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How to carry out a technical SEO audit on your website

Posted on 30th July, 2018 by Ryan Clifford

Search Engine Optimisation

A technical SEO audit is one of the best ways to assess your website and find opportunities for improvements. It can help you identify problems with your website, pinpoint ranking drops and give you actionable insights that you can use to improve the performance of your website. In this article, we’ll take you through some simple steps for carrying out your very own SEO audit.

Start with a crawl

The first step in carrying out a technical SEO audit on your website is to find out how the search engines view your website. This can be done by using a SEO crawling tool and will help you find problems such as broken links, page title issues, missing Meta descriptions, redirect issues and broken images. Some of the best tools to use for carrying out a SEO crawl include:

  • Screaming Frog
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush

Not only will a website crawl help you identify problems that need fixing but it will also act as a benchmark for your website which you can use to track changes. Another check to include is doing a site: search in Google for your website to see how many pages are being picked up by Google and indexed, if this is a low lower than your total number of website pages then this shows that there could be a problem.

Google Search Console

One of the most powerful tools available to website owners and marketers alike is Google’s Search Console. Not only can you check how many pages are indexed but you can also check for crawl errors, blocked resources, security issues and other factors. If you’ve seen any big ranking drops the search console should be your first point of call and will show issues such as broken pages, server errors or manual penalties from Google.

On page SEO checks

Next up is to carry out on page SEO checks for your website, a lot of these checks can be done with the help of your SEO crawl report. Things to look out for include:

Page titles – Your page’s title tag should be unique and be relevant for the content on that page, ideally, your title tag should be between 50 and 70 characters long.

Meta description – While there are no ranking benefits of your Meta description it still plays an important part by helping people click on your result. Your Meta descriptions need to be unique; compelling and help people understand what your pages are about.

Headings and keywords – One of the simplest ways to ensure that your pages are optimised is to make sure that your target keyword is included in your page headings and content. This doesn’t mean that you should stuff the page full of keywords, instead focus on well laid out pages that use bullet points, headings and images that are focused on a keyword theme.

Site hierarchy – How your website is structured can affect your rankings and make it more difficult to rank. Having a relatively flat structure can make it easier for the search engines to find your content and rank your pages accordingly.

Website speed

Did you know that website load speed is a ranking factor? People are no longer willing to wait for a webpage to load and will actively navigate away to a different website if page load is more than a couple of seconds. With more and more of us using mobile phones and tablets to access the internet, having a website that loads quickly is even more important on these devices. There are many factors that affect the speed of your website with some of the most common including hosting, image sizes, page size, JavaScript and stylesheets.

Most websites can be optimised relatively simply by reducing image sizes, compressing files, delaying script requests and utilising browser caching. Google provides a free tool that lets you evaluate your website called PageSpeed Insights and even shows you how to fix any problems that could be slowing your website down.

Check your analytics data

Website tracking platforms such as Google Analytics can help you understand more about your visitors and how they are using your website. It can also be a useful tool for spotting areas for improvement and highlighting potential problems on your website.  Some of the things to look out for include: a high bounce rate on your key pages, low time on page, and a reduction in organic traffic.

 

 

Using Google Analytics you can measure everything from the number of conversions on your website to the geographic locations of your traffic. Analytics can give you valuable insights into your audience and help you make decisions to improve the performance of your site and make it better targeted to your customers.

Perform a link audit

You can have the best website in the world but without backlinks pointing to it, you’ll struggle to get great rankings in the search engines. Backlinks act as votes of confidence for your website and generally speaking the more you have, the better your chances of ranking among the top results. There are many tools available for carrying out a link audit with some of the best including Ahrefs and SEMrush which both let you see your own links and more importantly those of your competitors.

By evaluating the links of your competitors you can identify areas where they are strong and find ideas for link opportunities for your own business. You can also use these tools to see what keywords certain pages are ranking for which can help you develop your own web pages and content strategy.

Conclusion

We’d recommend that you carry out a technical SEO audit on your website every 6 – 8 months and after any major change to your website. By conducting regular audits you’ll be able to benchmark performance and identify areas of improvement for your website that can help you stay ahead of your competitors.

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