It involves analysis of technical, user experience, and SEO issues. The main benefits include discovering things that might be:
- Undermining your website’s traffic potential in organic search
- Costing you sales or conversions
- Confusing your visitors
- Causing technical glitches
That’s only half the battle. The rest is using this basic information for improving your website and ultimately making more sales.
If you’ve never audited your website, chances are you should. Websites are complex beasts and issues arise all the time. You won’t be aware of them unless you audit your site regularly.
There is an almost never-ending list of things you can look for when auditing a website. Some of them are somewhat technical and complex.
The audit service I provide examines the issues listed below. They represent the most common flaws that plague many websites, big and small.
Keep in mind that auditing your website isn’t only about SEO. Still, many of the audit items below do have an impact on SEO.
Nobody is going to trust a website that was designed 20 years ago.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s worth redesigning your website every 4–5 years or so. Or, at least making a few significant design updates to keep things fresh.
But this isn’t just about making things pretty or keeping up with current trends. There are quite a few things that contribute to poor website design.
Some of the biggest issues include:
- Intrusive pop-ups and ads. Google actually penalizes “pages that show intrusive interstitials” on mobile.
- Illegible text. Using the right fonts and colors goes a long way in keeping visitors on your site.
- Not enough white space. A busy, overloaded site makes for a an unpleasant reading experience.
- Poor contrast. Plenty of sites use, for example, yellow text on a white background. Or worse, any color on a black or dark background. Horrible!
- Unclear calls to action. Or too many calls to action on the same page. The goal of each page should be just one specific, clear, and compelling call to action.
Your navigation menu must make sense to visitors. Navigation that’s as user-friendly as possible means:
- It’s crystal clear
- It links to all your most important pages
- It’s not cluttered with unnecessary stuff
- Visitors easily find how to contact you if they have questions
All these pointers may seem simple and obvious. Nevertheless, way too many websites fail to follow them.
Did you know that more than 49% of people browse the web via mobile devices?
That means a huge chunk of your visitors are probably viewing your website on mobile.
Furthermore, nearly 60% of Google searches were done on mobile in 2016. It has only gone up since then.
Translation: You need a mobile-friendly website, or you’re alienating over half of your visitors.
Sitemap and robots.txt file
Can you find your sitemap? The URL should be in your robots.txt file. If it’s not, check the root folder of your hosting for XML files. A sitemap is crucial for helping search engines understand what pages you have and how your site is structured.
Robots.txt is a simple text file that tells search engines which pages they can and can’t crawl.
If you have a robots.txt file, it’ll be accessible at yourdomain.com/robots.txt.
Long story short, it’s good to have both of these files.
HTTPs means that a website is secure. Data transfer to and from the site is encrypted.
If yours is one of the rare sites that isn’t HTTPs, then you don’t have an SSL certificate.
Furthermore, HTTPs is a Google ranking factor. They said so back in 2014.
Google states that 53% of mobile visitors leave websites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
Moreover, Amazon found that a slowdown of 100 milliseconds cost them 1% in sales. And that was a decade ago. Those numbers are most certainly even more mind-boggling now.
Still not convinced on the importance of speed? Way back in 2010 Google stated that site speed is a ranking factor.
This is where good copywriting shines. It entails persuasive writing that keeps visitors on the page and induces them to take action.
As such, it must be:
- Free of spelling and grammatical errors (I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen misspelled scientific names of herbs on websites and product labels!)
- Easy to understand
- Skimmable (i.e., not a giant wall of text)
- Not a duplicate of another page
Furthermore, studies suggest that consumer comprehension may be compromised if content exceeds a 7th-grade reading level. That’s the average American reading level identified by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS).
For larger sites, manually checking all pages for such issues isn’t possible. In that case, it makes sense to prioritize the reviewing of your most important pages instead.
To find those, use Google Analytics or Search Console to find the pages with the most traffic (or conversion value) and review them first.
In addition, it almost goes without saying that visitors turn away when a site has broken pages and links.
The result? Your site looks uncared for, out-of-date, and potentially untrustworthy.
Luckily, such issues are easy to fix. Let’s start with broken pages.
Broken pages occur when a resource on your website ceases to exist. Sometimes, these resources still have internal links pointing to them or have backlinks from other sites.
It’s very important to check backlinks on a regular schedule to look for link failures that make a website look bad.
Meta titles and descriptions
Every page on your website should have a unique meta title and description.
Not sure what these are? They’re HTML tags that show up in Google search results. But before you start changing things, you first need to audit them to find:
- Pages without any titles or descriptions
- Pages without unique titles or descriptions
- Pages with titles and descriptions that are too long
- Pages with multiple titles or meta descriptions
No online tool can tell you if your titles and descriptions are compelling. That’s where a sharp-eyed copywriter can help.
However, if you’re a Search Console user, your first hint comes from the Performance report there. Look for pages that get lots of impressions but a low CTR. It’s a sure sign of non-compelling writing.
Because these pages have lots of impressions, they must be showing up for searches people are making in Google. The issue is that nobody is clicking on them. It could indicate a less than enticing title or meta description.
Not every page on your website needs to be optimized for SEO.
For example, it really doesn’t matters whether your About or Contact pages are keyword-optimized. Ranking these pages isn’t important.
For other pages, targeting the right keywords is crucial.
What makes for the “right” keyword? A combination of three things:
- Traffic potential
- Low difficulty
- Relevance (i.e., the intent behind the query matches that of your page)
The lesson here is simple: Don’t try to rank pages where they don’t belong.
So check that you’re not making the mistake of targeting the wrong keywords with your web pages, starting with the most important pages first.
Everything above is admittedly quite basic. There are a lot of other technical and on-page aspects that you should keep an eye on.
Although the improvements listed here may seem simple, they take time and expertise that you may not have.
That’s where I come in.
CONTACT ME RIGHT NOW to get the conversation started about how I can help with your website audit.