What You Need to Know About the Technical Site Audit: Beyond the Minute
To start, let’s define the technical site audit. A technical site audit analyzes all the hidden factors that make it harder for search engine crawlers to index a website. These audits identify technical aspects of a website like broken links, sitemap issues, slow load speeds and how many clicks it takes to get from one point on a website to another, which are all factors that affect your website’s ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo search engine results pages (SERP).
You might already know the importance of optimizing each page for its content, but starting a technical site audit should come first. If there are major technical issues with a website, optimizing the content won’t make much of a difference. So, explore the back-end optimization opportunities with the technical site audit and improve your website for those search engine spiders.
We Start With a Crawl
To simulate a search engine crawler, we use a tool like SEMrush, Raven Tools or Screaming Frog in order to identify exactly where errors are occurring on a website. There are a number of these tools that crawl the site, exactly like a search engine would, and provide the user with valuable technical SEO information.
Now, the errors that turn up vary in importance, and some aren’t worth taking the time to fix immediately, while others should be rectified as soon as possible.
Additionally, a Oneupweb technical site audit includes items that aren’t necessarily displayed with a crawler, including doing our own investigation of the site structure and using data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics to look at a site with a critical eye.
Some Common Technical SEO Audit Errors
You might be overwhelmed with the number of technical errors you discover after a crawl. The good news is that they don’t all require your immediate attention. Using a professional team will help you sort through all the information you get and decide what is vital to resolve as soon as possible.
This list is an overview of a few common errors that appear in a site audit:
- Broken internal and external links. A crawler should identify links in your content that are broken. They might lead to your own pages that need to be redirected or external pages that are broken, in which case you’ll need to replace them. Bad links provide a bad user experience, which search engines look down upon.
- Robots.txt issues. Website owners use a /robots.txt file to communicate with the robots crawling their site. Sometimes, you might have a code in place that means the crawler can’t index your site, or even just one page on your site, which causes issues.
- Sitemap issues. A proper sitemap lets Google know which pages to index and what your website looks like. It’s providing a map for the crawler before it gets started.
- Nofollow or noindex code. We make sure these codes don’t exist where they’re not supposed to. It means a link shouldn’t be followed (read trusted to Google) or a page shouldn’t be indexed in search.
- Slow page speed. Slow page speed is a big factor in ranking these days due to the poor user experience provided on a slow website. If it takes 3 seconds to load, 75% of users will leave the page.
- HTTPS. It’s 2019, link to secure sites only. It lends credibility and trustworthiness to your website. You’ll know a link is secure because it points to a site with HTTPS instead of HTTP. A crawl will let you know if your internal links aren’t secure or you’re linking to sites that aren’t.
When we perform a site audit for our clients, we’re looking at all these factors, and more. It’s a huge process that involves examining the code, content and keyword strategy, then developing a forward strategy to improve the search performance of the website.
So, How Often Should I Perform a Technical Site Audit?
It depends on how much content you’re creating. If you’re putting out 10 new blogs a week, you’ll need to perform a technical SEO audit more often than someone only creating content once per week.
At Oneupweb, we perform a full-scale technical site audit every one or two years, or when significant changes are made to a website, like launching an updated site.
When you work with Oneupweb, we monitor auditing tools regularly, so no major issues go unnoticed for extended periods of time. If you think your site could benefit from a technical site audit, reach out to our team of practiced site audit professionals.