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8 Steps to Perform a Technical SEO Audit

A technical SEO audit is an evaluation of the technical aspects of a website to ensure proper optimization for search engines. It involves assessing crawlability, indexation, and search engine visibility.
Written by
Josselin Liebe
Published on
June 22, 2023
Updated on
November 9, 2023
Readers rating

A technical SEO audit is what?

The fundamental building block of any website is technical SEO. A technical SEO audit is an essential part of site maintenance to evaluate the technical aspects of your website. If a site is audited, it will be determined whether it is correctly optimized for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Making sure there are no crawl ability or indexation difficulties that prohibit search engines from displaying your website on the search engine results pages is part of this (SERPs).

To ensure that you have not overlooked anything that might be impeding the optimization process, an audit entails examining every component of your website. Several times, a few small adjustments can dramatically raise your ranking. A technical audit might also reveal flaws with your website's code that you might not be aware of, such as hreflang errors, canonical problems, or mixed content concerns.

Technical SEO audit
Technical SEO audit

When Should You Perform A Technical SEO Audit?

Performing a technical SEO audit is an important step in optimizing a website for search engines. Here are some situations where you should consider conducting a technical SEO audit:

  • Before launching a new website: Before launching a new website, it's important to make sure that all technical aspects of the site are set up properly. This includes making sure that the site is crawlable, that URLs are structured correctly, and that there are no technical issues that could impact search engine visibility.
  • After a website redesign or migration: Redesigning or migrating a website can have significant impacts on search engine visibility. It's important to conduct a technical SEO audit after a redesign or migration to ensure that all technical aspects of the site are functioning properly and that there are no new issues that could impact search engine visibility.
  • When experiencing a drop in search engine rankings: If your website experiences a drop in search engine rankings, it's important to conduct a technical SEO audit to identify any technical issues that could be impacting visibility. This can include issues such as broken links, duplicate content, or other technical issues.
  • Regularly: It's a good practice to conduct a technical SEO audit regularly, such as once per year, to identify any technical issues that may have arisen since the last audit. This can help ensure that your website is always optimized for search engines and is not experiencing any technical issues that could impact visibility.

What is required of a client before a technical audit is finished?

Even if a customer approaches me with objectives that aren't really "tech SEO oriented," like link-building or content creation, it's crucial to keep in mind that any technical problem could ultimately make our job less successful. It is crucial to evaluate the technological components of the site, provide suggestions for enhancements, and describe how those technical concerns might affect the work we want to do together.

That being said, you need at a minimum require access to the Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts for that website if you plan to do a technical audit on it.

Eight Stages to Performing a Technical SEO Audit

Technical SEO audits are generally difficult. You're probably going to run into some technical difficulties along the way unless you have a very small, straightforward business site that was flawlessly built by a professional SEO. Audits are frequently like a constantly developing puzzle that can take days or even weeks to solve, especially with more complicated sites like those with many pages or those in many languages. Simply follow the eight stages to help you detect and resolve some of the most typical technical issues, whether you're auditing your tiny site or a big one for a new client.

Step 1 - Search the Whole Website

It will be beneficial for you to simultaneously crawl the entire website even when your primary emphasis is the blog.

If you're not familiar with the term, web crawling refers to the process of browsing or "crawling" a website, obtaining the content, and indexing it on the internet. A web crawler or a spider is the term used to describe software that scans a website.

In addition to helping you with the aforementioned tasks, website crawling will also alert you to any significant issues that were discovered there. Also, it might point out potential areas for optimization that would enhance both the usability and discoverability of the website. Every technical SEO audit should start with a new crawl for this main reason.

You should be aware that Google only provides the domain with a set monthly crawl budget. During this time, Google's spider bot will organically crawl your website; nevertheless, further crawl requests will deplete the budget. The amount of pages you want it to crawl determines how much of your money it needs.

By preventing crawlers from accessing specific pages, you may utilize your crawl budget more sparingly. Websites must have a Privacy Policy page, but you won't be attempting to rank for this page. As a result, you can completely omit it from the crawl request. You might decide to just include pages that are directly connected to your client's blog in the crawl because you are especially attempting to audit their blog. Now that you have a new evaluation of the website's condition, you can give the customer and the team a list of correctable issues for suggestions on future SEO strategies.

Step 2 - Create a Website Mirror So You Can Test the Changes

Although it is not required, setting up a mirror of the client's website might be beneficial for several reasons. An exact clone of the website that is hosted on the client's domain is known as a mirror site. You can test your SEO adjustments without worry because the mirror site is not being browsed, crawled, or indexed. In addition, it enables you to test out adjustments and improvements without having to take the main website offline for a long time. There are two approaches to dealing with this. The first is to ensure that the client's website consistently uses the proper canonical tags. By using these tags, you may indicate which version of the website is the main one and let Google's crawler know the difference between the two. It will stop the crawler from visiting the mirror site, preventing you from going over the client's budget for crawling.

As an option, you can specify in the site's Robots.txt file to prevent the crawling of any pages you're working on. According to the criteria you specify, the Robots.txt file essentially instructs the crawler which pages to visit and which to skip. After testing and putting your improvements into effect, you may then enable the crawling of those pages to resume.

Sitemap with robots.txt vs without robots.txt

Step 3 - Go through the XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap is a file that lists the most significant pages on a client's website for web crawlers. You can highlight particular pages while also assisting the crawler in comprehending the overall organization of the website. This becomes increasingly crucial when your website grows in size and you add additional blog sections. A sitemap can only be 50MB in size and can only have 50,000 URLs, according to Google. Although you or any of your clients won't likely be impacted by these rules, it's nevertheless vital to keep them in mind when making your map. Ensure guarantee that fresh website pages are consistently added to the sitemap. Every time you add new URLs to the client's blog, you should include them in the map, especially if there aren't any other internal links connecting to them.

Google Search Console is the best tool to utilize if you want to get a list of all the mistakes discovered in the client's sitemap. The crawl requests, site health reports, and performance indicators provided by this tool are invaluable for your SEO efforts. You should be on the lookout for frequent issues like unusual 404-page returns, 401 illegal requests, or pages that robots.txt has blacklisted. The crawler will finally give up on the crawl entirely if your sitemap contains too many mistakes.

Step 4 - Conduct A Link Audit

This action goes hand in hand with the assessment of your sitemap. Any broken links discovered on any of the client's websites will also be reported by Google Search Console. This holds for both the site's internal links and external connections that lead to other domains. In addition to harming the site's SEO, broken links that result in 404s can also force the search crawler to stop crawling. Such kinds of issues may be a sign that you're required to remove the link or modify your website with the proper redirect protocols. You should replace any out-of-date links linking to external sources with their current URLs or discover a different informational source if you have any.

Next, you should conduct an independent audit of the backlinks you have gathered. Any links on other domains pointing back to your domain are referred to as backlinks. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can be used to conduct a backlink audit. You must get in touch with the webmaster and ask them to remove any backlinks coming from low-quality domains.

How link juice is transferred

Step 5 - Page Response Codes to Examine

The condition of your web pages is another phase that slightly relates to the preceding steps. It's possible that page response faults discovered on the website were brought to your attention while you checked for errors in your sitemap and Google Search Console. When a user's browser sends a request to the server but the request cannot be processed properly, a page response error happens. The sort of error that occurs determines where the page response error came from.

A 404 - page not found issue represents the most typical page response error you're likely to run into. Whenever a user tries to view a website page that is no longer there, this happens. That might also happen if a user clicks on a link that has an incorrectly typed URL. You must remove removed pages from the sitemap and fix any broken links on existing pages to fix these. Properly using 301 and 302 redirects, respectively, can also help to reduce page response issues. A 301 response will continuously reroute a user from an outdated URL to an active one. A 302 redirect can also be used for short-term page movements.

It is possible to fix page response issues by comprehending their causes. The health of your client's website can be improved by fixing these kinds of issues, which is reasonably easy to do.

Step 6 - Verify Your Website for Page-Loading Issues

Quick page loading times are important in two different ways. First off, it's well-recognized that a slow loading speed significantly raises your bounce rate. Pingdom reports that the typical page load time is 3.21 seconds. The bounce rate soars to a startling 38% when you move to 5 seconds. Second, the site's rating will be impacted by its higher bounce rate and bad user experience. To give its visitors a better experience, Google appreciates page speed and takes competitors' loading times into account while promoting a site. To check the speed of our most recent websites for desktop and mobile, Google offers us the PageSpeed Insights tool. When completing your technical SEO audit, will be using this tool to check for website health issues that are slowing down your loading times.

Step 7 - Keep in Mind the Mobile User Experience

Further people than ever before are using their phones for browsing purposes. The mobile user experience is crucial for a high-quality website, according to Google, which also recognizes this. For this reason, they released a 2015 upgrade that would elevate the ranking of pages that are mobile-friendly. Because of this, you should carefully examine both the desktop and mobile designs of the website. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to find out more about the website, but tools like Google Search Console should help you pinpoint the most important areas for development.

The mobile UX of a website can be severely impacted by a variety of issues. These tests will not only identify the issues but will also suggest a course of action. Lack of image optimization, a website layout that is not mobile-first, and the failure to optimize scripts for mobile hardware are common problems that affect mobile speeds. The majority of contemporary CMS platforms come with built-in tools that let you concurrently optimize your website for desktop and mobile users. When making any modifications that can negatively affect your user experience on other versions of the website, be vigilant in thoroughly reviewing all of them.

Step 8 - Use Google Analytics to View Daily Site Activity Metrics

Website owners can track daily data and generate tailored reports about user behavior with the help of Google Analytics. This will be a great location for you to start if Google Analytics hasn't already tagged your client's website. You'll get useful information for your audit when you start to collect user data, such as daily visitors, bounce rate, and average session length. Even the channels that individuals use to reach the domain will be visible to you.

You can use these indicators to help your client understand the website's quality better. It's a warning sign that the content or layout is poor if a particular blog post receives clicks but also has a high bounce rate and short session time. The client's site ranking will continue to decline as long as these KPIs stay low, regardless of any other technical SEO modifications you might carry out at the same time. This GA data should be gathered and presented within the framework of a workable plan. You should provide examples of how important it is to tailor the blog toward the audience's preferences if you see that some blog articles kinds are gaining greater momentum.

The 8 Steps to Perform a Technical SEO Audit
The 8 Steps to Perform a Technical SEO Audit

Providing the Results of Your Technical SEO Audit

You will have access to a wealth of knowledge about the client's website if you use our technical SEO audit checklist. Now it's up to you to explain these results in the context of enhancing the site and to offer a workable plan. Together with a timeframe for when results can be expected, you should emphasize the advantages of carrying out the plan. You should conduct one more website crawl after your SEO specialists have finished with the client's website and blog. To share with your client, you should now have a report on a considerably enhanced website. In addition to helping to improve blog rankings over time, these good improvements may have some immediate effects.

But, keep in mind that after any significant website updates, new issues might appear. This is not unusual, and even after the significant improvements go live, the client's site can need some extra maintenance. Because SEO is a continuous process and search algorithms are always changing, your website will need constant maintenance. The greatest method to increase a site's organic traffic and rankings is to use a checklist like this to direct your technical SEO audits regularly. The more conversions your customer receives from their website, the happier they will be.

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