Did you know that regular website audits are critical to your website’s ongoing success? For website owners, investing in regular website SEO audits can create the potential for improved metrics and overall growth across your website in the months to come. From rankings to traffic and overall user experience, a website audit is critical to your website’s ongoing success and improving your search performance. Unless you’re an SEO professional, it is not wise for any website owner not to invest in a regular website SEO audit. You run the risk of leaving SEO opportunities on the table, as well as the possibility of allowing your results to stagnate or get worse over time through neglect.
Website audits are an essential element to any business. It’s hard to know how your website is performing unless you take the time to do a thorough SEO audit, and discover what your website is doing now, and make improvements so it can perform better in the future.
Business owners who regularly invest in website audits not only improve their own revenue, but they also help people around them grow by sharing tips and strategies with others for success.
A successful website is one that attracts new leads, recommendations from peers, and even loyal customers, so it’s always a good idea for small businesses or entrepreneurs to check out the effectiveness of their websites. The best way to do this? To find an SEO professional who can identify all of your website’s shortcomings through an SEO audit. Your site audit should include data-backed, solid conclusions that show you the correct path forward to achieving the right repairs and results you are looking for.
The Different Types of SEO Site Audits
Did you know that a site audit can come in different flavors? Different types of audits can mean different things, depending on what you are looking to achieve with your site. A conversion rate optimization audit, for example, will identify points on your site that could help with converting website users to real buyers. A security audit will find issues that are affecting your website’s overall security, and repair holes that could potentially be compromised through security breaches. Making sure that you plug these holes will ensure that such security breaches do not occur in the future.
Another type of SEO audit focuses on penalties and recovery, usually if you suspect that you have been hit by a Google core update, or other algorithm update. These are usually referred to as a recovery audit. It’s not fun being hit by these updates, because this usually means a loss in traffic and rankings. By identifying any potential penalties levied against your site, your site audit becomes a road map to getting back into Google’s good graces, and performing well once again. Any reliable and reputable SEO professional should be able to provide a recovery audit that helps you figure out exactly what caused your situation, and how to recover your lost rankings and traffic.
Yet one more type of site audit you may not have thought of is the Google Analytics audit. Any Google Analytics audit should examine, in a deep dive, the configuration of your GA installation and any issues that come up should be repaired. Even little things like annotations not being used, which could help you pinpoint issues with traffic due to site changes, can help.
If you are still on the fence about regular SEO audits, there are several benefits that you can experience by obtaining one, and they are not just limited to the following.
Improved Visibility in the Search Results
One benefit to a website audit is improved visibility in the SERPs (search engine results pages), which means that your site will have an easier time getting found by potential clients. This in turn allows you to more easily convert those visitors into paying customers.
By improving the online visibility of your landing pages, you create the opportunity to drive rankings and traffic. Not all landing pages are created equal, and neither are all SERPs. By focusing on certain landing pages and improving their SEO, you increase the potential viability of those pages to rope in rankings and traffic. This is where any site audit will help improve the standing of those landing pages.
Could Reveal Low-Hanging Fruit, Opportunities to Drive Organic Traffic
You can find low-hanging fruit from a website audit that you may not have spotted just yet. You may be surprised at how many opportunities are out there for traffic just waiting to be taken! A site audit is an excellent opportunity to look for any dead links or broken pages, which typically prevents a page from ranking well in the engines. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to update old content.
Your SEO professional should be walking you through, step-by-step, how their recommendations can create substantial impact in your organic growth.
Identify Issues with Your Content Writing
A content audit is an excellent way of ensuring that you have the right content on your site. Finding out what type and how much content each page needs will help make sure that you rank for relevant keyword phrases, and also to make sure that search engines know which pages are the most important.
It can be really helpful if you are looking at creating new content in the future because it is always easier to determine how much space a single piece of content requires when there is already existing material taking up space on a site. A website audit helps prevent overloading one page with too much information or making sure that there isn’t enough information present.
Unlock Your Competition’s Successful Strategies
When planning to launch a new website, it is important to have already decided on the key elements you want to include and then use the details of your competitor’s site as an inspiration. One way of doing this is by using detailed analysis of their existing sites in order to gain an insight into what has worked well for them.
Your website audit may, at the outset, include a comprehensive competitor analysis. Your SEO professional may look at things like their backlinks, how much content they are publishing on a daily basis, how they are integrating keywords, what topics they are writing about, and others. All of these competitor attributes are important to examine.
Make Your Content More Relevant and Credible
Analyzing your content can also provide you with the confidence that there are at least some visitors who are interested in learning more from these established articles rather than just go out there and start creating content based on your own assumptions.
By using this knowledge gained from taking an in-depth look at these websites, you will begin to get a much better understanding of what is important and perhaps most importantly why it is important for achieving the goals you’ve set out to achieve through your site.
When looking into competitors’ sites, not only are there probably some ideas or inspiration behind their content strategies, but more importantly maybe even some details that might help enhance the visitor experience on your own site. Such as learning how to tweak things like your navigation, adding a contact form or perhaps even make some of the technical details clearer for your users.
This will help you develop a content marketing strategy that will expand your site’s online visibility.
Whatever details you find and incorporate could mean the difference between an ordinary website and one that separates itself from those around it.
Improved Keyword Distribution
Keyword density is a myth. While keywords are still important, as are their relationships to topics and entities, keyword density is something that was a part of early SEO back in the early 2000s. You would find webmasters who would over-stuff keywords upon keywords upon keywords (against their better judgment). Even back then, this was counterproductive to achieving better rankings.
Having your web pages include an extraordinarily-high keyword density is not beneficial for SEO. In fact, it can be very harmful. Keyword density is not a thing, has not been a thing for a long, long time, and won’t be a thing. But, keyword distribution is. Keyword distribution and relevance, however, are an important component of information retrieval and SEO best practices.
A website audit will help identify areas where the number of keywords on specific pages might be unnecessarily high, or low and missing opportunities to use more closely related terms.
The list of keywords added during the audit process should also highlight any other issues that could have an impact on search engine visibility: spelling mistakes, page titles and meta descriptions and alt text are just some examples of potential problems which might require fixing in order to improve keyword distribution across your site.
Improved Topic Clustering/Siloing
Website SEO audits can help you cluster your topics in an efficient way. A well-designed website has pages dedicated to specific topics, and each of these will have content which is related to the topic at hand. In a natural website structure, it should be clear what a particular page is about.
An audit will highlight where relevant clusters are missing, and also reveal situations where topics are not quite as strong on particular web pages. These errors could be due to things like technical issues, and could create problems for a search engines’ ability to understand what the page is about.
These issues could all fall under the category of page creation, and could be beginner-level stuff, but you would be amazed the audits I have done where seemingly trivial issues were uncovered that made a big difference.
Identify Technical SEO Issues
As the work on a website is completed, there’s no doubt that technical SEO issues can creep in during the process. From redirect errors, to 4xx and 5xx errors, to issues with your server configuration. If you don’t keep tabs on these issues, you can lead to decreased SEO rankings as a result of not paying attention to your website’s maintenance. A site health audit will help you identify these issues and repair them.
Improving your site’s health is important to improving is crawlability and indexability. If you have severe technical SEO issues, then you should get them repaired by a reputable SEO professional as quickly as humanly possible. Any site that’s fraught with severe technical SEO issues is sure to be hit by the latest Google core update, because these types of updates focus on overall website quality. If you have been hit by such an update, it is likely that you have severe technical SEO concerns affecting your site.
This is where SEO website audits are worth their weight in gold. A reputable SEO professional will help you assess and repair any outstanding technical SEO errors that may be affecting your website performance. By having regular comprehensive site audits done, you can be sure that you will be kept abreast of many changes that could be problems now, and anything that could turn into potential problems in the future.
Your site audit should also identify issues with your website speed. How fast your website loads is a hot topic nowadays, with Google’s implementation of the page experience update, which includes significant overhauls in their ranking signals for their page experience metrics, known as core web vitals.
Don’t take site audits lightly – because any significant quality issues could spell disaster for your SEO efforts.
Improved Internal Linking Structure
The links present on a given webpage often tells something about how the site’s topics are organized. In a website SEO audit, links pointing to other pages on the same domain should be checked, as well as those directed towards external links.
The latter can also reveal issues with missing trust signals or opportunities. For example, your website might need more links from external sites in order to boost its SEO potential. Or, it may need certain link anchor text that it doesn’t have now.
Anchor text ratios could also be too high. If you have been using exact match anchor text over and over again, you may need to adjust your SEO strategy to compensate. The SEO audit may tell you this information, along with much much more.
Improved Site Functionality
Is all important functionality present? Is it easy for visitors to reach content they want? Where relevant, a website audit will highlight navigation issues (such as broken links), missing keywords and tags that could help search engines understand what a webpage is about, irrelevant keywords, irrelevant content, and other issues that present themselves when a project goes off-track.
The content structure of your page determines how your site’s content is laid out, and how it impacts your readers. Identifying weaknesses in your content’s structure is a core function of a content and UX audit, where your focus is on improving how users physically use your site. UX is an important consideration that is all-too-often ignored. Site flow, how content is organized, and how users interact with the site, along with how it’s improved, can have a significant impact on conversions.
But, make no mistake: just because something is good for users doesn’t mean it’s good for SEO. For example, if you use jump links, using the pound symbol (#) to generate the URL by itself is known as an unqualified or unresolvable URL. It’s listed in Google’s developer documentation as the type of link that Google can’t resolve. However, so long as you create a fully qualified URL (something like https://domainname.com/something/something#section1) this is something Google can send requests to. Using (#section1) by itself may cause issues.
Improvement of the Site’s Flow
A website audit will make it clear where there are issues with a poor user experience. For example, if content is not placed in a logical, visually organized hierarchy, visitors may leave your site if they cannot easily find what they’re looking for. Another common problem is to have good introductory content, but no concluding section. This makes it hard for users who have made it through all the pages to understand how the information fits together into one whole topic or subject. To avoid such situations, look at your site from a reader perspective and ask: Is this page well written? Does it provide everything the visitor needs to complete their task (a specific answer/piece of information)?
Improved Internal Website Architecture
In a perfect world, your site will be optimized with an organized and efficient website structure that will help users navigate through the site easily. Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world where unicorns roam freely. Projects get off-track. Your site architecture could become disorganized, especially if there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This is where you need a site analysis to determine exactly where you may have gone wrong.
This website architecture could be organized in such a way that reinforces topical focus, along with being easier for search engine crawlers to understand. If you are suffering from crawling and indexing issues due to a poor site structure, this can be improved significantly through an audit.
By analyzing your existing website architecture, your audit should identify weaknesses in your existing site structure as well as recommend a path to repair.
There is no existing rule about the type of site structure that’s best. This is going to vary from site to site. Your SEO professional should be able to determine this through a comprehensive competitor analysis. It all depends on what your website needs and the SEO tasks that will help move the needle. Try to go into your audit project with an open mind and allow your SEO professional to come up with their diagnosis on their own. You may be surprised to discover that there are things wrong with your site that you may have never considered without their input.
Improved Site Crawlability
Crawlability is one of the important factors that affects search engine rankings. A website audit may also look at issues with crawlability and determine if there are any weaknesses which could be holding back your ranking potential. For example, the crawl budget (the amount of time that is allocated for crawling your site) may be too small. If you are running important promotions or special offers on a regular basis, it might make sense to increase your crawl budget temporarily in order to get these new pages indexed faster. Another possibility which holds back crawlability is when sections and categories aren’t linked to from anywhere else in the site.
The audit will also highlight if you have blocked paths due to URL parameters being set incorrectly (e.g., /product?id=1234&name=John+Doe). A good e-commerce website structure, for example, should provide a product directory as well as individually accessible product pages. Product catalogues should generally target category and collection pages through links from the home page or sometimes the product directory pages.
If you are selling products and services on your website, another important thing to check is whether they are linked back to from the respective store’s cart pages. For example, an e-shop should link back to product categories from its shopping cart area (either by hard coding or using template tags). This makes it easier for search engines and visitors to navigate deeper into a site.
Better Understanding of Your Site’s Visitors
A website audit may also help you find out more about who is visiting your site. You can use this information to improve communications with them in order get better results from your future marketing efforts:
- Are most of the visitors new users or repeat ones? If so what’s the ratio of new to returning?
- Do you have a visitor acquisition strategy to increase repeat visitors (for example, by using email marketing or social media)?
- How effective is this acquisition technique? Is it drawing in qualified traffic?
Of course, this all depends on whether or not this is something desired by the client. This may be irrelevant, and depends on their goals for the site.
Identify Possible New Sources of Revenue
A site audit can help you identify potential new sources of revenue. It can help you assess the site in terms of web usability, and provide a framework for identifying additional income-generating content. As part of a website audit, you might consider asking yourself what else your site could offer that would be something new to the visitor or a product/service not offered by any other competitors.
The website audit will also show areas where there is room for improvement after which it will identify key strengths. This approach helps you isolate the most critical problems on your website so that they may be addressed first and foremost.
As this step provides an overview of how effective your current systems are at driving business, it gives direction on how to improve them with minimal effort so that they become more efficient – identifying any unnecessary barriers to conversion.
In order to fully evaluate the website’s strengths and weaknesses, a website audit will help identify the right mix of content, products or services that are most relevant to the organization’s goals as well as users. The end result is a clear understanding of how successful its current online presence is and where there is room for improvement in terms of website performance metrics such as conversions.
An audit can provide a sense of what users want which will also give direction on where new features may be added. A site audit helps assess key website performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- Time spent per page/section,
- Bounce rate,
- Pages visited,
- Revenue generated from each page,
- and so on.
In addition, the information collected could identify underserved parts of the site that may not be getting enough traffic. This could lead to an improved user experience for everyone – and more sales.
Another source of revenue that often gets overlooked is product reviews or endorsements from influencers in your business niche who have a strong social media following. Sites like Amazon, Zappos and TripAdvisor use this strategy quite effectively for their respective products, so it is one worth considering integrating into your own marketing strategy.
Considering the cost vs profits of each page will help you assess which part(s) of your website require immediate attention based on its current performance metrics such as conversion rate (number of visitors converting to paying customers) and cost-per-acquisition gains. Discovering content (such as blog posts or social media updates) that are not attracting enough page views to justify the cost of managing them can free up your resources for more profitable areas.
The information collected from a site audit helps identify real problems on a website with the intention of providing a framework from which suggestions and recommendations may be made in order to resolve them and improve the user experience.
Identify Opportunities for New Content Creation
A site audit should also evaluate potential placement of new pages, sections or other elements within the overall site structure if any additional space is available. This step allows you to determine how much work will need to be done before making those changes – making it easier for you to assess what needs to be budgeted for in the project. New website content could be planned for as well, although this is usually done during a content audit. It all depends on what you uncover during the initial discovery phase as to what will most benefit your client.
In order to fully understand how effective a website is at driving revenue, you must also understand what it takes to create revenue that has been generated from both traffic sources and content types. Some page content might not generate any income or may only represent a small portion of the overall revenue. This indicates that further action needs to be taken in order to improve on those website performance metrics so that they don’t continue to drag down performance.
Your audit may also identify content creation opportunities that are lacking on your existing site. Perhaps certain topics aren’t covered, or certain keywords aren’t targeted. Whatever the case may be, your SEO professional may work to uncover these types of issues as well.
Regular SEO Audits are Critical to Your Site’s Ongoing Technical Health
At the end of the day, investing in regular SEO audits is a good thing, and should identify significant issues like technical SEO issues, server errors, critical coding errors, and more. Finding the cause behind organic ranking and traffic drops and resolving them, if any, should be the eventual goal of that audit. Your site health audit should provide specifics, along with an action plan that helps you achieve the repair (and full implementation) of issues.
Any competent website audit will also be tailored to your business, including its overall website plan and goals. Website audits that are not customized are worthless, and don’t always take into account certain subtleties that are unearthed during initial discovery. It’s our opinion that it’s the job of every SEO professional to do as customized a job as possible and not to give into the temptation to use something that’s not customized.
By investing in a regular SEO audit, it’s possible to get ahead of Google core updates, and keep your website in compliance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Their guidelines change all the time, and you would be remiss not to keep updated. If being up-to-date is a problem for you, you may want to consider hiring a professional who can keep updated for you. It would be their job to implement and strategize based on any new algorithm updates. Google’s updates this year have been unprecedented, and it would require a full-time commitment just to keep up with them. Investing in a regular SEO audit can help you keep abreast of these issues, and ensure that your site remains in compliance with these updates for the months (and years) to come.