Diving headfirst into the intricacies of a technical SEO audit is akin to entering a labyrinth designed by a web of algorithms, search engine bots, and intricate ranking factors. You’ve landed on a guide that doesn’t just scratch the surface but burrows into the marrow of what makes an SEO audit not just necessary, but a strategic weapon in your digital marketing arsenal.
How to Do an SEO Audit in 2023
Learn how to do a technical SEO audit in 2023.
– Understand the importance of an SEO audit.
– Step-by-step guide to conducting an SEO audit.
– Post-audit actions to take for SEO improvement.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is your roadmap to deciphering the hieroglyphs of search engine optimization. It’s not about ticking boxes; it’s about unraveling the Gordian knot that is your website’s relationship with search engines. It’s a full-scale investigation, a digital forensic analysis, where the goal is to uncover every minor hiccup and major roadblock that keeps your site from its rightful throne atop page one.
Why Do You Need an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is not a luxury; it’s a critical health check-up for your website. Ignoring it is akin to driving a car without ever checking the oil: sooner or later, it’s going to break down. The digital landscape is in constant flux, and what worked yesterday might be the reason your traffic is plummeting today. An SEO audit is the stethoscope that listens to the heartbeat of your website, ensuring it’s healthy and robust enough to withstand the whims of Google’s ever-changing algorithms.
How to Do an SEO Audit
1. Crawl Your Website
a. Use a Crawler Tool
Embarking on a site crawl without a tool is like entering a dark cave without a flashlight. Tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs offer the illumination needed to navigate the cavernous depths of your site’s structure. My first encounter with Screaming Frog was a revelation; it was as though I had been given x-ray vision to see through the layers of my website and spot the hidden fractures.
Insider Tip: Don’t skimp on the crawl budget. Ensure it’s sufficient to cover your entire site so no stone is left unturned.
b. Check for Crawl Errors in Google Search Console
Google Search Console is like having a hotline to the search engine giant. It’s there where you’ll find the crawl errors that Google stumbles upon, which could range from 404 pages to server errors. Addressing these is non-negotiable; they’re the potholes on the road to your website’s success.
2. Check Your Sites Visibility
a. Check Your Sites Indexation
Is your site’s content being indexed properly? This is the cornerstone of visibility. Use tools like Google Search Console to verify the pages that are being indexed. A personal horror story of mine involves discovering an entire section of a site I managed was not being indexed due to a misplaced noindex taga simple error that cost us dearly in traffic.
Insider Tip: Regularly check your indexation status. What’s indexed today may not be tomorrow.
b. Check for Manual Actions
Receiving a manual action from Google is akin to being called into the principal’s office. It means you’ve violated the search engine’s guidelines. This is serious business, as it can lead to your site being demoted or removed from search results entirely.
3. Check for On-Page SEO Issues
a. Check for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the bane of SEO. It confuses search engines and dilutes your site’s relevancy. Use tools like Copyscape or Siteliner to unearth any content replication across your site.
b. Check for Thin Content
Content is king, but the king needs substance. Pages with scant content offer little value and can affect your site’s overall quality rating. Google’s Panda update was a game-changer, and it taught us that quality trumps quantity every time.
c. Check for Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages target the same keyword, effectively eating into each other’s potential to rank. A thorough audit will flag these instances so you can strategize and differentiate your content’s focus.
d. Check for Broken Links and Images
Broken links are a trust breach with your users and search engines. They’re a signal of neglect and can impact user experience and SEO. A regular sweep for broken links is a hygiene factor that cannot be overlooked.
e. Check for Redirect Chains
Long redirect chains are the digital equivalent of a wild goose chase. They slow down user experience and waste crawl budget. Flatten the architecture and ensure that redirects are as direct as possible.
4. Check Your Sites Mobile Friendliness
In a mobile-first world, not having a mobile-friendly site is like showing up to a smartphone convention with a rotary phone. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can quickly tell you if your site makes the grade.
5. Check Your Sites Loading Speed
Speed is a ruthless dictator in the land of SEO. Slow loading times are punished by users and search algorithms alike. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights provide a clear picture of where you stand and how to improve.
6. Check Your Sites Security
HTTPS is no longer optional; it’s a requirement. It’s the padlock on your digital storefront, and without it, you’re telling your customers (and Google) that you’re not concerned about their safety.
7. Check Your Sites Backlink Profile
Backlinks are the endorsements of the web, but not all endorsements are created equal. A backlink audit can reveal toxic links that may be dragging your site down. Disavowing these links can be a necessary, though sometimes painful, process.
8. Check for Technical SEO Issues
a. Check for HTTPS Issues
Migrating to HTTPS can be fraught with peril if not done correctly. Mixed content issues can arise, and security warnings can scare away users. Ensure a smooth transition by meticulously checking for and fixing these issues.
b. Check for Hreflang Issues
For those with international sites, hreflang tags are crucial. They tell search engines which language you are using on a specific page, ensuring the right content is shown to the right users. Missteps here can lead to significant visibility issues across different regions.
c. Check for XML Sitemap Issues
Your XML sitemap is your site’s blueprint for search engines. Errors here can lead to indexing issues. Ensure it’s clean, up-to-date, and submitted to search engines.
d. Check for Robots.txt Issues
The robots.txt file is like the bouncer at the club, telling search engines what can and can’t be crawled. A misconfiguration here can inadvertently block important pages from being indexed.
e. Check for Pagination Issues
Pagination can create a maze for search engines, leading to duplicate content and crawl depth issues. Use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags correctly to guide search engines through your content series.
f. Check for Structured Data Issues
Structured data is the secret sauce that makes your content stand out in search results. It’s the difference between a plain listing and a rich snippet with stars, prices, or event dates. Validate your structured data with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
9. Analyze Your Competitors SEO Performance
Understanding your competitors’ SEO strategies can illuminate your path to outperforming them. Tools like SEMrush or Moz can provide insights into their backlinks, keyword rankings, and content performance.
What to Do After an SEO Audit?
The aftermath of an SEO audit shouldn’t leave you paralysed by data overload. Prioritize the issues by impact and effort required to fix them. Develop an actionable roadmap, and set to work methodically. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
The art of mastering how to do a technical SEO audit lies not in the act of discovery alone but in the strategic, methodical response to the revelations it unearths. In 2023, as algorithms evolve and competition stiffens, a comprehensive SEO audit is not just a best practice; it’s a survival tactic in the digital jungle. It’s the difference between thriving and barely surviving. Embrace the audit; let it be the compass that guides your website to the promised land of page one.
Questions & Answers
Who should perform a technical SEO audit?
Anyone with SEO knowledge can perform it.
What is the purpose of a technical SEO audit?
It identifies website issues affecting search rankings.
How do you conduct a technical SEO audit?
Use tools to analyze site structure, speed, and code.
What if I don’t have technical SEO knowledge?
You can hire an SEO professional to help you.
How often should a technical SEO audit be done?
Its recommended to perform it at least once a year.
What if I don’t have access to SEO tools?
Some tools offer free trials or limited features.