How to Audit Your Website
Do you ever audit your website? In my view, you should do an audit at least once a year. It’s also an essential exercise when redesigning your site or if you feel something is holding it back. A site audit is something you can do yourself, at least in part. Even if you have some form of external help, if you complete at least some of it on your own, it puts you in the driving seat.
So exactly what should you audit? You definitely want to check your on page optimisation and content including duplicate content both on your site and elsewhere on the web. Navigation and sitelinks and mobile compliance should also be audited. On the other hand, there are some technical issues including Site Speed that you may want to pass over to a professional. Here’s a roundup of the main factors you should be familiar with.
Getting Started with a Site Audit
I would recommend you start by finding out how many pages are actually indexed by Google. This is easy to do. Simply do a site: search. As well as putting a red flag against any obvious omissions, if your home page doesn’t show up first there could be other issues to worry about.
It’s important to ensure Page Titles are optimised and none are missing. Your target phrase should be included in each H1 tag. If your brand name is not included in the title add it, as this will improve CTRs. You want to aim for Titles that are 50-60 characters long. Meta descriptions should also be optimised. Your site’s most important pages should be written semantically to fit in with target phrases. No keyword stuffing.
As well as being written semantically, it’s important to identify content that’s helpful in gaining visitors trust and also for conversions. Also audit your site for cannibalisation of keywords across different pages. If written semantically, you should have a good spread of different terms of varying demand. Pay particular attention to your Home page. It must have sufficient, engaging material.
Duplicate content can come from various sources. If you put some content in quotes into Google (or use Copyscape) you should be able to find dupe content on your own site and others.
You must be clear what the relationship is between your mobile site and the desktop version. Test the mobile version yourself to determine the experience it delivers. If you deliver at least some specific mobile content set up analytics for it.
Navigation and Sitelinks
Navigation is often overlooked. But no matter how good your content is if the site architecture is rubbish, you risk losing customers. When testing sites most people focus on the vertical linking structure away from the Home page, but it must be checked horizontally too. Check for compliant anchor text and test navigation to your most important pages. Be mindful not to have too many links on a page. Most people assume link tallies refer to outgoing links. They actually refer to all links.
If you don’t know your XML Sitemaps from 301s then it may be best to leave auditing the technical aspects of your site to someone else. Site loading speed is important and there are various factors that can be tweaked if improvements are needed. Make sure caching is enabled.