How to Conduct a Website Audit

Jun 30, 2022


Running regular audits on your website is the best way to make sure your site stays up-to-date and maximized in technical performance, SEO, usability, and content. They give you a chance to address your site's speed and performance, the relevancy of its content, its search engine friendliness, keyword stuffing, broken links, and much more. 

Let's go over what an audit is, why you need one, and how to conduct a website audit to optimize your site's overall ability to generate traffic, improve search engine ranking, and create better conversion results. 

What is a Website Audit?

If you now find yourself wondering what is a website audit, we've got your answer. A website audit is an analysis of your website that examines the site's performance, technical framework, and SEO capabilities. Website redesigns or large-scale changes are popular opportunities for auditing. 

An audit provides site owners with insight into page performance, traffic, and SEO practices. Owners can use that information to improve their site, maximizing it to reach greater audiences and making it more compatible with search engines.

Why Should You Conduct a Website Audit?

So, why do you need a site audit? In short, a website audit figures out if your site is running optimally and, if not, it can help you determine where to add improvements to reach your SEO and traffic targets.

A website audit provides several benefits. It identifies a variety of issues, including duplicate or outdated content, page speed, broken links, lack of user and SEO-friendliness, overlooked conversion opportunities, and misguided SEO efforts. 

An audit also helps you improve your SEO by centering it primarily on the user and secondarily on search engines. This practice helps protect you from changes to algorithms that can upset your site's ranking in search engine results.

How to Conduct a Website Audit

Website audits require tons of time and work, especially when you're dealing with large websites made up of hundreds or even thousands of pages with links, tags, and other properties that need evaluating. Luckily, you can take specific steps to help streamline the process. 

Here's how to conduct a website audit on your site so that you can take full advantage of its potential.

Find an Auditing Tool

Site auditing tools help simplify the audit, sparing you the time of an entirely manual one. Several of the most reliable and comprehensive auditing tools come at a cost. You can use free auditing programs, but you will not get the same quality in terms of results and accuracy.

The best of these tools perform several functions:

  • Produce a convenient list of issues to address in order to improve your site

  • Locate technical problems

  • Find issues with links and files, both internal and external

  • Identify content that's not performing as well as it could be

  • Pinpoint SEO problems

  • Evaluate issues with pages, including blocked pages and slow load speed

Use the Auditing Tool to Scan Your URL

This step is usually straightforward, as all you have to do is follow the program's directions to have your website checked. The auditing tool will then scan your website to produce a report that identifies all of its issues. 

These reports look a bit different depending on the tool you're using, but generally, they are easy to understand and use to fix problems. Many auditing tools will even let you know which issues are critical to address first and which ones can wait a little longer.

The reports typically break the problems down by categories. For example, you'll find sections like Page Errors, Speed Performance, Low Word Count, Meta Description Missing, Page Title Too Long or Too Short, and Google Analytics Missing. Many of these programs allow you to check problems off as you complete the fixes.

Start with Technical Problems

Finding and correcting technical issues helps every aspect of your website. When your site runs more quickly and effortlessly, its SEO will improve and it will be easier for users to navigate.

Here are some of the common technical problems an auditing tool will analyze.

Load Times

An audit will check both site and page load speeds to make sure your website isn't running too slowly. Slow load times negatively impact user experience, so any chance to quicken them can improve audience engagement, retain visitors, and lead to more conversions.

Broken Files and Links

Broken files, images, and links, both internal and external, can cause errors to appear throughout your website. Fixing these problems keeps users from encountering dead ends on your site.

HTTPS and XML Sitemap

An auditing tool will check your site's HTTPS status, ensuring that its SSL certificate is active, which lets users know that your website is safe to visit.

An evaluation of your site's XML sitemap will ensure the structure and formatting of your website are accurate so that search engines can successfully crawl them. It gives you a chance to alert search engines to pages you recently added and those that need crawling or indexing.

Robots Files

You can use robots.txt files to determine how a search engine will crawl your site. An auditing tool will ensure that your pages have the correct instructions for search engine crawlers and that they are correctly indexed.

Address Any SEO Issues

SEO and technical issues are likely to crossover with each other because technical problems will impact your site's SEO. However, an auditing tool will scan several SEO-specific categories.

Among the properties an SEO auditor will check are the length of title tags and meta descriptions, lack of Google Analytics code, missing headings and subheadings, optimization of anchor text and links, and the correctness of microdata.

Once the auditor crawls your website and alerts you to these issues, it will also let you know how to go about fixing them, whether that means working on lengthening or shortening your meta descriptions, adding some headings, or correcting titles and tags.

Evaluate Usability and Design

The next aspect of your website audit will be an examination of the user-friendliness and design of your site. This stage involves optimizing the navigability and user experience of your website. 

Poor design and information that's difficult to find can discourage visitors and push them away from your site. However, when users can interact and communicate easily with your site, they're more likely to stay on it longer and become customers.

The auditing tool will assess whether your site's design keeps users as the priority. If it's simple for visitors to find what they need on your site, conversion rates will increase naturally on their own.

Finish the Audit with a Content Assessment

Content connects to both the SEO and the usability of your site. It's why visitors seek out your website, and fresh content can even boost your site's SEO performance. Because it's so imperative to the effectiveness of your website, you definitely want to make sure your content is reaching its potential.

Search engines can identify unoriginal, outdated, or unhelpful content, so you want to make sure every page on your website includes unique content that serves a purpose. Website audits can help you achieve this by pinpointing which of your pages are ranking, which are successfully using keywords, and which may have shallow or duplicate content.

Here are some common content issues a site audit can isolate.

  • Discover if content is useful and relevant to the site

  • Ensure content follows SEO guidelines

  • Identify filler content, grammar and spelling mistakes, and duplicate or plagiarized content

  • Make sure content uses appropriate keywords

  • Find out if content is mobile-friendly with white space and short paragraphs

  • Determine if content includes solid internal links and trustworthy external links

Use Your Checklist

Once the auditing tool has scanned your site's technical, SEO, usability and design, and content issues, it will generate a report and checklist for you. This resource displays all of your site's problems in one place and offers directions for fixing them. 

Many auditing programs allow you to check off tasks as you complete them and share them with a team or agency, keeping everything organized and streamlining the correction process.

Wrapping Up

Knowing how to conduct a website audit is an integral step in optimizing your website. It's not enough anymore to simply own a site and upload new content. Now, you have to enhance every aspect of that site for better technical, SEO, navigability, and content performance. That's where a website audit becomes an essential tool.

A website audit will examine your site for any issues that may hold it back from reaching its potential in terms of traffic and customers. It breaks these problems down by category, like technical failings, including page errors and broken links. It will also analyze SEO performance, searching for misguided practices, like meta descriptions that are too long.

An audit evaluates your site's navigability, too, by making sure users can easily access the information they need. Finally, the audit will take a look at your content, checking it for originality and proper use of keywords.

A website audit is a powerful tool in today's complicated world of website management. Using this step-by-step guide to conduct a site audit will help you enhance and optimize your website, attract more customers, and grow your business.