If you want to see sustained results from your online marketing efforts you must routinely review all your digital marketing campaigns.
In this guide, I will give you a step by guide to performing a digital marketing audit from start to finish.
By the end, you’ll have a digital marketing audit checklist to audit your digital channels like a pro.
What is a Digital Marketing Audit?
A digital marketing audit is a process of evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts across all your digital channels. By routinely analyzing your practices and their results, you can fine-tune your campaigns to improve their performance.
The audit also involves checking for technical and user-created errors across your platforms and campaigns. These errors can slip through the cracks during day-to-day activities.
Finding and resolving these issues during your digital marketing audit can help you mitigate the impact they may have on your marketing campaigns.
Let’s examine the steps needed to perform a comprehensive digital marketing audit.
How to Conduct a Full Online Marketing Audit
Follow these steps to perform a digital marketing audit of your business or any business.
- Start with an SEO Audit
- Perform a Social Media Marketing Audit
- Conduct a Brand Reputation Audit
- Review Your Website Marketing
- Evaluate Paid Advertising Performance
- Perform a Content Audit
- Carry out an Email Marketing Audit
1. Start with an SEO Audit
The first step to assessing your online marketing is to perform an SEO audit. This is the process of evaluating how friendly your website is to search engines.
When you conduct a thorough SEO audit, you can find weak spots in your website’s SEO and make adjustments to help you earn better rankings in search engine results.
SEO audits must be done on a regular basis as the SEO industry changes very quickly. The best practices of today may not be the same a few months from now.
I recommend performing a complete SEO audit at least two times per year. This will ensure that you are always on top of the latest SEO developments.
SEO audits should be broken into three focus areas: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.
Here are the important things to check for each:
Technical SEO Audit
Check Google Search Console
Google Search Console gives you various reports and tools to visualize and manage how the Google search engine treats your website.
With it, you can quickly see which of your pages are included in the index, what keywords you are ranking for, any website performance issues, and more.
When you perform your technical SEO audit, you should check to confirm the following:
- Your sitemap is submitted to Google
- All appropriate pages can be found in the coverage tab
- Your site doesn’t have mobile usability issues
- There are no security issues
Check your robots.txt file
The robots.txt file controls how search engines treat your pages. You should check to ensure that only the pages you want to be excluded are ‘noindexed’.
Check your URL structure
URLs play a role in SEO rankings so it’s important to routinely check their structure to ensure that they are SEO-friendly.
Most CMS solutions will automatically format your URLs properly but there is still a chance you may create a slug that isn’t SEO friendly.
Check your product pages and blog posts to ensure that your URLs are concise, contain keywords (not overdone), and don’t contain unnecessary hyphens or numbers.
Breadcrumbs typically sit at the top of a page and they help users navigate back to higher-level pages.
Google recommends having breadcrumbs enabled so you want to check and make sure they are active on your site.
Structured data helps Google better understand the context and meaning of your content. It can provide a boost to rankings while also improving the presentation of your SERPs through sitelinks and appearing in the answer box.
You should check to ensure you have structured data enabled for the following areas:
- Breadcrumb menus
Your sitemap is a list of all the web pages you want Google to include in its index. During your SEO audit, you should check your sitemap to make sure it only has the pages you want to appear in Google.
You should also check Google Search Console to ensure that the sitemap is submitted properly.
Websites that have a valid SSL certificate installed are routed via HTTPS instead of HTTP. You want to make sure your site uses HTTPS as added security is an important ranking factor in Google.
Your website’s speed is a critical part of your SEO rankings.
There are plenty of tools you can use to test your website’s speed which we’ll discuss a bit later on.
For now, you should know that your website needs to have the following to optimize your page load times:
- Serve files via CDN
- Minify CSS and HTML
- Compress images
- Run the latest PHP
- Page and browser caching
Google now uses a mobile-first index, meaning the mobile version of your site will serve as the baseline for determining your rankings.
This means it is paramount to have a website that performs well on mobile devices. Check the mobile usability report in Google Search Console to find and resolve any issues.
As a general rule, you should always use a responsive theme as part of your web design to ensure your pages render properly on all devices.
On-Page SEO Audit
Once you have checked the technical SEO factors, it is time to evaluate your content and other on-page factors.
Titles and Descriptions
Your titles and descriptions should be unique to each page. They should inform the user what the page is about while also being engaging.
If you have duplicate titles, change them so that they are no longer the same.
Headings and text formatting
Your content should use headings to break up areas into subsections. Headings should have the proper format: H1 for the page title, H2 for the main headings, and H3 for all subheadings.
Formatting such as bullet lists and bold text can help improve readability and by extension the user experience.
If your content lacks these elements be sure to add them in.
Make sure that your content is unique by running it through a plagiarism checker. You also want to analyze the length and freshness of your content. If your content is out of date, consider making updates
You can check how SEO-optimized your content is by using a plugin like Yoast SEO. This will tell you how well your page fits the expectations of a high-ranking page for the target keyword.
Internal links are useful to both users and search engines. Check your pages to make sure they have between 2 – 10 internal links per page. Add variation to the anchor text and link to the most important pages from your homepage.
Check your images to ensure the file names describe the image and that you have added an SEO-optimized alt text.
Check to make sure all outgoing links are working properly. You can use a tool like Xenu or you can look for crawl errors in Google Search Console.
Once you find broken links you can either delete the link or add a replacement URL.
Off-Page SEO Audit
The last part of the SEO audit concerns off-page SEO. It involves reviewing the following factors:
The first step is to check the links coming to your site from other websites. For this, you can use a tool like SEMRush or the “Links to Your Site” report in Google Search Console.
You want to check for the quantity and quality of linking domains, which of your pages has the most links, and how many links are going to your homepage.
If you notice any toxic links (links from low-quality websites) you may want to consider taking action to have those links removed from Google as they could hurt your SEO performance.
Domain authority, or domain rating, measures how strong or trusted your website’s domain is. The higher your score, the easier it is to rank in search engines.
The best way to increase your domain authority is through high-quality backlinks. If your domain authority is not where you want it to be, consider starting a link-building campaign to boost your score.
Your link profile relative to competitors
Comparing your backlink profile to your competitors is a great way to see what you need to do to best position yourself to rank for important keywords.
If your competitors are gaining a lot of high-quality links from authoritative domains, you will likely want to do the same. With a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush, you can see exactly who is linking to your competitors and what pages they are linking to.
This can be a good starting point for finding link prospects to link to your own site.
2. Perform a Social Media Marketing Audit
A social media marketing audit will help you understand the activity happening on each of your profiles.
Here are the steps to take to perform a social media audit:
Check social media pages for completeness and accuracy of information
To start, you should look over each of your social media pages to ensure that you have accurately provided all necessary information.
The important areas to look over include:
- Profile pics and cover photos: You want to make sure you have an image for each of these and that they align with your brand’s image:
- Profile bio: Your bio is one of the first things your audience will see so it’s important to ensure it’s complete and up to date. You have limited space to work with so you’ll want to succinctly highlight your brand’s core message.
- Links: All your social media profiles should link back to your website. During your social media audit, you should make sure that your links function properly.
Check your number of followers
After you have checked the accuracy of your profile information you want to check the number of followers for each of your pages.
Monitoring this metric will give you an understanding of your pages’ engagement and how quickly you are growing your following. If you notice one channel growing at a faster pace than the others, you could benefit from putting more focus into that channel.
Respond to comments
The next step is to respond to comments left on your posts by your followers. This is a great way to engage your audience and understand them better.
You’ll probably want to monitor your profiles and respond to comments more frequently. However, your digital marketing audit can be a good time to find and reply to any unanswered comments.
If you’re not receiving any comments it could be a sign that your content is not interesting or relevant to your target audience. Or, you simply may not have that many followers.
Check your social media handles
A social media audit is a good time to evaluate your social media handles. Ideally, you would use the same handle across every channel if you can. During your audit, you can check for consistency in your handles and update any that are dissimilar from the rest.
Create a plan to update accounts with fresh info
The final step of your social media audit is to plan future content for your profiles. By creating a plan for what and when you’ll post, you ensure that your pages are consistently engaging your audience.
It is also a good idea to strategize regular updates to your account info such as your bio. This will keep your pages from appearing stale.
3. Conduct a Brand Reputation Audit
A brand reputation audit involves finding mentions of your brand across the internet to assess the public’s perception of your business.
With a thorough brand reputation audit you can:
- See customers’ relationships with the company
- Find problems with certain areas of the business
- See how your compare to the competition
Here are the steps to performing a brand reputation audit:
Search for your brand on Google
Start by searching for your brand on Google to see what comes up first. If your company or any of its employees have received press recently you may notice some news stories appear at the top of the results.
You can also set up Google alerts to receive daily (or instant) notifications every time someone mentions your brand.
Go to https://www.google.com/alerts and enter your brand name. Set your preferred notification period and hit Create Alert.
You’ll then get email alerts that compile a list of all brand mentions Google picks up from around the web. This will save you time from having to dig through search results to find new mentions.
Find and address bad reviews across the web
The next step is to find any bad reviews for your brand. Your Google search will help you surface some, but you’ll also want to check popular review sites that are relevant to your business.
Some notable review sites worth checking include:
- Trust Pilot
If you sell physical products on marketplaces or comparison shopping engines like Amazon or Google, you’ll want to check these channels for product reviews.
If you find any negative reviews you want to politely respond to the customer’s complaint if the platform allows you to do so. Try to clarify any misunderstanding or offer a solution to address the issue.
4. Review Your Website Marketing
The next part of your digital marketing audit is to review your website marketing. The steps include:
Check your website design
Your website design makes an immediate impression on your visitors. It can either encourage them to explore your business further or cause them to leave without taking any meaningful action.
You want your website’s design to be fresh and modern to best project a positive brand image. Beyond that, there are some structural best practices you should follow:
- Content should be divided by ample headings, images, and white space
- The navigation menu should be easily accessible and allow users to find the most important pages
- Images and other visual elements should have a consistent style
- Call-to-actions (CTA) should be placed in prominent positions and not overused
Check your website speed
We touched on this earlier but it can’t be overstated. Page load times are an important part of both user experience and search engine rankings.
When you conduct your digital marketing audit, you should test the loading times of your most important pages to ensure they are performing as they should.
There are plenty of speed testing tools. The most popular ones are:
- Pagespeed insights
Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
After you check your website speed, you want to analyze the user experience on mobile devices. This is critical as the majority of today’s web traffic comes from mobile.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to get an idea of how well your site performs on mobile devices.
You can also manually check your important pages via smartphone to see what the experience is like.
Check Core Web Vitals
The Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console uses real-world data to assess the performance of your web pages. Google will point out problem areas that you can then fix to help improve your user experience.
They will also give you specific instructions on how to fix the issues. After you make the changes, you can validate the fix within Google to have the error message removed.
5. Evaluate Paid Advertising Performance
Next, you want to audit the performance of your paid advertising campaigns. Here are the primary areas you should review:
Ensure conversion tracking is enabled
Start by ensuring that conversion tracking is enabled and that you are collecting accurate data for conversions taking place on your website.
Without conversion tracking, you won’t have accurate insight into your campaigns’ performance and you won’t be able to take advantage of Google Smart Campaigns.
Analyze important KPIs
You’ll want to check important performance indicators to see which of your campaigns are performing well and where you need to make changes.
The important metrics to evaluate are:
- Click-through rate – This metric tells you how often people who view your ad click on it. A low click-through rate can be a sign of poor targeting or irrelevant ad copy.
- Conversion rate – This metric measures how many people click on your ad and convert it into customers. It is a great indicator of the effectiveness of a campaign.
- Cost per conversion – This metric tells you how much you are spending on ads to acquire each customer. Your cost per conversion needs to be below your average order value (AOV) if you want your campaigns to be profitable.
- Reach – This metric tells you how many people you are reaching with your ads. A low reach can be a sign that you need to broaden your targeting or adjust your bidding.
- The average cost per click – Your cost per click tells you how much you spend on average for each person that clicks on your ad. It is an important metric to monitor as it directly impacts your return on ad spend.
Check your budget
You should use your digital marketing audit to ensure that you are using your ad budget effectively.
Look for campaigns that are performing the best and concentrate your ad spend on those campaigns.
If your campaigns in Google are marked as “Limited by budget”, you should raise the budget for that campaign to extend its reach or adjust your targeting and keyword settings to reach a larger audience.
Check your ads
Finally, you want to evaluate your ads to look for areas of improvement. Some important elements to check include:
- Message – Ensure that the message of your ads is relevant to the audience that you are targeting and that it aligns with your brand. You should also check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Display URL – Check to see if your display URLs are optimized for the keywords you are targeting. This can help improve click-throughs.
- The number of ads – Check to see if you have enough variety of ad copy for each ad group. Aim for 3 to 5 ads for each group.
- Landing URL – Make sure that the URLs of your landing pages are accurate and that the pages align with the objective of the campaign.
6. Perform a Content Audit
After assessing the performance of your paid advertisements, you want to evaluate the content on your website. To do this, you will:
Find your best-performing content
Start by checking your existing content to see which pages are performing the best.
You can either compile all your pages in a spreadsheet and check each one manually or use a tool like SEMRush or Screaming Frog.
See which pages are getting the most views, the most engagement, and are driving the most conversions.
Look for common characteristics among the top-performing pages as this will help you know what types of content to prioritize going forward.
Find pages to remove, consolidate, or update
Once you check all your pages, look for an opportunity to clean up your site by removing outdated or low-value pages. You can also combine pages that are similar to each other.
If you choose to consolidate any of your pages make sure to create 301 redirects for the deleted pages.
Create a content marketing plan
Next, you should create a content marketing plan detailing your future content creation. Use the insights gained while evaluating your pages to focus on the best-performing type of content.
You can also use the knowledge gained during your SEO audit to find gaps in your keyword strategy. These can be used to find new topics for your content.
7. Carry out an Email Marketing Audit
The last stage of your digital marketing audit is to evaluate your email marketing efforts. Here are the important areas to check:
Check how many subscribers you get per day
The first step is to check how many email subscribers you are getting per day. The best campaigns won’t do much good if nobody is on your list. As such, you want to make sure your lead generation efforts are gaining enough subscribers for your campaigns to be successful.
If your subscription rate is low, it could be a sign of a problem with one of the other areas of digital marketing we’ve previously discussed.
Perhaps your SEO and paid advertising campaigns aren’t driving enough traffic. Or maybe your content isn’t interesting so visitors don’t want to sign up for your list.
Check your analytics platform to see where on your website people are dropping off. Make sure to include your CTA and sign-up forms in a prominent place.
You can also consider offering a more enticing lead magnet to encourage more users to subscribe.
Check email deliverability rates
Next, you want to check your delivery rates to ensure that your messages are reaching your subscribers’ inboxes.
If your deliverability rate is low it could be because your email was blocked by the ISP or it ended up in the spam folder.
Here are some ways you can improve low email deliverability:
- Maintain proper IP allocation
- Authenticate your email domain
- Avoid spammy subject lines
- Create a subdomain and use it for emails
- Clean up your email list
Check your email open and click through rates
Once you ensure that your messages are indeed reaching your subscribers, you want to evaluate your open and click rates.
This will tell you how much people are engaging with your messages.
If your open rate is low, look over your subject lines to see how compelling they are. You’ll also want to look at the time you are sending your emails and consider making changes.
If your open rate is on target, but your click rate is low, you’ll need to evaluate the design and content of your emails.
Check email design
Your email design should be attractive and contain useful content. It is also important to make sure your emails are responsive as many people will open them on their mobile devices.
Some email design problems you should avoid include:
- Not including an unsubscribe button
- Text that is too large
- Issues with rendering
- Designs that are not aligned with your brand
- Not including alt text for images
If your emails are not performing as you would like, consider using a different style or rearranging the CTA.
Check email automation campaigns
Next, you should analyze the performance of your email automation campaigns. Check to see the open and click rates for each message in the sequence. This will inform you where in the funnel you need to make adjustments.
The most popular email marketing solutions provide detailed stats to help you evaluate the overall success of a campaign.
These will allow you to see the overall revenue for a campaign as well as see which specific customers are making purchases and engaging with your messages the most.
You can use these insights to refine the audience of your campaigns to focus on those most likely to convert.
Clean your email list
Your subscriber list is the most important part of your email marketing. During your digital marketing audit, you should clean your list to ensure that it only contains high-quality subscribers.
Look for individuals who are inactive and remove them from your list. This will provide several benefits. To start, you won’t be wasting your time marketing to people who aren’t interested in your business.
Additionally, a clean list can improve email deliverability as it increases your overall open rate. It can also lower your expenses as most email marketing solutions charge based on the number of subscribers.
Digital Marketing Audit Checklist
This is your digital marketing audit checklist.
- Check Google Search Console
- Check your robots.txt file
- Check your URL Structure
- Check your breadcrumb menu
- Check your XML Sitemap
- Check for HTTPS
- Check your website speed
- Check your website’s mobile-friendliness
- Check your titles and descriptions
- Check your headings and text formatting
- Check your content
- Check your internal linking
- Check your image SEO
- Check for broken links
- Check incoming links
- Check your domain authority
- Check your competitors’ links
- Check the accuracy and completeness of your social media profiles
- Check your number of social media followers
- Respond to social media comments
- Check your social media handles
- Create a plan to update your accounts with fresh info
- Search for mentions of your brand in Google
- Find and address bad reviews across the web
- Check your website design
- Check your website speed
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Check core web vitals
- Ensure conversion tracking is enabled
- Analyze important KPIs
- Check your budget
- Check your ads
- Find your best-performing content
- Find pages to remove, consolidate, or update
- Create a content marketing plan
- Check how many email subscribers you get per day
- Check email deliverability rates
- Check your email open and click through rates
- Check email design
- Clean your email list
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