SEO professionals don’t need to be told how important SEO is for growing businesses.
It’s estimated that businesses spent a whopping $65 billion on SEO in 2016 and that 40% of revenue for businesses comes from organic search alone.
If you want SEO to truly do all it can for your business, your website needs a technical SEO audit.
Do you want to learn best practices for technical SEO audits? After you read this post, you’ll be able to perform an effective and comprehensive technical site audit.
A Beginners Guide To The Technical SEO Audit
Content-driven SEO can be easy to grasp, but technical SEO is a little more challenging. Technical audits are less about content and appearance, and more about the way your website is built and how it functions.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a master developer to perform a comprehensive SEO audit on your website.
We’re going to help you run your first SEO audit by outlining exactly what you need to have done. Once you understand the most essential parts of your audit, you’ll be able to perform a flawless one.
Master The SEO Basics
Before you perform a technical SEO audit, make sure that other basic parts of your SEO strategy are in order.
It’s easy to assume that some fundamental features of SEO are in order before you being a technical audit. Forgetting key pieces of SEO will skew the results of your audit, so make sure everything is in order before you begin:
Your title tags should be unique and have keywords that are relevant to the site content in them. You may have hundreds of pages that need to be indexed, but unique title tags are still important.
If you have a lot of pages that need unique tags, come up with a simple naming convention for them. A descriptive keyword paired with a dash and the name of your company can work well.
If you don’t have H1s, H2s, and H3s properly tagged on your site, you’re missing out on a lot of potential SEO.
Go through your site and make sure that header text is properly tagged, and that it contains relevant keywords.
Like with title tags, meta descriptions should be unique and feature relevant keywords and text that make people want to click links.
Remember, meta descriptions are going to help readers decide if your content is relevant and interest enough for them. Write interesting and informative descriptions, don’t make them generic.
Content is important for your online reputation and SEO. When was the last time site content was updated with relevant keywords?
It’s important to look at trending keywords to make sure that you’re still including phrases people are searching for. The content you have on your site now may be in need of a keyword refresh.
Take a little time to look into trending keywords and see how many of them are woven into the content you currently have. Also, don’t be afraid to bring on a little copywriting help to spruce up content if it needs a lot of work.
Site Look And Structure
If your website is poorly designed, a technical SEO audit won’t be much help. You’ll need to have a website that looks and works great if you want to improve your rankings.
A site like the one from Goodman Creatives is a nice example of a well-built site. The links work, the images are engaging, and it’s easy to move around to different sections.
If your site needs some work, focus on making it great before you worry about SEO.
Make Sure Your Pages Can Be Indexed
You’ve noticed your traffic steadily falling over the past few months, and it seems like you rankings keep slipping lower. It’s very possible that your SEO problems are being caused by pages that can’t be crawled.
If you’re concerned about pages being unable to be indexed, be sure to check these things:
Check Your Indexed Sites
There’s a very easy way to see which sites are currently being indexed by Google.
Simply do a Google search for site:yourdomainname.com and you’ll see a list of pages that are currently indexed.
Check Your Index Status
One of the easiest ways to see if crawlers are missing pages on your site is to check the Index Status report in your Google Analytics tools. You can easily see the number of pages Google has crawled under your domain name.
You’ll want to check the data to see that the page count is going up over time. If it hasn’t increased, your pages could have issues that aren’t allowing them to be crawled.
Beef Up Security
There are a lot of factors that come into play when Google ranks websites, and security is one of them.
Google wants to make sure that they’re showing the most accurate and helpful search results possible to searchers. Landing on a website that may not be secure can put people at risk.
Before you worry about forming a cybersecurity task force for your site, start by improving security on your own by switching over to HTTPS.
Google prefers HTTPS websites because they offer encrypted communication with web servers.
Audit Your Backlinks
SEO may have changed a lot over the years, but there are some fundamentals that are still the same.
If you want to improve your rankings, you’re going to need some high-quality backlinks from around the net. If your site has been around for a while you may have amassed hundreds of links you don’t even know about.
A full backlink audit should be at the top of your technical SEO checklist. You may find that your SEO problems are being caused by some particularly malicious links.
Find a good backlink crawling tool and have them do the tedious work for you. Once you have a list of your backlinks, you can start identifying the bad ones.
Handling bad links can be a tedious process. You have to reach out to webmasters individually to ask them to remove links. If you do come across a bad link, don’t be surprised if it takes a while for it to be taken down.
If you’ve truly done everything you can to get the links taken down, you can always use Google’s disavow tool. The tool is meant to be used as a last resort, and you’ll need to prove that you’ve diligently tried to get the links taken down on your own.
Don’t Forget About Mobile
A surprising amount of traffic comes from mobile today, and Google pays attention to how your site displays on mobile devices when it determines rankings.
When you’re doing a technical audit, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile use.
The simplest way to optimize for mobile is to use responsive design. Your website will be designed to create optimum experiences on every screen size.
Optimize Site Speed
Internet providers play a role in how fast a page or site loads, but developers have a lot of power when it comes to site speed.
There are plenty of tools you can use to measure your site speed. Google likes to show sites that have fast load times. Ideally, all of your pages should be able to load in 3 seconds or less.
Unless you’re a gifted developer, you may need a little help with some of the tasks. But in general, there are some things you can do to help improve site speed that won’t require a site rebuild.
Check Image File Size
The images on your website may be too big and could dramatically slow down loading times on your pages.
Take some time to go through and check image sizes. Try to reduce what you can without having to compromise image quality.
Remove Redirect Chains
Redirects should be a simple way to go from one page to another. When you start adding additional redirects to existing ones, things can start to get tricky.
See how many redirects you have on your current site and try to get rid of as many of them as possible.
Get Rid Of Duplicate Content
Duplicate content won’t get you a penalty, but it still isn’t good for SEO. When bots find duplicate content, they don’t know what version to index.
Search engines typically won’t show multiple versions of the same content because it wouldn’t provide the best experience for searchers. Crawlers are essentially forced to choose which version will be the best result.
Duplicate content can be tricky to catch because people don’t intentionally do it. Your duplicate content is probably caused by a small mistake that’s causing big problems.
You may have one page with an HTTP address and another with an HTTPS address. If you’re an e-commerce website, you may have duplicate content because you’re using whatever wording the manufacturer provides.
One of the easiest ways to handle duplicate content is to start using canonical tag links. The canonical tag will let Google know which pages are the most important and need to be indexed.
Now that you know how to perform a technical SEO audit like a pro, you’re ready to find other ways to market yourself online.
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