What is a Website audit?
A site health audit is a necessary part of maintaining an effective, high-ranking website. It checks many aspects of a website, including usability, SEO, and structure. This matters because issues within the site are often penalized by Google’s ranking engine SERP, lowering the site’s visibility. The goal of a site audit is to identify and fix any errors that affect ranking.
What to Include in a Digital Audit
A site health audit covers almost every aspect of your site, so it can be a little overwhelming. To help you start, we’ve compiled a list of the most common site issues Forge Apollo has come across. If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t hesitate to schedule your Site Audit today.
1. User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
User interface and user experience are two crucial site components, and should not be overlooked. User interface is essentially the design and infrastructure of the site, while user experience is how the user interacts and engages with the interface. Ideally, the two work hand in hand to create a cohesive, dynamic site that encourages interaction and funnels users towards designated CTAs.
2. User Journey
Examine your website from a user’s perspective. Is the navigation effective? Is the site easy to understand? Is it clear where conversion points are and does each page work to drive users to take an action? A well-thought-out user journey is critical and will help convert site visitors into leads.
3. Types of Content Being Used
While copy is crucial when it comes to scaling search rankings, adding varied content forms such as videos and animations, or creating infographics to visually explain complex concepts to a user, can be effective as well. However, supporting copy should always accompany non-text-based content. In both written and varied forms, the content should always serve a purpose and be relevant to your audience while incorporating keywords to maximize impact.
4. Mobile Friendliness
Having a mobile-friendly site no longer just sets you apart from the competition, it now directly factors into how Google indexes your content. Google has recognized that people are using their mobile devices more than ever, and as of 2019, new websites default to mobile-first indexing. Having a responsive website, meaning one that displays correctly on multiple screen sizes, is no longer an option. Be sure to check out your website on as many devices as you can, even switching between different browsers (i.e.Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and more) to make sure the site looks the same everywhere.
5. Technical Search Engine Optimization
While content relevancy, UI, and UX factor heavily into the overall usefulness of your site, one should never overlook the technical aspects. These areas are visible and calculated by ranking algorithms, which in turn, increases website visibility to potential customers or clients by improving search rankings.
6. Page Speed
Page speed is now being more prioritized than ever before and search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to prioritize different aspects of query results and provide the best possible answers for a user. According to a Search Engine Watch article, Google plans to update its algorithm in 2021 to include what they are coining ‘Page Experience,’ which will emphasize site speed when determining rankings. Website pages should load in under three seconds. Google’s Page Speed Insights tool is a great place to test your site and get a good read on where your site currently stands.
7. Quality Content
When ranking a website, search engines take user intent and content quality seriously. Google is so dedicated to matching the user with the correct information they rolled out a whole new system, BERT, to better understand user language. So remember, creating content that is SEO-friendly is multi-faceted, but essentially involves effectively focusing on user intent and not solely on keywords, products, and/or services. Take a look at your current site, read the copy, and identify any areas where you could be more helpful to the user. If you are not sure what content your audience is searching for, consider SEMRush’s Topic Research tool, which uses keyword research to provide content ideas, subtopics, and questions your audience may have.
8. HTTPS vs HTTP
Website safety continues to rank as a top priority of ranking algorithms and users alike and should be taken seriously by marketers. To do so, purchase an SSL certificate and switch your site from HTTP to HTTPS. An SSL certificate is a small data file that connects an organization to a cryptographic key, allowing HTTPS protocol to provide a secure connection. Not only will it inspire confidence in your website visitors, but it was also made a ranking factor for Google several years ago.
9. Metadata Issues
Metadata is the structure of your HTML web page. When done correctly, this helps search engines understand your content, which in turn will help with its organic rankings. Some of the most important metadata tags to check for include having a Title Tag and only one H1 tag on a page. In addition to page-level metadata, image titles and descriptions are also very important and should be optimized for searches as well.
How Often Should You Do a Site Check and What Happens if You Don’t Perform Them?
If you’ve never performed a website audit, it should be done immediately. Audits help you identify areas of improvement. After your initial audit is complete, it’s important to create action items and key performance indicators (KPIs), i.e. bounce rate, that will help structure and measure your growth and goals.
A site health audit can be daunting; if you’ve never performed one, outsourcing to a digital agency is the best way to get a complete picture of your website’s health. Let Forge Apollo do the heavy lifting and provide you with a clear roadmap to digital success.