Technical SEO Guide – How to Conduct an SEO Audit?

Technical SEO Audit

Technical SEO is one of the most crucial parts of SEO Services offered, if not the most important. There are many facets to it, and it focuses on the structure of your website. But what does technical SEO mean? Technical SEO ranges from broken links, website security, large images, website loading speed, duplicate content, site errors, user-friendliness, and more. 

For example, you can have all your content written and uploaded to your website. It may be the best content out there for your service or product. However, your website may take a while to load, a site error displays, or it isn’t mobile-friendly. This dramatically reduces your traffic and can cost you revenue in the long run. It’s especially true for mobile users. 

Most people use their cell phones to browse and do their online shopping as opposed to a desktop or laptop. This is where your knowledge for technical SEO for eCommerce comes into play. In 2015, Google even implanted a mobile index and a mobile algorithm. This was perceived as a mobile takeover, and it was. It’s important to note that Google owns over 93% of the mobile search engine market. You’ll want to make your website is set up with the technical SEO for eCommerce users and available for cell phone users. 

If your site has loading issues, it can be due to a few reasons. Some of the most common are poorly optimized images or they are too big, too many plugins, your site isn’t caching information, your webpages are requesting too many CSS images, or the host is slow. 

Fixing site errors by using a 301 redirect or a 302 redirect. A 301 is a permanent redirect that will let you keep your previous page’s ranking. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. Both can still negatively affect your website’s traffic and ranking, so it’s best to fix any 404, 301, or 302 errors quickly.

Broken links happen for various reasons. Though, not fixing them might cause annoyance and frustration for your readers.

Duplicate content is another issue that could potentially cause legal troubles for plagiarism. When Google recognizes duplicate content, it will penalize both or multiple sites, that it’s featured on. Aside from legal issues, repetitive content isn’t good for your readership. Seeing the same type of posts over and over isn’t interesting and can lower your traffic, even from your most dedicated readers. 

Images are a major reason some websites experience SEO technical issues. Using large, high-quality images hurt you more than help. There is a way to still get the image at high-quality. It will have to be resized or compressed. Broken image links can also be an issue. This is solved by using alt attributes. These will help provide alternative information about the image. 

Another aspect to consider is website security. Search engines are now warning those who don’t have secure pages. It also lets the reader know your site isn’t secure. This can lead to a drop in traffic if it tells a user you may have unsafe content.

However, it doesn’t stop there. It includes much more in-depth website structuring that an SEO consultant or agency can help you with. 

How to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit

In the age of technology, businesses thrive now more than ever with the internet. SEO is a large part of that. Over half of marketers say SEO is their main focus for inbound marketing. Assessing your website to make sure your SEO is driving traffic to you is important. The way to do this is by starting an SEO audit. This will tell you how your website ranks, what needs changes or improvement. 

Methods that worked for SEO in the past no longer are relevant. Things like keyword stuffing or using multiple pages for similar keywords aren’t as useful. Nowadays, websites that are user-friendly and optimized for users are preferred. 

Each search engine has its algorithms and crawlers that compare your site to their ranking factors. Crawlers are searching for secure websites, their load times, content, how many visits you have, and more. From there, each page of your site gets a rank. This rank will determine where it shows up in the search results engine page. Since these algorithms keep changing, you’ll want to audit frequently. 

Now that we went over why audits are necessary, we can discuss how to conduct a technical SEO audit. There are three factors that you should look at when doing an audit. The first is the back-end factors. These include hosting and indexing. Next is the front-end factors. Front-end factors pertain to metadata, keywords, and content. Finally, link quality and outside references. 

To start your audit, you want to begin with a crawl. This is the most important part. Crawling will tell you what’s wrong with your site like duplicate content, redirects, or unlinked pages. 

Next, you’ll want to check that your site only has one browsable version. Using multiple versions of your site will confuse crawlers because they won’t know which is the right version. This can negatively impact your SEO ranking. Common mistakes tend to be mobile sites battling desktop sites, HTTP vs. HTTPS. 

Then, you’ll check for site optimization. This means headers, tags, or duplicate content. Double-check that your title pages are relevant to what’s on your site and the length is somewhere between 56-60 characters. Meta Descriptions don’t affect your rankings but will give your audience an idea of what’s on your page. Make sure your focus keyword is in the first 100 words on all your pages as well. 

Be sure to manage your links, both external and internal. Sometimes pages move or get deleted causing a broken link on your site. This is easily fixed with tools if you don’t want to do it manually. 

Check the speed of your website. The longer your site takes to load, the less likely a customer is going to stay. People tend to leave a page anywhere between a 5 second to 10 second wait time. Many search engines use this as another factor for ranking. Fewer wait times equal a higher rank. 

Look at your analytics service and site metrics. Whichever one you use, you want to make sure that they’re reporting live metric data. If it’s not reporting it, then the code isn’t installed properly. For Google Analytics, that means the tracker code is placed above the headers on a page. There are tools you can use to compare the metrics of other sites to yours. 

Examine your backlinks and off-site SEO. Anyone who uses SEO knows that backlinks are essential for success. This lets search engines know that your page has relevant content that audiences searching for a similar or same topic find useful. This includes hyperlinking and brand mentions. Backlinking audits are useful because they show you your competitor’s backlinks, identify areas where you can improve on high-value links, and show how your current link profile is affecting your website. 

Utilize social media. Social media increases your backlinks. People who find your content through social media are more likely to link to it, giving you more traffic. It also helps in promoting brand awareness.

Technical Skills Required for SEO

There are the necessary technical skills required for SEO. You need to know how websites work, how search engines interpret websites, and how users interact with those sites.

Since SEO is the process of optimizing websites for a search, SEOs need to understand what they are optimizing. A website’s rendering path is critical. This enables webpage speeds which affect your ranking. It also allows Google to utilize tools like JavaScript days apart. This means when it examines that information the first time then a few days later, it renders JavaScript, meaning these critical elements may miss the index.

Search engines crawl websites through schema markup or structured data. Schema organizes your content so that search engines can understand what’s on your site. Structuring your data is often called “markup” because of the organizational code being marked up through your content. It’s important to note that markups should be an accurate representation of your page. 

Users interact with your site in many ways. One way is through mobile-friendly pages. It also includes responsive designs through CSS or other tools. AMP also helps to deliver faster speeds to mobile users because of the cache servers. It uses a combination of HTML and JavaScript. 

Technical SEO Checklist for 2020

There are many things to look for in a technical SEO checklist but there are some that are more important than others. This is our technical SEO checklist for 2020.

  1. Responsiveness of your website
  2. The speed of your website
  3. Mobile Friendliness
  4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
  5. Specify a Domain
  6. URL Structure
  7. Maintain Canonical URL
  8. Data Structure
  9. Setup Robots.txt
  11. Setup Sitemap.xml
  12. Meta Titles and Descriptions
  13. Image Optimization
  14. Fixing 404 Errors
  15. Fixing Broken Links
  16. Integrate Social Media Plugins