SEO has changed a lot in the last few years. With so many new updates and algorithm changes, it can be difficult to keep up. However, if you want your website to rank well in search engines, it’s important to make sure you’re doing a technical SEO audit on a regular basis. This article will show you the most important elements of a technical SEO audit so that you can make sure your website is always optimized for search. Technical SEO is about fixing errors in your website code to improve your site for search engines. Though it’s often overlooked, it can be the secret sauce to achieving more sales and higher rankings. First, what are the most important elements of a technical SEO audit? Let’s explore in this article:
1. Identify crawl errors with a crawl report
A technical SEO audit is not complete without a crawl report. This report identifies all the errors that a search engine has when trying to access your website. These errors can range from broken links to pages that are not indexable by the search engine. By fixing these errors, you can improve your website’s ranking and visibility in the search results. One of the first things to do is run a crawl report for your site. A crawl report, or site audit, will provide insight into some of your site’s errors. You will see your most pressing technical SEO issues inside the crawl report. You can automate site audits using a variety of tools and work through the list of errors or warnings created by the crawl. This is a task you should work through on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your site clean of errors and as optimized as possible. You can use these best website crawler and audit tools:
- seoClarity (hi, there!)
- Google Search Console (GSC)
- Moz Pro
- Screaming Frog
2. Check HTTPS status codes
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is checking the HTTPS status codes of your website. This will ensure that your website is properly secure and that visitors can safely browse your site.
Checking the HTTPS status codes is a critical step in ensuring the security and safety of your website. Switching to HTTPS is a must because search engines and users will not have access to your site if you still have HTTP URLs. They will get 4xx and 5xx HTTP status codes instead of your content.
A Ranking Factors Study conducted by SEMrush found that HTTPS now is a very strong ranking factor and can impact your site’s rankings. Make sure you switch over, and when you do, use this checklist to ensure a seamless migration. Next, you need to look for other status code errors.
Your site crawl report gives you a list of URL errors, including 404 errors. You can also get a list from the Google Search Console, which includes a detailed breakdown of potential errors. Make sure your Google Search Console error list is always empty.
3. Check XML sitemap status
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is checking the status of your XML sitemap. A sitemap is a file that contains all of the URLs on your website, and it helps search engines index your pages so that they can be found more easily. If your sitemap is not up-to-date, or if it contains errors, it could hurt your website’s ranking in search results.
The XML sitemap serves as a map for Google and other search engine crawlers. It essentially helps the crawlers find your website pages, thus ranking them accordingly. You should ensure your site’s XML sitemap meets a few key guidelines:
- Make sure your sitemap is formatted properly in an XML document
- Ensure it follows XML sitemap protocol
- Have all updated pages of your site in the sitemap
- Submit the Sitemap to your Google Search Console and Bing Console.
4. Check the site load time
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is site load time. A slow loading website can frustrate users and cause them to leave before they even see what you have to offer. Checking your site’s load time and taking steps to improve it is an essential part of any technical SEO audit.
There are a few different ways to check your site’s load time. One popular method is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool will give you a report on how quickly your page loads, as well as some recommendations on how to improve it.
Another way to check your site’s load time is to use a tool like Pingdom. Pingdom will give you a detailed report on your page’s load time, including how long each element takes to load. This information can be helpful in identifying areas where you need to make improvements.
Making sure your site loads quickly is an important part of any technical SEO audit.
5. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
Google’s mobile-first indexing means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re likely to lose out on valuable search traffic.
To ensure your site is mobile-friendly, start by checking your Google Search Console account to see if there are any mobile usability issues. If you see any errors, make sure to fix them as soon as possible.
Next, take a look at your website design and make sure it’s responsive. Your site should resize and adjust to fit any screen size, from desktop to mobile. If it doesn’t, consider making some changes to ensure a better mobile experience for your visitors.
Finally, test your site speed on both desktop and mobile devices. A slow-loading website can frustrate visitors and hurt your search engine ranking. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how you can improve your site speed and performance.
6. Audit for keyword cannibalization
One of the most important aspects of a technical SEO audit is to check for keyword cannibalization. This is when multiple pages on your website are competing for the same keywords, which can confuse search engines and hurt your ranking. To avoid this, you need to make sure that each page has unique, targeted keywords. You can use a tool like semrush.com to help you with this.
7. Check your site’s robots.txt file
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is to check your site’s robots.txt file. This file tells search engines what they can and cannot crawl on your site. If you have disallowed certain pages or directories, search engines will not be able to access them and they will not be able to index them. This can severely hurt your SEO efforts.
8. Perform a Google site search
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is to perform a Google site search. This will help you determine if there are any issues with your website that could be affecting your ranking in search results. To do a Google site search, simply enter your website’s URL into the search box like site:example.com. If there are any problems with your website, you should see them listed in the results.
9. Check for duplicate metadata
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is checking for duplicate metadata. This can be a huge issue, especially for larger websites. Duplicate metadata can confuse search engines and cause them to index the wrong page, or worse, not index your pages at all.
To check for duplicate metadata, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog. Just enter your website’s URL and let the tool crawl your site. It will then show you any instances of duplicate metadata.
If you do find any duplicate metadata, make sure to fix it ASAP. You don’t want your website to get penalized by Google because of something that is easily fixable.
10. Meta description length
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is the length of your meta descriptions. A meta description is the brief description of a blog post or article that appears on the search engine results pages (SERPs). This description gives readers an overview of what the blog post or article is about, and it can also help them decide whether to click through to your website.
Ideally, your meta descriptions should be between 100 and 150 characters long. This gives you enough space to include a few key phrases or keywords that accurately describe your blog post or article, without going overboard. Anything longer than 150 characters will be truncated in the SERPs, so make sure you keep your descriptions concise.
In addition to length, another important element of effective meta descriptions is relevance. Your meta descriptions should be relevant to the topic of your blog post or article, as this will help searchers understand what they can expect to find on your website. If your meta descriptions are not relevant, searchers are likely to click away from your website, which could hurt your click-through rates and organic traffic levels.
11. Check for site-wide duplicate content
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is checking for site-wide duplicate content. This can be a major issue for sites that have large amounts of content, or that have been around for a long time. Duplicate content can lead to lower search engine rankings, and it can also make it difficult for visitors to find the information they’re looking for on your site. There are a few different ways to check for duplicate content on your site:
- Use a tool like Copyscape to check for plagiarism. This will help you to identify any pages on your site that have identical or very similar content to other pages.
- Use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and look for duplicated title tags, meta descriptions, and other page elements.
- Check your Google Search Console account for any “duplicate title” or “duplicate description” errors. These errors indicate that Google has found duplicate content on your site.
If you do find some duplicate content on your site, don’t panic! There are a few different ways to fix it. You can use canonical tags to tell Google which version of a page is the original, or you can redirect traffic.
12. Check for broken links
One of the most important elements of a technical SEO audit is checking for broken links. This can be done by using a tool like Screaming Frog or Google Webmaster Tools.
Broken links can cause a number of problems, including:
- preventing search engines from crawling and indexing your content
- redirecting users to an error page
- causing your website to load slowly
If you find any broken links on your website, be sure to fix them as soon as possible.
13. Structured data audit
As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to increase your visibility on Google. You can do this by getting your website on the first page of Google and adding rich results to your content. Rich results are experiences on Google surfaces, such as Search, that go beyond the standard blue link. Rich results can include carousels, images, or other non-textual elements. For Structured data audit you can use several free resources listed below:
- Schema Markup validator (Web Based from Schema.org)
- Google’s Rich Results Test (Web Based from Google)
- Structured Data Viewer (Web Based from Classy Schema)
- Schema Markup Testing and Comparison Tool (Web Based from Shay Ohayon)
- Schema.dev’s Structured Data Testing Tool (Web Based and Browser Extension from SEOClarity)
- Ryte Structured Data Helper (Browser Extension from Ryte)
- Schema Builder & Tester for Structured Data (Browser Extension from Schema.dev)
- Schema Markup Generator (JSON-LD) (Web Based from technicalseo.com)
- The Schema Markup Generator (Web Based from RankRanger)
According to experts’ insights for 2022 technical SEO factors play a very important role to rank website pages. A technical SEO audit is a process used to evaluate a website’s technical health and identify any potential issues that could be holding it back from ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). By conducting a thorough audit, you can ensure that your website is fully optimized for search engines and avoid any potential penalties. The 13 elements listed above are some of the most important aspects of a technical SEO audit, so make sure to include them all in your next audit.