I know, I know! Doesn't it sound dreadful? The Audit. Conjuring up images of spreadsheets, accountants and bad hair days. But wait... this isn't about that kind of audit. This is much less stressful, yet just as important.
We have talked about auditing your website before. But if you are online, you need to be auditing your entire online presence. It should be done on a schedule. We suggest quarterly.
Review all online content related to your business, testing all links and reading every word. Broken or irrelevant links are an annoyance to readers. Make sure there are none when they visit you. When testing links, stop long enough to ensure the referenced content is still there.
Some places to check in addition to your website are:
Profiles. Remember when we found out that online profiles helped search engine ranking? Suddenly, we had more profiles than was manageable. Check them. Find your log-in or request a new one and keep the profiles current. If they are of no value to your business, delete them. Better to have no information than misleading out-of-date information.
Social Media Accounts. Usually checked daily, there shouldn't be much to audit here. But look at your About information, cover images and icons with a specific eye to how a new follower would perceive them. Do you need to freshen the look or update the information? Have you even read the information since you first entered it?
As a last step, Google your business name. Look through the results for anything funky. Did you set up a profile at some long forgotten, now defunct service? It could be still out there, providing old or misleading information to those searching for you. Make sure anything you want to keep active is current - update it if it is not. Get rid of anything that is no longer providing you value. Sometimes this will require a couple of steps or an email to the service. Take the time to complete the steps or send the email. It is never a good idea to have bad information showing up in a search.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder, April 24, 2013