Now, more than ever, simply having a web presence isn’t enough.
When customers and prospects want to learn more about a building product or solution — to check on available options or to answer a question — audiences expect to be able to find the information they’re looking for… quickly. And in a pleasing, easy-to-navigate format.
When a brand’s website isn’t regularly updated and doesn’t include relevant online content, website visitors will quickly move on. More importantly, they aren’t likely to return.
Ask yourself… When is the last time my brand really refreshed our website experience? Added photography and demonstrated compelling solutions? Highlighted new products and promoted project profiles? Updated an online newsroom?
Surely, you’re reviewing keywords and evaluating SEO performance, right?
If “it’s been a while,” now may be the ideal time for a website audit. To consider what your site and its campaign landing pages are currently accomplishing. And how the audience experience can evolve.
Website Audits Make Good Sense
Website audits are designed to determine the overall value and performance of a website. From content and coding. To links and navigation. As well as security and SEO.
The idea is to capitalize on what’s working well — and what needs enhancing — to create a better online experience.
The more visually appealing (and easy-to-use) a website is… the more trustworthy and dependable the brand is perceived.
Consider that 85 percent of customers search online before they shop. So when a “digital destination” has a poor online presence, it risks losing potential customers.
Google updates its algorithms regularly — which can lead to alterations in the way search engines organize website information — significantly impacting page rankings. However, Google’s much-praised algorithm, indeed its whole business model, may run into some government-ordered changes in the near future. And that’s a development that merits observing.
Last week, the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act was introduced in Congress. If passed, this legislation would forbid any company with more than $20 billion in digital advertising revenue from owning multiple parts of the digital advertising chain. The legislation is aimed at Google squarely, though it affects other large platforms as well.
This attempt at legislation comes in addition to four other antitrust cases filed by state and federal agencies in the past year. Though these antitrust actions target Google’s ad business… their search business is at risk too.
Between internal changes to search engines — or external changes brought through government mandate — it can be challenging to keep up. Yet falling behind, could continue to negatively impact a brand’s online presence.
The Importance of a Content Audit
A key part of any website audit — a content review — helps to ensure webpage content is compelling. For both search engines. And for those potential audiences who are seeking information. Marketing and IT Departments can partner on a content audit… and their work together may also identify areas where there’s a lack of alignment between the two.
Following are five benefits to executing a website content audit, leveraging internal teams and external marketing specialists. Conducting this type of audit can help building product brands elevate their content game… and demonstrably improve website performance.
Identifying website content issues. Assessing content and visual assets — identifying potential gaps — creates a foundation for addressing performance issues.
Repurposing existing content. Consider leveraging how existing content such as blog posts, byline articles, e-newsletters, case studies and other marketing collateral can be repurposed — to help keep website content fresh and increase site usability — while improving search ranking.
Diagnosing gaps in content. A website audit can identify areas where there’s a disconnect between the content the site offers… and what an audience is looking for — found through keyword research.
Evaluating content quality. Website content audits can evaluate the quality of a site’s existing content to determine if it’s high, medium or low. Lengthy and “rich.” Or short and “light.”
Enhancing the structure. Even if a brand’s website includes solid content… that content needs to be very simple-to-access.
Benefits of a Larger Website Audit
A comprehensive website audit can spot problems and increase conversion rates… helping a website become even easier to locate and browse.
Here are some of the ways a technical audit can help to elevate a brand’s website and engagement.
Improved online visibility. An online presence is the sum total of a variety of factors that make up overall online visibility. Search engines are constantly analyzing websites to determine exactly where each should rank… in response to specific queries. The goal of a website audit is to ensure a building product brand gets in front of the right audiences. In the right places. At the right times.
Knowing where competitors stand. Understanding how the competition “stacks up” is a key component of any website audit. Analyzing high-ranking keywords can help to ensure a brand is attracting its ideal target audiences.
Lower bounce rates. Content that may be perceived as spam, broken links and unfriendly navigation are just some of the factors that could be causing website visitors — and potential customers — to prematurely leave a site. A website audit can uncover these issues and fix them before they negatively impact site traffic.
Increased engagement. A website audit can help to develop a road map to optimize site content for stronger engagement. This plan can identify opportunities for adding even more appropriate tags, headers and titles to content, images and other media. Where elements such as share tags and embed codes belong… and, just as important, where they don’t belong.
Improved content planning. One of the most immediate insights gained from a site audit is an analysis of traffic sources. Tracking website traffic patterns can help a building product brand develop a better understanding of online customer behavior. And help guide decisions about what content is most effective.
Better customer experience. Everything from unresponsive pages — to poor loading times — can drive away website visitors. And limit the effectiveness of online marketing efforts. A website audit can help to optimize experiences across all platforms and devices.
Telltale Signs It’s Time… for a Website Review
Traffic and engagement aren’t growing. When overall website traffic and engagement are lagging — despite good content and cross-platform promotion — the answer may lie in SEO. Implementing SEO optimization can influence both organic and referral website traffic.
It’s been a while. Websites (like most marketing efforts) aren’t “one and done.” Sites and landing pages can become outdated… and less effective in a surprisingly short amount of time. Old-school search ranking strategies — like keyword stuffing and link farming — can result in penalties from increasingly intelligent search engine algorithms.
Backlinks? They’re crucial to search rankings and, as such, should always come from high quality websites. Links from poor quality sites can hurt search engine rank. A website audit can detect, and correct, areas that may be leading to trouble.
The site’s too slow. If a website takes more than a few seconds to load, the “bounce” rate jumps… and session duration, in turn, drops. Search engines have adapted their algorithms to consider both site and page load times. Slow site speeds can lead to a lower page ranking in search returns.
Competitors’ sites are showing up higher in search. Knowing which online strategies competitors are using is critical to staying relevant. That’s why most website audits often begin with a comprehensive competitive analysis… studying what competitors are doing to drive traffic. From backlinks to keywords — along with how they’re leveraging social site referrals.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Just like getting an annual health check-up… we believe auditing a website and associated content at least once a year is crucial. After all, regular audits create a proactive approach to building traffic. And achieving — and maintaining — a robust online presence.
In an increasingly digital age, this discipline can make the difference between being found… and being lost in the crowd.
Interested in best practices for developing a robust content strategy that can elevate your website and brand experience? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.