*hint* – it’s a lot easier than it might seem as long as you know these neat little tricks and tools!
The word audit will conjure up images of bureaucrats and unending spreadsheets of Kafkaesque nightmares in most, especially when used in conjunction with ‘SEO’; a word that has trickled into common parlance, yet still falls like lead weights from the mouths of company directors who know that Google are the modern day Greek gods of good business and that’s about it.
But it needn’t be such a daunting prospect, and we’re here to show you precisely why not. With a couple of tools and a few tricks, even the least tech savvy can evaluate their website in a few hours – depending upon the size of the site course!
SEO Auditing Tools
Finding itself at the top of any list like this, Screaming Frog is a smart, easy to use and, best of all, free tool that you can download to your desktop. There is a paid for version with a wealth of additional features, but for a basic audit, this should cover most of the relevant information you will need.
This will give you information on your site’s general health – whether you have used H1, H2 H3 (…) tags correctly, meta descriptions and whether your internal and external links are producing 404 errors. These simple building blocks of any website can be remedied in a matter of seconds.
Exporting this data to a Google Spreadsheet means that you can collate the information with our next tool, one you should all have heard of by now…
Google Analytics & Google Spreadsheets
Often Google Analytics is seen as some kind of advanced tool that the lay person should avoid, what with all of its shiny buttons, it’s easy to think that you could press the wrong thing and kill your website entirely.
However it’s nothing to be afraid of, and following this simple guide you can get all the data you will need to audit a website without having to navigate through the dashboard at all!
In Google Spreadsheets go to ‘Add-ons’ and make sure Google Analytics is installed. If that’s done, then click on the link in the ‘Add-ons’ menu and create a new report.
Then simply choose which data you want to look at, whether this is our organic traffic results, or your unique visitors, just specify which in the ‘metrics’ box.
Once this has created, you will be presented with a form that looks something like this:
Make sure you adjust anything you want here – for instance change the Last N Days to 365 if you want a report for the whole year, or leave it at the default of 7 for reports from the last 7 days!
Then simply click on ‘Add-ons’ → Google Analytics → Run Report and you will get something that looks a little like this:
Here I have looked at data for searches and pageviews from referrers and keywords data, so I can see how people find the content, through what keywords and whether they continue looking at the website.
You can change these metrics to whatever you want, and the best and simplest metrics for auditing your website yourself are:
Bounce Rate: To see which pages people are leaving when they arrive, understanding why through analytics might be a little too advanced for this tutorial, but you can always evaluate the page with your own interpretations.
Unique Visits: To see which pages are performing the best and why!
Entrances: To see which landing pages are performing the best!
Once you’ve generated the report you want, it’s finally onto the last tool for this session:
Collecting Data on Social Shares of Young Content
There are a few tools that we can do this, but the handiest way we’ve found is to register for free with SharedCount. Once registered you can ‘Bulk Upload’ URLs to the engine in order to get a complete overview of your website.
But where will I get all the URLs for my website?
Handily enough, Screaming Frog will have produced a complete list for you, so it’s simply a matter of copying and pasting, exporting so .csv and importing it into your spreadsheet!
Now You Have All Your Data In One Place To Perform An Audit Of A Website
Now you have the structural report, the analytics report and your social report all in one easy to handle, cloud-stored, Google Spreadsheet, it’s just a matter of running through the report and highlighting areas that need to be fixed, expanded upon or explored.
Understanding which pages are getting the most shares and organic traffic will be key to content production, whilst understanding the efficacy of your URL structure or meta tags and your keyword results will show you whether you are using the right terms or not!
Of course, we’re only really scratching the surface here in our guide, and there’s a helluva lot more information to gather and separate which we will reveal in our advanced audit guide!
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