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Optimizing your website for easy browsing and searching not only helps bring users to your site, but it also encourages them to explore and keep coming back for continued use. Elements like user-friendly navigation, quick loading speeds, and functioning links help your website appear more professional and increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction. 

Analyzing your website can help you discover which of your optimization areas are successful and where you can benefit from updates and improvements. Additionally, analyzing your competitors’ websites can help you find content and keywords to target, explore ways to create a better browsing experience, and adapt ideas to make your site stand out and lead to more conversions.

What Is a Website Analysis?

A website analysis is the process of testing and reviewing a website’s performance for key metrics such as speed, traffic, search engine optimization (SEO), competition, and user experience. Each of these elements is a factor in your website’s success, meaning they directly affect the performance of your company. Conducting a website analysis is beneficial because the data you collect and the results you find can help you improve your pages and strategies to attract more new users and turn them into repeat visitors.

4 Types of Traditional Website Analysis

Website analysis strategies can teach you more about your website’s functions, its performance, and how users interact with it. These types of traditional website analysis include:

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1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO helps you understand what people are searching for when they encounter your website online. There are multiple options for analyzing your website for SEO, including:

  • Backlink analysis: This type of analysis helps you discover internal and external pages that link to your site and compare your backlink profiles to your competitors. Most SEO tools, including Moz, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console, have these features. You may also consider working with CopyPress for content syndication to earn more backlinks to your website.
  • On-page SEO audit: This type of analysis helps you review your website for common technical issues that can affect the website’s search engine performance. Using specialized tools such as Screaming Frog or Google Search Console can help you find results.
  • Search engine ranking analysis: This type of analysis shows where your website ranks for specific keywords in different search engines. Depending on the tools you use, you may be able to look at rankings for the keyword of your choice, see which keywords you currently rank with, and explore how your website ranks in different locations or from different devices.

2. Speed

Analyzing the speed of your website helps you understand how fast your content loads on different devices. Speed is important because both users and search engines prefer a fast-loading website to a sluggish one. Learning what elements slow down your loading speed—such as large images, unclean code, or too many ads—can help you make improvements. Depending on the tools you use, you may be able to decide which elements slow down your site on specific devices. Many free tools can help you with a speed analysis, including:

3. Traffic

Analyzing the traffic your website receives can help you learn about the number of people who visit your site, when they access your content, and where they access it from, including their geographic location and their device type. Understanding traffic helps you identify where you can best invest your resources. Many comprehensive analytics programs, such as Google Analytics, monitor traffic and what people do when they arrive at your website.

4. User experience

Reviewing the user experience can help you understand what a visitor does when they get to your website. Unlike some other types of website analysis that may be similar for all companies in the same market, the user experience is something only you can provide. This metric also focuses more heavily on human preference and behavior rather than strictly on metrics and numbers. 

Behavior analytics tools like heatmaps and session recordings may help you see how people navigate through your website and which elements they find most engaging. Feedback and voice of customer (VOC) tools like on-site surveys and feedback widgets can allow your users to give you lengthier or more specialized feedback regarding their interactions with your website.

How To Run a Website Analysis

Understanding the steps to run a website analysis can help make the process go more smoothly. Use these tips to help prepare for and conduct your analysis:

1. Set An Analysis Goal

You can run a website analysis at any time and for any reason. In fact, running analyses can often help you better understand new updates to search engines or optimization trends across the internet. Even if you conduct analyses regularly, each one should still have a purpose in order to maximize its effectiveness. To establish a purpose for your analysis, look for an issue, problem, or challenge facing your website and create a target to solve the problem or understand the issue. 

For example, if you have a page that isn’t reaching your expected conversion rate, you may run an analysis to help understand what you could change to increase that statistic. You may consider options like “Is the page loading quickly enough?” or “Are all elements easily accessible on a mobile device?” Knowing why you’re running the analysis can help guide your actions throughout the rest of the process.

2. Create an Analysis Road Map

After you’ve set your goal, it’s helpful to have an ideal scenario or benchmark in mind that you can compare your results against. This can help you determine exactly what you’re hoping to achieve from your analysis and how you’ll take action after the analysis to meet that standard. Consider creating a step-by-step plan for how you expect a user to progress through your conversion cycle or how you expect them to browse and use your website. 

It’s beneficial to get as precise as you can with each step, starting as early in the process as possible. For example, your first step may be the user conducting an internet search to find your website. Making note of each step can help you get the broadest possible range of data from your analysis. Include all steps from beginning to end, even small ones, to help you track user experience through the process. 

3. Collect Data

The next step is to use analytics tools to collect the appropriate data from your website and those of your competitors. This helps you understand your actual performance metrics and ways you can improve your website. The type of data you collect, the tools you use, and the tests you run during data collection depend on your goal or the problem you’re trying to solve on your website. Consider collecting only those pieces of information that directly relate to your goal. If you find other information that needs to be addressed throughout data collection, you can plan to run a separate analysis for another goal or purpose.

4. Review and Understand the Data

Once you’ve established your goal for your website and collected the data about how it actually performs, you can review both and see how they compare to one another. Consider areas such as where the two plans diverge or road map steps that don’t function as intended. Understanding your collected data can make it easier to decide how and where to make changes that benefit both the website users and the company as a whole. 

5. Brainstorm Solutions To Improve Your Website

Knowing what you want or need to fix is only one part of the analysis process. The other is deciding how to make these improvements and create actual change. Make a bulleted list of the ways you can update certain aspects of your website with minor adjustments. For more complex revisions, consider listing step-by-step instructions during your brainstorming sessions and choosing the teams or individuals to which you can assign each portion.

6. Continue To Make Changes and Optimize Your Website

After implementing your changes, continue to run periodic analyses on all areas of your website, not just the ones you previously altered. This can help ensure that your changes are working or clarify if they need further adjustments. It also lets you know if other areas of your website, over time, can benefit from going through the same improvement process.

Why Should I Analyze Competitor Websites?

Focusing on competitor websites when conducting your website analysis can teach you about the other solutions your target audience can access when shopping, browsing, or otherwise searching for a product or service online. In fact, sources say that 99% of competitive intelligence professionals find competitors’ websites to be a valuable source of information when conducting their own audits. 

By operating online or engaging customers with an online presence, businesses have access to a larger customer base around the world, not just from their physical locations. Therefore, understanding how other businesses reach their target audience can help you make your solution or experience better or more enticing to the same global market.

What Should I Look For in a Competitive Website Analysis?

While there are many metrics you can review about a competitor’s website, there are three common ones that you might choose to prioritize depending on your analysis goal. They include:

  • Customer demographics: Understanding who your competitors view as their target audience may help you find niche markets that are underserved or help you find a larger market that you hadn’t previously considered targeting.
  • Organic traffic: If you depend on organic traffic to drive customers to your website, understanding the SEO statistics and search engine rankings for your competitors’ content and keywords can help you discover how to alter your keywords and rank more highly in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: If you use paid advertising or campaigns, you can study how your competitors leverage their paid traffic. Consider focusing on areas such as what kinds of ads they create, where they feature those ads, and the user engagement with each one.

Tools For Easy Website Analysis

Different website analytics tools have unique features to allow you to monitor a variety of elements related to market analysis and data collection. Testing these tools can help you discover which ones best serve your analysis goals and business model. Many of these tools offer both paid and free or trial versions to allow you to explore which ones best serve your needs. Some include:

Ahrefs

The Ahrefs program crawls the internet 24/7 to collect, store, and host petabytes of data. This data hub allows users to conduct SEO audits and analyze social metrics to study their competitors’ content marketing strategies and review backlink patterns. Some data groupings include:

  • Breakdown of image and text links
  • Breakdowns of nofollow and dofollow links
  • Broken backlinks
  • Most popular anchor phrases
  • Most popular site content
  • Number of backlinks from certain types of domains
  • Pages crawled
  • Referring backlinks
  • Referring domain regions
  • Referring IPs

Ahrefs is a paid program for all users, even for basic functions. You can test this program for a nominal fee to decide if it’s right for your analysis uses.

Alexa

Alexa is more than just a voice recognition program for Amazon devices. It’s also a website analytics tool that provides demographic and regional information based on a sample set of internet traffic to tell you which users a website attracts. 

With the basic plan, you can use the Alexa toolbar in Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers to show rankings for the site you’re visiting, as well as related search terms and links. With the advanced plan, you can learn more information about keywords and paid search traffic. It also includes tools like a backlink checker, traffic statistics, and a keyword matrix.

MixRank

The MixRank tool provides detailed information about a company and its affiliates. This is good for conducting competitive analysis and looking for new leads by helping you discover which products and services your competitors offer. Some data points from MixRank include:

  • Advertisers sorted by category, keyword, and traffic source
  • Contact information for company management and owners
  • Directories of registered businesses
  • Information about each company’s marketing channels
  • Technology profiles for each company

Moz

Moz is a popular tool for monitoring SEO and social marketing campaigns. You can also use it to monitor rank racking, review backlink analysis, undertake keyword research, and run site audits. The Pro version allows users to crawl their own websites and competitor websites. The crawl feature also notifies you when you have a new site issue to fix. 

Quantcast

The Quantcast program focuses on demographics and behavior. It tags websites, blogs, videos, and widgets to measure statistics such as users’ ages, genders, and interest areas. It also tracks user retention and interaction statistics for a variety of factors and allows for real-time analysis to monitor changes as they occur. To use, embed a tracking code on your website to generate your own data and access limited information from other websites, such as traffic reports. Quantcast may be most successful when used with other analytics tools to see how changing a website affects conversion goals and branding.

SEMrush

SEMrush monitors competitors’ display advertising and search engine marketing (SEM) strategies. It can also monitor your own website performance in organic search results and compare them with competitors. Other information SEMrush provides includes:

  • Changes in the search volume with data for up to two years
  • Nofollow and dofollow backlinks
  • Organic and paid search traffic volume
  • Ranking keywords for competitors’ websites
  • Target competitor websites

SEMrush accounts are free but have limited features. With a pro membership, you can run more reports and receive more results per report, and you can manage up to 500 keywords across projects. They also offer two more advanced plans, “Guru” and “Business,” with even more available information.

Similar Web

Similar Web can help you see how much traffic your competitors receive and which successful advertising channels they use. It includes data mining and analysis tools to extract data from local and global data partnerships, local ISPs, web crawlers, and web surfers. Variables considered in each analysis include:

  • Audience interest
  • Average time visitors spend on the website
  • Bounce rate
  • Display ad banner pictures
  • Estimate monthly visitors
  • Keywords for paid search traffic
  • Percentage of traffic from individual channels
  • Top referring websites
  • Traffic proportions for social networks

This program offers a free service, but they limit data to a few results for each metric. With the enterprise plan, you can access three years of web traffic data and unlimited metrics.

WhatRunsWhere

WhatRunsWhere monitors paid search campaigns to provide access to advertisers, websites, and networks in multiple countries. This program can generate real-time data about keywords, display networks, and campaigns over time to show you how they’ve evolved. WhatRunsWhere can also help determine what keywords and links competitors use consistently to help you decide if these are phrases you should use too. Combining this program with demographic and SEO analysis tools may be beneficial, as this can help you get more actionable information about free traffic and organic search rankings. 

Locating the information necessary for a website analysis can be much easier with the aid of analytics tools. Learning how to interpret and evaluate your collected data can teach you about your competitors and your own current practices to improve your website design and strategies.

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