In his latest presentation for SearchLeeds 2019, Bastian Grimm has fashioned himself into a whistle blower of sorts. By exposing the culture of complacency and negligence that underpins most of today’s audits, Bastian hopes to improve auditing as a whole. With his latest survey positing that only around 12% of clients are happy with the audits they request, in combination with many years of experience in both creating and examining audits, it’s safe to say that Bastian knows what he’s talking about.
Consequently, he has a considerable number of solid solutions and tips to share and we’ve broken down his essential recommendations into a single, comprehensive overview. If you want to delve a little deeper into any of the topics discussed, we suggest checking out his SearchLeeds 2019 presentation video and slide deck, which are now both available online.
However, if you’d rather to take a break from reading and instead go straight to the video, here you go!
So, what are the most common auditing mistakes?
- They’re presented in the wrong format – consider what your audience really needs (i.e. not overly long audits). Formats differ according to the audience (i.e. C-level management = high quality presentation, Dev team = prioritised items list).
- They look at the symptoms but not the causes – symptoms are often presented without tackling the root causes.
- They lack prioritisation – in addition to a lack of impact estimation. A table should be created which lists every action as sorted by impact and effort. Not everything needs to be included.
Having highlighted the major general auditing pitfalls,
Bastian then goes on to provide some industry-specific solutions for creating
solutions for eCommerce/online shopping
- Instigate proper handling of multiple versions of a product (i.e. colour/size)
- If there is just one product, make sure it is reachable via multiple categories
- There should be differentiation between brand filters and brand categories
- Implement effective facetted navigation, sorting and filtering
- Manage expired (temp.) out of stock product management
solutions for news sites/content portals
- Implement an effective indexing strategy for tags, archives and categories
- Ensure high content quality by locating syndicated, thin and outdated content
- Enable better discovery via (XML) sitemaps & internal crawl hubs
- Improve accessibility with ad integration, interstitials and content locker
- Improve Google News-specific tasks (i.e. sitemaps, news bots, AMP, etc.)
solutions for classifieds/marketplaces
- Implement a better indexing strategy for 3rd party, thin, bad quality, UGC pages
- Manage multiple listings with the same attributes
- Manage expired listings (e.g. when an item is sold)
- Improve discoverability via (XML) sitemaps, internal crawl hubs etc.
- Implement facetted navigation, sorting and filtering (e.g. in categories)
Across all industries, audits must include the following:
- A JS status quo
- A GSC audit
- Web performance
- hreflang setup
- Broken URLs/crawl errors and orphan pages
- Page title/description duplicates
- Internal linking
- Mobile vs. desktop parity
- Tracking implementation
To summarise, he wraps-up his lecture with the following essential
- Choose the right format
- Tackle the root cause
- For more in-depth audits, proper formatting, grammar, sources, indexation and prioritisation are a must
- Match the audit type and scope to the client
- Tailor each audit specifically to the client – no lazy 1:1 tool exports!