How To Conduct A Technical SEO Audit? Your Ultimate All-In-One Guide!
As per studies, about 68% of the online experience is initiated via a search engine through which 53% of the website traffic is produced. That’s right, irrespective of the large audience that surf online, only 0.78% of them view the results that crawl onto the second page of any search engine, like Google.
The reason for this explanation is purely to indicate that if your website does not show up on the front page, even if not the top 3 results, you can assume to experience no traffic at all!
Having said this, it is now clear as to why SEO stands to be the top priority for the marketers in the business. Therefore, if you are able to get the client’s website to the top user search, you will, with no doubt, have a much easier and improved ROI.
SEO and its Mastery!
Of course, mastering the aspects of SEO is no easy task to ace. Being a pro in SEO means taking a lot of things into consideration, from on-page SEO, copy, content, to off-page SEO and even technical SEO audit, how can anyone be expected to cover it all?
An effective strategy of SEO must include all the above-mentioned in addition to the regular optimization that will ensure consistent returns.
Technical SEO and its Elements
In the areas of SEO, the technical SEO is responsible to cover regular optimizations to help and improve the search engine ranking which makes any site searchable and easily crawled. This may include improving the load time of a site, checking the robot.txt files, and the redirect.
Essential Elements of a Technical SEO
Listed below are the essential elements of a technical SEO:
1) Architecture of the Site
It is the centerpiece of breadcrumbs and XML sitemaps which guides the crawlers of the search engines to index your pages. There are a few basic aspects of a good site architecture:
- Sitemap – It is used to guide the search engine crawlers through the structure of the site that can be either in XML or HTML. This is found in the footer of a website that helps the users identify a few pages.
- Robots.txt – This is a standard technical SEO tool that helps make or break a website and enables crawlers to skip certain pages through directions.
- Breadcrumbs – This is a navigation tool that shows the hierarchy of the current page and helps the users to align themselves on the websites
2) The Speed of the Website
According to research, about 53% of mobile site visitors tend to leave a page, especially if it takes a long time to load, that is, no longer than three seconds. This is why a website must have a good loading speed which in turn helps with the boosting and ranking of the search engine result pages or SERP.
Without a doubt, mobile-friendly designs come across as attractive and readable on small screens. In the present times, mobile browsing is gaining much popularity with a drastic rise of people using the internet on their devices.
Technical SEO Audit and their Elements
SEO audit is a process used to evaluate a website in order to see its performance on the search engines. This is the best way that helps SEO masters to create actionable plans in awe to outperform their competitors, find and fix exit points, identify the opportunities on the website, and create better customer experiences.
Key Elements of a Technical SEO Audit
There are three key elements that one must look for during a technical SEO audit:
- The back-end factors like hosting and indexing
- Front-end factors such as the content, metadata, and keywords
- The quality of the link and outside references
It is possible that at times one wouldn’t have the time to fix every point, therefore, when deciding on what audit insights to cater to, make sure to use the 80/20 rule (to know the need of the condition as per the percentage).
How to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit? A Step-By-Step Guide!
We have no control over the SEO guidelines as they constantly change. This is why the basic rule of SEO is to adapt! No matter the shift or an update of the algorithm, the only way to get a hold of the positions on Google is to adapt. Having said that, the positive news is that the frequency of these changes is lower.
If you see the average speed is dropping, it’s always good for your website to be faster to match the demands of the SEO. In addition to this, as mentioned earlier, your website should be mobile-friendly to convert the traffic during audits. At all costs, avoid errors, duplicate content, and low-quality images.
These are just a few crucial things to keep in mind for the success of the search engines and the site visitors. Nevertheless, if you wish to prioritize your SEO efforts, make sure to solve the technical aspects first.
Here is a step-by-step guide for a technical SEO audit:
- Crawl Your Website
- Perform a Manual Google Search
- Make Sure That Only ‘One Version’ of Your Site Is Browseable
- Conduct an On-Page Technical SEO Check
- Manage the Internal and External Links
- Website Speed
- Leverage the Analytics and Compare the Metrics of the Site
- Check the Off-Site SEO and Initiate a Backlink Audit
- Analyze Competitor Keywords
- Social Media Engagement
1. Crawl Your Website – The Technical SEO Checklist
The crawling of the website is an important part of the SEO audit. Even before you jump to other things, initiate a crawl of your website. (You may choose to use Ubersuggest). Here’s how:
- Enter the website’s URL and click on “Search”
- Now, click on “Site Audit” from the left sidebar
- Next, run the scan
Through crawling, you will be able to identify the problems that are hindering the result, such as duplicate content, unlinked pagination pages, low word count, and excess redirects.
- In case you find anything, click on it to view more and try to fix it.
2. Perform a Manual Google Search – The Technical SEO Audit Checklist!
Here, you can manually perform a few searches to get an approximate idea of how well your website is ranking. This will help you understand where to start a technical SEO audit from.
Tip: The pages that are missing from the result don’t automatically mean that the website in question is un-crawlable, but does for sure help understand the behind-the-scenes or BTS as they say!
Myths aside, your website doesn’t always have to be in the top results either!
3. Make Sure That Only ‘One Version’ of Your Site Is Browseable – The Technical SEO Checklist
If a website has multiple “versions,” it sends a confusing/mixed message and questions the process of crawling the website in question. In other words, obviously, the crawlers don’t really know which one is the accurate one, which affects your crawling results and negatively impacts your SEO ranking.
4. Conduct an On-Page Technical SEO Check – The Technical SEO Audit Checklist
There are tons of things that an SEO expert needs to check and keep an eye on when evaluating a website and the results from your crawl. But before you get overwhelmed and worked up – here’s a tip – start with duplicate pages, title tags, and headers!
If you are one of those websites that have published quite a lot of content with similar themes, while the others with unrelated content that show up in the crawl, that’s completely okay. You’re looking for duplicate content of the same content and not similar.
It is ok and safe to use some plagiarism tools, such as Copyscape as well. These tools help assess potential technical SEO problems that arise sure to plagiarise or duplicate content on the web. Here you can closely examine the criteria to evaluate Google’s ranking.
Here are a few things that you should consider for on-page optimization:
Titles of the Page and Title Tags
A title tag is an HTML code that helps the search engines with the title of the page. This is also displayed on SERPs. Here, you must make sure that the titles are relevant to the content on the page, that is, answering the questions for the users, as fast as possible.
Ideally, the optimal length for the title tags should be anywhere between 50-60 characters and related.
These don’t directly impact the SEO ranking but are still important as it’s the first thing a user sees in the SERPs. Meta descriptions must be compelling, giving the user the taste of the page, and engaging.
As per the recent changes, Google has now expanded the limit of these meta descriptions to 320, giving more space to attract viewers.
Having a clear hierarchy helps Google analyze the website and also index it for search. This is the reason you must make sure that the placement of pages is understandable. For example, Tall your service pages must come under the “services” tab, etc.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t want the users to click through the four levels of pages just to find best-selling products. However, your goal must be to make the process easy for Google, as well as, the users to find information right away.
It is a good practice to have a focus keyword for every page on your site that must be included in the first 100 words of the content. For example, if you are writing about social proof, then the words must appear at least twice in the first 100 words as a part of good SEO practice.
This will help Google understand the focus of the post. Having said that, one must also be quite strategic when it comes to the placement of the keyword. Try to include it in the:
- Subheadings (H2, H3, etc)
- The URL
- Alt tags
- Meta description
Overall, the checks of on-page SEO are incredibly important, but they are only one part of your overarching technical SEO strategy. There are also other SEO checks to consider.
5. Manage the Internal and External Links – The Technical SEO Checklist
Sites that have logical hierarchies have proved to improve the SEO rankings. This is why it is very important to keep a check on the internal and external links. This will help the visitors navigate your site intuitively.
In other words, if the pages are deleted or moved, then the broken links could result in annoyed site visitors.
Don’t worry, you are not expected to do all of this manually, there are tools that can help you with this, such as Integrity and Xenu Sleuth. These will help identify the broken links of the website that you can easily fix for a better ranking.
All you need to do is:
- Once you’ve downloaded the tool, add the URL of the website
- Once done, click on “Go”
Once done, the tool will begin testing all links on your site and provide you with the results. Depending on the site size and the number of links, you could consider viewing the results by link, status, page, or flat view.
Post the result, you would want to change the links that are marked in red or with the “404 not found” label as these negatively impact the technical SEO results.
6. Website Speed – The Technical SEO Audit Checklist
As we all know, the patience level of people these days is very low, and Google knows this!
Be it any customers, no one would have the patience to stay glued to the screen until the website loads, in fact, after 3 seconds you can expect the viewer to exit the site. In simple words, the longer the page takes to load, the higher the chance for the customer to bounce.
Using a tool like Ubersuggest, you can check the speed, and here’s how:
- Enter the URL of the website
- Click on “Search”
- Now, click on “Site Audit”
- Once done, scroll down to “Site Speed”
In addition to the loading time, you can also test for:
- First Contentful Paint
- Time to Interactive
- First Meaningful Paint
- Speed Index
- First CPU Idle
- Est. Input Latency
7. Leverage the Analytics and Compare the Metrics of the Site – The Technical SEO Checklist
This step will help determine if the analytics service is reporting any live metric data. Therefore, if it is – your code is correctly installed, and if not – the code is not installed and needs to be fixed.
Once the analytics is up and running, make it a point to compare the metric to the results of the earlier “site:rootdomain” search.
Check the Bounce Rate
If there is a high bounce rate, then the visitors are not finding what they are in need of from the site. Therefore, you must then have to go back and optimize the content for the audience.
Compare Metrics With the MozBar
Mozbar is a tool that provides various SEO details of the web page or searches engine results page in question. Adding to this, it also lets you compare the link metrics on or between the pages of the site too and comes with tools for robust search that makes life easy.
8. Check the Off-Site SEO and Initiate a Backlink Audit – The Technical SEO Audit Checklist
There is no turning back from backlinks as they are very critical for the success of SEO. It helps the search engines to know the relevance of the page and how the users will find it useful.
Remember, the sites are also crawled for brand mentions, therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to what’s happening on and off the website.
To perform a Backlink Audit (with tools like Ubersuggest), you must:
- Enter the URL of the website and click on “Search”
- Now, click on “Backlinks”
- Next, review the report
9. Analyze Competitor Keywords – The Technical SEO Checklist
Analyzing the keywords used by the competitors can help you ‘up’ your game and hit the target by crawling up on the search results.
There are tools that can help you analyze the keywords used by the competitors and allow you to view the ranking keywords. Not only this, but it also shows the backlinks that are going on those sites.
To analyze the competitor keywords, you must:
- Enter the URL of the competitor and click on “Search”
- Next, click on “Keywords”
- Now, review the results. In addition to this, you can also review the volume, position, and estimated visits as well
10. Social Media Engagement – The Technical SEO Audit Checklist
The social media platforms are a conduit for consistent engagement and backlinks which can be used to support the efforts of the technical SEO. You may want to figure out the social media platforms that are frequented by the target audience.
A social media platform improve the SEO by:
- Increasing the total number of backlinks as those who discover the content would be able to link to it
- Increase brand awareness that helps with search queries including the name of the brand
This is the best opportunity to help increase the traffic, as well as the mentions beyond the searches of people. In simple words, this platform is simply an act of putting the link-building campaign together.
Although there are different aspects of SEO, technical SEO is the most important of them all.
Irrespective of how your on-page SEO looks if a technical SEO has failed. Nevertheless, the most important part is to understand the concept and not get overwhelmed with the word “technical” used in the idea.
It’s always better to start with critical aspects and then move to the bits and bind them together. We hope that the above discussed has helped you and tackle your problem with the website crawling and have helped you understand the steps and working of all themes.
Here’s to wishing you luck and a good, well-optimized, and positively crawled website!