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Doing an awesome site audit

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Technical SEO is easy. Making recommendations on site structures, opportunities and technical initiatives is pretty straightforward. But the psychology, politics and processes around delivering a actions which are understood, bought into, and acted upon, is much harder. Here's the fix.

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Doing an awesome site audit

  1. 1. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson DOING AN AWESOME SITE AUDIT
  2. 2. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Closet web developer & Wordpress fanatic Jono Alderson Head of Insight @ Linkdex @jonoalderson Technical SEO, analytics & CRO geek, agency guy
  3. 3. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Technical SEO is hugely important
  4. 4. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson ...but everybody’s website is really shit has room for improvement...
  5. 5. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson You’re hemorrhaging ROI. Your content marketing is running at 20% efficiency.
  6. 6. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson damaged stuck back-to-front ugly
  7. 7. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson
  8. 8. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson
  9. 9. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Let’s do a site audit.
  10. 10. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson The ‘Site Audit’ is a process for periodical identification and strategic prioritisation of issues.
  11. 11. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Most SEO audits suck[!]
  12. 12. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson audit graveyard
  13. 13. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Nobody wants an audit. [!]
  14. 14. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson
  15. 15. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson People don’t know what they want, or how to communicate it. But a site audit’s a thing, right?
  16. 16. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Your responsibility as a consultant is to interpret, and to deliver success. Or is it?
  17. 17. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson
  18. 18. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson You decide. (But if you’re responsible for results, you need to effect change, effectively)
  19. 19. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson So. How do you stop your audit landing in the graveyard?
  20. 20. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson The problem, and the process
  21. 21. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Fixing things is often big and complex (politically, psychologically and technically) Super-difficult Easy
  22. 22. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson To effect change, you need to anticipate objections and to avoid the spiral of doom. Spiral of doom Audit graveyard
  23. 23. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson You have multiple audiences with different needs and different super-powers
  24. 24. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson C-level Be in control “one direction” Marketing Minimise risk “changing priorities” Finance Minimise cost “speculate to accumulate” Third parties & other SEOs Defend themselves “Challenge the status quo” Tech & Legal Maintain status quo “power of veto”
  25. 25. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Know your audience If any one of these groups has any objections, you enter the spiral of doom Success depends upon perfect, unquestioned, immediate consensus "We’ll just need to run it past..." sounds like progress, but it’s is the spiral of doom
  26. 26. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Tech & Legal Maintain status quo What’s the business case for this?
  27. 27. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Tech & Legal Maintain status quo What’s the priority of each item?
  28. 28. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Why should we do this, if our competitors aren’t?C-level Be in control
  29. 29. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Tech say that this will be really expensive Finance Minimise cost
  30. 30. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Third parties & other SEOs Defend themselves We’re not KPI’d on this.
  31. 31. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson How do I justify dropping other priorities to focus on this?C-level Be in control
  32. 32. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Know your audience You need multiple flavours of deliverables to tackle this 1) Some quick wins* 2) A long-form, editorial audit 3) A spreadsheet of itemised, prioritised issues 4) Cheat sheets for each individual issue 5) A storyboard style presentation
  33. 33. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson You will need...
  34. 34. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson You will need... ● Exhaustive keyword & market research (actual consumer insight) ● Performance and/or commercial data (or compelling estimates/models) ● To be prepared to challenge conventional thinking on what an audit looks like, and how long it takes If it’s taken less than a week, you’ve rushed it.
  35. 35. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson 1)Long-form editorial
  36. 36. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Long-form editorial Required to get senior buy-in and backup to overrule other objections. Compellingly model commercial impact/opportunity Communicate using their language Instill fear and/or greed (watch out for impact vs opportunity!) Demonstrate capability … and finally, identify and outline issues
  37. 37. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Long-form editorial
  38. 38. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Long-form editorial There’s no such thing as too much detail (12,000 words).
  39. 39. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson 2) Cheat sheet
  40. 40. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Summarise the issue. Two A4 sheets, size 10 font. No more, no less. 20 minutes per sheet. Standardisation is important. Cheat sheet Summary of issue Impact (with metrics*) Absolute priority score Date completed & impact Other areas (of organisational or resource) impact Competitor context Business World User story Brief for fix* Benefits from fixing (with affected metrics) Implications of not fixing (as above) Possible risks On-going maintenance or process reqs Tech World
  41. 41. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson 3) Itemised issues
  42. 42. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Itemised issues
  43. 43. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson 4) Storyboard
  44. 44. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Storyboard Large numbers of 404’ing product pages What is this: People who search for our products in Google click a link to our site, and get a 404 ‘not found’ page. So what: Poor user experience, high bounce rates, missed sales opportunities. Need to change the way that ‘out of stock’ behaviour works.
  45. 45. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson 5) Quick wins
  46. 46. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Quick wins Use the ‘Cheat Sheet’ format Focus exclusively on simple, binary issue Pick on symptoms(!) if you need to Use to overcome objections
  47. 47. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson audit graveyard
  48. 48. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson {{ DEEP BREATH }}
  49. 49. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson The audit itself... Brief tips
  50. 50. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson The audit Challenge the brief. It’s never good. Domains vs sites, geo considerations, different levels of commercial intent, etc Familiarise yourself with the ecosystem Collect and group group issues as you go, but don’t start writing yet Start with Google before you break out the tools site: searches inurl: (or -inurl:) filetype: (xml, html, swf) If you can’t say that you’re confident that you’ve found, quantified and understand the whole ecosystem, then you’re inviting objections
  51. 51. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson site:amazon.com filetype:xml -inurl:sitemap - site:askville.amazon.com - site:docs.aws.amazon.com Typically, the first cut focuses almost exclusively on indexation and/or error control. Until this is (at least partially) tackled, it’s hard to diagnose anything else. Manage people’s expectations around this. You may wish to make this ‘pre- project’. Indexation Ctrl
  52. 52. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson The audit Focus on the cause, not the symptom. Don’t focus on missing tags, broken redirects, etc. Find the why. Group things by the why, and use the symptoms for reference + justification Separate isolated/misc issue into line items in your line-items doc Chase the money (and time is money, too). 100 hours of work on a broken forum, or 1 hour of work on an ecommerce template?
  53. 53. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson (!)
  54. 54. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Eyeball for patterns v.s. issues ● Discern the root cause ● Template level? Where is the problem? ● Page/URL level? What type of thing is it? ● Front end or back end (or other)? What kind of skill set is needed?
  55. 55. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Enrich understanding with other tools & processes Use these to validate, quantify, and to strip back layers of the onion - NOT just to report on #404s, etc. Don’t be afraid to go broad; include user testing, heat-mapping, crawls - reinforce the points you’re already making New/extra issues can expand on existing ones, or be woven into the story Piggyback on other people’s learnings and processes, e.g., the Moz 2015 checklist.
  56. 56. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Break out the processes, too. There’s no point fixing things if they’re just going to re-occur. Use your buy-in and lack of objections to push for process change. Technical SEO is easy! Start here: http://www.jonoalderson.com/resources/the-ultimate- website-development-template-behaviour-brief/ Avoid “SEO Friendly like the plague” Tweet me @jonoalderson!
  57. 57. Doing an awesome site audit @jonoalderson Jono Alderson Head of Insight @ Linkdex @jonoalderson Thanks!

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