We work a lot with the accounting industry and know that many people cringe when they hear the “A” word. Why do business owners alike dread when the auditors show up? Well, it often means more work in an already busy work-day and let’s face it, an audit can be a stressful time answering a million questions and complying with a constant barrage of requests. However, audits are a necessary and important part of every business. Just like businesses need a regular audit of their financial records to ensure accuracy and overall health, websites also benefit from a thorough examination, or dare we say audit, to be sure the site is in optimal shape.
WHAT IS A WEBSITE AUDIT?
So what is a website audit and how is it related to your SEO strategy? Simply put, a website audit gives you a full picture of the effectiveness of your company’s website. It allows you to look at the technical infrastructure of your website, as well as the on-page and off-page elements that affect search engine visibility, usability, and conversion. The main point of the audit is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunity in website marketing.
WHY ARE WEBSITE AUDITS IMPORTANT?
Website audits are a vital component of keeping your SEO strategy up-to-date. With search engines frequently updating their algorithms to provide better search results, there is a good chance that what is working today may not work months from now. Therefore, you need to be aware of these changes so you can make adjustments to your website accordingly.
What’s more, you will also be able enhance your SEO efforts by identifying any missed opportunities or poorly executed SEO pitfalls that may be doing serious damage to the success of your online marketing efforts. These could include strategies started a while ago and have since been forgotten about. An audit will allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines second so you won’t still be using old tactics just to get in the top of the search engine results pages.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
There are a number of common issues that are typically uncovered during a website audit from both a content and technical aspect, including:
- Duplicate Content— Duplicate content is any content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Why is this a problem? If your website has multiple pages that contain the same content, it makes it difficult for Google to pick the right version. Therefore, it is important to quickly identify and either remove or redirect any duplicate content that may exist.
- Broken Links – It is not uncommon to find a number of broken links. This just means that the intended linked-to page either no longer exists or has been moved. Google does not like broken links and it is important to remove or repair them as soon as they are discovered.
- Titles, Meta Data, & Images — Title tags and meta descriptions are the first thing visitors will read in the search results. It is important to ensure that they are not only included, but that they are relevant to the content of the site as well. Additionally, there should be alt tags for any images. Remember, Google also indexes images in addition to indexing content.
- Site Speed – Page loading time is obviously an important part of any website’s user experience. If it takes your website more than a few seconds to load, then your SEO rankings are going to suffer. Site speed can be impacted in a number of ways including large image files and what type of website hosting is being used, to name a few. No one likes waiting forever for a website to download so be sure that your site loads within 1-3 seconds. A fast-loading website is good for your visitors and user experience which equals better rankings.
- Sitemap and Robot Files – These are important files that help search engines when indexing the website. A sitemap tells Google and other search engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed. It also ensures that your pages are found and found quickly. Robot files, on the other hand, allow you to specify which parts of your site should be crawled and what parts to avoid. When either of these files is missing or incomplete, it makes the job of indexing a site much more difficult.
When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? As you can see, an audit of your website is a critical part in improving your website’s performance and enhancing your SEO efforts. If you have never audited your website before or it has been a while since you have, let us know. We are here to help!