When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? If you’ve never before audited your website, this has been a while since you have, or you’re planning an internet site redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your site is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results.
Below, let’s learn exactly what a website audit is, why it’s important, and how to use the information to improve your SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION and conversions.
Before we dive into the things you should be keeping an eye out for as you’re auditing your internet site, let’s review a few of the benefits of doing one. Here are some of the most truly effective benefits from a marketing perspective:
– Website Performance Optimization
Website audits usually evaluate a niche site not only for its content but also for its technical performance.
As a result, an audit will give you a chance to inspect the robustness of your website’s technical framework and infrastructure, assess how friendly your website is always to search engines, and regulate how easy it is for users to navigate and intuitively find content on your website.
2 . Search Engine Optimization
By conducting a website audit, you can actually identify any missed SEO opportunities and remedy any misguided or poorly executed SEO pitfalls (e. g. keyword stuffing, exact match anchor text links, and so on ) throughout the content of your website.
It will also allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines 2nd. This will safeguard you from constantly chasing changes to search ranking algorithms, meaning you may not be applying misguided practices just to show up at the top of the search results pages (SERPs).
3. Conversion Rate Optimization
Web site audits also enable you to re-evaluate the effectiveness of your site in terms of lead generation and conversion. As a result, you’ll be able to spot any previously overlooked opportunities to convert visitors in to leads so you can add relevant CTAs, in addition to identify deficiencies in your landing pages to help you optimize them to enhance conversions.
4. Competitive Analysis
Conducting a website audit will allow you to compare your site to your competitor’s. You can analyze how well you’re ranking against competitors for keywords and determine potential new resources of revenue.
You should use tools, like HubSpot’s website grader, to perform an audit in your competitor’s websites to collect more insights. It is possible to learn how your competitors are attracting visitors and see how they’re garnering conversions.
Ultimately, this will help you brainstorm new tactics and strategies for your site.
5. Identify Problems
When you perform a website audit, you can actually find issues that are hurting your SEO and conversions. Perhaps it’s broken links, hidden content, long page load speed times, or more. Distinguishing these issues will allow you to repair issues that are diverting traffic.
As you can see, assessing both content and technical aspects of your website will open up opportunities to drastically improve the traffic and conversions your internet site generates.
Since you know what a website audit is and why you ought to do one, let’s look at how to conduct one.
1 . Run Your Website URL via a Site Audit Tool
Before you get started, you’ll want to look for a website auditing tool that can help you analyze how your website is performing. When you use site audit software to operate your site through, you may get specific recommendations and test how your page is performing.
2 . Find Technical Errors
Once you’ve put your site through an auditing tool, you’ll want to look for technical errors. These could be related to performance, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION, mobile, security, and more. The technical site structure and setup of your site play a large role in how well your website performs for customers.
3. Identify SEO Problems
Now, you’ll want to look at SEO-related issues so you can improve your ranking on search engines. This might mean looking at meta descriptions, reviewing image alt text, and much more.
4. Analyze Design and UX
One of the things I like to look for when conducting a website audit is the user experience. How is this design working for your customers? Some software has heatmaps of what parts of your design draw the most attention and what users are reading. This kind of analysis will let you discover how the overall design and user experience are impacting your visitors.
5. Assess Internet site Content
A web site audit will help you assess website content including blogs, website pages, and so on You’ll want to know how your overall pages are stacking up. Ask yourself, “Is my content ranking well in search engines? ” and “Is my on-page SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION and performance aligned with my traffic numbers? ”
6. Generate a Checklist of All Site Issues and Recommended Fixes
Lastly, when you’re conducting a website audit, it is vital to have a place where you put a summary of all your findings. List out the site issues and recommended fixes, so that you can send that information to the right teams.
Now let’s dive in even more specifically which means you know what to be checking for in this website audit.
Assessments to Make When Auditing Your Website
But first, enter your website into HubSpot’s Website Grader — this will give you a general overview of your website’s strengths so you can gauge your focus on each one of the assessments that follow in this article.
How’d you do? Got a notion of which website audit benefits you need the most? Here we go.
1 . Website Performance Assessment
In the first section of your website audit, you ought to be focusing on how users navigate your website — from your homepage to blog posts, to landing pages, and any related content between.
Make a set of the pages in your website and ask yourself the following questions to judge them for optimization opportunities:
Is the Website Optimized for Maximum Usability?
The more visitors you can attract to your internet site, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate leads and, ultimately, clients. But only if your website performs well.
As I’m sure you can imagine, just having a website does not guarantee results. Included in determining the overall efficiency of your website, your audit should always check to make sure your site is made with your visitors in your mind. The design and over all navigability of your internet site should correspond in what a person would arrive at the site to seek out, such as more information on a business-related topic, resources, product/pricing information, testimonials, etc . This will largely depend on your individual business.
The main goal here is to make it easy for people to have the information they’re searching for. As a result, you’ll likely see conversion rates improve independently.
To audit your website for usability, consider the following:
- Are all the main value propositions of our business easily accessible via our main navigations/menu items?
- Do we have a simple yet intuitive website design and page layout? Ensure pages aren’t too cluttered; littered with advertisements, CTAs, or links; or void of internal links altogether.
- Are your conversion paths and/or shopping cart or checkout processes intuitive? Exist a ton of distractions along the way that could be creating friction for your site visitors?
You might also consider doing some user testing with members of your target audience to ensure you’re effectively surfacing this content they’re looking for, and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website they truly are interested in.
How Is Your Website’s Overall Speed?
Exist excessive page sizes and/or long page load and server response times? Does your site go down usually? Site speed may be impacted when image files are too big or HTML and CSS needs to be cleaned up, all of which can drastically enhance your site speed.
Ultimately, fast-loading and optimized pages will lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. To quickly check a web page’s load time, download MozBar, a toolbar by Moz that you can attach to your browser for simple page analysis every time you visit a internet site.
2 . SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION Assessment
Optimizing the performance of your website is crucial to holding onto visitors, however the above question isn’t the only one you should be asking. You should also audit the information you’re publishing to ensure it’s actually solving your visitors’ problems.
Is Your Website Content High Quality?
As you evaluate your articles for quality, think about it from your target audience’s perspective. Did these records leave me satisfied? Did it answer every one of my questions? Does it give me all the resources strongly related this topic? Do I know what to do next?
Keep in mind quality content should attract the interests, needs, and problems of your buyer personas; be interesting and well-written, provide valuable, thorough, and detailed information about a particular topic; and leave the reader with next steps (such as calls-to-action, links to resources, etc . ).
If you’re still unsure if your content is high quality, evaluate it with this checklist: ” How to Tell if Your Marketing Content Is Actually Valuable. ”
Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized?
Make sure all your webpages are following on-page SEO best practices. To audit your content for on-page SEO, conduct a keyword analysis in which you do the following:
- Check with your analytics to review keyword performance. Which key words are giving you the largest gains in traffic and leads?
- Assess how well you’re factoring keyword performance into your content strategy. How much relevant content are you increasing your website to target those keywords?
- Review basic on-page SEO elements like URLs, page titles, meta description, and copy. Make sure keywords are included where relevant.
To help you conduct an on-page SEO audit of your content, see the “Step-by-Step Guide to Flawless On-Page SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION, ” which also incorporates a free downloadable on-page SEO template to help keep you on track.
3. Conversion Rate Assessment
While high-quality, search engine optimized content is a great way to boost your traffic numbers, it’s what happens once those visitors are on your website that really counts. Unless of course, you don’t care about conversions (ha! ).
Is the Website Optimized for Lead Generation and Conversions?
This is where optimized calls-to-action (CTAs), marketing offers, and landing pages play a significant role in the performance of your internet site. Not only do they offer you opportunities to recapture visitors’ information so you can follow up with leads, but they also keep your visitors engaged along with your content and your brand.
To audit your website for maximum conversion potential, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many marketing offers do I have within my content arsenal to gate behind landing pages?
- Do I have a variety of marketing offers that appeal to all my different buyer personas?
- Do I have any landing pages/conversion forms on my website to begin with?
- How optimized are those landing pages?
- Do I have conversion opportunities for visitors in varying stages of the funnel?
- Am I using calls-to-action effectively? Am I missing opportunities to add calls to action on various pages of my web site?
To learn more about CTA selection, have a look at our post, ” How to Select the Right CTA for Every Page on your own Website. ”
4. Technical Assessment
Once you’ve addressed the three primary goals of a web site audit, it’s time to loop in a developer or someone from your own IT department for a technical evaluation. You could also hire another agency — just be sure to do your homework first.
Keep in mind that there may be some carry-over from the three assessments above — website performance, SEO, and conversion rate. The technical evaluation, however , addresses all three to maximize the user experience (UX).
Here’s what you should be looking for in the technical assessment stage of your website audit…
Is Your Web site design Responsive?
Does your website have a responsive design? Meaning, is it a mobile-friendly website? The usage of smartphones to access the internet is just growing. As of 2017, mobile devices account for 1 / 2 of all web page views worldwide. As a result, internet sites must be compatible with that growing demand.
For more on mobile compatibility, take a look at our “Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Mobile Marketing. ”
Is Your Internet site Error Message Free?
Are response code errors popping up all over your website where there shouldn’t be any? Calling out 302-, 404-, and 500-level response codes can be beneficial to tell users that something’s wrong.
However , having this happen is also a sign that someone isn’t cleaning up broken links and, as a result, leading users to dead ends. Find those error messages and clean up your broken links. Tools like Google’s Webmaster Tools or Xenu’s Link Sleuth can be very great for this.
Are Your Website URLs Optimized?
Does your internet site have URLs of excessive length as a result of keyword stuffing? Do they contain session IDs and/or include tons of dynamic parameters? In some cases, these URLs are difficult for search-engines to index and result in lower clickthrough rates from search results.
More over, these elements present problems from a usability perspective. Visitors in many cases are looking for a very specific piece of information when visiting your site; when they have to sit through a 10-second visual introduction before they can find your hours of operation, you’re going to have a pretty frustrated visitor on your hands.
Is Your Site Structure Optimized for Search Engines?
We already talked about site structure as it relates to accessing content and usability for users, but it’s also important to make sure your site structure is optimal for search engines. If pages on your site are not internally linked to other pages on your site, those pages are less likely to be indexed.
Are You Defining How Your online Pages Are Crawled and Indexed by Search Engines?
This is often done through various methods that include from robots files and tags to sitemaps. These measures are a way for you to guide search-engines toward your website’s most useful content.
Robots Files or Tags
The robots meta tag allows you to utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page must be indexed and served to users searching results. These tags should sit in the < head> section of a given page.
The robots. txt file, however, is a text file that allows you to specify how you would like your internet site to be crawled. Before crawling a web site, search engine crawlers will generally request the robots. txt file from a server. Within the robots. txt file, you can include sections for specific (or all) crawlers with instructions (“directives”) that let them know which parts should or really should not be crawled.
Public and XML Sitemaps
Your website also needs to have public and XML Sitemap files. The public sitemap is one that users can access to review the pages of your site, like the index of a book.
The XML Sitemap is for se’s to review pages that get added to your website, all in one place. The usual location of a sitemap. xml file is www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml. The XML Sitemap is something every website should have; it offers an opportunity to tell Google and the other search-engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed.
While search-engines don’t guarantee they will abide by your sitemap, anecdotal evidence has proven time and time again that XML Sitemaps help provide insurance your pages are found, and found faster — especially if your sitemap(s) dynamically update your brand-new web pages.
Are you currently Defining Canonicalization of Content?
The canonicalization of your website content is the final major technical consideration to make. To gain more control over how your URLs can be found in search results, and to minmise issues related to duplicate content, it’s recommended that you pick a canonical (preferred) URL whilst the preferred version of the page.
You can indicate your preference to Google in a number of ways. One particular way is to set the Canonical Tag (rel=”canonical”) in an HTTP header of a typical page. Be sure to have some one check that the Canonical Tag is correctly implemented across the site by making sure it points to the right page, and that each page doesn’t point out the homepage.
Website Auditing Checklist
Now, before you get started, you might consider using this basic website auditing checklist to ensure you review all the necessary elements of your site’s performance, SEO, mobile, and security issues.
Website Audit Example
To pull all of this together, I made a decision to run a website audit on one of my favorite bloggers, Christina Galbato.
This website is performing well. SEO and Mobile are scoring very highly. The main areas for improvement for this site would be performance and security.
You might be asking yourself, “What does that mean? ” Well, let’s dive in a little deeper.
In each section, the website grader will let you know what you’re successful and what you could improve on. Begin to see the SEO section below.
Then, the grader gives overall guidelines to improve your site overall. As you can see in the example, you’ll see a table to compare your current site to the recommendations.
Conducting a Website Audit
It’s important to establish an audit framework early on. Ask yourself questions ideally centered around gauging “How am I doing? ” These questions could also include things like, “How does this compare to others, especially my competitors? ”
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and it has been updated for comprehensiveness.