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Site audits: why they matter, and how to perform one

22 Dec

Site audits are a crucial part of search engine optimisation – however, a good site audit can go much further than just measuring your SEO performance

If you ask us, you should be constantly evaluating your website, identifying issues and taking measures to fix them.

This is especially important for a fast-moving area like SEO, where a single algorithm change can mean that your site’s performance can tank overnight!

A site audit can be a big help in properly optimising your site, true – however, it can also help you in a number of other ways other than just SEO:

  • Site speed also impacts customer experience
  • Dodgy links that can affect your credibility on top of affecting ranking
  • Broken and missing files and links aren’t a good look

All the more reason to perform ongoing audits!

How to get your website to the top of Google results and improve your SEO Melbourne

“What are the SEO techniques?” It might surprise you to hear, but regular, ongoing audits are one of the most important ones

There are a lot of moving parts in any SEO strategy – one of which is regular, ongoing SEO audits.

Like the name suggests, audits are a crucial part in assessing how your strategy is working, as well as areas that you need to improve.

While many DIY SEO-ers spend a lot of time researching SEO techniques and finding SEO keywords, not many seem to remember that for their site to rank, they need to perform regular ongoing audits.

As a result, problems go unsolved and issues continue to pile up – all the while, they’re freaking out and wondering “what am I doing wrong?”

How do you conduct a website review?

A site audit is basically a website-wide process where you look at each of these factors, identifying issues that may be affecting your ranking or user experience and then taking steps to fix them.

Such issues can include:

  • Slow speeds
  • Missing media
  • Duplicate content
  • Technical issues

Not only can these help your SEO take off, but it can also improve your site’s overall usability and performance too, and can help you create an action plan.

A lot of the stuff you’ll need to evaluate as part of a website review are difficult to measure without the right tools – luckily, there are still ways to do one on your own without requiring help from an SEO agency Melbourne.

Doing SEO on your own: performing your very own SEO audit

Luckily there are a whole range of tools out there to help you with this!

Most content management platforms (that’s to say, the services that you use to host your site and publish it) come with built-in tools that give you a rough idea of where you stand on each of these points.

WordPress for example comes with a range of plugins that allow you to perform an audit that’s as in-depth as you need it to be.

You can also use a host of external services, many of which are free – some are as simple as pasting your page link in the box and letting the system do its work!

Just be warned that while there are a couple all-in-one tools, most of them are split between functions, and many only look at pages individually rather than your site as a whole, so be prepared to spend a little bit of time finding the right tools.

How to practice SEO on your own: what to look at during a site audit

There are 3 basic parts to any SEO or website audit:

  1. Back-end factors (hosting, code and indexing)
  2. Front-end factors (content, keywords, and metadata)
  3. Link quality and outside references

Each of these 3 categories has a number of other areas underneath it, each of which impacts site performance as well as the user experience.

Performing a behind-the-scenes audit

How well-optimised is your site underneath the hood?

It’s easy to overlook all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes your site work – however, as the blood and guts of your website, it’s crucial that your site audit starts by looking at these crucial areas.

In particular, you’ll want to look at things like:

  • Website speed
  • Broken links
  • Mobile-friendliness and responsiveness
  • Site security
  • Plugin functionality

Of course, identifying these issues is just step one – you’ll also need to take measures to fix them.

And this is where a lot of business owners fall flat – not everyone’s computer-minded, meaning many just sort of stop once they’re done with their audit.

If you can’t fix these technical issues on your own, that’s completely fine – provided that they get fixed.

And if that means calling a professional like our SEO agency in Melbourne, then that’s what you’ll need to do!

Front-end audit for your website

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to SEO, content is king.

As such, this is one of the most important things to look at when performing a site audit.

  • Check whether your content is well-optimised
  • Ensure you’re using enough multimedia
  • Eliminate duplicate content
  • Identify dead links and missing pages
  • Ensure all your info is up-to-date
  • Double-check your keywords

However, that isn’t the only front-end part of your site that you need to look into during a site audit.

In addition to checking for duplicate or low-quality content, it’s important that you also include in your site audit things like:

  • Mobile-friendliness – in addition to the technical stuff, you can make your site more mobile-friendly by adjusting content to fit on phone screens
  • Image sizes – files that are too large or images that are too high-res can slow your site down
  • Metadata – this is data that helps search engines understand what they’re looking at, so it’s important that metadata attached to your content is accurate

And don’t forget to think about user-friendliness and first impressions as well. For example, if your site looks dated or the information is laid out in a way that makes it hard to find what you’re looking for, you might want to rethink your design.

Improving link quality

Many tools used in a site audit will also evaluate the sites your website links to, as well as websites that link to it.

While it may not sound like much, all of this can have a large impact on how well your site ranks!

One of the criteria that Google uses when ranking sites is credibility. While Google has many ways of measuring credibility, one of the biggest ones they use is linking.

The reasoning goes like this:

  1. A credible site will have lots of links from trustworthy sites using it as a reference – a news website linking to your site is a strong indicator
  2. A credible site uses good sources, so if you link to trustworthy sites, that’s a sign that you’ve done your homework and care about the information you’re putting out there

And the opposite is true as well.

If your site is being linked to by dodgy websites or you cite untrustworthy sites as your sources, Google takes this as a sign that your site isn’t credible – Think of it as guilt by association!

As part of your audit, you need to look at links in and out of your website, and eliminate any that might reduce your credibility and bring down your rank – what we in the business refer to as “toxic” links.

That can mean scrubbing any outbound links that have a toxic rating, or getting in touch with websites that are linking to your site and asking for them to remove them.

Of course, links aren’t everything – learn what can go wrong if you rely entirely on backlinks for your SEO.

More than just SEO

While each of the things involved in a site audit are crucial in improving your online marketing, Melbourne businesses can also benefit in other, less obvious ways.

For example, each of the points covered in a site audit can also be a huge help in improving the customer experience!

When performing your site audit, it’s important that you keep a checklist of things that can affect your SEO. It’s also important that you keep a mental checklist of how each of these things might negatively impact your customers’ experience, and even drive them away.

Taking online marketing in Melbourne to the next level

How can our SEO agency in Melbourne help your business?

It’s totally possible to perform a site audit on your own – but is it right for you to take this into your own hands? After all, it’s a lot of work – not to mention, we’ve had to gloss over a lot of the details.

If you don’t feel confident tackling a site audit on your own, you don’t have to – our SEO agency in Melbourne can take care of it for you.

We’re experts in online marketing in Melbourne. As part of our SEO services, we perform regular ongoing site audits of your website, using powerful tools and analytics to identify issues and using our wealth of experience to fix them for you.

Not only does this save you time, but it also means that you get results the first time instead of having to trial-and-error a solution.

We’ll even include a site audit as part of your initial consultation so you’ll know what we’ll do to improve your site and SEO!

Find out how we can help you – get in touch with our team today on 1300 88 64 50, or click here to touch base online.