Those words. ” We just need to rank on Google ”  We hear them often at JumpStart Matrix.
Ranking on Google is something all online businesses want, usually fast.. and cheap!.(SEO no longer works like that)
Along with those words  ” we know the site needs ….updating/refurbishing/transforming/help/work ”
Usually followed by ” but WHY do we need to pay you for a Site Report?”

So, I thought I would try to lay out some of the process/reasons and why you do need to pay us to pull the current site apart, to analyse, BEFORE we can make (data driven NOT guesswork) decisions on what to change,where and when!

I had one recent case where the client had an established online business with a Shopping Cart.
They know the site is ‘outdated’ but all they wanted to talk about was getting (almost)instant results on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages)
I dutifully went to the Home Page.
I immediately found 7 Broken Links(Yes, SEVEN)
A Broken Link is a hyperlink (a link,often in blue that you click on to go to another site or Page) that doesn’t work but takes you instead to a 404 or error page. Often the link points to a web page that has been deleted or moved.
WHY is a Broken Link a Problem?
Links that are broken will effectively stop Search Engines (ahem.. like Google!) from completely indexing your website.
Do you want the Search Engines like Google to think  that your website is being neglected?NO.
That IS what they will assume if broken links are left unfixed

Not to mention if you are doing any form of advertising on Google Adwords … Google takes a DIM view of broken sites.
Then I noticed a “request a quote’ button.. that went nowhere. UNLESS you were in Internet Explorer!
(I pause .. to let all the other Online Marketers shudder)
No one using Firefox, Chrome or Safari could Request that Quote..Hello!

Then I looked at the Page Source Meta Tags/Keywords and found a few- But many of those same keywords were NOT ON THE ACTUAL PAGE ITSELF.
Another Search Engine” No No”
There were no Internal links on the site from Page to Page, though there were many cross references..
There was little Alt Text for their images in the Galleries they had.
Lots more that I could see as I navigated around the site… this all takes time.
And guess what..I get paid for my time as an Online Marketing Consultant.

To really deliver a Report that we can use as a place to start to make a website ” Google Friendly” that ranks and performs,I need access to the dashboard or back end and hours to go through everything that IS currently in place ( or NOT in place).

I hope this helps anyone looking for troubleshooting advice see why we do a Site Report before making ANY changes.