Recently David Freeman posted an interesting take on technical and content audits and how he feels that the old way of doing audits needs to change. His ideas chime with mine, and so I thought I would give my take on how a modern technical audit should work, and how one can apply the methods that Team Sky used to dominate the Tour de France, to technical SEO.
At first glance the Tour de France and Olympic cycling doesn’t appear to have anything to do with websites, but the key reason the UK went from nowhere to dominating the tournament is the concept of continuous incremental improvement.
Dave Brailsford realised that if the Brits applied the concept of continuous improvement, or Kaizen (改善?), they could win the Tour de France in 5 years (they actually did it in 3!).
His strategy was to go for a “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained this as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do”; each improvement in itself might be small but when you add them all up, they make up to a considerable gain.
- Using nitrogen instead of air to inflate tires.
- Removing the inner tubes.
- Taking pillows and mattresses to the hotel to help riders get a good night’s sleep.
- Using different bikes for different stages.
It’s the same with websites – a one off technical or content audit is a start but it should be part of a process of continuous improvement, rather than as a one off that is done and then forgotten.
- Improving page load time by up to 250ms by optimising images.
- Making sure all your content is surfaced. Recently, I worked on a site where because of its navigation, 20% or so of its SJKU’s when not found by search engines.
- Making sure all your Local Business listings are up to date.
To stay on top and constantly improve, it is vital to see a website as something that is improved on continuously not something that is grudgingly changed by your IT department once a year. While you don’t do this, you can bet that your competitors are.
A CMO or CTO should always be prepared for their CEO to say “what have you done to improve the performance of the website this month?”, and be ready with a good answer.
The same concept also applies to content. When I was working on an Audi site, our team would start planning for a new car model up to 18 months in advance, both for content and technical changes. Content would be continuously added leading up to the actual launch date.