Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says digital marketing should always start with an audit – it could benefit any business aiming to increase its online presence. Through strategic planning and implementation, an audit should lead to increased online sales conversions and offer a higher ROI on marketing spend.
Companies can become more profitable through website audits: it enables them to discover new revenue opportunities, uncover the most profitable areas of search and also shows their online presence profitability.
Although website audits form an integral part of creating an SEO plan, they offer far more than merely finding errors and identifying problems with website architecture. Whilst the site health audit assesses the usability and architecture of a website, it also tests website speed, identifies potential gaps in content structure and technical gaps.
SEO audit could also discover discrepancies that may result in Google penalties that affect ranking on Google’s search engine rankings page (SERP). More importantly, it could assess how vulnerable the website is to security breaches. Website security is by far the most important components of a website audit, it identifies vulnerabilities to security breaches and could prevent compromising sensitive information.
A penalty or red flag audit uncovers manual or algorithmic penalties that have a negative effect on search ranking. Identifying these penalties through an audit will reveal the cause and present solutions for site recovery. Furthermore, websites that contain duplicate content will confuse search engines and will cause search rankings to suffer and even result in algorithmic penalisation.
An active social media presence is critical to drive website traffic and a good social media strategy will help drive qualified leads, increase visibility and improve customer engagement. The social media audit is therefore extremely important as it analyses which content channels perform best. These could include tools like video, blogs, infographics and social media channels.
The conversion rate optimisation audit identifies how conversions occur and how opportunities are lost. It provides insights on how to increase leads and to convert web traffic into sales. It also guides the development team of strategic landing pages and forms. Optimisations are ongoing and need to be done to motivate the desired response from visitors.
Auditing competitive websites could also be beneficial for business growth as it could discover opportunities and insights to implement into their own digital marketing strategy. Regular SEO audits keep businesses agile and aligned with Google’s best practices. It improves Google search ranking while increasing site traffic and performance.
Google makes in excess of 500 changes to its algorithm each year. This means what works now will most likely not work in future. Google aims to serve up the very best websites, so if the user experience is good and repeat visitors are high, Google will rank the website favourably. A good website audit will evaluate the SEO and how it overlaps with the user experience so businesses can find a good balance to satisfy the users and Google.
Website audits are an essential tool to improve the efficiency and visibility of a website; they present businesses with an exceptional opportunity for growth online. Ideally, businesses will receive a summary report including any discrepancies discovered and the report will also provide the most effective way to correct them.
Enhanced usability is key. A website audit can help identify areas of the website that should be simplified in order to determine what content, structure and functions work best for the users. The design and functionality of the website is endless but a highly complicated design, busy web pages and too much information could pose a huge problem. If the website doesn’t guide visitors to the right area in a clear and concise way, they will leave immediately and possibly never return.
Auditing content helps businesses understand the kind of content users like and how they like to view this content e.g. videos, articles and images. An audit will help one decide on a solid content strategy for the website and a blog that provides quality content that users enjoy. This will lead to better organic rankings with the search engines.
A technical website audit will verify data such as time on site, bounce rates and page views. These are highly important areas that need to be improved for better search engine indexing.
In conclusion, if your website is not listed on the first page of Google, your business can lose up to 95 percent of potential clicks because sites on the second page attract less than 5 percent of search traffic. Before developing a digital marketing strategy and an online presence, businesses need to do an SEO audit to get a baseline understanding of the website, social media platforms and how search engines rank it.