What is a website audit?

Last updated: 4/10/2019

What website content audit tools should I look for?
Your website audit checklist
Is a free website SEO audit tool a good idea?
What is the best website audit software for my site?

A robust, active website starts with good content. While quality matters more than quantity, a site with an abundance of well-written content offers more value to more readers. It’s also findable by search engines and offers greater opportunities for social networking success. One downside of a content-rich website is that the more information that lives on your site, the harder it is to keep track of.

Scheduling regular audits are an essential part of improving your website. Using tools like Siteimprove’s website content audit to make a detailed analysis, helps you ensure error-free, high-quality material. Any beginner’s guide on delivering digital content stresses the value of having an overview of issues.

What website content audit tools should I look for?

There are a number of useful audit tools you can use for your website. Some of them drill down into very specific detail. While that type of precision is great, a general content audit is a logical place to start.

A content audit tool takes an overall inventory of the material that lives on your site. It is an efficient and accurate way to map your information architecture and to understand your site structure. This mapping is often a big part of why an audit goes hand-in-hand with a website redesign. However, it’s always a good time to make an accounting of your site content. Here are a few important website audit tools to keep in mind.

  • Misspelling and broken link checkers

A good website tool audits more than just the raw content on your site. It also measures your website’s health by looking for common errors such as misspelled words and broken links. Studies show that consumers are far less likely to trust a page featuring noticeable errors. So, a site auditing tool that includes a misspelling and broken link checker is a must-have.

  • Digital marketing evaluation

A website audit offers excellent insights into your marketing operations. Taking inventory of your site content demonstrates how well marketing automation tools like analytics and database management programs are performing. For content marketers, an audit can also inform lead generation efforts and provide guidance for social networking campaigns.

  • Sitemap generators

Building a sitemap is an excellent way to keep an inventory of what content is located on your site and where it’s found. In fact, it’s a good idea to configure two separate sitemaps. An HTML sitemap creates easier navigation for both search engines and human users. An XML sitemap helps crawlers such as Google and Bing crawl and index your website more quickly. Siteimprove’s auditing tools include automatic sitemap generators that provide priceless insight into your inner workings.

  • Automated audit reporting

Software that offers automated audit reporting makes it easy to present concise, accurate, understandable information to upper management. This reporting, in turn, improves your chances of getting management buy-in for any big projects or significant adjustments reflected in the audit. An automated report also significantly cuts the time and effort required to organize your findings, freeing your team up to make the alterations that matter.

  • Real-time auditing

Whether you’re working with an e-commerce store, a government site, a K-12 education institutio,n or any other kind of website, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of change. A website is a living thing that’s constantly evolving which makes real-time data more relevant. Your website audit tool should include up-to-the-minute data that helps you keep errors at a minimum, read into data shifts as they’re happening, and stay ahead of potential issues before they become unmanageable.

Your website audit checklist

A site audit provides a wide view of your entire website’s content and capabilities. Getting a useful picture of the whole requires close analysis of the individual parts. A regularly scheduled site checkup assesses and improves multiple facets of your online operations. It streamlines the way your site serves your users. Here are a few important areas on which to focus.

  • Improving metadata

Properly deployed meta descriptions and title tags are major SEO factors that are often overlooked. Missing or incomplete metadata also makes your site less accessible to users with disabilities. Your audit should include a scan for missing or poorly formatted tags and titles.

  • Updating documents

A site audit identifies outdated and obsolete content that is difficult to track down via a manual search. As new material is added, it’s easy to forget about older PDFs, white papers, and other documents living in neglected corners of your website.

  • Increasing site speed

Research shows that up to 53% of users leave a web page that takes more than three seconds to load. Your SEO audit tools should identify large files, improper coding, and other factors that impact page loading speeds.

  • Optimizing landing pages

Landing pages are the first things visitors to your site will see, so it makes sense to optimize your top pages using great diligence. Scanning for duplicate content, misspelled words, broken links, and accessibility issues improve your SEO and makes your site more usable for everyone.

Is a free website SEO audit tool a good idea?

Keeping your site search engine optimized is a tricky topic, especially where analytics are concerned. The algorithms that determine a web page’s status are constantly changing, and companies like Google tend to keep their methods a well-guarded secret. There are a number of free SEO tools on the market, but to get the most out of your SEO audits it’s generally a better idea to invest in a suite of auditing tools that can be tailored to your site’s specific needs. Here are some key ranking factors that you can identify more easily with Siteimprove’s SEO analysis tools.

  • Keyword management

While SEO is more complex than just picking the right words, keyword research is still the starting point. It’s easy enough to compile a list of the words you want to rank for, but that leaves too much room for human error. A good SEO site auditing tool helps you curate a selection of targeted keywords that can positively impact your search results more precisely than a manual effort.

  • User experience

It might seem counterintuitive, but SEO is not just for search engines. Many SEO issues also impact the way users experience your website content. The same factors that lead to poor technical SEO scores—slow loading times, poor website design, broken links, and so forth—can impact your overall website performance, driving away potential customers and negatively impacting your site traffic.

  • Technical SEO quality

Your website SEO audit isn’t just about the elements your visitors see. Technical SEO is equally important to your search results. A technical audit can include:

  • Information architecture—Checks for site depth, proper navigation, digital breadcrumbs, and more.
  • On page SEO—Optimizing content on individual pages as well as title tags, page markup, page headings, meta titles, and meta descriptions.
  • Google Search Console audit—Free Google service that works with Google Analytics and various Chrome extensions to provide website owners with a more detailed SEO analysis.
  • Link assessment—Evaluating the quality of all links on your website, including both external and internal links, and eliminating broken and outdated links.
  • Sitemap checks—Scanning for properly formatted HTML and XML sitemaps, both of which are important to search engines.
  • Duplicate content

Search engines define duplicate content as identical material that lives in more than one place online at once. While some sites may use this strategy to try to “game” search engines, that approach is more likely to get a site penalized and dropped in the search rankings. It is a mistake to think that content is only duplicate if it exists on a website different from yours. Any duplicate material found in multiple places on your own site will harm your SEO ranking. An SEO website audit identifies duplicated content so you can go in and remove it. 

  • Website accessibility

Accessibility isn’t always thought of as part of SEO, but the two concepts are closely linked. Many issues that make a website less accessible for users with disabilities are also SEO ranking factors. These factors include using proper meta tags and alt attributes, providing HTML and XML sitemaps, accessible web design and navigation, readability levels, and much more.

What is the best website audit software for my site?

Every website has a different set of needs and goals, and the information web teams seek from a website analysis varies accordingly. For example, using the same auditing software to assess a university website, a nonprofit charity, and retail online business will likely produce very different results. Evaluating site health should be a universal concern for all organizations whether private sector, public sector, or NGO.

The true benefit of an audit really becomes clear after the fact. Once you’ve audited your website and start to implement changes, you not only improve your online presence but your operation as a whole. In the modern era, nearly every element of your organization is impacted by how you present yourself on the internet. By choosing the right audit tools, you create a more trusted picture of your online presence. An audit is not only a starting point but also a definitive guide to managing your website’s content.