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When Should You Have a Website Audit?

What is a website audit?

A website audit is basically a health check up for your website. Typically, it will cover any technical snags or issues a website could experience that would negatively impact the sites natural search engine rankings. These audits are usually quite forensic and technical, assessing a broad range of factors that include everything from page content optimisation and backlinks to page load speed and mobile friendliness to name a few.

We would recommend every website undergoes an SEO audit before embarking on an SEO campaign. Doing this will ensure your website is in the fittest shape possible to climb the rankings helping maximise the benefit of your SEO and online marketing efforts.

It’s important to bear in mind that the price for an SEO audit will typically cover the analysis and identification of issues to be resolved, but will not include the prices to fix them. Think of it a bit like taking your car for an MOT – at the time of testing, it won’t be known what issues (if any) the car has, so it would not be appropriate to try offering you estimates or quotations until the facts are known. It’s for these reasons that most SEO agencies and professionals will typically carry out their own audits before beginning work for you.

Do I need a website audit?

There are quite a wide range of scenarios where a website audit are needed, ranging from the precautionary and strategic, to the reactive (such as attempting to analyse the cause of a sudden drop in traffic). Our advice though, if you have never had a website audit before, it will be a worthwhile investment.

You’ve experienced a decline in website traffic

A decline in traffic to your site, either sudden or gradually is not a good thing for any website. Most businesses rely on thier organic SEO to bring in a steady stream of new visitors alongside other marketing efforts. If this declines, you will likeyl experience a corresponding decline elsewhere in you online marketing.

There’s always a reason for drops in organic traffic but they may not always be obvious to the website owner. This is why you are always best taking your website to a team who specialise in doing website audits to make sure they spot everything that is important to your site.

To measure the effectiveness of your SEO provider

similar to most industries, there are some very skilful SEO professionals out there, but also some who are less so. This is made more complex by the technical nature of SEO itself: it’s hard for a business owner to judge how good the SEO efforts are and where improvements could be made.

It never hurts to get a second opinion via an audit which will often highlight things that may not have been spotted by your existing SEO team. Especially since this is a service you are paying for, at the very least it will help you put an accurate figure on the monthly fee for SEO management and perhaps even offer insights into tasks you (as the website owner) might carry out in parallel to help enhance the results they achieve for you.

Benchmarking your site and performance

Even if you don’t suspect your site is experiencing any issues, a website audit can offer an objective benchmark that will confirm you are enjoying maximum benefit of your SEO and there is little or no room for improvement in some areas.

What do website audits detect?

Websites can experience a wide range of issues, most of which won’t actually be visible with the browser – but search engines will see and website audits will detect. In our experience, newly build websites will always include some (or all) of the following:

  • ‘Hidden’ test pages users cannot see or navigate to on the site, but which search engines will find and index. These are usually used when testing the site, testing the comments or user feedback functionality. Search engines will index this and list it in search if it is not removed altogether, which will have a negative impact on rankings if not addressed.

  • Some page meta data not being completed on important pages (such as titles and meta tags). This is typically due to the wide range of page types a website has and a consequence of how CMS systems such as WordPress work. In some cases, it may be necessary to install a separate plugin to allow you (as the website owner) full control over all pages titles and meta tags. This is the type of thing a website user will not know to ask for and – as a result – is never offered.

  • ‘Thin’ content can occur when you have a page that is only a few sentences that are not helpful to the end user. Typically these will be pages of 100 words or less and including these will actually hurt your SEO and rankings. Our advice with these is to either consider (1) Expanding on the content and making it more usful and longer or (2) If you have a few pages like this, bringing them together under one roof (such as bringing all questions together under an ‘FAQ’ section)

  • Content spam can happen in a number of ways, only some of which are deliberate. If users comment on your website, leave poorly written comments to link on other wbesites, this will negatively impact your site. Especially if any of these comments are from spambots trying to sell thier wears. Some comment spam can be hard to find as it may occur on a page deep with your website, in some cases, for pages that are not navigable by browser.

  • Domains, redirects and non-canonical issues. It’s not very well understood by website owners, but search engines will treat www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com as two separate and unrelated websites. If you do not have a 301 redirect from one of these to the others, you will get 2 ‘half listings’ (as each domain may be given half your websites content, leaving both incomplete in the eyes of search engines), rather than 1 highly visible listing. This same issue can exist between http and https which means you now have (potentially) 4 separate domains you need to manage from the one:

http://www.yourdomain.com/

https://www.yourdomain.com/

http://yourdomain.com/

https://yourdomain.com/

Typically, sorting this will beyond the scope of work you have asked your web developer to do, as this is really in the remit of SEO. AS with the ‘thin’ content, because you wern’t aware of this, in all likelihood, you’ve never asked.

Some good tools for website health checks

Fortunately, there are some great tools out there for free which can give you the basic feedback. We recommend every website owner using Google Webmaster Tools – it’s completely free and will even allow you to resolve some of these issues (such as the domain / non canonical issues)

Google Analytics is a vital tool that every website owner should use, it can give you both real time and historic statistics about your visitors, their behaviour (including traffic funnels, lead tracking, split testing and more). While the advanced features get quite technical, the basics are easy to use making this an invaluable tool for every website owner and marketeer.

If you have never had a website audit carried out and would like us to take care of this for you, why not get in touch with our team today?

How A Web Audit Improves Your Business

Your companies website is the first point of contact for many of your potential customers. We see many organisations spend a great deals of time and effort on the great look and feel of a website, but this alone won’t necessarily bring traffic. For this, you really should get in touch with an online marketing or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist to arrange a website audit. A website audit review and analysis will help identify any underlying issues of structure, speed and performance, security and SEO which may be preventing your site from either (1) getting the best visibility possible or (2) ensuring the fastest page load speeds and technical reliability possible. All of these factors influence not only your rankings in search engines, but how your potential customers first experience your company online.

What is a Website Audit?

On the surface, a website audit is best thought of as a process whereby a professional reviews your website to test various factors which will determine the levels of traffic and conversions your website is able to achieve. Ultimately, it should help you increase sales and revenue by motivating site visitors to take action. During an audit, your web development professional will conduct a comprehensive review that includes:

  • Checking your existing rankings and profile within the search engines
  • Measuring existing visitor levels of traffic to your site
  • Analysing your conversion rates
  • Ensuring the companies brands are reflected accurately
  • Testing the load speed of pages and the website
  • Ensuring the Url structure is optimal, and easy for search engines to index

The objective of a website audit such as this, is to analyse every important aspect and devise a list of recommendations that will help ensure your company enjoys optimal performance in rankings and visibility terms, but also that it has the best chances of converting visitors into customers!

Why a Website Audit is Beneficial To Your Business

One hidden benefit of employing a third party to audit your webite is they can do so independently and from a customer perspective; rather than ‘not being able to see the wood for the trees’ scenario we often notice with many website owners.

But by far the most important benefit to your company of having a website audit carried out is the impact on your companies revenue. We see a lot of business run websites with issues that have gone undetected for a long time. While they might seem small in some cases, the ongoing, cumulative total of lost revenue your company has missed out on can mount up. It is also vital to ensure your website is fully future-proofed and will last and grow with your business as required.

Get More From Your Website With A Website Audit

There are websites available for all range of purposes. For some businesses, the website is their online shop front while at the same time, for others, it can be a way of promoting products, services and the brand. There are so many different roles that websites can provide; some may be for data collection and processing, others may be for showcasing products or services. But each will have their own purpose, and needs.

One way to ensure your are maximising the benefits of your website is having a regular website audit. With a website audit, like those from Audit My Website, the site is tested for speed and performance, the expert will examine all pagses, following and checking links to ensure that all visitors can successfully navigate the website without issues.  When all links are confirmed working, the website owner can be sure enough that the visitors will be able to view everything that the website has optimally. This also includes factors such as page layout, user interface (UI) and more.

A website audit will also be able to check on the number of visitors that the website has achieved for a certain timeframe along with its rankings in the search engines. This will be helpful for the website owner as they will be able to see if the marketing technique they are using is working or not. The more visitors a website obtains the more possible clients it can have as well. If the website is not getting enough visitors, then there must be something wrong with how the online marketing is done. This will be able to be corrected by the website expert.

Through site audit, the web expert can see if there are some things that should be changed within the website to make it more friendly and attractive to web browsers. Sometimes, websites have certain parts which are too difficult to understand for ordinary web browsers. If you wish to make the visitors feel at home and head on to exploring your site, you need to make the website user-friendly and easy to understand. The website can be corrected if it undergoes audit from knowledgeable web experts.

A website that has been audited will perform much better and likely attract more visitors. This is now what many website owners invest on especially if they would want to have the website itself generate more income on an ongoing basis. This service is actually being offered by many SEO companies these days. Sometimes, it is even part of the package on offer. Business websites are the ones that most use this type of service. It is important that website owners inquire on what the audit will cover so that they would know what to expect from the service. Auditing may be done on a regular basis so that the website is well-maintained and examined. This will help in getting the best from a website which can provide profits to its owners.

What Is Website Auditing? Why Choose an Audit Company?

The word ‘audit’ can have negative meaning which can be worry some. However, a website audit is very different, it’s aim is to assist companies in assessing how well their website is working and identify any improvements that need to be made.

For example, it can detect a broken link, which is a link that should the user follow it, gives 404 not found or sends the user to a page / domain that does not exist. Website audits can assess how well links are working, and point out those which need updating.

Broken links are usually a surprise for website owners, since they typically aren’t something that gets discovered except when doing a website audit. When you find broken links, you may even be able to identify any lost business as a result of the technical fault. It may not be possible to win this business back, but it certainly should be your focus to prevent it happening in future!

Website Audit: Basics Overview

Auditing a website can also identify other things besides these broken links. These can include the ease of searching for a site, the information being displayed, and navigability. Website audits target these and other vital factors which can influence both SEO and technical usability of the website. As a result of a website audit, both web designers and marketeers should have a clear picture of what improvements and issues can be addressed to ensure the website is as fit as possible. Web auditing also provides additional information on whether the site is using every feature available on the Internet. It is very easy to simply forget or not take advantage of the different areas of the Internet; especially those that have only recently begin to see an increase in popularity, such as social networking sites.

A good audit will provide a lot of information including:

a. How visitors are arriving at a site, whether it’s from online paid advertising, blogs, search engines, backlinks from press releases or articles about the company.

b. What kind of information most visitors to the site are looking for.

c. How easy that information is to find on the site.

d. How effective the site’s section labels are.

e. What keywords are getting the highest rankings in search engines.

In companies where security is paramount, auditing should be able to identify weak points in the armour and security vulnerabilities that may be exploitable but may have escaped detection.

When Should You Perform A Website Audit

Web audits are an effective process for not only identifying existing issues and snags, but also helpful when planning further development and enhancements. Audits can prove more valuable than most imagine. They can help identify very hidden issues that could have gone undetected for sometime. It’s important to note that many of the issues can have a negative impact on your SEO and rankings making it worthwhile for most companies to invest in a website audit.

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