What is a technical SEO audit?
A technical SEO audit is a process that examines various technical elements of a website to ensure they are following the best search operation practices.
A technical audit is an imperative part of site maintenance, and it will check if a site is optimised properly for search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo.
This includes making sure there are no issues related to crawlability or indexation that could prevent search engines from allowing your site to appear on result pages.
Is a Technical SEO Audit different to an SEO Audit?
A technical SEO audit is simply just a type of SEO audit, except it focuses on the issue related to your website that happens behind the scenes. It is work done on the website besides from the content that is displayed.
Technical SEO is what enables search engines, like Google, to perform indexing and crawling of websites in search of new content.
When should you perform a technical SEO audit?
Ideally, you should have a technical SEO audit when a new site is made, or when you are thinking of investing in more online marketing. Once a site is live and an initial audit has been completed and actioned, you should look to have a mini audit completed every 4 to 6 months, depending on the size of the website.
If you aren’t regularly checking your website’s health, you could put yourself at risk of losing traffic to your competitors. Google also keeps updating its algorithms every year, so it’s important you stay informed about the current trends.
By performing a few technical SEO audits a year, you can figure out what is and isn’t working for your site, as well as identifying areas which need improvement.
What is on-site SEO?
On-site SEO is the practice of optimising elements on your website in order to rank higher and earn more relevant search traffic.
It can include:
- Optimising your titles and metadata
- Formatting your text properly (use of heading tags, H1/H2/H3, correctly)
- Checking your content for uniqueness, grammar and formatting
- Updating content regularly
- Identifying broken links and internal linking opportunities
- Checking your images for accurate descriptions and ALT-text
How do you know if your website requires a technical SEO audit?
There are a few different key signs that your site needs a technical SEO audit:
- Your search rankings have fallen:
If your Google visits have dried up and you can’t figure out why, it’s best to find out sooner rather than later. Just moving from the first page to the second on Google, can result in a loss of thousands of visits per week.
It’s likely that this will result in a loss in leads, which can affect your sales.
- You’ve launched a new website and want to check it is built correctly:
If you’ve just had your site redesigned, but you aren’t sure how well it has been built, now is a good time for a technical SEO audit.
Using an experienced team will mean issues can be discovered early on and the problems can be solved.
- You aren’t 100% sure you’ve caught everything:
Many marketers are good at finding keywords, tweaking content and ordering citations, but it can be difficult to see other issues with the naked eye.
In that case, it’s best to have a technical SEO audit to look for well hidden problems.
What can you expect from an SEO audit?
Once you’ve outlined the reasons why you may need a technical SEO audit, there are a few different problems which you may discover during an audit.
- Internal or external links that don’t have a valid destination
- Links to pages that can’t be crawled
- Page resources that incorrectly redirect away from your site
- Different forms of duplicate content
- Special characters that cant be read or indexed properly
- Hidden files or access issues
- Missing titles, metas and heading tags
- Incorrect formatting in text or images
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there may be other issues that arise.
However, when you look at the issues above, you may begin to understand how they can cause damage to visibility, marketing and inbound lead generation.
What do you need before an SEO audit is completed?
There isn’t much that you’d need to provide before having an SEO audit. In order for a technical audit to run smoothly, you would likely need to provide:
- Website admin access
- Google Search Console access
- Any analytics access that you already have
- Any previous, relevant site data
- A brief overview of your site, its purpose and functionality
- An explanation as to what you want to achieve from a technical audit
How is a technical SEO audit conducted?
Follow the steps below to find out how to conduct a technical SEO audit:
- Start by crawling your website.
Every technical SEO should start by crawling your website. This will help you find errors such as broken links, poor images, page title issues and missing text.
- Review sitemaps.
The sitemap of your website is extremely important as it can inform the search engines about your website structure. It is essential to have a sitemap for getting your SEO strategy correct.
- Check the browsable versions of your website.
You should be ensuring that the browsable versions of your site are actually browsable. If you have different versions of your website, this can result in mixed signals being sent to the search engine.
The crawlers will be confused about which site is the correct one. The technical SEO audit should make sure that only one version of your website is browsable.
- Check internal links.
Logical hierarchy in your website can massively help your search rankings, which is why you should be checking internal and external links. Web pages can also be moved or deleted, causing broken links, so it’s worth checking this too.
- Test the site’s speed.
Your site’s speed is an extremely important parameter when it comes to technical SEO. People don’t like waiting for pages to load, and the longer it takes, the more likely that the visitors might bounce.
- Do a backlink audit.
Backlinks are vital for the success of your website, so it’s no surprise that they are part of a technical SEO audit. They show search engines how valuable your content is for the user.
- Re-crawl your website.
Once the issues in the technical SEO audit have been outlined, you can re-crawl your website. This will ensure the changes you’ve made are being taken into account straight away.
What tools are used in a technical SEO audit?
Online SEO tools are used in a technical audit to allow a site to be crawled, data to be collected and categorised, missing areas to be flagged and statistics to be created.
A technical SEO audit on a site can be performed using a range of online SEO tools, such as:
- Google Search Console
- Screaming Frog
Key elements of technical SEO auditing
Tracking the issues you find will help you outline some of the key elements to focus on.
Some of these elements may include:
- Making sure your content is visible
- Ensuring your analytics is set up
- Checking for canonicalisation
- Checking for mobile friendliness
- Scanning your site for 404s
- Checking your sitemap is visible
- Checking for suspicious backlinks
- Security issues
- Checking for schema markup
Why is technical SEO important?
Technical SEO is important because it essentially ensures that your website is user friendly, easy to use and free of any technical issues that prevent it from being ranked by search engines.
You should be implementing technical SEO into your strategy in order to attract organic traffic and turn that traffic into customers.
Technical SEO can be difficult to understand and implement. That’s why the team at Tao Digital are here – we can perform a technical SEO audit for you, and run through the findings in an easy-to-understand format.
From there, we can work on implementing key changes to your website to ensure that it is performing at its best.