How to do a digital marketing audit

Updated: Apr 9

The digital marketing audit has one main objective, which is to find out how to improve the website performance. There are some changes you need to do to achieve this, but without the audit you will never know which changes to make first, which levers to pull, which to leave as they are.


When an audit is good, it can help set up the workload for you and for your team as it involves tasks for PPC, SEO and CRO.


This article shows an example of an audit I have done for a company recently. If you are looking for a digital marketing audit template, then you'll be happy to read this post.


There is a lot to cover, so let's start.





Executive Summary


The audit provides useful reports about the website performance overall, including some actionable suggestions for short-term and long-term wins.


The report shows that paid channels are delivering above targets, while organic channels are not. Not only this, but the traffic is decreasing in terms CTR from Google.


With this analysis we can target issues quickly and identify opportunities to gain more organic traffic and to convert the existing traffic better.



A few SEO Statistics


I like to use SEMrush to find these stats, they have a simple report to give you just this:

  1. Markup: % of pages have no markup.

  2. Crawl Depth: % of pages with more than 3 clicks

  3. Canonicalization: % of pages without “rel=canonical” tag

  4. AMP Links: % of pages have no AMP links

  5. Sitemap vs Crawled Pages: 8,822 pages in Sitemap. Crawled pages not found in sitemap: 31%

  6. Incoming internal links: % of pages have only 1 incoming external link


A few CRO statistics


  • Goal completions: # of goals completed from Jan to Sept 2018

  • CR: % Unique user to lead completion rate

  • Organic CR: % unique user to lead

  • PPC CR: % unique user to lead CR

  • Feedbacks: no users feedbacks collected - if they do, you add it here

  • Page analysis: no page analysis (heatmaps, confetti)

  • Funnel: no funnel analysis

  • Experiments: no tests running


A few analytics stats


  • Bounce rate: %

  • Avg. time on page: 00:01:21

  • Total unique page views: 1,151,240

  • Exit rate: %

  • Advanced tracking: not implemented

  • Users: 292,990



Digital Marketing Targets


4 main objectives for [Company Name]


1- Paid – increase in leads

2- Organic – increase in traffic

3- Thought leadership

4- Increase conversion rates


I have compared the targets against conversions attributed to the paid and organic channels for the last 8 months.



I have compared targets against conversions split by paid and organic channel. The blue illustrates total conversions, yellow organic and green paid. I have included the targets as equal for every month, hence they always show the same level consistently.



Conversion rate


I have also checked the conversion rates from Month 0 to Month 9.

The conversion rate per user is %.

I have then split the conversion into top channels per session and per user:


  1. Google Organic: %

  2. Google Paid: %

  3. Direct %

  4. Bing organic: %

  5. Bing paid: %

  6. Email: %

  7. Facebook organic %

  8. Facebook paid %


As we can see, the conversion per user is always higher than conversion per sessions, simply because not always users do not convert on the first session.



Conversion rates targets


Note: the conversion rate (CR) is intended as:


  • user to lead

  • session to lead


User conversion rate


With a target of thousands of leads a month and many thousands users on average every month, we can figure out the conversion rate target of approximately 8.5% overall on the website.


At the moment, the conversion rate per user is 5.41% so we is below the target.

Session conversion rate


In terms of sessions, we have on average 62,000 sessions per month and the CR target is 5%. With 5% CR we should reach 3,100 leads per month.



Conversion rate per traffic sources


This is the conversion rate compared per traffic sources.


From the data, Paid generic, paid search and branded search are delivering above the targets of 10% and above website average of 8.41%.


Organic traffic decrease analysis


Looking at the report for organic traffic from Google, it looks like there is a decline between late May and late June 2018. And then after June the traffic is more stable.



What does the decrease look like?


The average CTR went from 6% on January to 4% in September, which is a decrease of 33% and to date it doesn’t seem to stop. In October, the CTR bumped to 3.3%.

In terms of traffic to the website, a lower CTR translates into a decrease from number of average clicks a day to about a another number / day, which means 20% lost in traffic from organic sources.


The CTR decrease is even more surprising if compared to impressions, which are increasing. This would suggest that CTR decrease can be explained by a non-relevant optimization done on the website.



Where is the decrease coming from?


Despite the impressions went up in the last 2 months of August and September, CTR went down and it was driven by several key landing pages.


Here is the complete list of landing pages with decreasing CTR: You can here give the complete landing pages report which show the decrease.



Pro tip: find pages that convert very high but have bad ranking on Google (below position 3) or bad CTR and work to improve those ranking and CTRs.

Insights: from this graph it’s clear that the page with higher conversion rates not necessarily perform better in search.



And also, the contrary is true, those pages that do very well in search like the home page, do not very well in organic conversion rates.

However, most of these pages shows a higher than 5% (=website average) conversion rate.



SEO Optimization Ideas


In this paragraph you can recommend some ideas on how to optimise the page to have better ranking.


Optimization Ideas per Page


Page URL here


The URL page is the highest converting page with over 10% conversion rate from organic traffic. Also, is has a total search volume of 155,200 queries so there is a huge potential to get more traffic if the page is optimized better for SEO.



  1. Decrease bounce rate from 50%. Analyze and adjust all factors that may be increasing bounce rate and make it at least 30%

  2. Semantic markup: Enrich page content. Compared to our competitors, some related words are not present in the page’s content.

  3. Content: the page <body> tag does not contain some of the keywords.

  4. We should also create more engaging content. The page only has 458 words, we should at least write 1,000 words in this page to be better than competitors.

  5. Also the text is not readable enough and it’s difficult to understand.

  6. Backlinks. We should try to acquire links from these websites: give URL list.


Pro tip: You can keep giving recommendations for each page that ranks badly but converts really high.



Other Search Appearance Ideas: featured snippets


I have checked the search appearance on Google.co.uk and compared to our competitors for some of the keywords we compete on. In particular, I have checked the keyword “give keyword name” for which COMPETITOR is ranking as featured snippet.


What is a Featured Snippet?


It’s known as position 0 on the search results. It comes before the position 1 and it shows some steps that answer the query.


Why do we need featured snippets?


  • They bring more traffic

  • More conversions

  • Help with brand awareness



The Blog analysis


The blog is built to meet objective number 3 (though leadership) and it’s not performing as it should. These are some concerns:


  • The posts are not being pulled and linked from other third-party websites for link building and SEO

  • Some blog posts have high bounce rate up to 90%

  • They are not visible straight from the home page, unless you click on the menu

  • They are too short in terms of word counts to have an impact on SEO and search

this section is about listing all the issues you have with blog. Content marketing is important so we expect the blog to actually deliver leads and business results.


On Google Analytics you can easily create a segment to view only blog pages. The purpose of this segment is to understand how many people land on one of the blog pages directly.






User experience and feedbacks


User experience is one of the key aspects of a good website. It's good for SEO and good for CRO. In this section make a list of all UX issues you can find.


I like to run quantitiative and qualitative researches to find out more.



Users Feedbacks


If feedbacks are not collected, we should find out what users think about their experience on the website, some hypothetical examples of what we should find out:


1- How easy is to find something on the website?

2- How clear is the information displayed?

3- How clear is our pricing?

4- How did you find our site?

5- How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?

6- If you could change anything on this page, what would that be?

7- Was this article useful?

8- Is there anything that is not working as you expected on this page?

9- Was this article useful?

10- What convinced you to pay for this service/ product?

11- What content would you like to see us offer?

12- What persuaded you to ask for a prospectus?

13- What’s the biggest question you had about our courses?

14- What did stop you from buying on this page?


We can then use feedbacks to build on more AB tests and improve the overall experience to build a customer-centric website. I like to use Hotjar, for which I have written a tutorial and review.


Quantitative research


If you have external links that you might use to increase your business, like affiliate marketing, I have written a guide on how to track outbound links with Tag Manager.


Then you can report your results in this Audit.


Other types of quantitative research is using Google Tag Manager to track and measure important numbers. Here is the complete guide on how to use GTM for digital marketing.



CRO and Landing pages Analysis


In this section you analyse the landing pages to check how good they are in terms of 5 parameters:

  1. Focus on the goal: is there any distraction for the user?

  2. Motivation: how do we incentivice conversions?

  3. Persuasiveness: how good is the copy?

  4. Propensity to act: is the CTA prominent? Are there too many different CTAs?

  5. Relevance: how relevant is this landing page with regards to users' search on Google?

Example: the free trial page. If you are a SaaS company, the free trial is a good way to engage customers, especially if they don't have to commit to much. Normally their email is enough to get them into your marketing communications funnel and convert them in a later stage.


Score for the free trial page: 40%


URL of the page here.


And then below you can go through each parameter in detail.

Parameter 1 Focus on the goal : 0%


Nothing is good here. Many outgoing links are a major distraction for a visitor; many visitors may not come back to your landing page after clicking outgoing links.

Try guiding the visitors by placing important persuasive elements next to each other on the landing pages.

Reduce the number of steps in the landing page to 1 since some visitors will drop off at each stage.

Parameter 2: Motivation : 60%


Pages with a free trial normally converts well. It’s great to have these on the landing pages.

Good job on avoiding a long-distance page. Short landing pages require less effort for visitors to scan the offering and take decision to engage further.


We are doing a very good job in emphasizing free trial prominently since it motivates visitors to engage.


On the down side, there are a few improvements to be made.


Vague headline which is too technical are conversion killers.

Also, visitors relate to benefits, not features. Try providing a bulleted list of benefits right after the deadline.

Parameter 3: Persuasiveness: 40%


Showing HTTPS shows the landing page is secure and safe, which decreases hesitation in trying out the offering.


This was pretty much the only good thing here.


Form is too long, try to ask only the most important information as visitors hesitate when they have to insert too much information before they actually get any benefit.


Try including some testimonials to build trust and credibility.


Try including some case studies or examples of how the offering can benefit the visitor.

Parameter 4: Propensity to act : 40%


You did the right thing in making the call to action larger than other elements on the page. Larger call to actions conveys its importance to the visitor.

The offering has too many CTAs, do not make people think they have more options on what they should do. Always have 1 single CTA.

Try changing the color of the CTA to that it stands out and every visitor notices it.

Try using persuasive text which relates to the benefits and offering such as, for example, “Create my free account”.

To avoid the case of visitors not scrolling down, try moving the CTA above the page fold.

Parameter 5: Relevance 100%


It’s great that the landing page gets PPC targeted traffic. Targeted traffic converts better because visitors’ expectations has already been set on search engines.

Since most visitors are actively looking for the offering, the landing page will convert at a higher rate.



The funnel analysis

In this part of the audit, you talk about differences between paid and organic conversions and landing pages.





In GA you can find the funnel analysis, if you haven't set this up yet, your career is in danger!


Start with some simple numbers and highlight the differences between paid and organic. For example:


As we can see, organic traffic shows an average CR of 3.96% from visit to lead, while the website overall shows 4.97%.


In other words, organic traffic shows -20% conversion rate if compared to the website overall.

There are several reasons why this is happening:


The conversion rate is lower at landing page level from organic traffic compared to other channels. This [page URL] is converting at 18.27% on all Users and 4% on organic traffic. This is because the organic traffic is too small (0.5% of the website traffic).


User intentions from organic traffic are different than other channels.


This is the complete landing page report comparing all users’ conversions vs organic traffic conversions. The report shows the key metrics to identify poor performing pages from organic traffic:


· Bounce rate

· Conversion rate percentages %

· Page per sessions

· Goal completions


Where the landing page shows high bounce rates and low number of visited pages per session, it’s a signal the page doesn’t convert as the rest of the website.


Here you can insert a table with the top row being this:


Landing Page - Segment - Sessions - Bounce Rate - Pages/ Session - Goal Conversion Rate - Goal Completions


and the left column showing each URL is question.


You should come up with this table where you compare the same URL but from different sources:


Pro tip: understand why there are some differences between organic and paid traffic and try to improve the performance from each channel.

Conclusion


In the conclusion, simply summarize your finding and make it easy to understand for non numbers people, those who are not familiar with these metrics.


© 2020 by Luca Tagliaferro. All rights reserved.