Website Audit Checklist for 2021 [Template and 15-Step Guide]
Website audits can cover lots of areas, including your website’s technical performance, search engine optimization (SEO), user experience (UX), website content, design, and accessibility. The checklist and template presented here covers all of these topics.
A templatized, one-size-fits-all website audit can be helpful as a starting point, but a real website audit needs to also take into account the specific needs, functionality and structure of the website. And every website (and every business) is different. Take the time to consider what’s important to your website (and to your business), and if you decide to work with an SEO consultant or order a professional website audit service, make sure they ask you questions about your business objectives and current pain points before they get started.
Step 3: Check that your website is mobile friendly
Similar to the mobile-friendliness check, website page load times are another area to monitor and work to improve. A website with pages that load quickly offer a better user experience, and page speed is one of the “ranking factors” considered by Google.
The recent Core Web Vitals update expands this focus on the user’s experience of how a webpage loads. The Core Web Vitals update also prioritizes the visual stability of webpages as they load and the time it takes for elements on a webpage to become interactive.
PageSpeed Insights provides reports on mobile and desktop performance, and uses both lab and field data. Lab data is collected in a controlled environment and will be available for all websites. Additionally if your website has sufficient traffic, field data may also be available from real user sessions.
Don’t be surprised if you get different results from all of these tools. You’ll even get different results for the same URL from the same tool from test to test, since each time the test is performed conditions will be different (as they are for real-world users).
Step 1: Check Google Analytics setup
Check Google Analytics tracking code
If the Google Analytics tracking code is embedded directly on the website or implemented via a 3rd party plugin, you should consider moving the code into Google Tag Manager. This is Google’s free tag management tool which is installed once on the site and then managed easily via the Tag Manager dashboard. It’s basically a container that you can add any tags/pixels (including GA) needed for tracking, retargeting or any other purpose.
Check Events and Goals are setup
Related to events are Goals. These also need to be set up in GA in the Admin section. You can create goals based on URL rules, behavior on site (time and pageviews) or Events. The distinction between Events and Goals is that Goals should represent the definitive “conversion” (ie: purchase, form submit, register, subscribe, etc) whereas Events are significant actions that happen along the path to conversion.
Areas of a Comprehensive Website Audit
Many people say they are doing an audit when, in fact, they are only looking at one or two variables that impact their site’s performance. A true website audit is far more detailed and comprehensive. Because the performance of your website is the result of many different variables working in unison, you need a truly robust and comprehensive audit to pinpoint issues and find opportunities for improvement.
When we do an audit, we look at six major areas. In other words, we actually perform not one but six distinct audits. Together, these audits give you a clear idea of how your site is performing based on different metrics and comparisons. They also provide you with specific steps you can take to make improvements to your website and further your goals.
An SEO audit is all about identifying ways to improve your Google ranking and show up higher in search results. When you show up in relevant searches, you get more traffic to your website. Similarly, the higher up the search results you are, the more clicks your website will get.
One of the most important factors when performing comprehensive website audits is your site’s search engine ranking. This is crucial for any website that wants to increase its traffic as a high percentage of your potential customers will find you through search engines. A good SEO audit should fill you in on how much overall traffic your site is getting, which keywords are bringing you traffic, and your rankings for specific keywords.
An SEO audit helps you plan future strategies when it comes to keywords and SEO. You may find, for example, that certain keywords are more effective than others at directing traffic to your site. This helps you create content around those keywords so you can increase your future traffic.
An SEO audit also shows you where your traffic is coming from. It allows you to gauge the effectiveness of strategies such as social media marketing, videos, guest blogging, submitting articles, and any other traffic generating strategies you may be using. If you aren’t measuring the effectiveness of your work, you may be wasting your marketing dollars. Running this type of audit regularly can help you maximize your budget and your efforts.
SEO Audit Checklist
On the other, search engines give preference to websites that are user-friendly and technically sound. This includes factors such as page-load speed, image optimization, mobile-friendliness, the quality of coding, and the ease of navigation. A techinical audit will help you identify issues with any of these factors.
Technical Audit Checklist
Backlink Profile Audit
Backlinks are still extremely important when it comes to SEO and ranking, making them an important area for an audit. Some people mistakenly believe that, following Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, backlinks are no longer as important as they once were. The fact is, Google still places a great deal of emphasis on a website’s backlink profile when ranking sites.
The difference is that links must now be high-quality and authoritative. Having low-quality links can actually harm your rankings. This makes it more important than ever to know where your links are coming from and how they are impacting your site. A backlinks audit will tell you whether you need to change your linking strategy.
Backlink Profile Audit Checklist
Making sure you’re capturing all the data you need is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a website audit. Collecting accurate and reliable data enables you to make key decisions for your business that are evidence-based. Too many businesses think they have Google Analytics installed and that they’re making the most of it. However, plenty of websites don’t actually have tracking enabled properly.
During an Analytics Audit, you want to evaluate your Google Analytics Suite with a focus on ensuring the data is as high quality as possible and thus reliable. You are looking for core problems in your implementation and configuration so you can fix issues and ensure your datais correct for the future.
Analytics Audit Checklist
Without having something to compare it to, an audit is just a report. A comprehensive audit should include an audit of competitors that allows you to compare your website’s performance to others in your industry.
A competitor audit can provide insight into competitors you may not have even known about. It’s helpful to learn as much as you can about their organic presence as well as their paid campaigns. This information is valuable for helping you to make improvements to your own website.
Why SEO Is Important
It’s likely these potential customers will never see your site if it’s not ranking on the first or second page of results. Doing SEO the right way will bring more organic traffic to your site, which increases your conversion rates.
Enter the URL of the domain or page you want to check along with your target keyword and click “Scan Now.” The website seo analyzer will scan your URL for errors, warnings, and notices and provide you with a page score.
The page grade percentage is calculated based on the combination of factors including warnings, critical errors, and page speed. It’s a measure to provide guidance as you decide what changes to make on the page after analyzing it.
Use the errors as guidance for making corrections, and optimizing your page for on-page SEO. Keep in mind that the results of the website audit tool apply to the individual page you put in. So to improve your site’s SEO score overall you’ll likely want to make improvements to multiple pages.
Google’s bots crawl your site to determine its quality, and correct technical on page optimization is one of the main signals used. When you optimize your page based on the recommendations of the website analyzer, you can increase your organic traffic, improve ranking positions, and stay competitive against other sites ranking for your target keywords.
With so many factors in addition to SEO errors on the page, it’s best to use website analytics (we use Google Analytics) to see what changes over time after making the changes. Keep in mind that it takes time for Google and other search engines to recrawl and index the changes made on your site. Then you can look at changes in:
• User Behavior: number of pageviews, time on site, failure percentages.
• New users to the site vs returning users compared to previous periods.
• How the positions of your keywords and landing pages have changed (use Google Search Console to see the changes)
Yes. Set up a meeting with one of our Account Managers here and they will be able to guide you on what services we provide to correct those issues. You can also use the step-by-step guides on our Resources page if you want to try fixing them yourself.
Many websites rely on other traffic generation methods such as traffic from social media, email, referrals, and direct traffic sources over search engines. For sites like these, SEO errors aren’t as important because search engines aren’t their #1 traffic source. For a smaller website, a couple of errors can have a much bigger negative effect than those same errors on a larger website.