SEO optimization of a website may sound like a challenge, but in all honesty, it is not. When it comes to the technical issues of a website, they exist everywhere. No website is perfect and while some may have a few issues, others have hundreds. And it is okay!
The role of SEO on your website is an important one. In order to rank better on search engines, these technical issues should be minimum or better, nonexistent! This is where technical SEO comes in where the focus is on fixing these errors. Hiring website SEO audit services can give you a chance to do this professionally.
In this article, we will look at 12 technical elements for SEO that can help you do an in-depth audit of your website.
1. Crawl Report
Crawl errors are very common and the first thing to start a technical audit with is identifying crawl errors. A crawl report helps you get an insight into your website pointing out pressing issues related to SEO. A crawl report can show you duplicate content, missing H1 or H2 tags, and reasons for low page speed. Site audits can be automated using various tools that notify whenever there are errors. A monthly crawl report is ideal to keep the website optimized, clean, and error-free at the same time.
2. HTTPS Status Codes
URLs that are HTTP are now considered unsafe and visitors will not be able to see any content. Presently, HTTPS is essential for search engines as it has a very strong ranking factor. According to a study conducted by SEMrush, HTTPS URLs have a great impact on a website’s ranking. This, in turn, impacts SEO positively. So if your website has an HTTP status code, it is time to switch quickly to HTTPS.
Once this is done, you need to look for status code errors. The site crawl report will give you a list of URL errors including the 404 error. Using the Google Search Console will help you break down the potential errors and fix them as soon as they appear. Finally, the SSL certificate of your website should be correct.
3. XML Sitemap Status
The XML sitemap is a map for Google and other search engine crawlers. This means that if anyone searches for content on the web, crawlers show up on your website. This also influences your website ranking. Therefore, the XML sitemap is important for your SEO ranking. The following guidelines are a good way to start:
- Sitemap formation on an XML document.
- Following the XML sitemap protocol.
- Presence of all updated pages of your website on the sitemap.
- Submission of sitemap on Google Search Console.
4. Website Load Time
The next thing on the technical audit is the website’s load time. The load time of a website can directly affect user experience and influence search engine rankings. Slow load times are also linked to higher bounce rates which negatively affect the SEO. According to standards set by Google, the ideal load time for any website should be less than 3 seconds. Apart from being mobile-friendly, it is important for better search engine ranking.
5. Website Mobile-Friendliness
Websites that can easily load, fit and run on mobile devices automatically rank higher on search engines. This ensures that technical SEO is also better. An easy way of doing this is by using the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google. Simply enter your website’s address and you will be given valuable insights into mobile stats. The ideal mobile-friendly solutions include increase the font size and compress images. This will differ from the desktop version of websites. Moreover, the mobile-friendly website should have embedded YouTube videos and accelerated mobile pages.
6. Auditing Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization means that your keywords are similar on different web pages of the website. This results in confusion among search engines. Google will, therefore, need to decide which page should rank higher. The drawback in such scenarios means a web page you want to rank higher may not because another page has the same keyword.
The most commonly used method in local SEO is using the same keyword for the home page and the subpage. Using Search Console Performance by Google is a good way to look at the pages that have the same keywords in the URL.
7. Checking the Website’s robots.txt File
In case all the pages of your website are not indexed, the best course of action is to look at the robots.txt file. Site owners often block pages from search engines crawling by mistake which makes auditing for robots.txt files a must. Notice the “Disallow:/” in this file which is an indicator that the crawl should not show up on this page in a search. This can hide relevant web pages or even the entire website.
8. Performing Google Site Search
When checking if all web pages are indexed by Google, perform a Google site search. Just go to Google search and type “site:yourwebsitename.com”. This will show you all the pages that are indexed by Google which you can use as a reference. In case your site does not show up at the top of the list, there are chances that you may face a Google penalty. This happens because Google considers it that you have blocked your website from being indexed.
9. Checking for Duplication of Metadata
Since there are hundreds of websites with thousands of web pages, technical SEO faux pas is common when it comes to e-commerce. Around 54% of websites have duplicate Meta description text and about 63% have none. Therefore, metadata can be easily duplicated given that there are similar products available across web pages using similar descriptions. However, metadata must be unique, which will take time to master but it is worth it in the end.
10. Length of Meta Description
While you are at it, check for the length of each meta description as well. By increasing the word count from 160 characters to 320, you can optimize your SEO. These recent changes in the increase of length allow you to add unique keywords, elements, products specifications, and locations. This has proved to improve rankings overall.
11. Checking for Site-Wide Duplicate Content
Apart from duplication of metadata, you also need to audit duplication of the content of your website. About 66% of websites have duplicate content issues. A great way to minimize this is by using Copyscape, Site Bulb, Screaming Frog, and SEMrush. All duplication can be identified using these effective tools. This way, you can make changes to your content so your website can rank higher on search engines.
12. Checking for Broken Links
Broken links automatically lead to a bad user experience and a waste of the crawl budget. This in turn leads to lower search engine rankings. Therefore, identifying and fixing broken links to your website is important. The crawl report can give you a list of broken links through URLs. Another way to locate these broken links quickly is by using DrLinkCheck.com. Simply enter the URL of your website and wait for the report to be generated automatically.
To Sum Up…
Technical audit is a must for a good search engine ranking. Many technical SEO elements must be considered during an SEO audit. Checking for XML Sitemaps to duplication of content and broken links, everything matters! Keeping a proactive approach toward optimization on and off-page is a great way to keep the business running.