Why your business should regularly carry out a “Technical SEO Audit:

Why your business should regularly carry out a “Technical SEO Audit:

March 4, 2024

Technical SEO Audit

Written by: Ryan Walsh

Date: 04/03/2024

 

Table of contents:

What exactly is a “Technical SEO Audit”

We explain why businesses should routinely carry out a technical SEO audit

How to fix and resolve some of the technical SEO issues

 

Introduction

From a shopper’s perspective, they will be interested in quickly finding the product they want to buy or receiving an answer to a question they have. Therefore, the customer is interested in the company’s website’s visual aspects of the website, and receiving helpful advice to find the right product.

Yet, to get that website well placed within Google SERPs so the customer can easily find it, this often means considerable amounts of time need to be spent on improving the technical SEO first.

 

So, these are areas such as:

– Making sure you have fast hosting
– Making sure there are not too many 404 errors
– Making sure the pages can get indexed and so much more
Therefore, there’s much more to search engine optimisation than just writing quality content marketing.

So, we know time is precious; not everyone will have time to digest this 3,000 mammoth article, so we are in the business of being as helpful as possible.

With this in mind, we thought we would write out over ten ways right at the start of this article to help you improve your business’s technical SEO. This is based on over ten years of experience, as Ryan Walsh, the author of this work, has been helping countless companies during that time to improve their technical SEO, offsite SEO, and onsite SEO.

 

Make sure every single page can get indexedYou might think it’s Google’s job to index every page, right?
Well, the answer to that question is yes and no, so let us explain why that is so.

Googlebot is very good at indexing pages; it has the super difficult job of constantly crawling and indexing new pages, which is a tremendous task as there are millions of new pages added every day.

So Google’s good at that, yet what Google can’t do is index a page if it doesn’t want to be indexed- so for example a “no-index” tab is left on.

If there’s a no-index tab left on, then that page can’t get indexed, so won’t appear in Google’s SERPs.
So, one of the first tasks an SEO consultant should do is check if each page can get indexed or not. If it hasn’t been indexed, here’s what you should do:

 

Manually submit each URL to the Google Search Console

This may take some time, especially if you have a considerable number of pages, yet this way, you can get each page indexed.
Submit a Site Map.

If you have recently visited a city you have never visited, you will likely use “Google Maps” to find your way around that city.
Google will often need a different kind of map, which SEO companies call a “site map” to navigate your company’s websites. A site map is simply a long list of URLs and pages which should be indexed.

 

Add a Robot.txt

If there are pages like the WordPress Admin login page you don’t want to indexed by Googlebot then, write this in the Robot.txt.

 

#2 Fix broken links internally and externally

Broken external backlinks could stop link equity (link juice) from passing through to a page.
Broken internal links could be causing a bad user experience (U.X), which may mean the page has a much higher bounce rate.

In either case, both need to be fixed; use Screaming Frog, an easy-to-use SEO tool, to find broken links.

 

#3 Make sure your company website is fast (purchase fast website hosting)

Purchase high-quality website hosting; don’t buy cheap website hosting, as it may be very, very slow. You want fast website hosting.

 

Googlebot

So, before any blog post or page can appear in Google’s results (SERPs) , the page must be “crawled and indexed” by Googlebot. The page must therefore be able to be indexed.

For a page to be crawled and indexed by Googlebot, the page has to be “crawlable”. This means that if there’s something like a “no-index” tab switched on, the page won’t be crawlable. So, a marketing business has to see if the search engine bots, used by, say, Microsoft Bing and

Alphabets Google, can crawl and index the page.

If there are any errors, such as a page time out, or no-index code, this needs to be fixed.

 

#5 Integrate Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Just as you wouldn’t drive down the road without the dashboard working on your car, neither would an SEO consultant attempt to improve a business’s SEO without having the right SEO tools set up first.

SEO tools such as Majestic, Moz Pro, Google Search Console and also Google Analytics all provide information on different aspects of your business’s search engine optimisation.

For example, we use Majestic to check the quality of a business’s backlinks, we use Moz Pro, and we use Google Search Console to see where our and our client’s websites rank in Google.co.uk.

 

We recommend using these tools:

– Google Search Console

Setting up a piece of cake takes minutes, yet it can be beneficial when aiming to improve your company’s organic search engine optimisation.

 

You can use Google Search Console for the following purposes:

– Manually submit URLs for indexing
– Check where your business ranks in the SERP’s
– Check to see if Google has issued any manual action penalties
– See how many impressions your website received
– See how many clicks your business received
– Check to see which backlinks are linking to your business

 

Google Analytics

 

Again, another handy tool, a piece of cake to set up and can offer you the following information once set up
– How much organic traffic you have received
– Bounce rates
– Time on site (dwell time)
– How many visitors visited your company website via social media
– How many come through paid ads, such as using Google Adwords
– How many visitors come through Google organic results

You may be asking what setting up a Google Analytics and Google Search Console account has to do with an article about improving a business’s technical SEO. Well, a lot, because, using these tools, you can see if there are indexation issues, for example, if the pages or the blog posts have been indexed. You can also see if there are any 404-page errors.

 

H1 through to H6 tags missing

This will not massively damage your SEO if you don’t add H1 through to H6 tags, as Google’s algorithm is so clever it can work out what the page is about.

Yet, with that said, someone can work out what ready meal is on a shelf without a label, yet having a label helps.
So what we mean by this is that H1 through to H6 tags are a bit like labels; they tell Google’s algorithms what that page is about.

 

Google’s Quality Guidelines

So, some SEO tools may flag issues, yet often, an SEO consultant must use multiple SEO tools to check the following. Google has published its “Google Quality Guidelines”,- which state that Google wants quality work, so if a business flouts these rules, it will incur a Google Penalty.

 

So, the Google Quality Guidelines stipulate:

No cloaking

So, this is the process of making the text the same colour as the page’s background. Please don’t use this method; it will get your business a Google penalty. So, let’s say you run a “skip hire” company- well, some spammy SEO companies would try and list a long list of areas, plus the wording of say “skip hire companies”- they would make the text the same colour as the background, which is called cloaking. If you use “cloaking”, your business will incur a penalty and probably be removed from Google.

 

Limit user-generated spam

So, don’t use spam or low-quality content marketing. Therefore, do not use spun articles; we wouldn’t add A. I have not written content marketing either; this will sometimes be deemed a spammy page; therefore, you could receive a penalty.

 

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

So, at minimum, your company website should work on smartphones and tablets. You might have spotted that we used the wording “as a minimum” because your website should work on smartphones; you now need to go the extra mile and ensure the website is super easy to use, improving what SEO agencies call the user experience.

So large brands, for example, will often pay digital marketing agencies to conduct A/B testing.

A/B testing aims to constantly improve the website’s design, making it easier and quicker for customers to get to the products they want. For example, simply redesigning and making the main menu easier could improve the company’s sales.

 

Who wrote the work:

No doorway pages

Within this article, we will go in-depth to explain the following:

What precisely is a technical SEO audit is

Why your business needs to carry out technical SEO audits regularly

How to use various quality SEO tools to carry out a technical SEO audit of your website

 

SEO Tools

What will many SEO tools look at when you run a “technical SEO audit report” using them? We recommend Moz Pro; we think this is one of the best tools to use:

 

• Website structure

So, marketing agencies often spend much time deciding how pages should be organised in the menu. For large e-commerce businesses, it can sometimes make a considerable difference as to how you design your main menu. For example, some retailers may group all electrical items for the kitchen as “kitchen appliances”.

Other retailers may design their menu so you are led to a page with big clear icons, such as a blender, microwave, or dishwasher. What this might do, and what “spit testing” may reveal, is that the bounce rate may drastically reduce with a straightforward, easy-to-use main menu in Google Analytics.

 

• Page speed optimisation

The website must be super fast; we use the wording crucial because if your website is not supersonic in terms of how fast it loads, it could have a high bounce rate.

You don’t want your business to have a high bounce rate; you want it to be as low as possible. One of the ways to achieve a lower bounce rate is to make sure your business offers a good “U.X”. One of the ways your business can provide a good user experience.

 

• Mobile usability

It’s also essential that your website is easy to use on mobile devices. Your company website should load fast and be very easy to use.

 

• Structured data markup

Your web developers should also add “schema mark-up” to your company’s website. So, for example, you could use schema to mark up your company’s NAP information. You could also use it to mark your business’s product reviews or opening hours.

 

• Crawling and indexing issues

 

Crawling and indexation issues

For any page to appear in Google’s organic results, it must be “crawled and indexed” by Googlebot. Now, if the page can be crawled, its good-quality work will be indexed, and then it will appear in Google’s organic results. If the page can’t be crawled and indexed, this could be code blocking Googlebot from indexing that page. For example, writing “no-index” code within the robot.txt or on the page will stop Googlebot from indexing that page.

 

Improving the indexation of pages/blog posts on your website

 

Internal linking

So, let’s say your website has 40 pages and 100 blog posts; that’s a lot of work, right? Well, some of the things you write about will overlap. For example, if you’re a hairdresser and talking about various hair care products, these products are likely to overlap.

So, you could use internal links, such as linking main pages to blog posts. This will help shoppers, as a link from hair shampoo to a recommended conditioner may mean they purchase both. It also allows Googlebot to discover more pages and crawl and index more of the website more accessible.

 

Avoid orphan pages

So, if you have a lot of pages that aren’t interlinked, it simply makes it harder for Googlebot to discover that work. Yet, interlinking the work using white hat methods makes it easier for Googlebot to crawl and index new pages.

 

Which SEO Tools should we be using?

Screaming Frog is a popular SEO tool used by SEO agencies worldwide. This tool will act a bit like Googlebot. However, its purpose is not to crawl and index pages so that those pages can appear in Google’s results. Instead, it will present an easy-to-read report if your company website has broken links and duplicated content marketing.

It can, therefore, provide you with a list of 404-page errors. Thus, your web developer or SEO company can fix these page errors by redirecting, using a 301-page redirect or adding content marketing to the page.

 

An excellent technical audit report will also highlight:

 

Duplicate content

A website with duplicated content will not rank high on Google. We would say pages with copied content will not rank on Google’s pages. The reason is that Google’s algorithm will deem that page low quality.
So, what you want instead is quality content marketing that’s original, written by an Expert and has a high Google E-EAT score.

 

• Thin content

So, another problem businesses have is pages with a lot of “thin content”- this means pages with a low word count don’t offer much helpful information. It could also be pages the author has exerted much effort to write.

You want a good-quality answer when looking for the answers to a question on Google. This is why Google places pages on the first, offering top-quality information. Which are well-written, have a high Google E-EAT score, and are helpful (Google Helpful Content Update). The page should not, therefore, have any duplicated content marketing or be content-thin.

Content: Thin pages are low quality and don’t offer much helpful information.

 

404 errors

A website with a lot of 404 errors is a website that is not helping the shopper find the products or services they want. For example, they could use Google to find a nice winter jacket, but the bounce rate will increase if the meta title they click on shows them a 404-page error.
What happens when a shopper sees a 404-page error? Is it likely to return to the SERPs (search engine results pages) and click on another business?

So, not only are 404 page errors bad for your business’s SEO, but they also mean that the bounce rate increases. Google’s algorithm will spot this, and therefore, you could be ranked lower in Google’s services. Also, instead of potentially making a sale, the shopper might get elsewhere to buy their goods or services, as the 404-page error might make them shop elsewhere.

 

• Redirects

Super fast
So, as we mentioned earlier in this article, having a supersonic company website is crucial. So it doesn’t matter what type of business you run, whether you’re a sole trader or perhaps your multi-billion pound brand; it’s so crucial that your company website is fast.

 

Website Hosting

So, when buying website hosting for your company, make sure you pick a company that offers super fast website hosting and that the website hosting is reliable. If all of your customers are here in Britain and you don’t trade overseas, think about getting website hosting in the U.K., as it is likely if you pick the right hosting company, the hosting will be faster because the servers are here in the UK.

 

Google Speed Test and GTmetrix

So, how do you gauge how fast your company website is?

Well, some fantastic SEO tools, such as GT Metrix and Google Page Speed, will tell you how fast your website is. If you want to make your company website as fast as possible, you need to do two things: have a well-designed website that also loads quickly on desktop and mobile. Also, on top of that, you need super fast website hosting.

 

Robots.txt and sitemaps

A robot.txt is simply a list of pages/blog posts your website has. You also want to add a site map. What this does is, just as someone would use, say, a map or GPS to navigate around a city, the sitemap helps Googlebot and other crawlers crawl and index the website. It is a list of pages to index, and it is possible to enable better use of your company’s crawl budget; your web developers may have added “no-index” tabs on some of the pages you don’t want to be indexed.

Which pages have a “no-index” tab?

Well, let’s say the login screen on your WordPress website, you’re not going to want shoppers to see the page, as they won’t want to login to your WP Dashboard, so what you might want to add is a “no-index” code on that page, so it cant get indexed. This helps to keep your crawl budget so Google can index more of the pages you want indexed.

 

Create an XML sitemap.

It’s a piece of cake to create an XML site map. There are a lot of free plugins that can do this for you in a matter of a few seconds. So you can create an XML site map, which can include a long list, like a shopping list of pages you want Googlebot to crawl and index.

 

SEO performance

Make changes, edit and repeat.

Just as you must regularly carry out DIY on your house to keep it in tip-top condition, you should also use quality SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, Moz Pro, and Screaming Frog, to regularly audit your company website.

 

Link equity

Check the quality of the backlinks leading to your website.

So, do pay a reliable SEO company to check the health of your business’s backlinks. If your business has a lot of spam or low-quality backlinks, this can massively damage your company’s organic search engine optimisation. Too many low-quality links could lead to a manual or an algorithmic penalty issued by Google- this you want to avoid.

So, when conducting a technical SEO audit, check the quality of your incoming backlinks.

 

The backlinks you want are as follows:
– High-quality links
– Relevant to your company
– White hat
– Earn links. Please do not buy them
– Make sure all of the anchor text is written in a white hat way
– Mixture of do-follow and no-follow
– Slow the link velocity down so you build quality links over a long time frame

Here’s why you should fix broken links that you discover during a technical SEO audit
Imagine you get super high-quality backlinks from some of the world’s best-known brands. Yet, when you run an SEO technical audit, you discover that you have good-quality incoming backlinks, but the link is broken, as you’ve removed that page.
This means that link equity, or as some SEO agencies refer to it, “link juice”, is not being passed through to that page, which will damage your organic SEO.

Having a lot of super high-quality backlinks, but them leading to broken links, is a bit like having a sports car on the drive but no petrol in the tank! Sure, it has the potential to go somewhere and fast, but without fuel, well, it just sat there.
This is the same for a business with super-quality links, but at the same time, some or all of those links point to deleted pages or broken links. The link equity will not pass through; the business’s search engine optimisation will not improve.

 

Be helpful by Google Helpful Content helpful.

So, some businesses think writing content marketing is just writing to hit a set amount of words. Be that target 1,000 words, 2,000 words or 3,000 words; however, when it comes to improving your company’s SEO, it’s not about writing a set amount of words just to hit a word count.

No, the information should focus on being as helpful as possible. That way, Google will reward the business by ranking that page or posting higher in the SERPs.

So, how do Google’s algorithms know if the work is helpful or unhelpful?

 

Well, super helpful content marketing will typically have the following qualities:

– High time on site
– Low bounce rate
– A lot of incoming quality links

So, in a nutshell, if you want the page or post to rank higher on Google, you need the page to be helpful. So put the customer first, write to help your customers, and your business’s search engine optimisation should improve.

 

 

 

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