How To Perform A Technical SEO Audit?
Technical SEO is done to improve your websites ranking by making your website easier for the search engines to crawl.
This process ensures that your website will be seen, crawled and ranked. It involves improving the technical characteristics of your website so that its organic traffic increases.
Even if your website is crawled and ranked there are other issues which can impact the SEO negatively.
These are the points to look out for in technical SEO:
First you should make sure that your website can be easily crawled and indexed by the search engine.
You will have to check the robots.txt file, HTML and XML sitemaps, subdomains and indexed vs the pages submitted. You can use the SEMRush Site Audit Tool for this.
This tool scans your websites and provides data about crawability, performance and more.
Your website structure should be good and the visitors should be able to reach the pages with as few clicks as possible. Your website should be easy to navigate.
Search engines consider the pages deeper in the hierarchy to be less important. If your site structure is deep then you should flatten it. The site’s URL structure should be easy to follow.
Use tools like Google Search Console to find any sitemaps errors and fix them. Use any Site Audit Tools or testing tools like Google Search Console to open your robots.txt file and check for any formatting errors.
When you have pages with similar content or exact match content you should use the canonical tags. In Site Audit reports you will be able to find the alerts related to canonical issues.
You should follow best practices for canonical URLs like using only one canonical URL per page, write absolute URL in canonical tag, use the correct domain protocols and more.
Check if the URLs end with or without a trailing slash, check that the URLs included in the canonical tag have no redirects.
Your website has two types to internal links: navigational and contextual. Breadcrumbs are the third type which can be added to the website.
The Site Audits report will give two types of issues: Orphaned pages and Pages with high click depth. Orphaned pages have no links leading to them and you cannot access them through the same website. The further the page is from the Homepage the higher will be its click depth and lower will be its value to search engines.
It will also give you errors, warnings and notices about the issues you should work on like broken internal links.You can use sites like Screaming Frog for site audits.
Your website should have the HTTPS protocol as it uses a secure certificate called the SSL certificate. The Site Audit tool can give you an overview about your website’s security and also suggest how to fix them. You can find out if your certificate has expired, certificate secured to wrong domain name and more.
If your website has multiple versions then the search engines would not know which is the right one. You should make sure only one version of your website is browseable. Having separate mobile and desktop versions is not recommended.
Use tools to perform on-page technical SEO. Use Copyscape to find any duplicate content issues. The page title, title tags, meta descriptions, keyword placement should be right. Do a content audit to make sure your website does not have duplicate issues.
You should manage your external links. If pages are deleted or moved then it can lead to broken links and annoy the visitors. Use tools like Website Auditor/ Screaming Frog to find all the broken links on your website.The speed of your website should be good as the visitors are not going to wait for your website to load.
Use tools like Page Speed Insights to check your website’s speed. It displays the load time for desktop as well as mobile devices. The tool also suggests what you should do to improve your website speed.
Use Google Analytics and check if it is reporting live traffic data. If it reports then your code is installed correctly. Otherwise you will have to fix your code. If you are using Google Analytics then you should place the tracking code above the header of each page. With this tool you can also check the bounce rate. Use MozBar to compare the different metrics.
Use tools like DeepCrawl to check the pagination. There are two reports to be checked: First Pages and Unlinked Pagination Pages. The First pages report tells you which pages are using pagination. The Unlinked Pagination Pages report will tell you if the rel=’next’ and rel=’prev’ are linking to the previous and the next pages.
Review the ‘Max Redirections’ report to find all the pages that redirect more than 4 times. Google can stop following if there are more than five redirects.You should find and fix all redirect errors as these can affect the user experience. In the Site Audit report you can see the redirect errors and the status codes.
The 3xx status codes tell when the user and the search engine are redirected to a new page. The 4xx status codes tell that the requested page cannot be accessed and are called broken links. The 5xx status codes tell that the server could not perform the request.
If you are using schema markup on your website then use tools like Screaming Frog to check the schema markup.
Check the viewport tags along with the other tags. Open Graph tags control the content that shows up when the users share a URL on select social media sites. Twitter Cards have their own markup.
Review the URL format of your website. Check if it has any weird character or is it a dynamic URL that can cause duplicate content issues if not optimised. URLs should be simple, short and user-friendly.
Include Core Web Vitals in the audit as they are the ranking factors. You should try to improve your Core Web Vitals score to improve the rankings.
Using tools like Search Console, Screaming Frog and Google Page Speed Insights for this analysis and recommendation.
More than half of the web traffic comes from mobile devices. Google uses mobile-first indexing and indexes the mobile version of all the websites. You should fix all mobile-friendliness issues on your website.
Website Log Files record the information about every user and bot that visit your website. Log file analysis can help you look at your website from the viewpoint of Googlebot. This can help you understand how the search engine crawls your website.
For international websites that reach audiences in more than one country you will have to check the hreflang, geo-targeting and more.
To check the hreflang tags use tools like Google Search Console and use the International Targeting report.
To set up the tracking for specific locations you can use the Position Tracking Tool.
If you are into local business then you will have to check your website for local SEO. In local SEO the website should be optimised for location based queries.
You should get a Google My Business page as it is important for local SEO. It helps to promote your business online and display all the important information about your business.
Another important factor for local SEO is citation management. Use Listing Management Tools to manage them.
Local link building can help to boost local SEO.
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