How to Perform a Technical SEO Site Audit
Before starting an SEO project, it is important to understand the insightful reasons for auditing a site. A Site Audit is a significant contributor to a website’s success, one of the factors that helps identify a website’s current status and the improvement it requires. SEO is the primary focus for marketing, hence why it needs to be optimized well to compete in the growing digital landscape.
An insight into SEO Site Audit:
A Technical SEO Audit checks all technical aspects of a website, including the overall health of the website and the improvement fixes. Search engines crawl different websites and all webpages to check the ‘ranking factors’ of the websites, before ranking any website in the search engine result pages (SERP).
It is therefore important to ensure your SEO strategy is aligned with the changing algorithms by conducting frequent SEO audits. Assessing your website’s health semi-annually with a full-fledged technical SEO audit is key to ranking better and performing better.
Factors that affect a website’s SEO:
Three of the most important factors determine the performance and the potential of your website, such as the on-page and off-page factors, and technical factors.
Technical aspects of a website ensure hosting, indexing, and page loading speed are all optimized for performance.
On-page elements focus on the site’s content, menu structure, keyword targeting, and Meta content, whereas off-page elements focus on backlinks and external references to the websites.
The Important Elements of a Technical SEO Audit
There are different elements of technical SEO that require focus during a site audit. The ultimate goal is to ensure better ranking, traffic, and improved conversions, hence the need for maximum site optimization of the following elements:
- Structure of the website – ensuring the sitemap and the structure of the website is accessible, is key to getting the SEO strategy right. An optimized website structure helps crawlers easily access websites and all its web pages. In addition, the site’s load time, technical metrics, mobile-friendliness are all key.
- Meta Data – a website’s Meta data includes all page titles, heading tags, Meta description which are devised after keyword research and are targeted for SEO rankings. Search engine crawlers crawl a website’s Meta data to check relevancy. It is important to assess and edit meta data every 4-6 months for optimized indexing, the regular use of keywords in the meta and site content structure is essential. It helps on-page auditing, which further determines improvement areas.
- HTML Tags – heading tags help identify all headings and subheadings from the content on the webpages. Keeping header tags consistent, relevant, and optimized for snippets is essential. It's important to use H1 only 1x for the page title and to use H2 and H3 for paragraph titles. Your keywords should be present organically in the heading tags but be careful not to overdo it.
- On-site SEO – the site’s schema, robot.txt file, checking of duplicate data, and the XML sitemap status are all important elements for SEO auditing.
A Step-by-Step Technical SEO Site Audit Process – Beginner’s Guide
For higher google rankings, a simple yet actionable SEO audit demands the following checks:
Check for mobile-friendliness
Using Google's Mobile Friendly Testing Tool, you can easily check whether or not your website is strategically optimized for mobile users. This step is essential because mobile-friendly websites are favored more for user intent.
Index & Redirect Versions
Google indexes multiple versions of the site, therefore it is important to redirect multiple versions accurately through 301 redirection. All versions must redirect to the same URL for Google to consider them one website.
Site Load Time Optimization
Search Engine algorithm requires the sites to load faster than ever before, it is important to clean the site’s HTML code and assess any errors through Google’s speed test tool. Ensure you are checking load times for all performing pages of your site before you run a speed test from tools like GTMetricx.
Link Profile Audit
Ensure you use Google Search Console to conduct a complete audit of the quality of your backlinks, as the success of SEO depends largely on links from high-domain sites. Monitor the links and assess new opportunities to link to trusted domains.
Create Purposeful Content
Write unique site content and Meta descriptions including keywords, focus on headings and subheadings, title tags and understand title lengths. It is important to implement these optimization techniques for better rankings.
For beginner audits, there are more changes and checks that help improve the performance of a website’s SEO, and ultimately its overall ranking performance. A full SEO audit however includes more elements and lengthier processes and many other tools, this guide is a simple way to start an SEO audit and gradually increase the improvements and changes in a site’s SEO.
An audit is the right starting point before starting a SEO project, it will show you the road ahead, so you can estimate the time, resources and cost.