Digital audit — what is it and why do you need to conduct it?

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10 Apr
6 Mar

Navigating the online world without a clear strategy is possible, though not rewarding. You may move forward, but without a clear direction, you risk veering off course. That’s where a digital audit steps in, offering a critical look at where you are, pinpointing what works, what doesn’t, and how to steer towards success.

A digital audit guides businesses through the complexities of their online presence, outlining strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. By analyzing every component of your footprint, it reveals insights to improve website performance and drive growth. So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s uncover the tricks of the trade. 

What is a digital audit?

A digital audit provides a thorough and personalized evaluation of your web presence that concludes with a detailed report. It lays out a strategic roadmap for the upcoming years, complete with recommendations on the optimal times to invest in various elements of your digital marketing mix. 

With a digital audit, it is possible to transform data into action.

This is a valuable report that provides insights into business objectives and budgetary constraints. It allows you to plan digital campaigns and initiatives with precision, ensuring you’re well-prepared to navigate the digital landscape in the years ahead.

When to conduct a digital audit

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there are definitely a few scenarios where rolling up your sleeves and getting into the nitty-gritty of a digital audit becomes absolutely crucial. With this approach, you’ll have a better idea of when it’s time to take a closer look at your online footprint and make sure everything is in tip-top shape. So, let’s walk through four of these cases in detail.

  • Before introducing a new product. Here, the audit can provide insights into effective marketing and suggest appropriate channels with techniques for successful promotion.

  • Before merging with a new business. As the new owner, it’s crucial to grasp the existing marketing activities to capitalize on the business’s strengths and address weaknesses.

  • When the business isn’t performing well. If your website is struggling despite consistent marketing efforts, it’s time for an audit. Identify areas of improvement, discover solutions, and implement changes to enhance its performance.

  • Once a year or quarterly. Regular audits, along with consistent reporting, offer insights into campaign effectiveness, aiding in budget management and strategic focus. Identifying “blind spots” helps prioritize optimizations for impactful results.

The most common digital audit types

Among the myriad paths you can explore, there are a few that stand out as the most trodden — and for good reason. We’re talking about social media audit, PPC advertising, lead generation & purchase audit, and, of course, the all-encompassing web audit. With that in mind, let’s look at all of them in more detail.

Website audit

A website audit is a comprehensive check-up of your online presence. It is a diagnostic tool aimed at uncovering the ins and outs of a website. As we explore the specifics, there are some aspects you need to take care of. So, gear up to peel back the layers of your website’s current state and chart a course toward a more robust and impactful online presence.

Step 1. Conduct an SEO audit

SEO audit is an exploration into your website’s search engine friendliness. This way, you’re going to look at everything — how content speaks to the audience, the keywords you’re using, and all the techy stuff like how fast your pages load and whether your site plays nice with smartphones. The ultimate aim here is to find and clear away anything that’s stopping your website from climbing to the top of search engine results.

Let’s not forget about the tools. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are perfect for this job. They give the lowdown on how your site’s doing — from who’s visiting to how they found you. With them, you can explore the analytics and traffic data to understand what’s working and what needs a tweak.

And there’s more in the toolkit to supercharge SEO performance and polish content quality. SEMrush, Moz, and Readable are here to do just that, providing you with all the necessary tools. They analyze keyword rankings, backlink profiles, and the readability of text so that you can smoothly climb the SEO ranks.

During the website audit, pay special attention to several key factors:

  • Indexation. Verify that all your pages are correctly indexed by search engines. If not, they’re invisible to potential customers and search engines alike, which means missed opportunities for traffic and engagement.

  • Keyword performance. Assess the impact of your SEO strategies by monitoring how keywords rank in search results. This will help you understand the visibility of the site in relation to user searches.

  • URL structure. Check whether your URLs are SEO-friendly. Even though content management systems (CMS) often automate URL creation, it’s crucial to avoid creating non-SEO-friendly slugs.

  • Breadcrumbs. Check your site’s breadcrumb navigation. This element enhances user experience by making navigation easier, which can indirectly benefit your SEO.

  • XML sitemap. Review your XML sitemap to ensure it only lists pages you want to be indexed by search engines. This sitemap acts as a directory for Google to understand and index your site’s structure.

To find out more about the importance of XML sitemap and how to optimize it for search engines, check out our detailed blog post, “Best sitemap XML optimization practices.”

  • Rank tracking. Monitor your site’s search engine rankings to evaluate the effectiveness of SEO strategies. Progress in rankings indicates successful optimization, while drops suggest areas in need of improvement.

  • Internal linking. Analyze the internal link structure within your site, aiming for 2 to 10 links per page with a variety of anchor texts. Ensure key pages are directly accessible from your homepage.

  • Incoming links. Examine the quality and quantity of external sites linking back to your website. Tools like SEMRush or Google Search Console’s “Links to Your Site” report can provide valuable insights.
Seo audit gives insight into how to get top rankings.

Step 2. Run a speed test

Your website’s speed is the first impression you can’t afford to mess up. In the digital world, patience is thin, and a slow-loading site will make users annoyed. Also, it affects how search engines view you (hello, SEO rankings!) and can make or break a visitor’s decision to stick around. So, give the site a speed test because, in the race for attention from both Google and the audience, every millisecond counts.

Step 3. Put mobile accessibility first

Smartphones are practically glued to our hands, and having a website that’s anything less than BFFs with mobile devices is a no-go. Google prioritizes the site’s mobile version when deciding where you land in the rankings. So, make sure your website is easy to navigate on any screen. Utilize the mobile usability report in Google Search Console to see how you’re doing and where to improve. 

Optimize your website’s mobile version for a welcoming experience, and you’ll see positive responses from both Google and visitors.

Step 4. Add alt text to images

Images carry weight in the SEO world too. Naming your images isn’t about slapping on any old label. It’s about choosing file names that give search engines (and people) a clear snapshot of what they’re looking at. Alt text is your pass to accessibility and SEO efficiency, helping those who can’t see the images to understand what’s on the screen and giving search engines more context.

For a comprehensive guide on conducting an SEO audit and understanding the key factors that impact your website’s traffic, don’t miss our “SEO audit checklist.”  

Step 5. Gather Google Analytics data

With Google Analytics, you can uncover the secrets behind what’s working, what’s not, and how visitors interact with the site. This powerful tool provides a goldmine of data that can help fine-tune your website for better performance. Let’s take a closer look at what areas to focus on.

  • Time on site. This metric offers insights into user engagement and the effectiveness of content. Higher time on site indicates that visitors find your content valuable and engaging.

  • Entrance pages. By identifying which pages bring users to the site helps you understand their first impressions and optimize the website for a better start to their journey.

  • Audience. Knowing who visits the site enables you to tailor content and marketing strategies to better match the audience’s preferences and needs.

  • Traffic sources. Discovering where traffic comes from helps identify which marketing channels are working best, allowing you to allocate resources more effectively.

  • Conversions. Tracking conversions is key to measuring the success of your website and identifying areas that need improvement to boost conversion rates.
  • Keywords. Analyzing the search terms that lead users to the site provides valuable insights into your SEO strategy’s effectiveness and how to refine it to match user search intent.

  • Bounce rate. A high bounce rate could signal issues with page usability or content relevance, pointing to areas where your site may need adjustments to better meet user expectations. 
Google Analytics helps analyze data and support business objectives

Step 6. Prioritize user experience (UX)

Your website’s design and usability create an instant impression on visitors. It can either captivate them, prompting further exploration of your business or lead to a swift exit without meaningful engagement. Among all the nuances, take a look at the next points.

  • Navigation. Make sure navigating your site feels like a breeze, not a maze. Good navigation means users can find exactly what they’re looking for without any hassle.

  • Visual hierarchy. Arrange your site so that it naturally draws eyes to the key information. It’s all about making the important stuff pop so nobody misses it.

  • Engagement and interactivity. Sprinkle in some fun with quizzes, videos, or calculators to keep users hooked and interacting with your content.

  • Responsiveness. Your site should look and work great on any device, from desktops to smartphones. Ensure it’s flexible enough to cater to all visitors, regardless of how they access it.

  • Calls to action. Use clear and inviting CTAs to nudge visitors towards taking action, whether it’s signing up, making a purchase, or learning more.

  • Heatmaps. Get a sense of what users do on your site — where they click, how far they scroll, and where they bounce off.
Friendly design increases the user’s time spent on the site

PPC audit

PPC advertising keeps the heartbeat strongest when it’s driving not just any clicks but clicks that convert. Hence, the key metrics of the audit are the click-through rate and the conversion rate, both of which you can analyze with Google Ads. If you see lots of clicks but not enough conversions, it’s time to turn a critical eye toward your website’s performance.

When you’re running ads across various platforms like Google, Meta, and LinkedIn, here’s how to break down the metrics that matter:

  • Impressions. This is all about visibility. Low impressions might mean it’s time to widen your audience or tweak keywords to make sure that ads get in front of more eyes.

  • Ad copy. Variety is key. Aim for at least three different ads in each campaign to keep things fresh and engaging.

  • CTR (click-through rate). This metric is a go-to for gauging how well your ad grabs attention and tempts clicks. Higher CTR means better engagement potential.

  • Keyword CTR. Explore which specific keywords are winning the click game. This helps you fine-tune targeting and boost ad relevance.

  • CPC (cost per click). Keep an eye on spending to understand the cost per click. This helps to manage your budget effectively and spotlight the most economical keywords.

  • CR (conversion rate). The proof of the ad’s success is in its ability to convert. This shows how well your ad turns clicks into desired actions.

  • CPA (cost per acquisition). This calculates the cost of acquiring a conversion, offering insight into the profitability of your campaign.

  • ROAS (return on ad spend). The big picture metric that tells what you’re really getting for your ad dollars, measuring the revenue generated for every dollar spent.
PPC audit insights can increase your ROAS

Social media audit

The primary aim of social media is to attract traffic and interest, isn’t it? But here’s the thing — social media isn’t just about getting immediate results like those click-and-buy PPC ads. In this case, we’re doing both: creating a great website to get everyone interested and keeping them around with engaging content, all while subtly guiding them towards becoming leads. To strike a delicate balance, make sure you’re not just seen but also remembered, keeping that brand love alive alongside chasing those leads.

Now, let’s mention the tools that can help fine-tune your approach and achieve measurable results — Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer. They give the insights scoop on what the audience loves, the best times to post, and how your overall strategy is performing. All in all, these platforms ensure that every post, tweet, or story hits the right note.

So, while deciding on a social media audit, sift through what you’ve put out there to see what’s hitting the mark, what’s missing, and where you can tweak things to really make a splash. Let’s break down the essentials.

  • Consistency is key. Ensure your profile pictures and cover photos are uniform across all platforms. This helps in making your brand instantly recognizable.

  • Your bio tells your story. Profile bio should be a spotlight on your brand’s mission, making it clear and compelling at a glance.

  • Make connections. Double-check that all social profiles include a direct link back to your website. This way, you make it easy for people to discover what you offer.

  • Engagement matters. Pay attention to how you’re interacting with the audience. Count those comments left hanging without a reply, and take note of the tone in your responses.

  • Impressions count. Look at your impressions to gauge brand visibility and the potential size of the audience. It’s a measure of how far your message is reaching.

  • Look at the followers. Analyze follower growth and their demographics. Understanding who’s attracted to the brand gives you clues on how to tailor content.

  • Engagement rate. This is the pulse of the audience’s interaction with your content, measured through likes, comments, and shares. It’s a direct reflection of what resonates with them.

  • Point out top themes. Identifying the topics that spark the most conversation and engagement helps you understand what the audience loves most about content.
Social media audit insights keep your content strategy fresh

Brand audit

A brand audit helps you to take a deep and introspective look into the company’s soul. This way, you explore the core of what the product stands for, asses how it’s perceived both inside and out, and make sure everything lines up with where you want to be. It’s your brand’s reality check, and here’s how to break it down.

  • Stick to congruence. Make sure your brand’s visual identity (logos, colors, fonts) is consistent across all channels. This uniformity helps reinforce brand recognition and loyalty.

  • Speak clearly. Analyze the brand’s messaging across different platforms. Are the themes, keywords, and tone of voice cohesive? Your message should speak clearly and consistently to the audience.

  • Listen to the echoes. Check out reviews to identify whether they are positive, neutral, or negative. Look for patterns and common themes in feedback to understand how your brand is really being received.

  • Check the spotlight. Assess your media coverage. Which outlets are talking about you, and more importantly, are you reaching the audience intended to? This helps gauge the brand’s visibility and reputation.

We advise you to keep tabs on how your brand is mentioned online by setting up Google Alerts. Just head over to this platform, type in your brand name, choose notification preferences, and hit “Create Alert.” That’s it! Now, you can always stay informed.

A brand audit is the first step in understanding how the world sees you and how closely it matches the story you want to tell.

Lead generation & purchase audit

A lead generation and purchase audit shines a spotlight on your business’s knack for drawing in, engaging, and retaining customers. It is the ultimate check-up for the sales process, revealing what’s working great and what needs a bit of tweaking to improve. With this approach, you trace the path potential customers take, spotting where they might veer off course and smoothing out the journey to not just snag sales but skyrocket them. Here’s how to get a grip on it.

  1. Channel check-up. Take a close look at how well your marketing channels (think social media, email, your website) are doing in pulling in the right crowd. Which ones are gold mines for qualified leads?

  2. Nurturing know-how. Take a look at the steps you take to keep leads warm and moving smoothly through the sales funnel. And don’t forget to prioritize qualifying, segmenting, and building rapport with potential customers.

  3. Content critique. Analyze your content. Is it hitting the mark with relevance, engagement, and a lead-generating punch? It’s all about content that doesn’t just talk but engages.

  4. Customer journey. Evaluate the purchasing experience from start to finish. The goal here is to satisfy users from the moment they enter the site until they buy something and leave.

  5. Sales funnel focus. Dissect your sales funnel for any hiccups. Look for bottlenecks where potential sales might be getting stuck and gauge how your sales team is performing in navigating leads to close.

How to prepare for a digital audit

Getting ready for a digital audit doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s laying the groundwork to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Here’s the game plan to prep your team for a successful audit.

  1. Set the stage. Kick things off by clearly defining what you’re aiming to achieve with digital audit. Are you looking for a quick snapshot or a deep exploration that will map out a strategy to move forward? Setting this expectation early shapes the whole process.

  2. Dig up the past. Pull together all your previous marketing efforts and reports. This treasure trove of information will give your auditors a clear picture of what’s been hitting the mark and what’s been missing.

  3. Coordinate with IT. Loop in your IT department early on. They’ll ensure that the auditors have hassle-free access to all the digital nooks and crannies they need to explore.

  4. Talk to the team. It’s crucial to get everyone on the same page. Make sure your team understands that digital audit is about finding opportunities to shine even brighter, not pointing fingers. It’s a team effort aimed at boosting the company’s digital prowess.

Start here 

Conducting a digital audit might feel like a challenging task, but it’s exactly what your website needs to succeed. And though the idea of embarking on such a process may seem daunting, remember, you always have options. The Halo Lab team is just a message away, ready to help spotlight your brand from the rest. Let’s uncover every little detail that makes your website tick.

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