Website Audits Checklist

Website Audits Checklist of Issues to ConsiderWebsite audits checklists should not only identify negative elements. They should also provide recommendations as to where and how the Website might be improved. Auditing a website provides a clear outline of whether or not the Website is achieving its goals and objectives.

The Website / SEO assessment serves as a benchmark in the sense that it provides a “then” reference point against which progress can be measured as time passes. Remedial action on a website after it’s audited can take some time to take effect. It is important that a linear reporting mechanism be established to measure record progress.

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Website Audits Checklists – Items to Review

A Website audit by a professional SEO consultant provides a benchmark analysis of the;

  • Page Content
  • Site Architecture
  • Menus & Navigation
  • User Experience
  • Site Functions
  • Business Credibility
  • Call To Action
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Security Aspects
  • Site Load Times
  • Domain Ownership & Registration
  • Panda Penalties: On-site SEO
  • Penguin Penalties: Off-Site SEO
  • Phantom Penalties: thin content
  • SERPs Performance
  • Website Traffic Analysis

Web Content Audit

Content auditing and assessment is becoming more and more important as Google et al alter the landscape in favour of unique and original material.

  • Word count on pages
  • Accuracy of content
  • Optimisation for target keywords
  • Authenticity and originality
  • Spelling, punctuation, grammar
  • Copyright and duplication

These are all very important elements of a website audit. The ultimate goal is original web site content, well-written entirely by the website owners/staff, with original images etc.

For optimisation purposes, every page must be accurately categorised and described in all areas; titles, headings, meta-tags etc. The auditor will assess page URLs, image file names and Alt text, heading and paragraph relevancy and hyperlinks & titles within those paragraphs.

Architecture Assessment

Based on expert knowledge and experience, the website auditor will perform a methodical inspection of the site’s software platform against known deficiencies. He or she should determine if remedies have been, or should be applied. This will include search engine friendly URL’s, dynamic header tags, sitemaps and more. Checking for fundamental requirements such as provision of robots.txt file, and custom 404 error page handling is also an important aspect of the thorough examination.

Scrutiny of the use and impact of various technologies such as JavaScript, Flash, Silverlight, Frames etc is also vital. Inappropriate use of any of these applications can cripple a sites ability to rate well in SERPs.

» Navigation Audit

Internal navigation is a critical element to both users and to search engine spiders trying to index a site. Navigation should be seen as a key element of a website review process. The web auditor will compare and assess the number of pages indexed in major search engines against the total number of pages on the website. This indicates if there is an issue with search engine spiders attempting to index the site.

» Usability Review: The User Experience

Is the site easy to navigate, are the deliverables easy to find, and does everything function normally? The “normal” aspect can often be assessed by looking at competitors websites. The importance of competitive analysis should never be underestimated! Does the site make it clear what the visitor needs to do to access your products and services, by way of effective “call to action” elements?

» Functionality Audits

Visitor’s perspective; auditors will assess if the intent and purpose of the website clearly evident on the Home page for a 1st-time visitor. Is the content easy to skim, find and understand the salient points without difficulty? Are contact details easy to find, and do they include multiple means for a visitor to communicate with you.

Site owners perspective; examine if the website incorporates an easy-to-use site administration interface that provides simple mechanisms for the website owner to make changes?

» Page Load Speed

How fast your site’s pages load is mission-critical and has a direct impact on revenue. Research by companies like Amazon has shown that an extra 100ms added to load time reduces revenues by 1%… Further reading on how to improve page load speed…

Credibility Audit

Contact details are important in establishing credibility, but so are testimonials / references, premises & staff photos and a location map. Depending on the site type, other important pages might include privacy policy, terms & conditions, shipping, returns etc.

Security Issues

Software revisions frequently include updates, security updates and patches. The website reviewer will check current software version against that which is currently installed. Passwords will be assessed for degree of effectiveness.

Domain Ownership

Website audits address the of ownership – is the “domain registrant” actually the owner, or did the designer register the domain on his/her behalf. In varying cases, websites may be registered by the owner of the domain, a company employee, or a third-party independent Web designer. If it was a third party who made the site, the audit establishes if an ownership agreement was made between the owner of the site and the third party and if so, what is the current status of that agreement. In all cases, the owner should be the registrant on record!

SEO Audit

On-Site SEO: The web audit will examine a cross-section of internal pages on the website to assess how well, or if at all, pages have been optimised for the most appropriate keyword search phrases. Some preliminary keyword research will be done, to see what the current high-volume keyword search phrases relevant to the site are.

Off-Site SEO: As part of the audit, an assessment of the site’s link portfolio will be reviewed. This includes outward links, reciprocal links, 1-way incoming links, and deep links to pages within the site. The keywords in Anchor Text will be checked to see if they include a good cross-section of keyword phrases relevant to the site’s theme.

Potential for Panda, Penguin and Phantom penalties will be assessed.

Current SERP’s Rankings

The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) status of a website for all primary keyword search phrases directly affects the success of a website. Position in the SERPs directly affects the volume of “qualified” search engine traffic that might be directed to the site from Google, Yahoo & Bing etc.

Website Traffic Analysis

Examining the web server traffic logs can reveal much about performance. For example, broken links generate 404 errors, and high bounce rates may indicate a high percentage visitors are turned off by the design, or have arrived only to find you don’t have what they want.

Web Site Audit Services

Website audit services at www.websiteaudits.net.nz – where inspections identify and measure the mission-critical elements of the website, giving a good understanding of the website’s current performance. The problems will have been identified, and solutions provided to improving “qualified” traffic, and overall traffic quantity. Any usability issues will have been highlighted, and improvements listed that are aimed at lifting both the ratio of repeat visitors, and conversion ratios.

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