A technical SEO audit involves analyzing aspects of your website to ensure it is functioning perfectly. This guide will assist you on what to do.
A technical SEO audit is important for checking that your website is functioning properly, helping your users to enjoy using your site, as well as helping to improve your rankings in Google. In technical SEO audit, the website is analyzed in detail based on various factors such as URL structure, page architecture, keyword rankings, or other OnPage factors. You can derive concrete proposals from an SEO audit to try to improve your website’s overall rankings in search engines.
This checklist will guide you through your SEO audit, showing you which factors you need to check and optimize to ensure a technically perfect website.
The site review is a quick way of checking the number of your website’s indexed pages – the pages that will be visible for users to click on in the Search Engine Research page (SERPs).
Figure 1: Running a site review in Google
With Google Analytics, you can gather and analyze data on your website for free.
Branding is an important marketing instrument and plays a central role in search engine optimization.
The page load time plays a very important role, particularly on mobile devices. Mobile friendliness has been an official ranking factor since April 2015.
Google’s test for the mobile-friendliness of a page
The robots.txt file gives instructions to the search engine, and must be saved in the root directory of the domain.
The sitemap gives Google an overview of all URLs of your website, giving Google a complete overview of your website structure. This is also helpful in case any crawling problems arise.
Orphan pages are pages that are not linked from any other page on your website. This means that search engine crawlers won’t be able to find and crawl your page via the link structure, and users will also not be able to access the page. You can check for orphan pages with Ryte Website Success – in the navigation click on “Links” –> “Pages without incoming links”. You should ensure that these pages are incorporated within your internal linking structure.
Figure 4: You can use Website Success to easily identify orphan pages
The noindex meta tag is the preferred method of preventing pages from being indexed by Google. This tag is included in the head area of the page in the source code. This tag should be used with caution.
Websites change very quickly. You can always retrieve old versions of the website from the cache.
Figure 5: An older version of the website can be retrieved from the Google cache using the “cache:www.domain.com” request.
The title is found in the head section of an HTML page. The content of the head section is enclosed by an opening head tag and a closing head tag. The title is important for conveying to search engines the content of the page. The title is also visible to users in the SERPs, therefore it should accurately describe the page content to encourage users to click on it
Descriptions do not play such an important role as the title in the search engine evaluation of the page, and are no longer a ranking factor. However, page descriptions can heavily influence the click through rate of a URL in the SERPs, therefore are important factors to be included within your onpage optimization.
Figure 6: View of a search result with title and description on Google
To successfully optimize a website, you have to have the right keyword strategy.
Titles are marked using the h tag. Numbers 1-6 are used to signify the relevance of the titles, h1 being the most important headline.
You can analyze your page headings with Ryte. In Website Success, click on “Content” – “Title” in the navigation to get an overview of your page headings.
Figure 7: Using Ryte to analyze the use of headers on your website
The ALT attribute is an important factor in onpage optimization. It conveys information to Google regarding the content of images, as search engines can not yet read images.
There are two types of URLs: static URLs and dynamic URLs.
Figure 8: Example of a dynamic URL
Figure 9: Example of a static URL
The canonical tag is an indicator for search engines that the original content of a page is on a different URL. This is useful for example for avoiding issues with duplicate content – if two pages have similar content, a canonical tag can be used to convey to search engines which page is the more important, and therefore should be indexed. The tag is best defined in the head section of a page.
Google has been improving the quality of search engine results by ensuring that top results contain relevant and high quality content. Therefore, the proportion of relevant content on page is an important factor for the evaluation of the page by search engines.
The keyword focus is an important aspect of search engine optimization. Generally, there are two strategic keyword orientations: the short-tail and the long-tail strategy.
Duplicate content is a source of risk for your website’s ranking, and presents a great challenge for many website owners, particularly owners of online shops, as search engines cannot judge which page is most important and should therefore be included in the index.
Do not confuse Google by pointing to different pages with the same link texts. It is important to maintain a clear keyword focus, especially with internal links.
Figure 10: You can use Ryte to analyze the use of link texts on your website
Internal linking is an important ranking factor and can have a significant effect on the website’s rating in Google search results.
The homepage is often the most frequently linked page, since every subpage has a link pointing back to the homepage.
The more a subpage is linked to internally, the greater its importance will appear to be.
Figure 11: Using Ryte to improve the structure of your link hierarchy
Link texts can frequently repeat themselves (e.g., in the footer), and they can consist of a single word.
When checking the status codes of a website, you should fix 4xx and 5xx status codes as quickly as possible as too many errors could have a negative effect on the quality properties for Google.
Figure 12: Using Ryte to identify 404 errors and redirects
301 redirects are very important because without, both URL variants would be seen as separate pages.
If changing a URL is imperative, you should configure a 301 redirect.
iFrames are used to display other web content as independent documents in a defined area of the browser.
With regard to search engine optimization, there is nothing wrong with using Flash. However, certain rules should however be observed. Flash should not be used for important content, as search engines cannot crawl flash. Therefore, makes sure that no entire pages are built with Flash.
The load time of a website is very important for search engine ranking. It should be reduced as much as possible, and can be affected by many factors.
Figure 13: Use the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google
Particularly with mobile devices, users expect fast load times, as they want to access their desired information as quickly as possible when on the go. Mobile friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015.
When designing your page, make sure it has good mobile usability. One possible way of doing this is redirecting to a mobile page.
The more languages the content of your website is available in, the higher the workload required to ensure visitors and search engines find their way through the website.
Search engines usually have different reference points to identify the language and geographic orientation of a website.
Google Analytics evaluations are detailed, and allow a fundamental data analysis.
Just like your own health, your website can be kept “healthy” through regular maintenance. An SEO audit is, for many reasons, the perfect way to check your website’s health. With our check list, we provide a plan with which you can regularly review the most important technical factors of your website.
Such a comprehensive analysis requires a certain amount of time, regardless of the size of your website. Long-term planning, conducting regular technical SEO audits, and continuous monitoring using common web analytics tools, will pay off in the long term. This is how you can sustainably improve the quality management of your website, and ensure that your website has the necessary quality to obtain good rankings in search engines.