A technical SEO audit is when you analyze the technical aspects of your website.Why do you need to maintain all the technical SEO specs of your site? Let’s look at the best practices and the necessity to conduct technical SEO audits.
With an SEO audit, you can understand how to pick up signs that reveal flaws or issues in your site on the technical side. This will help you improve your site SEO and focus on your business goals.
What is a Technical SEO Audit?
You may have set up your site using very skilled developers. This ensures your site’s functional health.
But if your site isn’t up to mark on SEO aspects, you will not gain visibility in the market. This equates to low returns in building a great website. Technical SEO audit gives you a general idea in terms of SEO health and much more granular data regarding how your campaigns and other link building efforts are faring.
In technical SEO audits, you can focus on specific areas such as your site crawlability, URL issues, and few other factors. This helps you segregate your findings and later collate them into a meaningful report for improvements.
Technical SEO ensures that you have no hindrance in achieving top positions in search engine results and ranking dominance. A technical SEO audit checks your overall site health and helps you fix such issues. A technical SEO audit can help you rank better on Google since the search engine values web pages that have great site health.
When should you do a Technical SEO Audit?
Ideally, a technical SEO audit should be done every quarter to ensure that your site is up to mark in SEO standards. But it can be done in shorter intervals, too. It depends on how your campaigns are formulated. Along with technical factors, on-page and off-page SEO audits need to be done as well.
Such audits give you a general idea of your site’s performance in the global market. If you feel your site traffic is dwindling or slowing down, your first priority should be an audit to check what’s going wrong.
11 Steps to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit
Let’s look at the steps to be followed while conducting a technical SEO audit.
- Crawl your website
- Review your Sitemaps
- Internal link check
- Site Speed/Page Loading Speed
- Google Analytics
- Backlink Audit
- Coverage Issues
- Mobile Friendliness
- Security Issues
- Schema Markup Check
- Re-crawl site
1. Crawl your website
Crawling your website is the first step of a technical SEO audit. Crawling reveals the basic errors on your site, such as broken links, weak keywords, poor images, and bad titles. Also, duplicate content and non-crawlable pages can be discovered.
You can use tools to crawl your site. Common tools are Google Search Console, SemRush, and DeepCrawl.
Using Google Search Console, you can analyze the regularly crawled pages on your website. Google Analytics will give you the list of top pages on your site. You can compare this data and make necessary adjustments as required. Further, you can work on the below list to fix crawlability issues.
- Remove duplicate content
- Remove multiple redirects
- Restrict generic page indexation
2. Review Sitemaps
Sitemaps, as the name suggests, are simple addresses or maps to your site’s pages. These inform search engines on how your site is built and lead them to newly formed pages. If you do not submit a sitemap on Google, your site will have no address that Google can use to find it. Google uses sitemaps to discover crawlable content on your site.
When you submit a site map, ensure that your sitemap is,
A sitemap that is not updated is of no use to a search engine. Also, being updated helps search engines find content faster.
Submitted on GSC (Google Search Console)
Any sitemap that you have for your website should be submitted to Google for faster and better indexing. You can do this manually or by just directing the bots to the robots.txt file.
Any sitemap that you submit should have no errors. Too many redirects and confusing URLs will deter a search engine from using your sitemap, and it might even disregard it.
3. Internal Link Check
Broken links and misleading links can damage a site’s reputation and require time-consuming and even costly repairs. So checking your internal linking is very important in technical SEO. Internal link check will show that broken links can occur due to many reasons. Mostly, the page would have moved to another URL or could have been removed completely. This causes your links to either lead to a wrong page or simply stop working, and that bad link on your page is a huge downer for your brand.
4. Page Speed
No one likes a web page that loads slowly. Fast and responsive pages get a higher number of visitors compared to slow and laggy websites. No matter what content you post, remember that there are similar websites available online that users will go to if your page loading speed is not optimal. In fact, these criteria can make or break a site’s reputation.
Regarding technical SEO, page speed does not involve just the loading speed of your website but includes the various clickable items, icons, and attributes you have placed on your site. Apart from this, you should only use external links with quick loading speed. Though this can be a far-fetched process, it is good to have as a general practice. Technical SEO audits can help you rectify this problem.
5. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a huge part of SEO and assists in understanding your page traffic. GA has every metric that you need to analyze how, where, what and which is the source of your page traffic. Using GA, you can analyze your best landing pages, your customer/user journey inside your page, and the way the public is utilizing your website.
Insights such as the type of users, demography, age, gender, and device used to access your website can give you a lot of data to analyze and improve web traffic. As part of a technical audit, it is important to understand all the metrics that GA offers and create reports from the data you procure from the same. Mostly, digital marketers use GA to understand better ways to reach their target audience. But you can use it to understand the market and how you can shape and scale your business to a global level as well.
6. Backlink Audit
A backlink audit is an important step that you should definitely do as part of a technical SEO audit. Links that seem harmless and link to your site could lead to spam or malicious content that can damage your site’s reputation. Since Google considers clean content as a ranking factor, this can also hurt your ranking status.
You should be well aware of the sites that link back to you; a backlink audit helps you do that. By spam or malicious content, we do not just refer to sites that host spam but also sites that are not relevant to your webpage. When found in huge numbers, these can bring down your site’s reputation and ranking. Google’s Penguin update finds and devalues spammy links. This can aid your audit as well.
7. Coverage Issues
In a Technical SEO audit, coverage issues consider all the issues that are pertaining to a site’s visibility on Google. This data can be analyzed using Google Search Console and is used to fix problems such as 404 errors, server errors, and more. During this stage, you should generate a list of pages that are causing errors and analyze spikes in such issues, if any.
A coverage issue check helps find issues with your pages’ indexing. While this data is available on Google Search Console, Google’s Lighthouse browser app or plugin can be used to check indexing issues. With the report generated, you can ensure that there are no indexing blockers on your site.
8. Mobile Friendliness
These days, users access websites on mobile more than ever. This led to Google announcing its Mobile-First Indexing, which began in November 2016. A site that is properly optimized for mobile users is of utmost importance when it comes to SEO ranking. This metric can be analyzed and corrected via technical SEO audit.
You should understand that Google does not rank websites just because they have or do not have a mobile-friendly site. This ranking factor is based on the site’s quality per mobile usage terms. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to analyze your website according to those terms.
Related Read: Best Practices for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing
9. Security Issues
This stage of the technical SEO audit is done on Google Search Console. GSC provides you with data related to security issues on your sites, such as malware, harmful downloads, and suspicious pages. These details can be found on the Security Issues tab on GSC and should be included as an essential step in any technical audit.
Once you have identified any potential or existing risks, try to solve them as soon as possible since these issues affect your site and your site’s ranking. Once resolved, you can verify it on Google Search Console again.
10. Schema Markup Check
The structured data of your website is a very obscure place. It can get easily forgotten after the initial creation. Though not a ranking factor on Google, structured data determines how you appear on search results and also helps in improving your Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
You can test your structured data on Google’s specialized tool known as Structured Data Testing Tool. You can use it to fix issues on the site, and validation will fix any such issues.
Recrawling is the step to ensure all 10 steps have been followed diligently. Recrawling a website will help you to understand if there are any further technical faults in the website. Recrawling is the final step of a technical SEO audit.
Benefits of Technical SEO Audit
Improves overall Page Speed:
Using the results of a technical SEO audit, you can analyze your page speeds and make them optimal so that your users find it easy to navigate and browse your content. Since page speed is a very important factor in SEO, this would prove to be a valuable addition to your SEO efforts.
Improves Website Ranking:
Technical SEO audits provide extensive data on how your website is faring on the market. You can use this information to improve your site ranking based on various factors such as new methodologies, competitor analysis, content creation, etc. Overall, website ranking improves your chances of increased reputation and authority. It also helps you gain visibility in the market.
Helps in removing duplicate content:
Duplicate content is a bane for any website. In case your content is duplicated or modified, you can detect such changes using a technical SEO audit. Since duplicate content is a huge deal breaker with Google, it can adversely affect your ranking on the search engine. Performing regular audits will help you be aware of such issues on your website.
While SEO can be a long and winding process, the various segments of SEO, such as on-page, off page, and technical, are easy to implement. Your basic digital marketing goals can be better achieved with ease if you have a strong strategy. This is where technical SEO audits help you the most by enabling you to stay on top of your competition and perform better with each audit.
Audits do not just stop at providing reports but rather give you a general idea of how your site is performing and what you need to do to stay on top of your competition. The issues that you find and fix can make all the difference in digital marketing.
LinkDoctor has a team of individuals who are well-versed in the ins and outs of SEO, and will be able to walk you through the SEO audit process.