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5 Key Website Audit Checks to Perform in 2021 (and Beyond)

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For many, it’s not ‘weird’ anymore to get a WhatsApp from grandparents telling you they just did their online Tesco shop. You’ll even see gardeners, locksmiths and hairdressers on LinkedIn these days—all hints that 2020 took a lot of business footfall online. Here are 5 key website audit checks to perform 2021 (and beyond).

Website Performance Graphic
Every Audit Should Move the Dial

#1 Your Website Audit Should Improve UX Signals

Think of ‘UX signals’ as the things your website does to make people browsing it happy.

Happy website visitors means more conversion.

Google RankBrain

Google’s RankBrain is an artificial intelligence algorithm that Google claims is their third most important ranking signal in terms of what Google looks for when deciding how to rank your website.

What does this mean for you?

It means your website audit in 2021 (and beyond) MUST optimise for ‘how happy’ your content makes searchers. Writing great keywords just isn’t enough if you truly want to rank well.

Imagine that you write a piece entitled: Steps for Improving SEO Campaigns

Instead of giving ‘steps’, you write about a case study of ONE specific example of improving ONE campaign for a client.

That’s just going to frustrate people.

Google RankBrain spots this kind of inconsistency and actively reduces your Google rank for misleading the reader.

Google RankBrain Tip

A full website audit should look at your UX signals.

Review old content and make sure it delivers what it promises. Website content needs to deliver value to the reader if you don’t want Google to remove ranking points.

Put your website in our care and we’ll feed back to you on what you need to do to keep RankBrain (and site visitors) happy.

Google RankBrain
Rank Better: Make Google RankBrain Happy.

#2 Your Website Audit Should Optimise for Mobile Browsing

The simple fact is, your customers’ phones are your shop window as much as their laptops.

According to Statista, in the Q3 of 2020, over half (50.81%) of all global web traffic came from mobile devices. That stat doesn’t even include tablets.

Make Sure You’re Using Adaptive Website Design

Adaptive design refers to graphical user interface (GUI) design that adapts to different screen sizes.
Interaction Design

If your website doesn’t change on a mobile from how it looks on a laptop, customers won’t use it—it’s that simple.

Examples of adaptive website design
Aim for a perfect fit on all devices

Make Sure You Offer Lightning-Fast Page Loading Times

‘Milliseconds Cost Millions’

That’s the title of a Deloitte report that discovered—when pages take more than 1000 milliseconds to load—yes, just ONE second—then:

users are frustrated and are likely to abandon tasks. They may or may not come back later.

Let’s face it, that’s not doing your bottom line any favours. Especially if your competitors’ websites let them fly around at lightning speed.

Here’s Deloitte’s full breakdown of how page load-times affect customer behaviour:

Deloitte: Page load-time vs user imact
Deloitte: Milliseconds make Millions’ 2020

If Deloitte hasn’t convinced you to run a website audit or usability review that looks at mobile optimisation, it’s worth knowing that Google rolled out mobile-first website indexing in 2018.

This effectively means that how well your website performs on mobile phones is now a more important factor in deciding how Google rank your website than how it performs on a laptop or desktop computer.

That’s a pretty big deal.

Google's mobile-first intexing statement
Google now prioritise mobile website experience for site-ranking.

#3 Your Website Audit Should Flatten Your Website Architecture

Why’s website structure so important? Two main reasons:

1. It tells Google which pages on your website are most important
2. It directly impacts SEO and your Google ranking.

Website page architecture

Complex Website Architecture Will Cost You Traffic & New Business

Can’t remember when you last ran a full website audit? Chances are your site architecture has grown complex as pages evolve over time.

When we look at page architecture for clients, we’re effectively showing them how to feng shui site structure to increase website traffic.

Complexity in site architecture can become a big undetected opportunity-cost that’s only fixed if you take the time to review and simplify.

#4 Your Website Audit Should De-Index Low-Value Pages & Content From Google

Do a search in Google for:

‘site:’ followed by your website domain.

For example site:

This will give the total number of pages on your website that are indexed with Google.

You’ll be amazed by what you might find.

Hidden pages, old campaign landing pages you thought were gone, even 404 error pages associated with your website.

Having all this junk content, that delivers zero value to site visitors, is guaranteed to weigh down your SEO ranking—since Google treats it all as waste and will actively remove SEO points.

From 2o20 onward, you’ll likely depend more and more on online business. With businesses scrambling to get the digital marketing sails up, the first page of Google will have fewer places for more and more competition, so it’s critical that your website audit in 2021 includes a look at what you can deindex from Google.


That was worth the caps lock—it’s a huge potential business win for little time and money invested and one of the things we’ll look at if you ask us nicely.

#5 Your Website Audit Should Understand When & Why Potential Customers Abandon Your Website

Because moving from offline to online means customers can open 5 tabs instead of making 5 car trips, online customers very quickly discovers a world of new purchasing options.

Notice in the graphic below how ‘website’ and ‘web shop’ sit right at the ‘purchase’ stage of your customer journey.

You knew this, of course, but visualised like this makes it abundantly clear that all those other touch points mean little if the ‘purchase’ phase of the journey is causing abandonment and lost sales.

That’s why understanding weak points in your website journey is possibly the most important website audit task you can undertake in 2021 and beyond.

customer journey with touchpoints
It’s all about the perfect journey.

Make the Most of Free Customer-Journey Analytics Tools (Like Hotjar)

We hope this has been useful.

If you have any burning questions on website audit related themes, or if you want a breakdown of exactly what an InsightfulUX website audit includes, comment “give me the low-down!” below, or just drop us an email.

Finally, We’ll Leave You With This Gem

We can’t stress how handy website journey analytics tools like Hotjar can be.

Just the free version includes actual visitor recordings showing mouse movement, click heat-maps and more.

They don’t pay us to promote their tool, we promise you. We just really, really like it.

Hotjar visitor recordings
Hotjar Visitor Mouse Recordings

Get Hotjar free here.

If you run Hotjar to assess your customer-journey effectiveness and discover your customers have abandonment issues you didn’t know about, we can really help you with that. Send us your Hotjar recordings and we’ll help you find powerful fixes.

Thanks for reading.

Written by
Chris Newnham

Chris Newnham

Co-Founder & Director
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