“Audit” is often thought of as a dirty word. It incites stress and anxiety and right now you’re probably imagining that dreaded letter from the IRS. Relax. A website audit (sometimes referred to as an SEO audit) is a good thing! In fact, it can be one of the most helpful and powerful tools your marketing strategy has. A website audit will tell you what’s working on your current website, what needs improvement, and how you can rank higher and generate more leads.
What a Website Audit Will Tell You
The first thing you should know is that most website audits are free and will take you less than 5 minutes. The second thing you should know is that the results could potentially bum you out, especially if you think your website is perfect and your marketing strategy is flawless. Remember that knowledge is power, and the more you know about your current standing, the faster you can improve it. Here’s what you’ll get with a thorough website audit:
- Links & Website Authority: This section reports on key SEO indicators that play a big part in how high your business ranks in search engine results. It will show your link count, Google Index Count and domain authority vs. your competitors. If this shows poor results, it may mean that you haven’t been adding to or improving your site enough.
- Search Rankings: This part of your audit reports the positions (‘rankings’) that your website or business appears in for your important keywords. Poor ranking results usually signal an underdeveloped or outdated keyphrase strategy.
- Local Listings: If yours is a local business, it’s critical that your address and contact information is correct and consistent across the web. This section audits online directories and reports back on whether you do or don’t have a listing there, and if you do, the audit makes sure your information is correct across the board. A status other than “Good” means that your contact information is probably incorrect or incomplete.
- Reviews & Ratings: This section collects your reviews on the most important sites. You’ll see your total reviews, average rating, and score on each site. Having positive reviews significantly impacts your reputation: the better your reputation, the more customers you’re likely to win online. Negative reviews may signal the need for reputation management services, as well as additional training to help you and your employees handle dissatisfied customers effectively (and preferably offline).
- Google My Business: This portion of an audit checks your Google My Business (GMB) page optimization. It reports on a number of important criteria, then benchmarks your website against the top 10 ranked businesses in your area. A poor result means that you need to manage your GMB page better, and optimize the content for potential customers.
- On-Site SEO: This section analyzes website SEO that affects your ability to rank competitively in search engines. On-Site SEO elements are either visible on the page or in your website code (which you can’t see, but search engines can), which affect the site’s search rankings. You’ll see page speed, site errors, and alt text and mobile responsiveness. You’ll get specific, actionable areas of improvement and can begin to work on your site immediately, using that as a guide.
- Social Channels: This section examines your popularity across social media platforms. It’s important to socialize your business so that your customers can share their experiences with family and friends, converting them into new customers. It’s also useful to use Facebook to gather reviews of your local business. Not on social media? You definitely should be!
When to Run a Site Audit
Considering a website redesign or rebranding? Then you definitely need a website audit. A new website should be an opportunity to improve SEO and digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, it can also be a recipe for disaster if you don’t take the right steps to ensure a smooth transition from the old website to the new. If you’re not careful you can damage the SEO equity your site has worked hard to build. Even if you’re not really thinking about redesigning your website or beefing up your marketing, a website audit is still beneficial. You can’t fix a problem that you don’t know exists.
Pro Tip: Redesigning your website without doing a site audit first can be a recipe for disaster and damage the SEO equity you’ve built.
Interpreting The Data
If you don’t understand everything in your website audit, it’s okay to ask for help. You’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain, whether that be someone in your IT department or an outsourced party. If you’re starting a new business or trying to invigorate a stalled marketing strategy, a website audit is an invaluable tool. In the hands of a digital marketing agency with the expertise to act on it, you’ll be unstoppable.
Do you have 5 minutes to spare? Try our Free Website Audit and we’ll show you how to translate the results into action items to dramatically improve your rankings.