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How to do a 30 Second Manual Website Audit

Marvin Russell
How to do a 30 Second Manual Website Audit

You’re in a huge rush. Today will never end. It’s been sales meeting after sales meeting. Your last meeting just finished and now you’ve raced across town to the next one. You pull up to your prospect’s office and you have about 2 minutes before you have to go in. Time is moving forward too quick - you need this information fast and now.

You open your laptop, connect to your smart phone’s wifi, and quickly review the client’s website so you don’t look like a fool in the meeting. For whatever reason, you didn’t have time to run a website audit earlier that morning or late last night. Maybe you just forgot. It doesn’t matter.

Watch for The Following Red Flags

You need to do a quick manual website audit of the prospect’s site so you can impress the hell out of them in the meeting and win their business. What red flags can you spot on your prospective client’s website in about 30 seconds that will impress the hell out of them and win their business?

Every web design, SEO and digital marketing salesperson have been in this spot at least once. In my +10 year sales career, I found myself in this unfortunate situation a few times. These are things I look for when left with no choice but to do a quick 30 second, manual website audit of my prospect’s website.

Right-Click the Logo

This quick little trick will show you if they've optimized their logo, which most people don’t. This is a simple optimization mistake that a vast majority of website developer make. Here are a few red flags to look for:

  • Missing ALT tag
  • File named “logo.png” instead of “keyword.png”
  • Underscores in the file name

Check Responsiveness

Move the arrow of your mouse to the bottom right corner of the browser and drag the browser to the left until it stops and it looks like you’re viewing the prospect’s website on a mobile device. Is the site responsive or not? If it’s not, make a mental note for you to bring it up in your meeting.

Check the Website Platform

The easiest way to do this is to install the BuiltWith extension in your browser. While viewing any website, simply click this extension and see what platform the site is on. BuiltWith will tell you if they’re on Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress, or anything else. This is super handy!

Check for Google Analytics

The easiest way to do this is to look for Google Analytics while you’re looking for the website platform in BuiltWith. It’s great to know if your prospect has Google Analytics installed or not. However, be sure to ask them if they’re using an alternative analytics tool, before you proclaim this is a red flag to your prospective client.

Right-Click Any Image

This is very similar to the logo optimization check above. However, I kept it separate because developers sometimes optimize the image on a site, but not the logo, or vice-versa. So, find the first main image, right-click it, and look for the following red flags:

  • Missing ALT tag
  • File named “logo.png” instead of “keyword.png”
  • Underscores in the file name

Check for Preferred Domain

This is another super important and super easy red flag to look for. Enter your client’s URL with a “www” and without a “www”. One should redirect to the other. If this does not happen, then their preferred domain is not set. Google and other major search engines could look at your prospect’s website as two websites. This is a major red flag.

Look for a robots.txt File

Another very fast manual website audit check is to enter your prospect’s URL followed by /robots.txt. (domain.com/robots.txt) Missing a robots.txt file will make it harder for search engines to understand their website and how to crawl it. This is a red flag you can discuss in the meeting.

Check for an Outdated Copyright Year in the Footer

A quick indication of a poorly maintained website is an outdated copyright year in the footer. We’ve all seen it. Either no one is updating this site or the person doing it is doing a poor job. This might also be a great indication that this prospect will need a future monthly maintenance plan.

Check for Underscores in the URL

Google has always preferred hyphens in URLs, not underscores. I’m not talking about the domain itself; that would be tough to recommend changing. I’m talking about the page’s URL after the domain. They should not contain any underscores. If they do, point out this red flag!

  • Correct: domain.com/my-page.html
  • Incorrect: domain.com/my_page.html

PHP versus ASP

Quick tip: Find out before your sales meeting is knowing which language your prospect’s current site is built on. Maybe your agency doesn’t work with ASP. Maybe this changes the price or scope of work. Either way it’s important to know and another easy piece of information to find out using the BuiltWith extension.

You're Finished!

Folks, there you have it. The 30 second manual website audit. Most of these checks can be pulled from memory the next time you’re in a jam and running late to the next sales meeting. Maybe practice them a bit after you finish reading this post, and make sure you install BuiltWith in your browser. Thanks for reading!

Marvin Russell is the CEO and founder of MySiteAuditor, a white-label, website audit tool that generates leads for digital marketing agencies.

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Emma Dale
Marvin Russell, you shared such I nice post which I am looking for, website audit tool which is now growing day by day. Thanks {link removed by moderator}
> Google has always preferred hyphens in URLs, not underscores.

Hm, is this a documented fact? What sources exist for this claim?
Marvin Russell
Matt Cutts mentioned this several times in different videos and blog posts. It's was just how their algorithm was written. Underscores are treated different and kind of ignored when trying to separate words, therefore two words would be looked at as one word.


Watch this video ^
Don't forgot the title tag. If there isn't keyword + location targeting, that's a key indication. I'd also recommend checking SEMRush for a quick snapshot of SEO performance. It will show if they've been hit with a penalty/algorithm update.
Marvin Russell
Jared Banz
Great advice. Thanks Jared!
Marvin Russell
No problem - thank you for the post! It's amazing how quickly you can get a good "health check" on a website.