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Audit your way to a better website

Invest in a website audit to improve performance

A website audit is an investment that everyone should make at least every three years.

This becomes a working document that establishes a baseline and helps you set and measure website performance goals. By understanding who is using your site and how they are using it, you can be more relevant to customers and prospects.

Image of measuring tape measuring the word performance

Audit goals and reporting criteria differ somewhat for each project, but there are some core fundamentals. Here are some of the most important website analysis types, with the associated questions they answer and the metrics you need to measure:

Overall visitor engagement

How well are people engaging with the site?

  • Average pages per visit
  • Average session duration
  • Bounce rate
  • Percent new sessions

Mobile versus desktop

How does behavior differ between mobile and desktop users?

  • Month over month mobile growth as a percent of visitors
  • Mobile bounce rate versus desktop bounce rate
  • Top mobile entry and exit pages
  • Top mobile devices

New versus returning visitors

What are the differences between new and returning visitors?

  • Top pages by visitor type
  • New versus returning visitor bounce rates
  • New versus returning visitor average session duration
  • New versus returning visitor top landing pages
  • New versus returning visitor conversion rates

Traffic source analysis

Which channels are your biggest traffic sources?
How does engagement compare between them?

  • Organic versus paid search and direct versus referral versus social traffic analysis
  • Top referral sources
  • Top social sources
  • Campaign analysis, using universal tracking metrics (UTM)
  • Keyword analysis, using Google Search Console

Visitors by market

Geographically, where are your website visitors coming from?

  • Inside versus out of market analysis
  • Engagement by city
  • Engagement by state
  • Engagement by country

Organic search analysis

What percent of traffic is from search engines?
What keywords are visitors searching before coming to your site?

  • Organic search traffic as a percent of total traffic
  • Engagement by organic search traffic
  • Branded vs. non-branded keyword analysis
  • Top organic search landing pages
  • Top organic search exit pages

Visitor flow

What are the common pathways visitors take to navigate through your website?
Where are they entering?
Which pages are they leaving from?

  • Top pages flow chart
  • Top landing pages
  • Top exit pages

Conversion analysis

Who, why and how do visitors convert?

  • Contact us form bounce rate
  • Traffic sources as a percent that led to conversions
  • Reverse goal path analysis
  • Page funnel visualization
  • Shopping cart exit rate analysis
  • Multi-channel conversion funnel analysis

Website conversion analysis for beginners - Google Analytics screenshot

Identify website SEO errors that search engines hate

Beyond these fundamentals of visitor analysis, your website is a machine. Every machine’s engine should be periodically checked and evaluated for technical performance issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Sometimes these technical errors can have a profound effect on your organization’s performance without you even knowing.

Search engines have a very precise way that they prefer to see things on you website. And they reward or penalize you for playing their game.

Some key SEO considerations:

  • Does your site use the appropriate redirect type (301, 302, etc.)?
  • Are title tags the recommended character count?
  • Are Google Analytics tracking tags correctly installed?
  • Are there pages with duplicate content?
  • Does the site contain old inactive pages that may have broken links?
  • Is the page load time one second or less?

The answers to these have a huge effect on organic search. A good audit identifies these technical issues so they can be fixed.

We had one client who saw a 50 percent increase in organic search traffic simply by cleaning up some technical website issues that had accumulated over time.

Check out our SEO checklist series, a 12-part wealth of information for every marketer.

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