Websites evolve. For some businesses, their website has been online in one form or another for years. It could be the original site that’s had a design change, or it could have had various reiterations over that period. As sites evolve, things change which need to be audited. Changing the URL structure to be more friendly and then not checking for 404 broken links is a quick way to provide your users with a bad experience and start lowering your conversion rate. Regular site audits should be carried out to ensure you keep on top of any potential problems before they make an impact on your customer experience and your search presence.
Tools will make your site audit process easier, and much quicker to carry out. From free tools such as Google Analytics, and search console to premium tools designed to carry out in-depth analysis.
First thing first. Make sure that only one version of your site is browsable.
Only one of the above should be accessible within the browser.
The rest should be redirected via a 301 redirect to the canonical version of the site itself. A canonical tag lets search engines know which version should be considered as the master copy. By making sure there’s only one version that is browsable, you’ll avoid various problems when it comes to SEO and search.
The next part of your site audit should be to carry out a crawl of your website. Search engines such as Google use crawlers, AKA spiders, to crawl your website and index content. Premium tools give you the ability to do the same and provides invaluable information on the structure and content which you’ll use to identify issues and revise areas of improvements.
Free tools such as Google Search Console, will also be a good place to identify site issues. The data will be more limiting than that of premium tools, however following Google’s recommendations is always worthwhile, considering it’s their search engine you want to rank well in.
Premium tools will give you far more data insights, which you can use to increase your rankings and conversions. The tool we use for all of our clients to carry out site audits analyses over 120 on-page and technicals from surface level issues to critical errors.
This includes a wide range of parameters from crawlability that checks over 20 indexability and crawlability parameters including crawl budget waste, incoming internal links, page crawl depth, and HTTP status codes to HTTPs implementation that identifies potential security issues such as security certificate issues including mixed content warnings, server issues and missing HSTS support.
It doesn’t all have to be technical though. Areas above we carry out as part of a managed process, but if you’re calling upon our consultancy or training services, then there are less technical areas of a website audit that would be just as beneficial for you to carry out internally.
Take an e-commerce site as an example. It’s possible for these types of sites to contain over 1000 URLs due to the number of products the business supplies. That’s too many pages for you to go through manually checking for on-page optimisation
Carrying out a site audit would flag up broken links, duplicated content/metadata and much more besides. It’s all invaluable information that helps you to identify potential issues and resolve them. Doing so gives you an edge over your competitors and can make a huge difference in your organic growth journey.
Keeping an eye on the health of your website will enable you to identify errors today and provide your customers with a better experience tomorrow.