Get a FREE Quote - We'll contact you right back!

Has your website had a digital audit, lately?

Posted on January 01, 2014

I just published a blog post Australia's "Best 100" business websites and was reminded of the importance of digital strategy. This ranking involved asking the Google Search algorithm for high quality sites. These sites ranked for the non-keyword "www", even though some of them don't use that word in their URL. Why do they appear in this list? Most of the Best 100 sites are well-known, iconic brands. They offer great content to users and many other websites link to them. Social conversations mention them. Search engine optimisation (SEO) has changed dramatically in 2013 and largely points to a "back to basics" policy for the Google ranking algorithm. SEO trickery seldom works as a long-term strategy. We cannot assume that these 100 sites have excellent SEO in place -- a few seem to have no SEO signatures and they are towards the bottom of the list. Yet, many other large, consumer-facing companies are not on this list. Digital audits can help to uncover such mysteries. Some businesses ask for an audit when they are unsure if their current provider is giving them the anticipated value they were promised. Others engage us prior to a major rebuild of their website, or of their entire digital strategy.

Digital Audit

Digital audits cover three broad aspects of digital marketing:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social media optimisation (SMO) They can take between three days to three months, depending on the size of the business.

 SEO Audit

An SEO audit begins with a stakeholder inteview, where the goals of the business and of the website are covered. Four areas are checked next:

  • Server, coding and tagging
  • Content
  • Links
  • Measurements, including ROI

PPC/SEM Audit

A PPC audit requires access to the Google AdWords account. Checks include:

  • Campaign settings
  • Keyword match types
  • Ad copy
  • Budgets
  • Conversions and ROI

Social Media Optimisation Audit

Many, if not most, large businesses have some kind of presence on social platforms, but they tend to be tactical -- campaign to campaign. This often neglects the website at a strategic level, thus missing out on opportunities to bring the social visitors to the website. Checks include:

  • Facebook Open Graph and EdgeRank
  • Twitter Cards
  • LinkedIn profile

General Audit

A general audit involves the wider business issues of the website. These include:

  • Staff skills and gaps
  • Workflows
  • Contracts with service providers
  • Existing traffic reports

Actioning the Audit

Usually, but not always, the audit is followed by a document containing a list of recommendations. They are presented as required, such as low-hanging fruit first, or most urgent issues first. I always include an action list at the end of the audit with a person's name beside each task. This ensures that the customer has a list of tasks they can execute in-house or give to the agency. I am sometimes asked to stay back and oversee the implementation.

Typical Findings

What can you expect to find in such audits? The list would be too long to list here, but can be summarised as follows:

  • Major SEM/PPC neglect, sometimes wasting six-figure sums of budget -- agencies might set up a campaign, but then leave it running on auto pilot.
  • Technical ignorance that can hamper a site's search-engine-friendliness -- the larger the company, the greater the risk of technical ignorance.
  • Risky SEO tactics that can lead to a ranking penalty, or worse -- removal from the search engine index -- some agencies are using outdated tactics and aren't aware of the consequences.
  • What's good and worth keeping -- it's not all bad news. A lot of the larger sites are usually in good shape, but need that edge, which comes with ironing out the smallest kinks.

Next Steps

If you would like a SEO audit, call Optimising now on 1300 171 005 for a no-obligation chat.

About the Author

James Richardson

Sales Director

James Richardson started his online career by running online Sports Fan sites (luckily none are still online today), with the pinnacle of the site being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Wired' column.

His professional career began at a ASX listed company, Melbourne IT, where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding your business needs.

Google Partner badges

We're real people! Meet the Optimising team!

Optimising team photo

Optimising Logo

Optimising are more than an Digital Agency. We're a team of brilliant digital minds who aim to transform the business of our clients through clever, outside of the box solutions.

The Optimising team are a highly experienced, dynamic group of professionals specialising in generating websites primed for success, ensuring a positive return from clients online presence.

+ Click here for more!

 

Get In Touch

Optimising Melbourne
1/345 Punt Road
Richmond VIC 3121

Optimising Gold Coast
Suite 511, 15 Albert Ave
Broadbeach QLD 4218

Optimising Sydney
Suite 64, 246 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065