Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most well-known digital marketing strategies today, especially with the growing importance of having a solid online presence. No matter what type of business you have, you can reach more customers and grow your business more quickly with the help of SEO. That said, SEO is a long-term and ongoing strategy, so it must be monitored and refined continuously to generate desired results. Technical SEO Audits are an excellent way to monitor and analyze the success of your SEO campaign. While there are general practices known to be effective, the actual results will still vary for each business.
Given how important it is to monitor your SEO strategy, it is just as crucial to know what problems your site may have. Conducting a Technical SEO Audit is essential in today’s competitive marketing space since it gives you an idea of how your site is performing and helps you remedy the issues. No matter how good your content may be, you may not see proper results if there are technical errors lurking in your site.
What, then, is a technical SEO audit, and how can it help your website? Learn more about this important practice and a few tips on conducting it to ensure that your site is free from issues.
What Is A Technical SEO Audit?
An SEO Audit is perhaps one of the best starting points to planning an SEO strategy since this helps you assess your current practices and determine whether they are working. SEO is constantly evolving, and search engines are constantly coming up with new algorithms, so it is important to conduct regular audits to ensure your current strategy is still effective.
When performing an audit, you are checking your website’s health to see if everything is functioning correctly or whether anything is broken. These issues can affect your site’s ranking, cause penalties, or even make your site invisible to users. Thus, it is important to check your site regularly to ensure it is free from such problems.
A more specific type of SEO audit known as the technical SEO audit is equally important. As its name suggests, the process essentially involves examining the technical aspects of your site to discover potential issues. Without a proper foundation of the technical aspects of your SEO, your on-page and off-page factors will end up being fruitless. Thus, it is extremely important that you regularly conduct a technical audit to avoid running into such a situation.
Why Conduct An SEO Audit?
One of the most important parts of implementing an SEO strategy is measuring your results. After all, it will only be effective insofar as it generates your desired results and returns. With that said, there are three main factors that can affect your site’s SEO. You may be more familiar with the on-page and off-page factors, such as content, backlinks, and keywords since these are the common decision points when using SEO.
The third factor would be the technical aspects, which includes page loading speed, indexing, and other similar factors. An SEO Audit entails looking at each of the three factors to ensure that they are up-to-date and compliant with the latest algorithms and rules. With many focusing more on on-page and off-page things like content and keywords, the importance of the technical side of SEO is often overlooked. However, conducting a technical SEO audit is just as important for various reasons, including:
1. Strengthen SEO Practices
All your SEO efforts, from content generation to keyword research and to many others, can easily be disrupted by technical issues. Even if your on-page and off-page SEO check all the boxes, you may still not see your rankings or conversions going up if there are technical problems lurking in your site. Whether it be accessibility, speed, or quality, you must deliver all these to ensure that users can see what you have to offer.
2. Flag Up Site Problems
One of the more apparent benefits of a technical SEO audit is that it helps you identify onsite and offsite problems and address them immediately. Issues like duplicate content, spam, and broken or unfriendly URLs can affect site traffic and, ultimately, your conversions. Thus, it is best to check your site regularly to ensure that everything is functioning properly and prevent small problems from snowballing into bigger ones.
3. Increased Conversions and Returns
Performing a technical SEO audit allows you to pinpoint problems and fix them before they spiral, thus driving more traffic to your site and boosting your search rank. These benefits then redound to the bigger effect, which is increased conversions and returns.
4. Gain a Competitive Advantage
Having a fully functional site free from errors can help you outperform your competition. In this day and age, SEO has become a household name for virtually every business, so the way to gain an advantage is to stay up-to-date with how your site is performing. Checking every once in a while ensures that every aspect is running correctly.
Technical SEO audits tend to be intimidating to many site owners, especially if they are not too familiar with the technical side of SEO. However, failing to perform these audits regularly can lead to larger issues like a broken or invisible site. Without checking your site, you may not even be aware that your site is down. Likewise, not knowing the source of the issue will prevent you from addressing it. If you run into such a situation, you may benefit from getting professional help from an agency with the proper tools and expertise.
How to Audit Your Site
There are many areas to check when conducting a Technical SEO Audit, so it helps to have a checklist ready when doing it. With that said, here are some of the common practices you can use to ensure you cover the important bases:
1. Crawl Your Website
One of the first things you can do is crawl your website, as this helps your site get indexed, which then translates to search rankings. There are many tools available to use today to help you fix broken links, check for duplicate content, identify poor keywords and issues with page titles, and find unlinked pages. Checking for these issues can help ensure that your pages can get indexed and are not being blocked by search engines.
2. Check Your Sitemap
Sitemaps are essential to SEO as they contain information on your webpages and their respective content. Reviewing your sitemap can help you check if all the content is up-to-date and the URLs are short, relevant, and free from errors. One important thing to note is that your sitemap must be registered with search engines for them to know about it, so if you have yet to do this, now may be the time to do so.
3. Optimize Site Speed
4. Audit Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the top contributors to your search rankings, so auditing them is a must to ensure you have high-quality links to your site. The common assumption with backlinks is that the more you have, the better. While this is technically true, it is more important to look at quality since poor backlinks can end up working against your site. Ultimately, your goal is to get authoritative and relevant links from sites operating in a similar industry as yours.
One way to look for backlinks is to check the social media platforms visited by your target audience. Posting content on these platforms will help you reach more users and increase your chances of getting linked, thus improving brand awareness.
5. Optimize for Mobile
Having a mobile-friendly website is essential in today’s day and age. Billions of users rely on their smartphones to search the Internet and look for new information, so failing to optimize for mobile represents a huge missed opportunity. Google also uses a “mobile-first” indexing practice, which means Google focuses more on mobile versions of sites to do indexing and ranking. Thus, if you want to get as much visibility as possible, you must have a responsive website suitable for mobile devices.
How Often Should Technical SEO Audit Be Conducted?
Another common question that many have is the frequency with which an SEO Audit is conducted. With regards to this question, there is no fixed answer as to how often you should audit your site, but one of the most common habits for companies is to do it every six months. Others would do it more frequently, auditing about four times a year.
If your business is relatively small, and you do not have a significantly large user base, doing an audit once every six months will be sufficient. However, if your business is much larger and you update your content and site more frequently, it will be more suitable to do an audit every quarter.
That said, the number of times you perform an audit each year is not necessarily the top priority to consider. Ultimately, you must still focus on what to do and what to check in the audit since this will be what affects your site’s performance.
Technical SEO audits are one of the most important things to do when using SEO. It is just as critical as your on-page and off-page factors since it ensures that Google can crawl your website and recognize the value in your content and overall site. It is natural to feel slightly intimidated by the thought of a technical audit, but with the many tools available to use today, you can better examine and investigate your site.