What’s Involved in a Technical SEO Audit?
February 15th 2021 | By Emma Grant
What is an SEO audit and how can it benefit your business? An SEO audit has the power to reveal the technical issues that could be holding your website back from achieving top ranking spots and getting that all-important visibility that will drive more sales.
You may be spending lots of time producing great SEO content. Researching keywords and working hard to improve your branding. But all of this could be worthless if there are technical problems in the background of your website that are preventing your SEO and content marketing efforts from delivering results.
It may even be that these problems are making your website invisible to Google. But with an SEO audit, such issues can be brought to light so they can be put right.
Let’s take a look at what is included in an SEO audit.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is the process by which the technical aspects of your website’s search engine optimisation are checked. You can consider it a website health check, designed to reveal any elements that need improvement.
Because search engines are regularly updating their algorithms, SEO is a constantly changing landscape. For this reason, it is important to carry out regular SEO audits. Your competitors will be doing just that, so it’s vital to make this into a routine.
What factors affect the SEO performance of a website?
Generally, there are three sets of factors that can determine whether a website will fair well in the search engines:
- Technical SEO factors – the likes of page loading speed and hosting, for example
- On-page SEO factors – elements such as website content, meta titles and descriptions, internal linking and external linking
- Off-page SEO factors – inbound links, brand mentions and reviews all form important off-page SEO factors
All of these elements need to factor in your regular SEO audits.
What tools do I need for an SEO audit?
To keep things simple, it is best to stick to a core set of SEO audit tools. Our recommendations are:
Ahead of getting starting with an SEO audit, the place to begin is with a site crawl using the SEMrush Site Audit tool. You will also need to ensure that your website is verified in Google Search Console. Once the crawl is done, the results will be displayed in the SEMrush dashboard.
What are must-includes for an SEO audit?
There are certain actions that must be included in an SEO audit if it’s going to identify the issues that are holding your website back from success.
Website benchmarking – track the position of your website in the search engine results pages, and check how you’re doing against the competition.
Duplicate content checking – ensuring that Google is only indexing a single version of your website.
Manual action checking – a manual action means your site is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. If a manual action is detected, you can follow this guide to resolve it.
Site speed analysis – website speed is of huge importance. It is a Core Web Vital that will form part of the new Page Experience update rolling out later this year. If a speed issue is detected, you can check Google PageSpeed Insights for recommendations on how to make improvements.
Website security check – Google is not impressed by websites that don’t use HTTPS. Site security has long been a ranking signal, so if your site is still using HTTP then that will need to be addressed by implementing an SSL certificate.
Mobile friendliness – this has been a ranking factor for some time and will form part of the upcoming Page Experience update. Even if your website is responsive or optimised for mobile, there may still be issues present for mobile users which the SEO audit will reveal.
Indexation issues – errors with indexation could prevent your website from being crawled by the search engines and correctly indexed, which can lead to poor rankings.
Core Web Vitals appraisal – this covers a set of factors that affect user experience. There is a dedicated report within Search Console to deal with this.
On-page SEO audit – this involves a comprehensive check to ensure tags, meta data, internal linking and content are all fully optimised.
Link check – identifying any broken links that could lead to a poor user experience, which in turn sends a negative signal to the search engines. This part of the technical SEO audit will also include checking for toxic links which could be penalising your site and downgrading rankings.
Sitemap analysis – the XML sitemap is used to let Google know which pages of your website should be indexed. Identifying discrepancies is crucial.
Re-direct check – incorrectly implemented re-directs can cause issues for search engine crawlers, so it is important to check these are working as they should be.
Content evaluation – this involves checking for duplicate content which can result in dropped rankings, as well as for thin content that has no value to users and search engines, and content that doesn’t meet search intent.
Need a professional SEO audit? Figment can help.
So now you know what is included in an SEO audit. But is it time to get the professionals in to check how your website is performing in the search engines and to identify areas for improvement?
Here at Figment, we offer a full website audit service which many businesses in London and Surrey have used to discover the reasons behind their lack of search engine visibility. Acting on the results of these audits, it is possible to turn a corner and finally start to see positive rewards, including boosted online visibility and increased enquiries and sales.
To learn more about how we can help with a personalised technical SEO campaign, you are welcome to get in touch.