8 simple steps to perform a technical SEO audit
A technical SEO audit helps teams understand behind-the-scenes issues affecting search engine rankings, such as site speed, indexing, and backlinks. It is important that SEO specialists have a complete view of all the elements that affect page rankings so that teams can take the best steps to improve their positions.
Performing daily technical SEO audits is crucial to building a great SEO strategy. But if you’re just starting out, starting to work with a new company, or want to learn how to perform a technical SEO audit, it can be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll go over eight steps to help you perform a technical SEO audit, increase web traffic to your web pages, and build your confidence as an SEO specialist.
What is a technical SEO audit?
What most people call SEO is what specialists call on-page SEO. This is where a professional optimizes the content that appears on a website so that it appears organically to the right audiences.
Technical SEO does not relate to the content that appears on a website, but how users and search bots navigate each page. A technical SEO audit involves using a checklist of behind-the-scenes technical things to review and improve to increase page rankings in search engines.
What is a technical SEO audit?
When SEO specialists perform a technical SEO audit, they check a range of factors that impact a website’s speed, performance, and usability, and they take steps to optimize web pages. Regular, sometimes daily, SEO technical audits can help specialists learn about technical issues they might not be aware of.
Image source: WordStream
SEO specialists and marketing teams use tools such as Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, web crawlers, mobile robots and indexing tools to optimize their web pages and improve engine rankings research through technical SEO audits.
When to perform a technical SEO audit
It is important to regularly carry out technical SEO audits. Some businesses use technical SEO to help improve cash flow through web traffic and conversions. Daily audits are therefore essential. But for blogs and personal websites, weekly or monthly SEO audits should suffice.
Besides regular maintenance, you should always perform an SEO technical audit when you move to a new site, start freelancing for a new client, or when you first get hired at a company. And of course, technical SEO audits are also useful during times when your rankings are stagnating or declining.
What you need to do before performing a technical SEO audit
Before performing a technical SEO audit, there are a few things you need to do:
- Find out what your client’s goals are. Do they want to improve SEO, make it easier for users to navigate web pages, or optimize their site’s performance?
- Access their tools and analyzes. To perform a technical SEO audit, you need to be able to access things like the site’s Google Console, performance tracking analytics, and everything else you need to meet your client’s expectations.
- Sign a written agreement. Whether you are hired for a job or for ongoing work, it is important to have a written agreement explaining what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. You will also need disclaimers and a list of responsibilities so that you are not held liable for things beyond your control.
Having all of this information in advance is important so that you can prepare for the job. For example, if you worked for a SaaS company such as GetWeave, you might be hired to perform a technical SEO audit on certain specialized landing pages based on their industry and business type so that they appear in front of the right people based on their previous searches and user behavior.
Image source: Search Engine Land
But if you worked for a retail company, your job might be to make sure the pages load quickly, there are no image issues, and all your 4xx links are redirecting to the correct locations. .
A step-by-step guide to performing a technical SEO audit
Let’s go through each of the eight steps that will help you pass a technical SEO audit.
1. Explore your website
Use a tool that scans your website to check how many URLs are indexable, and how many have issues, including issues that are hampering your site’s performance.
Image source: Deepcrawl
For Wix users, Deepcrawl is the best tool trusted by professionals, but most people start by using Google Search Console:
- Choose the sitemap format you want to use: XML, RSS, mRSS, Atom 1.0 or Text.
- Create the sitemap manually or automatically with a sitemap generator.
- Add your sitemap to your robots.txt file or submit it to Google through Search Console.
2. Spot indexing issues
If the website contains pages that Google cannot crawl, it may not be indexed properly. Here are some common indexing issues to look for:
- indexing errors
- robots.txt errors
- sitemap issues
The easiest way to check your site’s indexing is to use the Coverage Report in Google Search Console. It will tell you which pages are indexed and why others are excluded so you can fix them. You may need to optimize your crawl budget to ensure your pages are indexed regularly.
3. Check the technical elements of the page
While on-page elements are often omitted from a technical SEO audit, supporting them is considered basic housekeeping that needs to be addressed. Here is a list of on-page elements to examine during a technical SEO audit:
- page titles and title tags
- meta descriptions
- canonical tags
- schema markup
4. Identify image problems
Image optimization is another often overlooked aspect that is crucial for technical SEO audits. Ensuring images are error-free can help a site’s rankings in several ways, including improving loading speeds, increasing traffic from Google Images, and improving accessibility.
Be sure to identify technical image issues such as:
- broken pictures
- image file size too large
- HTTPS page links to HTTP image
- faded away
5. Analyze internal links
Next, it is important to analyze the internal links. Identify 4xx status codes that need to be redirected. If there are orphan pages without internal links to them, identify them and address them.
6. Check External Links
Next, move on to external links. External links are important because they make a website more credible with users and search engines. Make sure all backlinks are active and not leading to broken pages, and verify that all pages have outbound links.
7. Measure site speed and performance
Google search gives better ranking positions to websites with good performance and fast loading times.
Image source: PageSpeed
Here’s how to use Google PageSpeed Insights to check a site’s performance:
- Go to the Google PageSpeed Insights page.
- Enter your web page URL in the box.
- Click analyze and view your results.
This tool will provide you with an overall score, field data, suggestions, and other diagnostic information that can help improve your page speed.
8. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Finally, make sure the site you are auditing is mobile-friendly, responsive, and cross-browser compatible. Google favors responsive web pages that load easily and are easy to navigate regardless of the user’s device.
Here is an example of how CryptoWallet.com uses a mobile and web-friendly design:
Movable scroll view
It’s easy to check a website’s responsiveness with a tool like Responsive Web Design Checker or with these steps in Google Chrome:
- Open the webpage in Google Chrome.
- Right-click to open the menu and select Inspect.
- Click on the Toggle device toolbar to see how the website looks on screen and on mobile.
Technical SEO audits help optimize websites so that they are easier to understand for users and for crawlers. Completing a technical SEO audit involves many things, but this eight-step process can help streamline your workflow so you don’t miss a thing.