Website Opportunity Audit [with free checklist]
Table of content
A website audit is the cornerstone of a solid search engine optimization (SEO) effort and should not be overlooked.
Our Website Opportunity Audit (WOA for short) is our flagship website audit process. It is a complete website audit that examines an entire site in detail.
It is the most in-depth website audit that we offer, and uncovers all possible issues, errors, and opportunities that a website might currently have.
Once the WOA is completed, it becomes a curated, prioritised list of actions.
Why might a website audit be necessary?
Oftentimes, as soon as the idea of an 'audit' is mentioned, you can see a visible backing-off.
Audits have a terrible reputation for wasting time, money, and resource.
They can unfortunately provide no value and no impact, so it's understandable why they aren't often met with positivity.
But bear with me here!
Here's a screenshot of one of those clients who:
- Didn't need an audit
- Knew about all the issues
- Just had an audit done
- Regularly audit with a tool
Obviously, the impact doesn't come from the audit itself but from ACTIONING the audits.
So why did this audit have such an impact, when the business was so confident they had it covered?
- They had actually only identified about 10% of the issues that the site had.
- They didn't know how to prioritise what needed fixing first, so they spent time and money fixing things that would have no impact but were just good 'nice to haves'.
But it's safe to say, this isn't always the case.
Typically speaking, an SEO audit is more like a security blanket that ensures there are no underlying issues that will limit organic traffic growth and limit the growth that you might normally experience from ongoing SEO efforts.
What's included in our Website Opportunity Audit?
If we haven't already made it clear, the Website Opportunity Audit is extremely in-depth and aims to uncover any possible issues or opportunities that your website might have.
Here are more details of the individual parts that make up the entire audit (if you would like to grab them).
A content audit is generally the starting point of this audit.
The content audit has a simple goal -- to improve a site's crawl budget to ensure search engines are crawling important live pages, ranking them better, while not crawling junk pages that should not even be live.
It is relatively easy to understand. It simply looks at every single live page of the website to assess how it's performing and ultimately determine if it is an asset or a liability.
Metrics are pulled in for every single URL of the site, including how many pageviews, organic visits, and links that a page has.
We use first-party data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console as well as third-party data from tools such as Ahrefs to give us a holistic view of every single URL of the website.
Once all of those metrics are gathered, an assessment is made of every page on what should be done with it.
This content audit is excellent at:
- Uncovering pages that should not be live and indexed, such as templated or draft pages that are thin or empty or have duplicate content
- Uncovering large sections of websites that are underperforming and wasting the crawl budget
- Finding pages that are doing okay or moderately well and, with a few tweaks, can be more significant drivers of traffic.
Keyword Cannibalization Check
I rarely see checking for keyword cannibalization included on standard website audits, which in my opinion, is a huge mistake.
75% of websites we audit have keyword cannibalization issues, and it can have a dramatic effect on:
- Overall traffic
- Rankings (and traffic) to some of a business's most important keywords
Put simply, keyword cannibalization is when you target the same keyword on two (or more) different pages of your website.
The effect we generally see from doing that is conflict, ranking fluctuation, and oftentimes a 'glass ceiling' of how well you might rank for a keyword that you would otherwise rank much better for.
In reality, it can be a bit more complicated than that, and you can even have positive keyword cannibalization, where you capture multiple positions on the search engine results pages.
Keyword cannibalization can also be a tough fix, with big decisions required, so I won't get into how to fix it in this article.
A technical SEO audit is one of the most essential parts of an audit.
It can be one of the most disliked as it can often lead to significant follow-up work as new issues are found.
The important part is prioritizing and knowing what to fix and what might be good to improve in the future, rather than something that needs fixing quickly.
Our technical audit looks at the most important technical aspects of a website, including:
- 4xx and 5xx errors
- Robots and sitemap configuration
- Redirect chains
- Broken links
- Metadata (title tags, etc...)
- Href lang setup and other HTML tagging that a site may use
- Speed - including core web vitals, page experience, and general page speed
We have yet to audit a website that does not have technical SEO issues. The most common issues we find are around large parts of websites 404ing or having broken links. This is followed by speed and core web vitals issues, which are becoming more and more common as the goalposts gradually move.
Improving technical SEO alone can have a considerable uplift in traffic if particular issues are found and fixed.
Top Traffic Driving Keywords Report
This is one of the most straightforward reports that go into our website audit.
The reason this is included is clients and website owners rightfully ask questions such as:
- What keywords are currently driving the most organic traffic to my site?
- What bottom-of-funnel keywords are within striking distance?
- What are the on-page quick wins?
This report starts to find answers to those questions and reveals what is working well currently and what some easy opportunities might be to boost keywords by a few positions and make a significant impact on overall traffic and conversions.
Rank 6th for a big 'money' keyword?
A simple bit of on-page editing, such as updating the content and adding a bunch of internal links, could get that rank moving up a few positions and drive extra revenue or inquiries relatively quickly. But unless you have awareness with a report like this, it's challenging to make those tweaks.
Content Gap Analysis
A content gap analysis is one of my favorite reports. It starts to reveal what the opportunity might look like with ongoing SEO efforts.
It's also a very simple report to understand:
It simply finds keywords for which your direct or indirect competitors are ranking for, and you are not.
And it provides data around those keywords, such as search volume and keyword difficulty.
Although the content gap analysis is just one type of keyword research that is possible to do, this, in itself, can inform a content strategy for the next 3-12 months, depending on exactly what the content gaps found are.
Roadmap & Curated Actions
Without a prioritized roadmap, a website audit can be extremely overwhelming.
An overwhelming audit typically never gets implemented and so never has an impact. That is part of the negative loop or why website audits can have such a bad reputation.
In the case of how we present the roadmap and curated actions, it isn't complicated.
But what it does do very simply is tell you to do A and B first THIS month as critical items; then deal with X, Y, and Z in months 2 and 3, as they are impactful but not critical.
That might seem too simple, but unless you break things down like that and make it so it's very manageable to implement, then it will likely get neglected.
Website Opportunity Checklist [FREE]
Without full training and access to all our tools and systems, our internal Website Opportunity Audit is tricky to run for yourself.
But what we have done is provided a Website Opportunity Checklist version of it so that you can make sure that the same things are taken care of, and you are still setup for organic traffic growth.
[SCREENSHOT, with download, after giving email]
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