If you have a website, you already know how important it is to track various metrics to find out how your site is performing. You may, for example, perform audits to measure your site’s speed and use tools to check your search engine rankings. Most audits, however, are insufficient to give you a complete picture of how your site is doing. That’s why we put together the following comprehensive website audit checklist together.
Areas of a Comprehensive Website Audit
Many people say they are doing an audit when, in fact, they are only looking at one or two variables. A true website audit, however, is far more detailed and comprehensive. The performance of your website is the result of many different variables working in unison. That’s why you need a truly robust and comprehensive audit. When we do an audit, we look at six major areas. In other words, we actually perform not one but six distinct audits. Taken together, these audits give you a clear idea of how your site is performing. It also provides you with specific steps you can take to make improvements.
One of the most important factors we look at when performing comprehensive website audits is your site’s search engine ranking. This is fundamentally important for any website that wants to increase its traffic, as a high percentage of your potential customers will find you through search engines. It’s crucial to know numbers such as overall traffic to your site, which keywords are bringing you traffic and your rankings for specific keywords.
An SEO audit helps you plan future strategies when it comes to keywords and SEO. You may find, for example, that certain keywords are more effective than others at directing traffic to your site. This helps you create content in the future that’s likely to increase your traffic. It also shows you where your traffic is coming from. This lets you gauge the effectiveness of strategies such as social media marketing, videos, guest blogging, submitting articles and any other traffic generating strategies you may be using.
SEO Audit Checklist
- Keyword Research – Are the keywords you are targeting relevant?
- Content Prioritization / On-Page Optimization – What kind of content is working or not working on your website?
- Strategy Alignment – Which aspects of SEO should you be focusing on?
Paid Campaign Audit
Most organic and paid campaigns are run completely isolated from each other. The keywords that are bringing you results with organic search are not necessarily the ones that people are clicking on in your paid campaigns. When you’re advertising, you also have to pay attention to ROI. Certain keywords may be producing traffic, but your cost may still be too high to make bidding on them worthwhile. That’s why it’s essential to know the cost and ROI on any keywords you’re bidding on.
Ineffective paid advertising is a major drain on your budget. Without careful tracking, you can easily run through hundreds or even thousands of dollars before you realize your errors. Conversely, when you find which keywords are most profitable, you can scale up your efforts on these. A thorough audit allows you to improve the profitability of your paid campaigns.
Paid Campaign Audit Checklist
- ROI Calculation – What return are you seeing from each Paid Campaign?
- Conversion Tracking – Are you tracking all possible conversions for your Paid Campaigns?
- Opportunity assessment – Are there potential new Paid Campaigns you can invest in?
A technical audit is concerned with your website’s overall usability and functionality. Technical factors should not be neglected as part of a comprehensive website audit and are now more important than ever. On the one hand, users have little patience for slow-loading pages or confusing navigation. With so much competition on the web, users also have many more choices for shopping or seeking information.
At the same time, search engines now give preference to websites that are user-friendly and technically sound. This includes factors such as, including page-loading speed, image optimization, the quality of coding and ease of navigation. It’s also crucial now to have a website that’s mobile friendly, as Google and other search engines now consider this as a ranking factor. A technical audit will tell you how well your site performs across multiple devices and browsers in these and other crucial areas.
Technical Audit Checklist
- Site Speed – Is your website loading fast enough? Test it here.
- Mobile Friendliness – Is you website 100% mobile friendly at any screen size?
- Indexed Pages – sing the Google Search Console you can see data about the URLs that Google has indexed.
Backlink Profile Audit
Backlinks are another crucial area where auditing is essential. Contrary to certain opinions, backlinks are still extremely important when it comes to SEO and ranking. Some people mistakenly believe that, following Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, backlinks are no longer as important as they once were. The fact is, Google still places a great deal of emphasis on a website’s backlink profile when ranking sites.
The difference is that links must now be high quality and authoritative. Having low-quality links can actually harm your rankings. This makes it more important than ever to know where your links are coming from and how they are impacting your site. A backlinks audit will tell you whether you need to change your linking strategy.
Backlink Profile Audit Checklist
- Identify Toxic Links – Review all the links that are currently going to your website and review which of them are not relevant and coming from websites that are potentially toxic.
- Avoid Bad Links – There are many Link Building tactics to avoid that may have worked in the past.
- Disavow Spam Links – Once you have identified bad links in your backlink profile you need to remove or disavow them to recover from any potential Google penalties.
Without having something to compare it to, an audit is just a report. A comprehensive audit should include an audit of competitors that allows you to compare your website to others in your niche or industry. A competitor audit can provide insight into competitors you may not have even known about. It’s helpful to learn as much as you can about their organic presence as well as their paid campaigns. This information is valuable for helping you to make improvements to your own website.
Competitor Audit Checklist
- Identify your real competitors – Your online competitors might be totally different from what you think.
- Look at your competitors’ backlink profiles – Where is your competition getting their backlinks from?
Making sure that you are capturing all the data is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a website audit. To make key decisions for your business, it is imperative to make sure you are collecting accurate and reliable data
Here you are evaluating your current implementation of your Google Analytics Suite with a focus on ensuring that the data is as high quality as possible and thus reliable. You are looking for core problems in your implementation and configuration.
Including an Analytics Audit as part of a Comprehensive Website Audit ensure you are collecting accurate and relevant information in order to make business decisions to create positive outcomes.
Analytics Audit Checklist
- Verify installation – Analytics tracking code is on every page
- Make sure there are not multiple tracking codes – There is only one instance of a GA property on a page
- Ensure all data is being captured correctly – Analytics is properly tracking and capturing
Tools For Doing a Comprehensive Website Audit:
- Annie Cushing’s Site Audit
- MozBar (Moz’s SEO toolbar)
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Browser
- Web Developer Toolbar
Next Steps of a Website Audit
The goal of any comprehensive website audit is to identify issues and fixes that will take your website to the next level. We recommend scheduling audits for your website on a regular basis. How often will depend on the site of your website.
After you have completed a Comprehensive Website Audit the most important part starts: It is time to implement your action items and findings so that you can move the needle towards your desired business outcome. Some items will be easy to implement while others might take more technical know-how. In needed, we can offer you assistance with any changes that need to be made after your website audit.
If you have any questions at all, your friendly Digital Neighbor is here to help, so be sure to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.