It is widely believed that carrying out a technical SEO audit on a site is something to be feared, as many assume that it is quite challenging. However, once you understand the basic steps involved and what the process is all about, you’ll realize that it really is not all that difficult.
Before you start, it is important to realize that your goal with your website is ultimately to rank better. You want more traffic and higher conversions, right?
Performing proper technical SEO audit techniques on your website or on the site of your clients will enable you to fix errors that might be preventing that.
All that you need are a couple of tools and a bit of your time.
Undivided attention, really. As you’ll want to remember the steps and actions taken for future references.
The Three Parts of SEO
SEO consists of three parts. These parts are better known as on-page, off-page and technical SEO. When auditing a site, you’d be looking at:
This has to do with back-end issues such as hosting and indexing your site, as well as its crawlability.
The front-end issues dealt with here are those pertaining to your content, including your keywords and the metadata.
This SEO deals with building authority links to your site.
There are many SEO auditing techniques available to apply,
we will not be touching on all of them, but just on those that we deem of the utmost importance.
Start with A Crawl
You want to start off with obtaining a crawl report of your website. This report will give you a better picture of the errors on your site. There are a number of tools you can use for that purpose, but if you’re on a budget one of the best tools for the job is Screaming Frog.
Download the program, install it, and run a crawl. It will find SEO errors on your site such as broken links, duplicate content, missing H1/H2 tags, issues with page titles and many more such errors.
Crawling also allows you to view your crawl budget through the Google Search Console. This is a very nifty tool that will show you how frequently Google crawls your site and which pages were crawled.
Is Your Site Accessible from Mobile Devices?
With the introduction of mobile-first indexing by Google in 2016, a turning point came in how rankings for websites were perceived by Google. Over 60% of searches are conducted from a mobile device, therefore Google adjusted their algorithm, to include crawling mobile sites.
With mobile-first index Google is going to index the mobile versions of your website rather than the desktop version first.
What this means is that if your site is not mobile friendly, you’re losing out on a chunk of the market share. You need to make sure that you adequately educate yourself and understand how your site is performing on mobile.
An easy way to do that is to actually browse your site from your own mobile device or alternatively visit Google Pagespeed Insights Tool.
Does your site look satisfactory? Is it browsable?
Improve the Speed of Your Site
Although site speed does not have direct impact on your ranking, it is an indirect contributing factor. However, the problem comes in when users exit your site because your pages load too slow. According to SEMRush, over 23% of sites have slow page load times.
Slower loading pages increases bounce rate and decreases time users spend on a page, which are key metrics in determining how a site ranks.
Determine your site’s load time by using the Google Pagespeed Insights Tool. Your website should ideally not take longer than 3 seconds to load. If your loading time is more than that, then it is time to start tweaking it.
Not to worry, as Google’s Insights tool will give you suggestions on what to do.
Check Your HTTPS Status Codes
Have you switched to HTTPS? It is important that you do because otherwise you will not be accessible by the search engines with HTTP URL’s. When browsing your site, users will get one of number of 4xx and 5xx HTTP status codes, instead of the contents of your website.
To get a list of errors pertaining to this problem, visit the Google Search Console which includes a detailed account of all the URL 404 errors. Try to fix errors as soon as they arise in your Google Search Console.
According to Search Engine Journal, unsecured versions of pages load 334% slower than HTTPS pages.
When dealing with HTTPS, make sure to tackle mixed content issues. These issues arise when a secure page loads some of its content, like the images or videos over an insecure HTTP connection. What happens is that, the content will not load and this in turn will weaken the security of the page.
With a site audit tool, you will be able to tackle these issues. However, in the case that you do not feel entirely comfortable handling these issues, or you would like a more advanced website audit you could reach out to a search engine optimization agency. They will take the hassle out of hassle-free for you.
Check Your XML Sitemap Status
With a good sitemap you’ll be able to see all the pages on your site. It serves as a map for Google and for the search engine crawlers to find every website page. Making it good for the ranking of your site.
Make sure to update your sitemap every time new pages are added to your site. Luckily for you, you don’t have to do it manually. With WordPress installed you just need to download an XML generator plugin.
To see all of the content of your site from your sitemap, all you need to do is add sitemap.xml to the end of your URL. Like so:
Submit your XML sitemap to Google via the Google Search Console Sitemaps tool.
No matter what tools you use to perform an SEO audit on your site, it is important that you actually do perform the audit, in order to improve or keep up the performance of your website.