Like a car, a website isn’t a one-time-only task. A great website resembles a higher end, fast car and so it requires regular maintenance. For any car, you need to put some gas in for it to run, perform oil changes occasionally, it needs to pass inspections, and topped up all the fluids. All of this ensures the smooth running of the vehicle. Without one or any of these steps – it could cause the car to break down. A website is no different.
A website requires time and patience as well as routine checkups and maintenance. Without those, it could deteriorate and be no use to your dealership. Anything can happen with a website if it isn’t properly monitored. Plugins could be outdated, there’s a higher possibility of any spam, errors, and re-directs clogging up your speed. SEO tactics which work one year, could become obsolete the next year. So, with routine checks, you could ensure that all the technology behind your website is continuing to work smoothly.
What Is It?
A website audit contains a full and deep analysis of everything concerning your websites search visibility. A full website audit can give you a deeper understanding of the shortage of traffic or where your website is lacking its potential.
Some companies implement automated tools that give frequent reports that can determine where your sites need updating. Regardless of the tool, there are nine basic pieces that these automated tools look at, which make up a website audit.
- Content – Web search engines, such as Google, love content that is fresh. Website audits help to identify pages or content pieces that perform better than others. That content can then be freshened up with additional internal links added to it.
- Technical SEO – This requires special programs that then examine the inner workings of your website. It examines the external and internal linking to ensure that it is being properly used. It can also check your images to ensure that they have all the necessary tags and meta descriptions are there for all pages. While doing so, it can also examine what keywords have the highest and best conversion rates.
- Mobile Friendliness – These days, it’s a must to have a mobile-friendly website. If it isn’t then you’re liking to lose conversions. The higher the responsiveness of a website the better the chances of your website ranking higher on Google.
- Google Analytics – Analytics is a great tool that can help you examine many, if not all, of your worries. This helps you see whether users are running through your website or if they’re simply being bounced off.
- Enhanced Social Channels – Though these aren’t a part of your site – they are a part of the overall digital properties. Performing an annual audit will ensure that all properties of the website are being in their preferred weight. It can also help you to discover any weak points in your strategies.
- Outdated Widgets and Plugins – outdated technologies working on the website can really slow down the speed of the website. Annual audits can help the smooth running of your website.
- Webmaster Tools – Website re-directs and errors can drastically decrease site traffic. With an updated page, the removal of any stagnant pages, or altered site structure, you’ll need to ensure that there are re-directs set up.
- Back-Linked Profile – the amount of industry and authoritative sites that are linking to your site correlates with the search engine ranking. So, creating a website that appeals to those professionals and/or companies can greatly benefit you.
Why Should You Do It?
After knowing what audits can do for you and why they are important, you might be wondering why it’s even important to do these annually. Below, we’ve listed five reasons why you should take audits very seriously.
1. It’s hard for users to navigate your website if you do not audit annually to avoid these issues.
- There might be too many items in the navigation bar – this can be solved by listing all the services in a drop-down menu.
- Too many steps to reach the desired page – as a rule of thumb, users should not have to lick more than three times to reach their destination page.
- No easy way to return to the homepage – every page should have a clearly visible way to get back to the homepage, which is something in the form of a clickable logo.
- Too much information on the homepage – overloading the information on the homepage can take away from any important information that the text might have.
- No search functionality – as an essential feature on any e-commerce website, not having this may cause issues when navigating the website.
- Hard to contact – not having any visible email addresses, physical addresses, contact numbers, and social icons.
- ‘sign up now’ popping up too soon – this can discourage any users to sign up if they see this pop up before they’ve even explored the homepage.
2. The website isn’t optimized without annual audits.
- The content needs to be updated, redirected, and removed accordingly.
- Untagged or improperly tagged photos
- Absence of relevant and unique meta issues
- Improper use of H1’s, H2’s, and H3’s.
- Incapability of mobile responsiveness
- Pages with identical or similar content
- Broken links
3. Might have a risk of penalization by big search engines
Though cloaking, keyword stuffing, and link farming may have worked at some point, they don’t work anymore. At some point, they might have increased the traffic and your websites search engines. An auditor can examine and correct the problems.
4. Taking too long to load
If your website takes any longer than five seconds to load, users will leave, increasing the bounce rate. The site speed is also a ranking factor in your websites search engine ranking.
How Often Do You Need to Do an Audit?
A scheduled and regular audit can provide you with a benchmark for any improvements that you need to make. Most sites, especially the smaller ones, should have an annual audit. Larger sites that receive a lot of traffic, should perform an annual audit at first to get things back on track, then move onto a bi-annual audit check.