Independent Website Due Diligence – Investor Research

A Website report is an essential part of Due Diligence to establish company value.

 

If you are buying or investing in a company you need to understand exactly what its website contributes to the value. Company valuations depend on many factors and often have a subjective element. Similarly, how much a website contributes is not just about sales.

Some factors to consider are:

  • How many visitors does the website get?
  • How many convert to customers?
  • What is the customer profile?
  • How well does the website perform compared to sector competitors?
  • How much room is there to improve?

Making the decision to purchase or invest in a company is often made with insufficient consideration of its website.

What should be included in a Website report as part of the Due Diligence?

History and Overview

This should include a general summary of the website’s role, objectives and history. When was it established, what technology does it use (is this good or bad?), is it mobile friendly? The website background can often be very different to the company background.

Current Online Marketing Activity

What is the current digital strategy and how is it being implemented. Is it being carried out in-house or by a third party? How is it being measured, how much does it cost and what is the return?

How many followers, friends or likes does the website have? Is it active on social media or pay per click?

Search Engine and Website Performance

Which ‘keywords’ does the site ‘rank for’ at the moment? Are these relevant to the company objectives and is the SEO strategy performing efficiently? How is the website performance monitored, are all the basics in place or is there room for improvement?

Website performance

Analytics

Visitor numbers and conversion (sales or enquiries)

How many people visit the website and from which source. How many of these convert to paying customers.

Local SEO
local seo growth over time
Traffic Trends

What types of customers are buying from the website. For example, do they only purchase once, or regularly. What is the split between returning and new customers? Which marketing activity is driving the most number of visits?

Online Reputation

Does the company (via the website) have a good reputation? How many positive reviews are found on either social media or the site itself? How many negative? What is the general online perception of the website / company? Online reviews need to be managed and responded to, how is this completed?

Competitor Research

Who are the main competitors and how does their website perform in comparison? Include an overview and commentary about the positives and negatives of their sites.

Cost

What is the overall operating cost of the website and supporting function? From hosting costs, to security, payment processing and customer service.

Opportunites / Threats

Include a list of the opportunities and potential threats to the website performance.

Website Oversight

Based in the North West, an estate agent contacted us in order to review their website. Our contact had purchased a business and reached out to discover how he could improve its website performance.

In summary, our client’s new website just loaded 3rd party content. Consequently, in Google terms, their website didn’t exist!

On the positive side, our client had bought a company that had a website with a great deal of opportunity!

Another client had looked to make an investment in a mail order company. Their website was clunky but was taking orders. Understand the customer data behind the orders. Highlight opportunity that the website could realise. Outline the effect this would have on the bottom line.

Before Making an Investment, Carry out Website Due Diligence

It almost doesn’t matter which industry or sector you are looking to invest in. Even (especially) for companies that have no online presence, getting a view of the online landscape will offer insight and opportunity.

Contact us for more information about our website due diligence service.

Online Marketing and Websites
Online Customer Solutions Logo

 

 

Optimise a Website – SEO Audit to Improve Performance

Websites that have been around for some time often need a refresh. Find out how to run an SEO Audit and Optimise a Website.

The primary goal when optimising a website is to add value. Changes will need to improve performance for both the short-term and the long-term.

Outsource Your Audit

Online Customer Solutions deliver high-value, low-cost SEO services for small and medium size business. Fill out our quick contact form for more information.

What you need to Audit Your Website

Access to:
Google Analytics (or other third-party analytics).
Google Search Console
FTP Website Access
Crawling and Indexing Software

Duplicate Content

Check for Duplicate content. Make it a top priority to rewrite these pages. In the meantime, add the <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”> tag to the duplicate pages.

Some common duplicate content errors include : Duplicate meta titles and meta descriptions, duplicate body content, multiple or sub domains.

Use a canonical tag to let Google know which is the original and preferred URL is. Use the robots.txt to block pages you don’t want indexes. Re-write the content.

Pagination often causes duplicate content, use the robots file again to block the duplicates. Search Console will highlight any meta-data duplication.

What is Your Website Made Of?

There are many tools available to crawl your site – these work in a similar way to search engine robots. Enter your home page and the software bots will visit every page and element (image etc) on your website and catalogue useful information like H1, H2 tags, broken links and other metadata.

The best software tools will highlight if any pages are missing information, for example, Analytics code. They will also report how many pages the site has (compare this with Search Console) and if the site uses Flash (that is not recommended due to speed issues).

You can use these reports to fix heading issues, image alt text and more. Make sure your website follows the basic SEO guidelines.

Robots.txt

Check that your robots.txt file is not blocking pages from being indexed that you want to be included.

Identify and fix broken links.

URL format

If the URL has characters like ? or & it’s a dynamic URL which can cause duplicate content if not optimised. Make sure nothing is being reported in the consoles.

Keep the URLs as short and simple as possible while also removing any extra slashes.

Preferred URL domain name

Check that in the search console you have selected what your preferred domain URL is, for example, HTTP://www.test versus HTTP://test.

Backlinks

Check the number of backlinks to the site from anyone website page. Clean up anything that looks spammy.

Use your disavow list (don’t want to remove valuable links)

Sitemaps

Make sure your sitemap is accurate and submitted to the search engines. Don’t include parameter URLs in your sitemap or any non-indexable pages. If the site has different subdomains for mobile and desktop, add the rel=”alternate” tag to the sitemap.

Crawl Errors

These annoy users and search engines. HTTP Error Response Codes include:

301 — These are okay as long as there are only one redirect and no redirect loop.
302 — These are okay, but change them to 301s if they are permanent.
400 — Users can’t get to the page.
403 — Users are unauthorised to access the page.
404 — Page not found
500 — Internal server error- Turn it off and on again.

Fix errors using the proper redirect or if there is a technical error investigate further.

Structured Data Errors

Make sure if you are using a Schema that it is configured accurately. Again, here Search Console is your friend.

Check Your Index Results

Compare the numbers from Google Search Console with the numbers from Google Analytics, if the numbers are widely different, then you know that even though the pages are getting indexed only a fraction are getting organic traffic.

If the homepage isn’t appearing as the first result, perform a manual check of the website to see what it’s missing.

Cross-check the number of organic landing pages in Google Analytics to see if it matches the number of search results you saw in the search engine. This can help you determine what pages the search engines see as valuable.

Caching

Run a quick check to see if pages are being cached by Google. For example type : cache:www.onlinecustomersolutions.com. Google uses these cached pages to connect content with search queries.

Campaign Tagging

Tag your URLs with campaign information. For example:
https://www.onlinecustomersolutions.com/?utm_medium=blog&utm_source=ocs&utm_campaign=Nov2016

Google Analytics will report this in the Acquisition -> Campaigns Tab

Event Tracking

Set up event tracking and measure form completions, sales, conversion etc. Otherwise, how do you know if you are winning?

Keywords

Use Google Search Console to gain insight into keywords being used to find your site. You can use this to refine the landing pages and focus on building links with the right anchor text.

Top Level Domain

Sort of goes without saying, don’t use .es if your site is targeting the UK. Really only applicable to large multinational sites.

HTTPS: Essential for sites that take payment details, less so for others but is rumoured to have more than security advantages – search engines like it too.

Mobility

Search Console will let you know of any Mobile Useability problems. You site needs to be usable on mobile devices just as easy as a desktop. This is also important to your users – most of which will be primarily using mobile to browse the internet.

Site architecture

Using the Search console, report on how your site is linked together. Do the right pages have the most links? Is the content connected together using relevant keywords? If something looks wrong, you need to deep dive and investigate.

improve your website
SEO website audit

Site speed

Use PageSpeed Tools to report on the speed of your site. This tool will also let you know how to improve it.

Find out more

Contact us today.

Based in Manchester, Online Customer Solutions provide SEO services to a range of business and specialise in helping small businesses grow.

make sales online with online customer solutions
Online Customer Solutions Logo