By Chelsea McClain
Performing a website audit can be considered time consuming, but it is well worth every minute of effort. You want your website to be a well-oiled machine that is regularly serving information to users in an enjoyable way that inspires their purchases and loyalty, and at the same time encouraging Google’s spiders to crawl your site and report back data that will increase your search engine results page ranking.
While you can certainly use as much or as little criteria as you would like, this list is what we consider to be a minimum for a worthwhile analysis. We welcome your favorite items in the comments.
A. Identify SEO problems (Semrush)
- Use a tool (like Google Analytics) to track what’s going on with your website: keywords, traffic, entrance pages, exit pages, etc.
- Use the keyword you are optimizing the page for in the heading, the image file name, in the title tags, meta tags, content tags, and in the text itself.
- Fix broken links on your website.
- Make sure your content doesn’t have references to other sources at the very beginning: this way readers won’t leave your website too soon for Google Analytics or other tools to count it as a bounce and lower a website’s ranking in search.
- Think about using internal links on your website in the content and in the footer. These internal links must help users to continue down the pathway(s) of your choice.
- Use a tool such as Semrush to look for backlinks to your site. The more authoritative the source that links to you the higher you rank in Google. Get rid of spammy backlinks by submitting them to Google through a Disavow list. But be careful with this.
B. Identify technical problems with PageSpeedInsights.com, Google Search Central, and Ahrefs.com
- Check the loading speed of the website.
- Check the WordPress version.
- Check to see if you need any updates in WordPress.
- Track and analyze any errors through Google Analytics.
- Check Google PageSpeed optimization.
- Check the functionality of the site with the client’s help (as frequently as the website is updated).
C. Analyze Design and UX
- Look at the general page structure and content for general usability (consistency between pages, proper headings, appropriate graphics enough white space, etc.).
- Analyze data (Google Analytics) about user pathways to each top level page: primary navigation, internal link, footer navigation, etc.
- Does the design lead the visitor to CTA links and buttons?
- Is the CTA placed within the first ⅓rd of the user’s screen?
- Does the design align with the company’s brand?
- Check the site on multiple phones, computers, and tablets.
D. Assess website content
- Does the content achieve the goal of the page?
- Is the content logically structured?
- Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- Does the content drive the user to the CTA and/or take them on the intended pathway?
- Are the social media icons embedded in the header, footer, and other locations?
- Are the blog posts easy to share with others?
E. Generate a checklist of all site issued and recommended fixes
We keep a spreadsheet of all of this data that we compare month over month and year over year. It’s very encouraging to see progress and it’s often enlightening to recognize patterns you would not have seen without collecting and analyzing the data. After collating the data and its analysis, it can be used to create a strategic marketing plan for the next year.
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