are most interested in, you can optimize it even better to boost conversion.
There you have it -- the six steps to effectively evaluate your website, identify areas of improvement, and in the process boost your traffic.
It’s vital for small, mid-size, and large businesses. Since your website is a direct channel for lead and sales generation, you don’t want to leave it to chance.
After improving your website with the insights gained, give it time (at least 3 - 6 months) to see results.