A Comprehensive Checklist for a Proper Site Audit
It’s mandatory for any website owner to run a comprehensive site audit to uncover what’s working and what’s not between your website and marketing efforts.
Is your website performing as what you expected?
Do you want to enhance your sites’ performance to increase conversions or sales?
Well, you’re in luck! This post outlines a comprehensive checklist for a proper site audit.
When you need to boost engagement for your website, a site audit and analysis is the best way to start. A site audit is a comprehensive check up on your entire website to uncover potential issues that affect your site’s overall performance.
What is a Site Audit?
A site audit is the in-depth examination and analysis of your website. It covers the factors that regulate the visibility of your site in search engines such as indexed pages, page errors and site speed.
An audit requires some tools together with your keen eyes, knowledge, and experience to understand the opportunities. It will render you an understanding of what’s working and what’s not as well as where to concentrate your efforts.
Why Do You Need to Do It?
Search engines are now becoming smarter. They are implementing numerous changes on how they work out the search results when someone does research. Not to mention, they make a lot of small and progressive updates every single day especially Google with more or less 600 updates every year.
All of these changes and updates decide whether you’ll make it into the first-page listing or get left behind on the fourth page. You also need to be aware of how these changes affect your rankings, how your website is working, and how customers see your site – this is where a site audit comes in handy.
A site audit is a crucial part of your business operations. It is a vital step before you conduct any major changes on your websites such as a full overhaul or refresh as it can serve as a marker, so you’ll know when something went wrong and for how long it’s been going on.
How Long Will It Take?
A comprehensive audit for large websites will take three weeks or longer to complete. As for smaller sites who want to get an overall sense of their performance, an audit might only take 2 to 3 days.
How Much Will It Cost?
A website audit must be part of your annual marketing budget. The cost heavily depends on whether it’s for an eCommerce based site or an information based site. It’s also going to depend on the level of complexity and size of the situation as well.
Typically, it will start at $500 and can go up to as high as $5,000. The auditor that you will hire will take whatever analysis they will use and then contrast and compare data from those reports. The auditor will use his or her expertise to make a compilation of evaluation of what those data mean for your site and your business. The data the auditor is providing is what you’re paying for.
Bear in mind that expertise is the key to acquire a satisfactory result. Hence, your audit is only going to be as good as the person who does it. Otherwise, if the auditor is not that competent, your results will suffer.
What Should You Expect?
A website audit can be very time-consuming and tedious, but most marketers abide in doing so because they know very well that it’s necessary to the success of the website. Hopefully, you’re one of them.
With Google’s continual improvements and algorithm updates, the best practices are changing. And reevaluating your digital strategies is among one of the only ways to keep up with these changes.
With the right resources and ample time, a website maneuvered in house. It doesn’t need to be difficult or stressful, but it requires careful planning. You need to be certain of what you’re looking for, how to check those updates and how to make changes.
Types of Digital Audit
You can do an audit about anything and everything. It just depends on what you want to achieve for your niche and other areas that you want to focus. Check out the different types of digital audits and their checklists below.
SEO (Structural Quality) Audit
An SEO audit examines your website to look for any potential technical issues and areas that need improvements. Check out the freshly updated checklists from Kotton Grammer, an SEO Miami specialist.
For On-SIte SEO:
- Are the titles unique for each page?
- Do titles have 50 – 65 characters?
- Do description tags have characters between 150-160 characters?
- Do description tags not stuffed with keywords?
- Are the URLs SEO- friendly?
- Do titles use H1 for headings?
- Do subheadings use H2 and H3?
- What are the fonts used?
- Does the web site have a unique logo?
- Does it have a favicon?
- Does the website content fresh contents?
- What is the length of contents on post pages?
- Are the contents optimized for featured snippets?
- Does the web link internal pages?
- Is there a variation in the use of anchor text?
- Is the web trying to rank high for competitive keywords?
- Do images have ALT tags?
- Are the image files descriptive?
- Is the size of the image file optimized?
- Do blog comments have ‘nofollow’ tags?
- Do external links from untrusted sites have the ‘nofollow’ tags?
- Do banner ads have ‘nofollow’ tags?
- Do pages with no contents or have duplicates have no index and no follow tags?
- Is there an excessive ad above the fold?
- Are the pages checked for illegal use of 301 and 302 redirects?
- Does the site apply canonical link (rel=canonical) to pinpoint the original content?
- Is the site checked for broken links?
- What is the average loading time for the home page?
- What is the average loading time for other pages?
- Do relevant pages have links from the home page?
- Do relevant pages have links from the sidebar?
- Does the main menu have a user sitemap (HTML)?
- Does every detail page have a ‘related posts’ section?
- Do all site pages have an author?
- Does the site contain a breadcrumb on all pages?
- Does the site have a 404 page?
For Off-Site SEO
- How many and what are the types of inbound links?
- What and how many opportunities to get new links?
- Is there a competitor analysis?Link
A content audit identifies which pages need improvement or if there’s a need to create a new one in light of keyword analysis. It also determines which pages are the strongest on a domain and create a plan on how to elevate them.
Here’s the following checklist for content audit:
- Does the homepage have a clear description of what you do or provide?
- Does the site’s landing pages contain engaging paragraphs with unique text?
- Do blog posts have or use creative headlines?
- Does the site provide fresh contents on a regular basis that users will read?
- Are the texts on the pages written for humans or search engines?
- Are the blog posts educational or sales-driven?
- Does the site use a copy of a promotional material or print brochure?
- Does the site possess duplicate content on several pages?
- Does the site have grammar or spelling issues on its pages?
- Does it use numbered or bulleted lists to communicate key lists?
Websites may have good traffic and numbers, but their sales conversion rate is still low – this is where usability audit enters. Usability audit checks at site’s critical tasks against basic usability standards and business goals. Along with other areas, this audit is very useful in reviewing the conversion rate of users across the site.
Here’s the following checklist:
- Is the site receptive or responsive?
- Is the site optimized for mobile?
- How good are the site’s user interface and user experience?
- Does the site have easy navigation?
- How fast is the loading time?
Social Media Audit
Social media audit aims to figure out how the site should be using social media to obtain the highest possible ROI. The audit’s output helps improve social media strategy backed with analytics data for recommendations.
Here’s the following checklist:
- Do all pages have social media buttons?
- Does the site have a Facebook page for business?
- Does the site have a Google+ page for business?
- Does the site have a Pinterest page for business?
- Does it have a twitter account?
- Do all of its social media profiles get optimized for SEO?
- Does it have a like box for Facebook?
- Does it have an RSS and Newsletter registration?
Website Promotion Audit
Whether you are looking to hire a consultant to complete one with you or completing an audit in-house, conducting a website promotion checklist is a must. And the sooner, the better. A website promotion typically includes:
- Content analysis
- Keyword analysis
- Backlink review and identification
- Technical Audit for the website
- Competitor review
The websites linking to your website are critical as it can affect your site’s overall visibility. Thus, conducting a backlink audit is also a necessary step. Backlink audits will help you identify risks of a penalty or quality issues.
- Does your site have bad links patterns?
- Is there any unusual growth in linking domains?
- Is there any abrupt drop in linking domains?
- Do the linking domains grow or fall over an extended period?
- Does anchor text overreach 10%?
- Do links have low domain authority?
- Do 25% of the referring sites from a top-level domain (TLD) have no association with the major target country?
- Where do most of the links come?
- Do links have nonsensical or completely unrelated anchor text?
- Are there any backlinks that come from the sponsored WordPress themes?
- Are there any links that originate from a content farm?
- Does the site have backlinks that come from generic web directories?
- Are there any backlinks that come from free-for-all link sites?
- What are the most linked to pages of these backlinks?
You’re willing to pay because you want to show your ads on Google. Thus, it only fits that you do a thorough Adwords audit for your site too. It will identify how well they’re performing and what’s the best way to target your spending.
Here’s the following checklist:
- Is the naming structure of your account understandable?
- Is your AdWords linked with other properties of Google?
- Are the campaigns well-structured?
- Are the ad groups properly segmented?
- Do you have conversion actions that define the success of your campaigns?
- Does your site already have the AdWords Conversion tracking tag?
- What is the selected option for ‘Campaign Features’?
- Which type of device is driving results?
- What are the targeted locations of your ads?
- Do you have an Ad Scheduling?
- How are your ads being delivered?
- How is the utilization of your budget?
- What is the method of delivery you use?
- Do you have active ads for your ad groups?
- How many keywords does each ad group have?
- Do you add negative keywords to ad groups?
- Do you follow the guidelines of Adwords?
- Does your ad contain any grammatical and spelling issues?
- Is the message of your ad compelling?
- Do you have any expired offers to one of your ads?
- Do you run an A/B test for your ad copies?
- Do you have the right landing page link for your ads?
- Did you optimize your ad to boost its Ad Rank?
- Do you have keyword conflicts?
- Do you have any prospect search terms?
- Do you have any poorly-performing keywords?
- Do you use the correct match type for the keyword?
- Do you use broad match type keywords?
- Did you enable count calls as phone call conversions?
- Do you schedule your call extensions throughout operational hours?
- Do you do a review of your automated extensions?
- How many site link extensions did you add?
- Do you inspect if your remarketing lists are drawing visitors?
- Do you have multiple remarketing lists?
- Do you inspect the devices and locations that your ad is targeting?
- Do you have any demographic specification that you like to introduce?
- What’s the placement of your ads?
- Do you use display ads and images for display networks?
- Do you update your product feed on Merchant Center?
- Do you analyze the search terms report?
- Making sure to check for missing attributes
- Do you optimize your shopping campaigns with RLSA (Remarketing List For Search Ads)?
If you ask experts like Kotton Grammer, on SEO Miami, you should never neglect a website audit. Just in case that you don’t know, an in-depth site audit is always advantageous to you. Your site will keep growing regarding page rankings and traffic – both of which are the major life net of your site. And more importantly, a site audit will help you boost your return on your investment (ROI). Hopefully, you get the overall picture. It’s about time that you give your site the much-needed tender-loving-care!