Technical SEO Audit

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 16 min read
Technical SEO Audit

Table of Contents

Intro

As with off-page and on-page optimization, you’ll find an extra aspect of SEO, namely technical SEO, which might impact a site's SEO ranking. It excludes link building and content optimization. Rather than that, it encompasses all technological elements related to a site.

Technical SEO is concerned with optimizing websites and servers. Technical factors may include navigation, site structure, indexing, XML sitemaps, crawling, duplicate content, and redirects. It essentially pertains to a website's non-content components.

Technical SEO is critical and may directly impact search engine results.

On a website, a person may publish properly researched and written content. However, if your site has technical problems or has backend difficulties, it will have more difficulty ranking on a search engine. As a result, it is essential to keep your eye on these technical parts of a site.

By improving these parts of a site, you will also improve its crawling and indexing efficiency. In this manner, search engines can provide consumers with the most relevant information. It may seem a bit challenging for beginners to get into technical SEO at first. If you want to succeed, there are some things that you will need to account for.

In this guide, we’ve explained everything you need to know about managing and auditing technical SEO. If you’re trying to learn more about how you can optimize your site’s technical SEO as well as the basic details of technical SEO, read on to learn more.

Conducting a website audit has traditionally required a huge range of tools, but we’re looking to make it a lot easier for you with our Website Audit tool.

Enterprise Technical SEO Intro

You won’t find an easy and clean solution that can be accomplished with little effort when it comes to marketing tactics or other methods. This is the wrong way to go about it. In many cases, one site’s methods may not be applicable to another’s. This is also the case for SEO.

In most cases, enterprises require more sophisticated SEO tactics than small and medium-sized businesses. A business cannot depend only on content creation and link development methods. They must guarantee that their website is free of technological problems or flaws.

A large number of pages may significantly impact Enterprise technical SEO, as it’s one of the main variables to account for. When a website has a large number of pages, optimizing every one may be challenging.

If even some of the pages have problems, this may have an effect on the rankings. As a result, corporate technical SEO techniques would need a more deliberate approach than more conventional SEO methods.

When executed properly, corporate technical SEO may help a company become a market leader in its sector. Numerous businesses have a serious reputation, and they don’t want to impact it negatively. They need proper methods and excellent technical SEO to retain their brand authority and market leadership.

The Importance of Technical SEO for Enterprise Sites

This kind of SEO will assist businesses in beating their rivals. If sites are sluggish and load slower, people are likely to abandon them. There are many pages on business websites. As a result, it becomes critical to emphasize technological aspects.

Without any issues of a technical nature, it is probable that search crawlers will favor that site.

Local searches have exploded in popularity in recent years. Numerous people search for keywords such as "top shopping areas around me" or "restaurants near me.” To figure out the best keywords for your site, use our Keyword Finder tool. One thing to account for is that business websites have distinct subdomains for each of their divisions.

It’s crucial that consultants and SEO agencies make sure that a business properly ranks when it comes to keywords related to a particular location. They should also answer search queries that are particular to a certain location.

There are different factors that a search engine will base the pages it crawls on when a user enters a query. Technical errors will make it more difficult to crawl if the search engine is looking through a site that has several pages.

To ensure that an enterprise site has the best results, it should be optimized well enough for the various search queries that people would put in for that brand. The site should also be easy enough for its users to navigate smoothly.

Let’s discuss some of the key parts of technical SEO and why it is so critical for sites like these.

The Effect of Site Sped on Your Rankings

If a website takes too long to load, visitors are likely to leave. If users go directly back to Google or Bing, the bounce rate increases. Google's crawlers will degrade ranks automatically when people click back within seconds.

Google won’t care about the quality of your content if it takes too long to load. You need to make sure that every page on your site loads as quickly as possible. If you fail to do so, you may find your reputation and search rankings taking a nosedive.

Optimizing various aspects of your site will allow you to improve its load time and speed. Make sure that you don’t have a wide range of plugins attached to your site and that all of your images have the proper optimization. If you fail to do so, this will increase your site’s load time and it will also reduce your rankings when people search for you.

When users see content on your site leading to another page, they will click the link to move to the next page so that they can further explore whatever it was that they were reading.

Sometimes, that link may lead to nothing, and other times, it may be flat-out broken. Users will get tired of the issues on your site and you’ll start having issues with UX. This means that you’ll have to be sure to do what you can to ensure that there are no broken links.

Broken links are a relatively normal occurrence, so don’t feel bad if you have a few of them on your site. On enterprise sites, the number of broken links increases because of the larger number of pages.

For example, a company like Salesforce has over 50,000 pages on its website. While these broken links may not affect the user experience dramatically, they will impact the site’s search engine rankings, and that will need to be fixed.

There are plenty of tools available that you can use to fix broken links. Make use of these tools and ensure that they are fixed if you want the best SEO possible.

Crawling Errors Make a Page Less Accessible

When a site doesn’t make itself easy for crawlers to access, search engines may not even find your page in the first place. This means that you should always make sure that you fix crawler errors ASAP.

When search engines are unable to read a sitemap, it will not be possible for them to crawl it. It is crucial to make sure that your pages are properly indexed because otherwise, search engines won’t be able to find and display your web pages or your site.

To make it easier for a search engine to crawl your site, you’ll need to send them an XML sitemap. The top search engines to send sitemaps include Bing, Google, and Yahoo. Doing this will allow the robots to crawl your site.

Rankings Are Penalized by Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is the bane of most sites when it comes to SEO, and if your site has content that looks the same on two pages, you will get penalized. This ensures that sites don’t pack themselves full of repeating content to cheat the system.

When you run an enterprise site, you have so many pages that it’s possible that you’ll have duplicate content on some of them.

If you don’t want to get penalized for duplicate content, you’ll need to make sure that your pages don’t have the same thing repeating on them.

You can use tools like Siteliner and Copyscape to make sure that your content is duplicated. They will allow you to identify the content that is causing problems and to rectify it with ease.

HTTP Warnings Can Drive Visitors Away

The difference between HTTPS and HTTP is that HTTPS has an SSL certificate. This verifies that your site is safe and will not cause any issues for your visitors. Your rankings may be heavily affected by the presence or lack of one of these certificates.

It’s probably obvious that secure sites rank higher than usecure ones. To make sure that you rank as high as possible, you’ll need a valid SSL certificate. If your certificate is invalid, visitors may get a warning that your site is not secure, turning them away from it.

You may also have different subdomains for various countries that your site is available in if you run an enterprise site. If this is the case, you will need to ensure that you have a separate certificate for each of them.

To ensure that a site is encrypted and safe, SEO agencies will need to obtain and maintain an SSL certificate.

Proper Redirects Are Crucial

404 errors pop up when pages are either moved or deleted, though since these pages have already been detected by the crawler, they will still show up in searches. This will lead to users heading to your site and immediately seeing a 404 error, making them a bit annoyed.

If the page has been deleted, you’ll want to make sure that you redirect it to keep visitors on your site. Using 301 redirects will allow you to solve this issue and send users to a different page.

With a site that has over 1000 pages, the importance of redirecting visitors becomes even further amplified.

Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly is one of the crucial building blocks of technical SEO. Once again, larger sites with more pages will require mobile optimization even more.

For ecommerce sites, it’s even more important that your site be mobile-friendly and safe for mobile devices. This is because many of today’s users are always browsing on their phones. To reach out to a larger audience, you’ll need to make sure that your site is well-optimized for mobile phones.

When working with consultants and agencies in the SEO industry, you’ll need to make sure that your site is as well-structured as the version on the desktop.

How to Stand Out From the Competition

There are more and more SEO consultants and marketers in the industry by the day, and more of them will appear every day because of high demand in the industry. If you’re an SEO consultant or agency, your chances of working with high-level clients increase by the day.

There are countless agencies, freelancers, and consultants working in the industry. If you want to set yourself apart from the competition and work with top clients, you’ll need to do a few things, so let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take.

Stick to Your Niche

If you work in a specific sector, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from other workers in the industry because of your specialization. This means they’ll trust you to cater to their needs because you have the specialized knowledge needed to bring their SEo to greater heights.

Make Sure That You Have a Unique Approach

When you approach clients, you want to make sure that you do so uniquely because that will ensure that you stand out from the competition. Since SEO agencies are all essentially offering the same thing, you need to be able to stand out from your competition.

Talking to the clients you intend to work with can ensure that they select you over your competitors. If you provide them with just a solution or if you just talk, they may not take you quite as seriously as they would someone who approached them more uniquely.

Ensure That Your Pricing is Unique

Determining the kind of pricing that you’re going to be using to charge your clients will allow you to stand out from the pack in a way that matters. For example, some SEO agencies offer performance-based pricing that will only charge a client for the results that you’re able to get them.

However, this kind of pricing model may end up being a little riskier than other options because you may not end up getting paid if a job goes wrong. Whether or not this is worth it depends on just how much you want to stand out from your competitors.

Brand Your Business Yourself

Working with other marketing agents to handle your branding may seem like it’s a good idea at first, but that isn’t necessarily the case all the time. The issue with them is that they tend to use similar templates and styles to market your business. If you want to stand out, you’re going to need your own identity.

Before you even start selling your SEO services, it’s essential that you create your brand in advance. This will allow you to create your own logo and name. You need to have a unique identity, so try to put effort into creating it.

Keep in mind that there is no single approach that will work best when you’re branding your business, and the same can be said of SEO audits.

As an SEO auditor or consultant, you’ll need to pay attention to the industry you’re operating in as well as any competitors that the business you’re working with has.

When performing a technical audit of SEO, you’ll want to be sure that it’s properly structured and well-researched. You should always make sure that it has all of the relevant info in it, especially if that info is part of the technical areas of the site.

You also need to make it as simple as possible for your clients to understand. Make sure that you avoid any technical terms that they likely won’t understand.

When you put together your SEO recommendations, you should be sure to outline any loopholes that may exist, since clients won’t necessarily know about them. You can also make your report much better by doing the investigation and research on your own.

If you rush to make your client’s site audit, you’ll make mistakes, so we’d highly recommend that you do your research and take your time, even if you have tight deadlines.

Essential Technical SEO Tools for Every Business

If you’re going to create proper technical audits of businesses, you’re going to need a few tools that will help you do your job more effectively. In this part of our guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the most crucial tools that you can implement to make things go a little more smoothly.

Of course, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop that will allow you to skip all of these audit tools, take a look at our Website Audit software. This will make it far easier for you to conduct audits quickly and affordably since everything will be on the same platform.

Ranktracker Website Audit Tool

The Website Audit Tool essentially helps you crawl your site and outlines any technical issues that may exist. While it won’t do your job for you, it will do the closest thing to it that it can.

Things that the Website Audit Tool detects include URL errors, missing page titles, responsive codes, and canonicals. This tool will also figure out if there are any problems with meta keywords and images.

Ranktracker SERP Checker

Our SERP Checker tool allows you to see search results pages without having to do it manually, and it provides you with a wide range of functions that wouldn’t be available if you were to search directly.

For example, you can see where your site appears on the search results across a wide range of countries without having to use a VPN to get access to a different version of your search engine of choice.

Ranktracker Rank Tracking Tool

The Rank Tracking tool is our bread and butter, and it allows you to see all of the factors that go into ranking your site. If you’re looking for a ground-up analysis of why you’re getting the results that you are, this tool will be your best bet.

Ranktracker Keyword Finder

Finding the best keywords for your niche with the least competition is often a challenge, and that’s why we’ve developed this helpful tool that will make it far easier to discover the keywords that will help you rank.

Whether you’re vying for the top spot or you want to retain your dominance on Google, the keyword finder can help you ensure that the content on your site is as optimized as possible.

How to Perform Technical SEO Audits

Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons why you need to conduct a technical SEO audit, you’re going to need to learn a little bit more about how to perform them in practice. This will make it easier for you to put together an audit report when you have a customer.

Here are the three components of any SEO audit:

  • Technical SEO audits: These cover sitemap errors, problems with hosting, crawling errors, and more

  • Link audits: Anything to do with analyzing backlinks

  • On-page audits: These audits take a look at your image optimization, metadata, competitor analysis, keywords, and content

In this part of our guide, we’ll take a closer look at how you can actually perform one of these audits. Here’s an outline of the steps before we dive a little deeper into them:

The First Step is Crawling the Site

If you’re going to perform a technical audit of a site, the first thing that you’ll need to do is crawl the site. There are many different tools that you can use to make this task easier for you, but we’d recommend using the Ranktracker site audit tool.

After crawling a site, you’ll learn more about which links are broken, what content is duplicated, whether there are problems with images and the site’s performance, as well as any unlinked pages or where there are extraneous redirects. This will make it easier to figure out what’s going wrong with the site’s performance.

Once you’ve gone through these aspects, you’ll have a better idea of what problems are impacting a site and how you can address them. We’d recommend outlining these issues in your formal report on the site’s SEO.

Look for Different Browsable Versions of the Site

Next, you should see if there are several different versions of the site because this can affect the site’s SEO.

For example, if the site has an HTTP version and HTTPS variant, you may run into this kind of issue. Be sure to go over the range of browsable versions of the site that are available on search engines.

You may also run into this issue if the site has mobile and desktop variations. This will make it more confusing for search engines.

In the end, this will affect a site’s SEO ranking, so make sure that the only version available is the main one.

Explore the Sitemap to Learn More

Going over the sitemap will allow you to ensure that it’s clear of any errors. Due to how important sitemaps are when it comes to crawling sites, errors can cause issues with search rankings.

There are multiple pages on enterprise sites, and this means that you have to make sure that the sitemap has no issues.

Go ahead and get rid of blocked URLs and then go on the sitemap and redirect them. If you fail to do so, the site may not end up getting crawled by the search engine.

Also, if the enterprise site you’re working on has subdomains, you want to make sure that they’re present in your client’s sitemap. You can do this by adding in the rel = “alternate” tag on the sitemap.

Test the Site’s Speed

We’ve already explored how a site’s speed will impact its SEO. To determine the speed, you’ll need to test it out.

If you find out that the site loads slowly, you’ll then have to figure out how to solve the problem.

Here’s an example of some of the problems that may be impacting a site’s performance and speed:

  • Embedded videos

  • HD images

  • Repeating scripts

  • Plugins

  • Hosting

  • The site’s theme

To figure out how fast a site loads, go ahead and use Google Page Speed Insights. With a longer loading time, you’ll find that a site has a higher bounce rate.

Be sure to fix any issues that you run into, especially if you’re working with a larger brand that stakes its reputation on the quality of a site.

Also, you’ll want to include these factors in any SEO reports that you compile for the client.

After that, go over the site’s links, both internal and external. Some of the main things to look for include broken links, click depth, and orphan pages.

Using the Website Auditor, you’ll be able to look for orphan pages, which are pages that are not linked to any other pages on the site. You’ll then be able to fix them and link them.

Click-depth is a measure of the number of clicks a visitor has to make when they start at a site’s homepage. You will want to make this as low as possible, and on a good site, it shouldn’t be any larger than three.

Look for HTTPS Issues

You’ll also want to make sure that redirects all lead to HTTPS pages. If any of the pages on the site load with an HTTP connection, you may have a mixed content error.

When this error is present, you won’t be able to load a page properly. Browsers don’t allow sites to do this because of security issues as well as a site’s crawlability.

Examine the Analytics

Going over the site’s analytics will allow you to determine if there are any errors present in them. Make sure to fix any errors you find ASAP.

If you don’t fix these issues, then Google Analytics will be unable to report the right information.

To make sure that everything is working well in these situations, head over to google and enter this: “site: [domain name]”. This should tell you the number of pages that are currently being crawled.

Take a look at these search results and compare them to the data in your metrics. These numbers should match. If the numbers don’t match, then there are pages that aren’t being crawled.

The more backlinks a site has, the more seriously a search engine will consider it when someone types in a query. To check your site’s backlinks, you’ll want to initiate a backlink audit.

Using the right tools, you can gather info about these backlinks. You can even use these tools to compare your backlinks to those of your competitors.

In the very near future, we will be releasing a tool that will allow you to easily work with your site’s backlinks and manage them quickly and effectively.

If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. However, our Web Audit tool automates a lot of this work and allows you to conduct website audits far faster while keeping all of your info in one place so that you don’t end up losing track of it.

How to Review a Completed Audit

When you’ve finished auditing a client’s site, you’ll need to open up the audit scorecard and fill it in.

This template will go over issues with URLs, page speed, sitemaps, and other issues related to the site’s inner workings.

Using the tools that we previously mentioned, you’ll be able to analyze these different parts of a site to figure out how each element performs.

Once you have all of the info, fill in the tables and see where there may still be work to be done on a client’s site. If everything’s clean, your job should be done.

How Does Machine Learning Impact SEO?

The advent of machine learning has led to Google using it to make SEO more dynamic by using Rankbrain. Using this, you’ll be able to explore data breakdowns and enhance SEO.

Dataiku and What You Need to Know

Using Dataiku’s OnCrawl problem, you’ll be able to analyze a client’s technical SEO issues with greater ease.

You’ll be able to examine all SEO data and you don’t even have to be a coder to use it! You’ll also be able to use it for real-time indexing.

Collecting both unstructured and structured data, Dataiku will allow you to essentially have a hub for enterprise SEO activities.

Since enterprise sites have such a large audience, you sometimes need a tool to compile all of the information since it can be a little overwhelming for a human to handle the info on their own.

Conclusion

Technical SEO can be difficult to handle, and many businesses make the mistake of neglecting it. If you don’t ensure that you have the proper technical SEO, then you may end up risking the reputation of a business.

Be sure to effectively use these techniques and you will be able to ensure that a client’s reputation and search rankings don’t suffer.

Your job as a consultant is to be the brains of the operation and use your expertise to explain what’s going wrong to your clients. Always be sure to do your research before you start compiling a strategy for the business that you’re working with.

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