Businesses that are having trouble driving traffic to their website should consider having their website audited. A website audit is an in-depth analysis of a website to identify issues that could be affecting the site’s search visibility. To put it simply, a website audit is used to figure out what changes can be made to improve the website’s ranking in search results and drive more traffic to the site.
At Simple SEO Group, we conduct thorough website audits for our clients and then make recommendations on how to improve upon the site. Many clients are surprised to learn that we do not use an automated web audit tool to perform these audits, but there’s a reason why we choose to do this task manually.
THE PROBLEM WITH AUTOMATED WEB AUDITS
A quick Google search will show that there are countless automated website audit tools available for businesses that are interested in improving their websites. However, there are a number of problems with these tools. First, many of the web audit services that you will find online were created solely for the purpose of capturing leads. You may be able to access the tool without entering any information, but you will most likely need to enter your email address and phone number in order to receive the actual audit. These businesses are only interested in getting your information so they contact you and sell you some of their services. Because of this, they have not invested a lot of resources into creating their web audit tools, which means you should not trust the results of the audit.
In fact, a study conducted in the UK earlier this year tested the accuracy of 10 automated web audit tools and found that all of them were not able to detect 100% of the issues with a website. Some of the items that the automated web tools were not able to detect include:
- Missing page titles or inaccurate page titles
- Invalid or broken hyperlinks
- Missing alt text on images
- Layout issues when the website was accessed by a mobile device or tablet
- Inadequately-sized links
- Irrelevant anchor text or overused anchor text
- Heading format errors
- Content layout errors
- Technical errors such as SSL utilization, page coding errors, or browser specific errors
This is just a sample of some of the items that were not detected using automated web audit tools. Each of these issues could affect your website’s search visibility, but you won’t know they exist if you rely solely on an automated tool.
It’s best to think of an automated web audit as the spell checker tool in a Microsoft Word document. The spell checker tool will certainly catch a word that is obviously misspelled, but it won’t catch words that are used incorrectly. The dictionary that the spell checker uses is not updated frequently, and not does not contain most proper nouns such as names or landmarks. As a result, it will often tell you that something is spelled wrong when it’s not. An automated web audit tool works in the same way. It will catch some mistakes, but it won’t catch those that are not obvious. It may also point out issues that don’t exist, which will lead you on a pointless search for a problem that isn’t there. To get accurate results, it’s best to work with a company that offers manual website audits.