Running a website is a bit like running a car: it’s hard to know how healthy the systems are so you just hope that they are working properly. Ideally you don’t want to wait until a visible fault develops before taking action, yet with so many professionals offering free SEO reports and website security audits it can be hard to know who’s advice you can trust and which of these are most important to your business.
The truth is, all these areas are important in different ways which increasingly overlap: having reliable and optimised code that runs your site means it runs as quickly as it can, which in turn means you get better rankings in the major search engines. For a long time now, Google use page load speed as a ranking factor - simply put, if your site is slow to load, they will rank you down compared to a competitor that loads quicker.
Similarly, if you don’t have a secure certificate (known as an SSL certificate), then your site can be vulnerable to some types of snooping and attacks; Again Google are using this as a ranking signal now which means insecure websites will be ranked lower as a result. Getting the picture here?
Security, speed, content and performance are all increasingly important aspects of your website and are increasingly dependant upon each other: the days of an SEO 'specialist' providing a simple (usually free) audit to help in one particular area are long gone and these should be treated with great suspicion, after all, how can a business do something for free and still be in business?
With this in mind, our team have carefully developed an integrated all-in-one website audit package that covers everything you need to have peace of mind that
- your site is performing as well as it can
- will be secure and reliable
- and is scalable enough to grow with your business.
What are the 6 vital metrics this new type of audit covers?
SEO technical audit
This includes a full top-level SEO audit ensuring your sites pages are structured properly and that you are utilising them effectively. Areas such as page titles and meta tags, headings and other key content is correctly in place and setup. We will check to ensure the search engines find you easily and only search the relevant content.
We also check to see what errors or warnings are present which could cause issues with search engines reading your website properly.
Many SEO problems can be hard to spot: such as broken links which often arise due to pages moving or domains (of websites you link to) being discontinued. If not properly managed, these elements can negatively impact your rankings in search engines like Google. Similarly, you may have some very content rich pages that you are only getting 60% of your deserved visibility from in search engines.
An often overlooked aspect of both SEO and security is the structure of your website. Having the right structure not only helps your visitors find what they want (which will help improve conversion rates), it can help you get better performance out of your SEO by ensuring that Urls are correctly setup to help in navigation both by humans and robots.
Having an appropriate foundational structure is important as your business grows; your site needs to be able to adopt new technologies as your businesses uses them. If you find your existing structure needs amending, and you begin renaming, deleting or moving pages around, this could potentially negatively impact SEO.
Another vital aspect of your website’s health is the content. Content that is well-written and highly optimised is essential for effective rankings, but this is only the first step. Your copy should be engaging to the type of visitor you are looking to attract. Content marketing is a discipline in it's own right and one that is integral to your online marketing strategy. Ensuring that call-to-actions (CTAs) are well placed and clearly visible will ensure your pages are as high converting as possible.
Code reviews are the only way some issues can be spotted at all. A bit like taking your car for an annual service, it's the place where under-the-hood problems can be detected before they become a problem for your day-to-day operations. We will review the code at a high level, making sure it is suitable for your business needs, with particular attention on future proofing and ensuring it's scalable. If you find some pages slow to load, or doing some actions on your site take a long time a code review is a must. This can also highlight any security vulnerabilities and potentially dangerous code.
On the web today, security is more important than ever; if you have a content managed website like Wordpress or Umbraco, when was the last time you updated and checked all your plugins? Is your website CMS up to date with all the appropriate security patches and fixes? If even one is left un-patched, this could give an attacker a way to get into your websites data and information.
If you have a login area, have you checked all your users passwords are secure? Storing plaintext passwords is a source of many problems for some websites and has lead to some large fines where users personal data has been put at unnecessary risk. We will employ best practices in the industry when reviewing your site and will bring to your attention any potential security concerns that should be addressed.
If you require a more in-depth security review, we can arrange a full penetration test against your website, this is a lot more involved and very specialised but another service we can offer.
The last, but by no means least important metric we audit is your sites performance. How quickly a page loads is not just a nice to have but a slow site will affect your rankings and sales. In 2010 Google announced they would use page load speed as a ranking factor; if your pages load slowly, you won’t get the rankings you deserve, even if you have your website SEO optimised. Perhaps more importantly, studies carried out by Akamai and Gomez found that nearly a half of web users expect the site to load in 2 seconds or less. Does your website load this quickly? The same study showed that 78% of web shoppers who have trouble with site performance say they won't return to buy from the site again.
If you have any concerns about any of the issues we've detailed here, why not get in touch with us to arrange an audit - prices start from only £999 + VAT, a small investment with potentially a massive return for you?