SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the techniques that help your website rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
One aspect of SEO is technical SEO. Technical SEO includes the entire key ranking factors in your website’s structure; it includes indexing, cracking, and much more.
It is very important to conduct a technical SEO audit of your website so that you can have a clear understanding of how technical SEO affects the overall performance of your website.
What is a Technical SEO audit?
A technical SEO audit is a process of tracking and analyzing the key website performance metrics that impact your website’s areas.
A technical SEO audit’s main goal is to identify the structure’s shortcomings of your website structure, which negatively affect its performance, impact SEO, and rank in the search.
Technical SEO audit is not a one and done project; it is essential to get started with the audit today so that you can evaluate your website performance on a regular basis.
As your business and website grow your website changes and expands, it becomes extremely important to understand how these changes can affect your SEO performance.
Here are times when you can conduct a technical SEO audit:
- When your website is recently built.
- When you have redesigned your website.
- When the structure of your website has been changed.
- When it’s been a year since you have last audit your website.
What are the factors which affect your website SEO performance?
The main factor which can affect your website performance is divided into three different categories, which are:
- Technical factors – Include technical aspects such as indexing, hosting, page loading speed, etc.
- On-page factors – Include website content, targeted keywords, and their related terms.
- Off-page factors – Include backlinks and other outside references of your website.
You need to conduct an audit at regular intervals; this will ensure that you are up to date with the industry’s changing conditions.
One more factor to keep in mind is mobile readiness. 70 percent of the searches happen on mobiles. Moreover, Google has also started to give more importance to mobile-friendly websites.
Here are the simple steps you should follow to conduct a technical SEO audit:
1. Crawl your website
Technical SEO audit starts with crawling your website; you can use the tools like SEMRush, DeepCrawl, or SpyFu. These tools also provide recommendations that can help you improve your website strategies, technical SEO, content, and backlinks.
The crawlers will help you find errors like poor images, broken links, title issues, bad keywords, etc. They will also help you identify the duplicate content, unlinked pages, and excess redirects.
You can also look at the Google search console as it will provide you your crawl budget. Your crawl budget will offer you a number of pages that Google crawl on your website.
By checking your crawl budget, you will get an idea of how Google is crawling your website. To make the most out of your crawl budget, you can do the following:
- Remove all the duplicate content as it can waste your crawl budget.
- Provide proper UPL parameters as it will instruct Google that it is crawling the same page twice.
- Every redirect which Google bot follows can waste your crawl budget; therefore, fix redirects as soon as possible.
2. Review sitemap
A website sitemap is extremely important. A sitemap informs the search engine about the website structure and helps them discover the new pages. It is essential to have a sitemap so that your SEO strategies can get right.
- Make sure that your sitemap is clean and should not have any errors. Those URLs and redirects which block the indexing should be removed.
- It is important that your sitemap should be concise. If you have URLs of more than 50,000, then Google will not crawl it.
- All your latest content and information should be updated on your sitemap.
- It is essential to register in the Google search console so that Google knows about your sitemap.
3. Check the website browsing version.
It is important to make sure that there should be only one version of your website, which should be browseable. If your website has different versions, you will send mixed signals to the search engine.
The crawlers will get confused about which is the correct version. If the search engine gets confused, it won’t be able to show your website to the people, impacting your ranking.
These errors can occur due to the HTTP and HTTPS versions or due to the desktop and mobile versions. It is essential to make sure that you only have one version of your website.
A good and logical hierarchy in your website can do wonders to your search ranking. That is why it is vital to check the internal as well as external links.
You can also remove or delete the web pages, which results in broken links. Here are some of the things which you can check for your internal linking:
- Click depth –it shows how many pages away from the homepage from any particular page. This number should be as low as possible; it should always be below 3.
- Broken links can hamper your crawl budget, it can confuse the visitor, so it is bad for your website.
- Orphan pages – orphan pages are the pages that are not linked with any page of your website and can be hard for the search engine to find. You can find these pages by going to website structure > pages > rebuild project > click on search for orphan pages.
5. Test your website speed
Website speed is one of the most important parameters when it comes to SEO.
Nowadays, people do not want to wait for long for the website to load, and if it takes more time, then there are chances that the visitor can bounce.
6. Check HTTPS content
About 60 percent of the results on the pages of Google search are all HTTPS. If your website is already on HTTPS, then you should look for common HTTPS issues in your SEO audits.
Here are some of the factors which you should check for your website:
- Canonicals, links, and redirects: All the links on your website, along with the redirects and canonicals, must point to the HTTPS pages. You should have HTTP and HTTPS redirects on your website, but it is not good to take the user through a redirect. These redirects can also cause several problems for crawling as well. Because of them, you can waste your crawl budget.
- Mixed content – this issue arises when your secured page loads unsecured content like videos and images. This can hamper the security of your website or page. You are required to find the HTTPS pages which have these mixed content issue option.
7. Compare website metrics by using analytics
It is very important to check whether your analytics services report accurate live data or not. If it is right, then the code has been installed correctly.
The Google Analytics code must be placed above the header of every web page. If this service is up, you can also check the data from the “site: domain name.”
The number of pages must be the same in both cases. If the number is not the same, then some of the pages do not accept the crawl request.
Google Analytics will also help you check the bounce rate; this rate should be as low as possible. A higher bounce rate indicates that people are not getting what they were looking for on your website. to reduce the bounce rate, you must optimize your content and page loading speed.
Backlinks are very important for your website’s success; therefore, it is no surprise that they are also part of your technical SEO audit. They tell the search engines how valuable your content is on your website for the users. Google bots check your website for the brands which are mentioned on your website.
You can do a backlinks audit by using Ahrefs. It will give you a good idea of the types of backlinks that are going to your website.
You can also check for which keywords your competitors are ranking; you can also use SEMRush and check the backlinks that are going to your competitors. In this way, you can compare your backlinks to your competitors and plan to start ranking above them.
You can also check which audience more frequently uses the social media platform. Social media can also help you in creating your brand awareness. Social media plays a vital role in your SEO efforts, and you should not neglect it. It can help you to increase traffic.
9. Re-crawls your website
After identifying and fixing the issues, you can ask Google to re-crawl your website again. This is the final step of your technical SEO audit. Make sure that you have made all the corrections with immediate effect.
A regular technical SEO audit of your website is essential for the success of the SEO strategies. Frequent testing helps you to spot and rectify an error on time.
You must ensure that internal linking is done well, and your website should load quickly. You should immediately remove the broken links and unnecessary redirects.
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Ravi Sharma, CEO of Webomaze – # 1 SEO Company in Chandigarh is a highly enthusiastic entrepreneur. He has got a great grip on the idea of effective eCommerce Strategies, SEO processes, and tactics which are vital for virtual exposure. He is a fun-loving person and a keen traveler who always hunts to find adventure in new places.