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A Guide to Conducting a Successful Website Audit

  • 05 May / 2023
  • 1,385 views
  • 9 Min Read
Website Audit Guide

With rising competition in the online landscape, businesses need to make sure their websites have a strong online presence. And to ensure the same, website audit plays a critical role.

A website audit is a comprehensive analysis of a website’s performance, functionality, and efficiency. Businesses regularly hire website development companies to conduct full website audits on their outdated websites. It’s an essential process that helps businesses identify areas that need improvement and make necessary changes to enhance the user experience.

In this post, we’ll discuss the different types of website audits, their benefits, and how you can perform a website audit.

Types of Website Audits

Website audits can be categorised into 4 types: technical, content, SEO, and security. Each of these focuses on a specific area/aspect of the website and offers suggestions for improvement.

1. Technical Audit

A Technical Audit is an analysis of your website’s technical performance. It deals with the technical aspects of the website such as speed, responsiveness, accessibility, and the underlying code. It helps to run the website seamlessly without any technical issues that might confuse or deter potential visitors. The key components of a technical audit are

– Website Speed

The speed at which the website loads and functions is a strong determinant of its performance. Slow loading times can hinder the website’s user experience and lead to high bounce rates. These can ultimately result in poor ranking of the website on the SERPs.

To check your website’s speed, you can use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. These tools will provide you with a score and recommendations on how to improve your website’s speed.

– Responsiveness

Responsiveness is another critical component of a Technical Audit. Since more people are accessing the internet using their mobile devices, your website must be mobile responsive and optimized for all devices. These include smartphones and tablets, and modern foldable screen resolutions.

Besides checking the site on multiple devices, you can also use your browser’s web inspector and debugger mode and test your site on different possible resolutions offered by the browser.

– Accessibility

Website accessibility is essential for ensuring that everyone can use your website, regardless of their physical abilities. A website built without keeping wider accessibility in mind can lose out on a lot of potential visitors. To check your website’s accessibility, you can use a tool like WAVE Accessibility Checker.

– Code Bloat

Code bloat refers to excessive or unnecessary code on your website. This can negatively impact your website’s performance and lead to slower loading times. If your website (or certain webpages and/or functionalities) are too slow to load, you may need to check for and optimize the code.

– Plugin Bloat

Similar to code bloat, plugin bloat refers to excessive or unnecessary plugins on your website. Excessive and outdated plugins can slow down your website. Similarly, too many plugins (especially of a similar kind) can lead to conflicts, which will result in a poor performance of the website.

– Image Optimization

Although images form the critical components of any website, they can slow down the loading speed of the website. This calls for optimization of images using tools like Kraken.io.

– Broken Links, 404 Page, Redirects

Broken links can impact a website’s user experience to a great extent. In case they cannot be removed altogether, ensure the site has a well-designed 404 error page. Further, set up the redirects properly to guide the users. And to check these issues, use a tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

2. Content Audit

A Content Audit is an analysis of your website’s content. It looks into the quality of the content on the website and ensures it meets the needs of your visitors. The key components of a content audit are:

– Readability

Readability is about how easily the visitors to your website can read and understand the content. To check your website’s readability, you can use a tool like the Hemingway App.

– SEO-Friendliness

SEO-friendliness is essential for ensuring that your website’s content is optimized for search engines. To check your content’s SEO-friendliness, you can use a tool like Yoast SEO, Moz, or SEMrush.

– Plagiarism

Plagiarism or copied content is a serious issue that can impact the reputation of your website negatively and even lead to legal hassles. To check whether the content on your website is copied, use a tool like Copyscape.

– Establishing Thought Leadership

You must understand that establishing thought leadership needs to be your ultimate aim when it comes to content. This is essential for building a loyal audience and increasing your website’s credibility. Thought leadership is the best way to earn high-quality backlinks to your website. So, the focus should be on creating top-notch and informative content that provides value to the visitors.

3. SEO Audit

An SEO audit is an essential step in improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines. SEO audits can be a long and extensive process. Here are some of the most important steps involved.

– SEO-Friendly Site Architecture

The first step in conducting an SEO audit is analyzing your website’s site architecture. A SEO-friendly site architecture is all about a website structure that is easy to navigate and is both user-friendly and search engine-friendly. Remember, a structured website allows search engines to easily crawl and index the pages, leading to better visibility and ranking.

To begin with, the website should have a clear hierarchy of pages and categories. The organization of pages should be easily understandable to both the users and search engines. In other words, create a clear hierarchy of categories and subcategories to ensure easy navigation for the users.

Thereafter, ensure the URL structure of the website is optimized for search engines. To aid search engines in deciphering the content of your pages, use pertinent and useful keywords in your URL structure. Additionally, make sure that the URLs on your website are brief, uncomplicated, and simple to remember.

– Creating and Submitting Sitemap to Google

The pages on your website are listed in a file called an XML sitemap. Improving your website’s exposure on search engines requires creating and uploading a sitemap to Google. A sitemap facilitates the crawling and indexing of your website’s pages by search engines, improving visibility and ranking.

You can manually generate a sitemap or utilize a sitemap generator application to do so. You must submit your sitemap to Google through Google Search Console after you’ve produced it. Submitting your sitemap to Google will help it to crawl all of your pages, which leads to a lower possibility of indexing issues as well.

– Crawling and Indexing Issues

Crawling and indexing issues can have a significant impact on your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines. Crawling issues occur when search engines are unable to crawl your website’s pages. Indexing issues occur when search engines are either unable to index your website’s pages (because of a noindex tag), or deny indexing to a page because of low-quality or outdated content. Both issues can result in pages not appearing in search results at all.

Screaming Frog and Google Search Console are two tools that you can use to find crawling and indexing problems on your website. You must take the necessary actions to address the problems once you have identified them. This can entail upgrading your website’s robots.txt file, correcting problems with the XML sitemap, or fixing broken links.

– Canonical Issues

Canonical issues occur when multiple versions of the same page exist on your website, resulting in duplicate content. Duplicate content can negatively impact your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines. To fix canonical issues, you must ensure that your website’s canonical tags are correctly implemented.

The canonical tag is a piece of HTML code that tells search engines which version of the page is the original one. By using canonical tags, you can prevent search engines from indexing duplicate content and ensure that your website’s pages are properly indexed and ranked.

– Structured Data

Structured data is a form of markup that provides additional information about your website’s content to search engines. By implementing structured data, you can improve your website’s chances of getting a featured snippet on an SERP. This can increase the traffic to your website significantly.

Structured data can be utilized to convey details about your company, such as its address, timings, products, services, customer feedback, and more. FAQ structured data also help significantly in getting featured snippets. The FAQ structured data can appear on the SERPs, thereby making it easy for users to find your website.

– Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content issues occur when the same content appears on multiple pages of your website. Duplicate content on a site’s H1 and title tags is very common. These can negatively impact your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines. To fix duplicate content issues, you must ensure that your website’s content is unique and relevant.

You can use tools like Copyscape to identify duplicate content on your website. SEMrush and Ahrefs can also help you to easily find duplicate content in your site’s meta titles and descriptions. Once the issues have been identified, necessary steps should be taken to fix them. . This may involve rewriting content, consolidating pages, or implementing canonical tags.

– Optimizing Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure the user experience of your website. These metrics include loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Optimizing your website’s Core Web Vitals is essential for improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines.

You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify issues with your website’s Core Web Vitals. Once the problems have been located, the appropriate actions should be done to resolve them. This could entail employing a content delivery network (CDN), minifying CSS and JavaScript, and picture optimization.

– Low Text-to-HTML Ratio

A low text-to-HTML ratio occurs when your website’s HTML code contains more code than text. This can negatively impact your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines. To fix low text-to-HTML ratio issues, you must ensure that your website’s HTML code is optimized and streamlined.

You can use HTML Minifier tools to optimize your website’s HTML code. Additionally, you should ensure that your website’s CSS and JavaScript files are minified and compressed to reduce their size.

– Blocked Internal Resources in robots.txt

An issue with blocked internal resources occurs when search engines are unable to crawl and index your website’s pages due to restrictions set in your website’s robots.txt file. To fix this issue, you must ensure that your website’s robots.txt file is properly configured.

To find problems with your website’s robots.txt file, use tools like Google Search Console. You can take the appropriate actions to address the problems once you have identified them. This may involve removing unnecessary restrictions or adding new ones to block unwanted pages

– Missing Alt Attributes

Missing Alt attributes occur when images andvideos on your website do not have descriptive Alt tags. Without Alt attributes, search engines cannot read them, and hence they won’t show up on searches. Images and videos without alt tags won’t appear in Google’s image and video search either.

You can find the images on your website that lack ALT tags by using tools like Screaming Frog. You can take the appropriate actions to address the problems once you have identified them. This may involve adding new Alt tags or optimizing existing ones.

– Nofollow Attributes in Internal Links

This issue occurs when internal links on your website have a rel=”nofollow” attribute. Search engines will be unable to follow these links to the other pages, which means no link juice shall be passed to these pages. To fix this issue, you must ensure that all internal links on your website are dofollow.

You can use tools like Screaming Frog to identify internal links on your website that have a nofollow attribute. Once you have identified the issues, you can take the necessary steps to fix them.

4. Security Audit

Security audits find security flaws in the website and guard against online threats. They can help you understand the existing security posture of your website and identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by threat actors.

– Update Scripts and Applications

To protect your website ensure the scripts and applications are updated. Remember, outdated plugins can be exploited by hackers to gain access. Hence, make sure you frequently check for updates for all installed plugins and programs. This includes any third-party plugins you utilize as well as your content management system (CMS), eCommerce platform, and other platforms.

 

– Protect the IP of Your Domain

Threat actors organize DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks by using the IP address. So, to protect your website from such attacks, implement a good firewall and a CDN (Content Delivery Network). You also need to keep your CMS and other plugins updated. Finally, monitor your website and server on a regular basis and take immediate action for any unusual activities noticed.

– Update Passwords and Delete Abandoned User Accounts

Weak passwords or abandoned user accounts are two of the simplest ways for hackers to access your website. So, make sure your passwords are updated frequently, and get rid of any unused user accounts.

Make sure the passwords in use are strong and are a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. Importantly, do not use the same password to log into multiple accounts.

Make sure you have a process in place to identify and delete abandoned user accounts regularly.

– Add an SSL

Another key step to safeguarding your website from attacks is the addition of an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). It helps encrypt data and information that are transmitted between your website and the visitors’ browsers.

Installing an SSL certificate on your website can help prevent data breaches and ensure the security of the visitors’ data. For eCommerce websites where users are required to provide sensitive financial data, this is especially crucial.

It can also help boost your website’s credibility and improve your search engine rankings.

– Use SSH

Finally, using SSH (Secure Shell) to access your website’s server is another critical step to protecting your online presence. SSH provides a secure way to access your website’s server and transfer files securely.

Make sure you use SSH to access your website’s server instead of FTP (File Transfer Protocol). FTP is not secure and can be easily intercepted by hackers.

Have a WordPress website? Read here about 8 WordPress maintenance tasks you must perform regularly.

Tools for Website Audit

Some of the popular and key tools that can help you at every step of a website audit are:

Conclusion

An essential first step in keeping up a strong online presence is website assessment. Businesses may enhance the user experience, improve their search engine results, and increase traffic to their website by identifying problem areas and implementing the appropriate modifications. They can conduct a website audit to make sure their website is operating at its peak performance by following the instructions provided in this article and utilizing the appropriate tools.

However, we also understand that your website possibly has lots of pages, perhaps in the hundreds. And it may not be possible for you to conduct audits and fix issues with every single one of them. But website auditing isn’t optional, which means you must then choose the top pages that you want to focus on and get to those first. The other option is to contact us. At Webguru Infosystems, we only use the latest tools to scan entire websites and identify any and all issues. Our team of experts can also provide thorough future-proof solutions to any problems identified, be it content or security, or anything else. Contact us today for a spotless website.

Raju Chakraborty

Raju Chakraborty

The CEO of WebGuru Infosystems, Mr. Raju Chakraborty writes from a place of experience on websites, app development, and digital marketing.

3 comments

  1. I found the checklist to be very helpful in identifying areas where my website could be improved.This is a great resource for anyone who wants to make sure their website is in good shape.

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