Countless companies make the mistake of launching their website and then leaving it alone to gather dust. A classic “set it and forget it” approach. Don’t be one of those companies! There’s a wide variety of things you can do to optimize your website and increase your chances of attracting new customers.
The 2020 B2B Marketing Mix Report shows that this year, B2B companies will spend more than 50% of their marketing budget on digital marketing and website development. With so many companies making considerable investments into digital, it’s more important than ever to monitor and optimize your online efforts to ensure you’re staying competitive and getting the most value out of every dollar you spend.
Learn how to maximize your digital marketing program with a digital audit in 2020.
What Is a Digital Audit?
A digital audit is an exercise carried out by digital marketing experts to vet the current performance of your website and online marketing efforts and make critical adjustments. It addresses issues such as website speed, response codes, and site content, and explores campaign settings, keywords, and ad copy. It allows your digital team to explain, dissect, and fix critical elements of your website, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM) efforts to ensure peak performance.
Why Do You Need a Digital Audit?
Google updates its algorithms frequently as new technologies and search patterns emerge and evolve. Audits give you confidence that Google isn’t penalizing your website for accidentally doing something that could hurt its rankings. Many circumstances can be problematic for Google, and if you’re not an SEO or digital expert, you could cause issues without realizing it.
When you carry out an audit, you receive detailed feedback about best practices with your content, linking, and more so you can appear favorable in the eyes of Google.
Full-scale SEO audits can be complicated and technical, but when done correctly, they’re a massive benefit to your business as Google attributes 67% of all clicks to the first five organic results.1
11 Things Your Digital Audit Should Measure
1. URL Structure
Every webpage has a unique address called the uniform resource locator (URL). Good URLs are concise and descriptive, giving visitors a clear idea of what they can expect to learn on the page. Hyphens should separate words in URLs for clarity.
2. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Rankings
An audit will analyze your rank potential, as well as your competitors that show up on the first SERP. Finding your website’s rank potential involves determining “low-hanging fruit” keywords and terms that can optimize your site and help gain SERP ranks; these are often keywords that you rank for at the bottom of the first page or the top of the second.
3. Crawl Budget
While Google is incredibly good at crawling and indexing webpages on their own, a crawl budget can be useful in getting your site properly indexed. This type of service is most often performed for large, new sites, or sites that have introduced many new pages.
4. Site Architecture, Organization, and Usability
The better your site’s architecture, the better the user experience will be—both in terms of website visitors and the bots that crawl it to determine its search ranking. This makes it necessary to have a clear, logical website structure that’s reflected in a complete, optimized, and accurate sitemap.
5. Page Speed Auditing Tools
A fast website promotes a positive user experience, while a slow site results in higher bounce rates. A digital audit makes use of various digital tools and resources to ensure your site is performing at the right speed. Speed tests provide insight into what aspects of your website are hurting performance from an SEO standpoint. Some useful tools include:
- Google’s Page Speed Insights: Analyzes the speed of your website on mobile and desktop.
- YSlow: Checks your webpages and easily implements suggestions, such as formatting and compressing images.
- Pingdom Website Speed Test: Examines every webpage and provides a detailed list of items on a page, including size and load time.
6. Meta Titles and Descriptions
A good webpage has concise and informative meta title and description tags that accurately convey the purpose of the page in question. Search engines cut off longer titles, so it’s important to follow character count guidelines. Optimized meta tags convince searchers to click through your listing on a SERP and visit your website. Be sure to include a relevant keyword when possible.
7. Keyword Usage
Appropriate keywords or keyword phrases match the common search queries for your content. Long-tail keywords are combinations of words or complete phrases that attract relevant traffic; they’re less competitive than individual words and are typically easier to rank for.
8. Website Copy
One of the main factors of on-page SEO and the overall effectiveness of your site is content. Google encourages regularly updated, unique content that applies to the needs and preferences of searchers. When editing existing content or creating something new, don’t force keywords and search terms. Use keywords consistently, naturally, and appropriately. When creating content for SEO, value and relevance are more important than quantity.
Search engines often determine the quality of a website and its perceived value to searchers based on the quality of other websites that link to it—these are called backlinks. The current strategy to make the most of backlinks is quality over quantity. If a search engine believes that questionable websites are linking to you, it could damage your site’s standing on the SERPs. Verify that your links are coming from a variety of authoritative domains, rather than a single site.
10. Images and Alt Text
97% of Google’s page-one results have at least one image on the page.2 Additionally, Google serves up just as many image-based results as text-based results, so image quality, relevance, and alt text (tags and descriptions) should be thoroughly reviewed. Alt text is written copy that appears on a webpage when an image doesn’t load properly to describe what the image is supposed to be. This text can be useful for screen-reading tools and search engine crawling and ranking bots.
11. Technical Issues
The most common technical issues addressed during a complete digital audit are things such as on-page code and problems on the backend that could be impacting functionality or user experiences. Some issues include slow page speeds, security and certification problems, and broken elements.
When Was the Last Time You Checked All These Things?
It’s crucial that you take the time to analyze your website’s assets to correct issues, optimize search results and functionality, and identify opportunities that could take your website and online marketing efforts to the next level.
You can make detailed comparisons between your website and your competitions’, reach new audiences, and ensure your current customers are able to get what they need from your site quickly.
The 2020 B2B Marketing Mix Report can help you kick off your digital marketing campaign in 2020 because it provides insight into what other B2B companies are thinking about in terms of tactics, areas of investment, goals and objectives, and much more. Use it to help your company’s online presence grow throughout the new year and beyond.