Do you want to optimize your website for the best possible user experience? Then you need to start with a technical SEO site audit!
A comprehensive technical SEO audit can show you how your website performs when it comes to speed, crawlability, and more. It can be used to identify issues your site is having and create an action plan for improving them. According to SEO Experts, it can provide insights into things like content structure and architecture that may have gone unnoticed.
In this blog post, we’ll unpack the concept of a technical SEO audit and walk through an in-depth checklist that covers all the bases. By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of technical SEO and know exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve top search engine rankings. So let’s get started!
A comprehensive SEO Site Audit isn’t complete without a technical component, so let’s start with the basics.
The first step is to make sure your analytics are installed and working properly. This will give you important info on your website performance, so you can measure and optimize it accordingly over time.
The next step is to ensure that search engine properties are set up correctly—this involves verifying that your robots.txt file allows crawlers to access all the necessary pages on your site, as well as setting metadata tags such as titles, meta descriptions, and ALT tags for images.
Finally, you can run a website crawl using tools to check for any broken links or other issues that could be negatively impacting your SEO performance—this is especially important since many of these issues can’t be found without a crawl.
2. Crawling & indexing
You’re already one step ahead by understanding the value of crawling and indexing for your website. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of checking your site’s SEO audit checklist.
The foundation of effective SEO lies in ensuring that your indexable URLs are findable and accessible to search engine crawlers. So to begin, confirm that each URL you want indexed is indeed returning a 200 status code. Additionally, make sure that those URLs are indexable by robots meta tag, X-robots-tag and not blocked by the robots.txt file. Finally, ensure that all indexable URLs are also listed in the XML sitemap file.
It’s important to mention that this part of the audit process should be monitored on a regular basis—crawling and indexing isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of deal! Make sure you check back occasionally to ensure all your URLs look good from a technical perspective.
3. Meta and structured data
Structured data and meta data may seem like dry, technical concepts, but they are essential for SEO success.
Meta information found in the head of your page nodes is critical for SEO because it optimizes search engine indexing by including important keywords that can elevate your ranking in search engine algorithms.
Furthermore, structured data allows you to take advantage of rich snippets which show extra content such as ratings or contact information as part of a search result — this gives an edge in capturing searchers’ attention.
You should also dive into the content to make sure it is unique and organized properly. After all, a great technical SEO audit checklist covers everything from the ground up!
Here’s what to look for when reviewing the content:
- Content isn’t substantially duplicate: Duplicate content can be damaging to your website’s ranking, especially if it’s hosted on other websites. Be sure to use a tool to check for any replicated content.
- Content organized with hierarchical HTML tags: You should also make sure that your HTML is properly structured, starting with H1 tags and descending in order from there. This makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site and understand its content.
- Content is keyword-targeted: You should also ensure that your content aligns with the keyword target you have chosen. This will help your website rank better for relevant searches.
- Content doesn’t violate Google’s Quality Guidelines: It’s also important that you are aware of Google’s Quality Guidelines, such as using proper spelling, grammar and formatting, having factual and evidence-backed information, etc. Check all of this before publishing the content on your site.
- Current publication and updated dates: Last but not least, you want to make sure that your website shows the current publication date so search engines know when the page was last updated. This can also help you track whether certain changes have improved your ranking or not compared to previous months/years in Google Analytics.
Relatable Blog: Why Required Evergreen Web Content?
5. Links & navigation Links are crawlable
Making sure links keep your site up and running is an essential part of any SEO audit. Check to make sure the page you’re looking at doesn’t link to any broken pages (404), and that all links use descriptive anchor text—this way, it’s easier for search engines to understand what the content is about. If necessary, be sure to also check that links are qualified when appropriate (such as with a nofollow, UGC or sponsored tag).
When dealing with faceted navigation, Digital45 said that it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t lead to duplicate content or create redirect chains! Double-check your URLs and make sure everything looks good before you move on.
You need to ensure that your images contain descriptive alt attributes and that their height and widths are defined. This is important because not only do alt attributes make sure that people with vision impairments can access your content, but it also signals to search engines what’s in your image.
Having descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text for images is also part of the checklist. This helps to better understand the context of the content around the image, making it easier for search engines to properly index it.
In addition, make sure you size images appropriately and compress them using tools if needed. Having images that are both crawlable and optimized will help search engine spiders properly understand what your content is about so they can serve the relevant pages to users faster.
Relatable Blog: 10 Tips for optimizing your Images for SEO
You want to make sure your videos are properly indexed and stand out on search engine results pages, right? Of course you do. To do that, you need to ensure the following:
Video is available on a public, indexable page
Make sure your videos can be found and accessed on publicly available pages. If not, users won’t be able to watch, and search engines won’t know about it.
Video is wrapped within an appropriate HTML tag
Essential for ranking and displaying snippets of your videos in search engine results pages. A correctly implemented video tag typically includes attributes like title, description, thumbnail_url and content_url for example.
Video included video sitemap and schema markup
Don’t just stop with the HTML tag! Make sure your video content is also submitted via a sitemap (using the correct video sitemap protocol) and then mark it up using schema.org/VideoObject – giving amazing rich snippets!
You need to make sure that your website passes the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Google offers a mobile-friendly testing tool which you can use to check if your website design is optimized for mobile devices. Along with this, make sure that all of your mobile content and links match what is on the desktop version of your site. You should also make special considerations if you are using separate URLs for your mobile site, as this can cause problems with duplicate content, redirects, and other issues.
Relatable Blog: An Ultimate Guide On Mobile-first Indexing
When it comes to speed, you should aim for content to fully load within a reasonable time. It’s important to ensure your website is as fast as possible so that potential leads can come in and view what you have to offer.
You also want to make sure that your URL passes Google’s Core Web Vitals assessment. This assessment checks the loading performance of your webpages, helping you identify any areas that may need improvement.
To help you make sure your website is running as smoothly as possible, it’s wise to address some common speed traps. These include ensuring images are properly compressed, minifying code and reducing the number of redirects on your site. Ultimately, this can help improve user experience and in turn, provide a better overall impression of your business online!
You want to make sure that your site is secure and up-to-date with the latest security protocols. In this section of your audit, you’ll want to check for 3 things:
Site Uses Proper HTTPS
It’s important that your website uses a secure protocol, such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). This ensures all information transferred between the server and browser is encrypted, helping further protect user data. Additionally, Google now ranks sites with HTTPS higher in search engine results – making it a must-do for SEO.
Site Supports HSTS
HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a web security policy mechanism that helps protect websites from certain attacks by forcing web browsers to communicate using HTTPS rather than HTTP. It’s a great way to quickly strengthen the overall security of your website!
No hacked content, malware, or other security issues
It’s important to do regular scans of your website for any malicious content, malware, or other security issues – as these can cause serious harm to your website and reputation. And of course, it’s important to fix any vulnerabilities or issues right away if you find them!
11. International & multilingual sites
If you’re running an international or multilingual website, you’ll want to make sure that your location-targeting signals are properly set up. This includes configuring the geographical target in Google Search Console and setting up geographic targeting in Bing Webmaster Tools. It’s also important to ensure that all variants of your site have valid hreflang annotations. This will inform search engines of the different language versions of your site so they can serve the correct version for each search query.
Furthermore, it’s essential to avoid automatic redirection. During a technical SEO audit, look out for any auto-redirection based on IP address or user agent string as these can affect how search engine crawlers navigate through different versions of a website. Instead, opt for manual redirection if possible as this will give you more control over how users land on different versions of a website.
12. Backlinks (off-page)
You’ll need to do some off-page SEO work too. For this, let’s focus on backlinks. You want to make sure that your website has relevant backlinks and that those backlinks don’t violate Google guidelines. A great way to check is by running a domain-level backlink analysis. Also, be sure to check your disavow file: you don’t want important links being blocked!
Check Anchor Texts
When it comes to anchor texts, you’ll also want to analyze them to ensure they’re not overly optimized – or worse, trying to manipulate search engine rankings by using keyword-rich anchor texts.
Relatable Blog: Why Link Building is Vital for Your Online Presence
Monitor Link Quality
It’s also important to monitor the overall quality of the links pointing to your website—are they from authoritative sources? What about their Domain Authority? Doing this can help you identify any suspicious or shady links, and if needed, delete those links with a disavow file (just make sure your important links aren’t accidentally blocked!).
All in all, conducting a technical SEO site audit is key to achieving success online. As the checklist shows, there are many aspects to consider during a technical SEO audit. To ensure your content is optimized for search engine and user experience, take some time to go over the checklist, paying attention to detail while doing so. Furthermore, staying on top of SEO trends is also essential. After all, the ultimate goal of SEO is to create content that surpasses search engine standards and works great for users. Having an effective SEO strategy in place allows you to reach more people and climb up the ranks on results pages through organic search engine rankings. Here at Digital45 we can help you get the most out of your digital marketing investments and show you how to unlock the full potential of your website’s SEO efforts. Contact us today and let us help improve your visibility online!