Your website needs a thorough Technical SEO Audit every once in a while to ensure its SEO health remains great and the website can enjoy higher rankings and traffic from Google, ultimately improving your website’s performance and profitability.
SEO Auditing is basically an in-depth examination of your website that helps your website’s SEO remain optimized excellently.
I have personally managed SEO for 7 websites with SEO audits, Keyword Researching, Content Management, and much more. All of which, almost always, show an improvement in Google SERPs rankings after a successful SEO Audit.
This experience has helped me understand the RIGHT steps to perform a successful SEO Audit that evidently boost your website’s performance.
So let’s head right into it!
What Is A Technical SEO Audit?
A technical SEO audit helps you view all the aspects of SEO done on your website. This not only expresses all the things that are done wrong with SEO on the website but also enables you to fix them and help your google rankings better.
The primary reason for this hassle is to improve the Google rankings of your page. If your work isn’t making it to the top Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), it means the SEO of your website needs attention and there is something wrong with it.
Why Are SEO Audits Important?
Technical SEO Audits are important for mainly two reasons: to win higher rankings against the competition within your niche and to be up to date with the SEO changes made by Google itself.
Firstly, to eliminate competition and reach the top of Google SERPs. You may know that websites constantly fight for the top places on Google SERPs, as the higher Google ranks your website, the more traffic you can expect.
And the determining factor for Google rankings? SEO.
For this reason, SEO Audits are important, especially if your niche has high competition. It helps you understand the retain your website’s SEO health strong and makes you win higher Google rankings than the competition.
The second reason which makes SEO Auditing important is the SEO changes made by Google itself.
Frequently, Google posts updates on how they change the ranking process of websites on SERPs. This is done in the attempt to only get websites that are of the best use to visitors on top of SERPs.
These updates may penalize previous SEO aspects and promote others. A good example would be when Google started penalizing keyword stuffing and promoted backlinking as a good SEO factor.
Every time Google publishes these updates, your website falls in need of a technical SEO Audit to ensure everything still hits the mark.
What Factors Determine Your Website’s SEO Health?
There are 3 main factors that are taken into account when determining the performance of a website’s SEO.
Technical Factors: Hosting, indexing, page loading speed, etc.
On-Page Factors: Content, keyword optimization, web design, etc.
Off-Page Factors: Backlinking, promotion and off-page sharing of the website, social media linking, etc.
- Technical factors: These include technical aspects such as hosting, indexing, page loading speed.
- On-page factors: These include factors such as site content, target keywords, and their related terms.
- Off-Page factors: These include the backlinks and outside references to your website from other websites.
How To Do An SEO Audit?
Now that you understand what SEO Auditing is and the importance of it, let’s get in on how you can conduct an SEO audit yourself for your website.
SEO Auditing can be an extensive task for big websites but an extremely necessary one due to its importance in Google rankings.
It’s best to divide the process of SEO Auditing into steps where you can use this as an SEO Audit checklist when conducting one yourself.
Step 1: Crawling Your Website
What Google does when you publish your website online is it crawls all your pages with bots that make Google understand what the site is all about, how good the content is, and where to rank your links on SERPs.
The first step of your SEO audit will include you finding things that need fixing such as:
- Broken links
- Heavy Images
- Heading Tag Issues
- Bad Keywords
- Duplicated Content
- Unlinked Pages
Another important aspect of crawling is your crawl budget.
A crawl budget is basically the number of pages of your website Google frequently crawls on using crawl bots.
This crawl budget of your website is limited which is why you need to make the most out of it. The more pages your website has, the less valuable content crawling bots may take out.
You want Google bots to only include the optimized pages of your website in the crawl budget, which will bring your SERP rankings up!
To make the best out of your crawl budget, follow these tips:
- Check your website’s crawl budget using Google Search Console
- Remove duplicate content or block them from search engine bots
- Restrict indexation of non-SEO pages like Terms and Conditions or About Me.
- You can also take a look at the Google Search Console to see your crawl budget. Your crawl budget is essentially the number of pages that Google is crawling on your website and how frequently it is doing that.
- Looking at your crawl budget will give you an idea of how the Google bot is crawling your website.
- Add URL parameters to Google Search Console to ensure Google doesn’t crawl the same page twice, with and without URL parameters.
- The more redirects your website links have, the more your crawl budget is wasted. Consequently, after a few 301 or 302 redirects, Google bots may even stop following the route and not reach the destination page.
- Check your website’s score before and after these changes to note the difference and understand what more needs to be done. SEO Site Checkup can help with this.
Step 2: Revisiting sitemap.xml
A sitemap of a website is basically a navigation guide for Google bots to help them understand the website’s structure and navigate through pages.
During an SEO audit, you need to ensure your website’s sitemap follows these instructions:
- There must be NO errors in redirects and URLs of the sitemap.
- Keep it short and relevant to include all the important stuff of the website. Google won’t crawl a sitemap with more than 50k URLs.
- To enable quick crawling of new content, new publications should be updated to the sitemap immediately.
- Acknowledging Google of your sitemap using Google Search Console.
Step 3: Using A Single Version Of Your Website
If your website has two versions, an HTTP and an HTTPS one, that’s one of the most significant reasons your website isn’t getting good rankings.
Duplicate versions of a website can confuse crawling bots and not let it up on SERPs.
The same goes for if your website has a separate desktop and mobile versions of the website.
Use HTTPS. HTTP websites scare users which affects google rankings.
Use a single version of your website to help the crawl bots know exactly what your digital presence is.
Step 4: Mapping Internal Links
Your website needs to follow a logical interlinking pattern that helps all the content be connected and makes navigation comfortable.
This not only helps users enjoy a better surfing experience but also aids Google bots during crawls.
- No page should ideally have a click depth of more than 3.
(Click depth shows how many clicks away a page is)
- Remove any and all broken links. These not only lead crawl bots and users to dead ends but also waste crawl budget.
- Connect orphan pages that aren’t linked to any page on your website.
Tools like Website Auditor can help with all the above pointers.
Step 5: Boost Site Speed
The slower your site is, the higher your bounce rate would be.
Surveys show website speed is one of the most influential factors of visitors choosing to stay on a website.
If your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, over 90% of visitors may exit instantly.
Consequently, the higher your website’s bounce rate is, the worse Google will regard your website to be and will rank your lower.
|Page Load Time (seconds)||Probability of Bounce|
|1s to 3s||32%|
|3s to 5s||90%|
|5s to 6s||106%|
|6s to 10s||123%|
Data extracted from Think With Google
Use Google PageSpeed Insights to know your site speed and insights on how to boost it.
One of the most common ways to increase site speed is using light website design templates and compressing images present on web pages.
Step 6: Checking HTTPS Links and Content
After you’ve shifted to an HTTPS version of your website, you should take the following steps to ensure Google deems your website secure enough.
- No HTTPS page is linked to a redirect through an HTTP link.
- HTTPS pages don’t have un-secure content e.g. images or videos that are linked to HTTP links.
Website security is becoming an influential factor in SERP rankings.
Over 70% of the results on the first page of Google are HTTPS links.
This is why you need to make sure your website is a safe haven for visitors.
Step 7: Conducting A Backlink Audit
Backlinking is still one of the most influential factors in how Google ranks your website.
In summary, the more backlinks your website has, the higher Google will rank your web page on the relevant backlinking keywords.
Backlinks act as verification tokens for Google, where when a page links out to you, Google depicts your content to be authoritative enough for websites to use you as the source.
However, having a plethora of backlinks isn’t enough.
Your website also needs to have brand mentions. This helps Google bots deem your site as a trustworthy one.
For all these reasons, a backlinking audit is necessary.
The best tool for backlinks would be Ahrefs.
Using Ahrefs, you can analyze your website’s backlinks. How many you have, what keywords they stand on, and how many sites your site backlinks to.
Furthermore, you can also analyze your competitor’s websites for their backlink information and the keywords that they use.
This can help you optimize and compete better against your competitors and enable you to upload more relevant and valuable content in the future.
Step 8: Using Google Analytics Insights
For the most part of SEO optimization and SEO Audits, Google’s own tools are extremely helpful.
One of the highly used Google tools for checking site metrics is Google Analytics.
During an SEO Audit, here you can review all your changes and add finishing touches to your website to ensure every aspect that needed revision is taken care of.
Here are some things you should check in Google Analytics:
- Google Analytics is providing real-time updates. If not, the Google Analytics tracker code needs to be installed properly.
- Check if all your indexed pages are being crawled. Google ‘site:domain name’ and compare the SERPs with the pages your site has.
- Google Analytics also informs you of your bounce rate. If it is high, your site could either be slow or the content isn’t valuable enough to retain visitors.
Step 9: Recrawling Your Website
Once all the changes are performed, the final step would be to force recrawling your website.
This will ping the Google bots to recrawl your website and address the new changes immediately.
You can do this using Google Search Console. Head on to Crawl, then Fetch As Google. Enter the URL that needs to be re-crawled and press submit.
Viola! You’ve successfully conducted a technical SEO audit of your website.
Soon, you can expect to notice higher Google rankings and more traffic on your website.
Remember, SEO Audits aren’t just a one-off thing. To stay at the top of the league, make sure you conduct SEO Audits regularly.