Website / SEO / Online Marketing Audits

This year we have been asked to undertake more audits than at any point during the last 12 years. I don't know why this is, but the benefits remain as great as they always have.

Spend 1 minute going through the following to decide why an audit could be beneficial to you.

The 3 main reasons we have been given are: unhappy with what has been done, don't know what has been done, and unsure what needs to be done. Can you relate to that?

Before we start though, an important observation; although using the word "audit" is a great convenience, and everyone seems to think they know what everyone else means by it, in this instance it is probably a false assumption.

In fields such as accountancy, an audit is undertaken to compare things against given standards. However, when it comes to websites and online marketing, these don't exist. Therefore it is hardly surprising that most websites are done "badly". This does mean that they can be improved!

Therefore we prefer the term "review". It is a more accurate description of what can only be an opinion. Granted, many things are clear cut; if a link is broken, or something doesn't work. However, many issues are value judgements, should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the cost-benefit of doing something calculated.

So what should the review consist of? Herein lies the rub. We have identified various categories of review. All are valid, and there may be some elements where they overlap. The difficulty is deciding upon which ones to do, when, and in what sequence.

These reviews may take the form of:

  • Technical review;
  • Link review;
  • Competitor review;
  • Pay-per-click review;
  • Social media review;
  • Legal review;
  • Hosting review;
  • Content review;
  • Keyword review, and;
  • Security review.

Some deal primarily with things that are broken or slow. Making it work (better) is an improvement. These will invariably play a small part in improving each page’s ranking, with the cumulative effect being noticeable.

One benefit is that these improvements shall remain for the life of the (current) website setup. Therefore they would support any other changes made to improve rankings and visitor numbers. However, perhaps most importantly, they should improve the user experience of those who visit the site.

Many of the "softer" areas are more subjective, and should be viewed in the context of the business objectives. For example, you might have the cleverest, most engaging social media campaign in history, but if it doesn't generate sales....

Other facets that should be analysed prior to any such reviews, include an understanding of your competitors, market sectors, perceived important keyword phrases, timescales and budget.

If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations. But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Specifically in this instance, I would suggest that you do not use whoever looks after your website. The purpose of an "audit" is to independently assess and review. (This might explain why we have been asked to do so many recently; much of our business comes through web designers.). Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 31st March, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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