Technical-SEO

The Technical SEO Audit Process Anyone Can Follow

Posted on Posted in SEO

Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing. In fact, it changes nearly 600 times every single year.

SEO audits are a great way to keep up with changing ranking signals to keep your site up to date.

But most technical SEO audits are way too technical.

So technical that you find yourself researching dozens of new topics and weeks of time before you even think about starting one.

That’s why we built the technical SEO audit process that anyone can follow and implement.

And we condensed it into a checklist format so you can download it, send it, print it, or frame it.

Let’s get started.

Contents

  1. What is an SEO Audit?

  2. When Should You Perform an SEO Audit?

  3. The 9-Point Technical SEO Audit Process Anyone Can Do

  4. 3.1 Speed up Your Mobile (And Desktop) Site

    3.2 Get Your Free Technical Audit Checklist

    3.3 Secure Your Site with HTTPS

    3.4 Disavow Bad Backlinks and Campaign for More Good Links

    3.5 Replace Broken Links on Your Site

    3.6 Get Your Free Technical Audit Checklist

    3.7 Run an Index Status Report on Google Search Console

    3.8 Fix Duplicate Content

    3.9 Redirect Multiple Site Versions

    3.10 Get Your Free Technical Audit Checklist

    3.11 Assess Your Content Marketing Efforts

    3.11.1 Content Frequency: Post More Often

    3.11.2 Length / Topic Depth: Increase Word Count With More Detailed Topics

    3.11.3 Content Quality: Utilize Tutorials, Multimedia, and Structure to Improve Quality

    3.12 Dominate On-Page SEO With a Few Simple Steps

  5. Next Steps / Download Your Audit Checklist!

  6. 4.1 Get Your Free Technical Audit Checklist

 

What is an SEO Audit?

SEO audits are pretty simple in nature:

You are taking a hard look at your current SEO strategy and technical implementations to see if there is room for improvements, updates, fixes, or adding entirely new tactics to the playbook.

In an SEO audit, you will do a deep look at your current website for multiple factors from meta descriptions to website speed and anything in between.

The goal of an SEO audit is to improve your technical SEO going forward so that you can continue to rank well on Google (or improve your chances).

 

When Should You Perform an SEO Audit?

Audits can be one of the best ways to improve SEO performance. But are they fit for everyone?

When is a good time to perform an audit?

Let’s simplify it. If you meet any of the following criteria, it’s time for an audit:

  • You haven’t done an audit, ever.

  • You haven’t done an audit in the last few months.

  • You haven’t done an audit since the latest Google algorithm updates

  • You haven’t done an audit in the last month.

  • Your SEO performance has slowed down or become stagnated

  • Organic traffic is declining

  • Performance is overall becoming worse, or you are losing rankings.

Essentially, there is never a bad time to perform an audit, unless you just did one yesterday.

Regular audits are critical for staying up to date with not only your own SEO success, but with SEO news.

Doing audits requires you to stay up-to-date with the latest algorithm news. If you haven’t done an audit in years, you could be vastly behind what the current standard of SEO demands.

Without further ado, it’s audit time.

 

The 9-Point Technical SEO Audit Process Anyone Can Do

 

✅ Speed up Your Mobile (And Desktop) Site

Website speed is a bona fide ranking factor in 2018, according to Search Engine Land:

 

page-speed-ranking-factor

 

Both for desktop and mobile, speed is critical to success.

Not only is it a ranking factor directly for mobile search results, but it can hugely impact your bounce rates:

 

 

page-load-time

 

Just a few seconds longer to load your website will lead to massive bounce rates.

And according to Google latest benchmarks, most websites are still too slow for mobile browsers:

 

average-speed-index

 

While the numbers have improved since last year, the best practice is still not the average.

And with 60% of Google searches being conducted on mobile devices, you can’t wait any longer.

The quickest and easiest process to speeding up your mobile site is first running your website through

 

test-your-mobile-speed

 

This mobile-focused tool will scan your entire mobile site, run a few tests, and spit out direct steps to help you get speed up to the best practice:

 

mobile-speed-results

 

While some of this gets pretty technical, Google offers direct steps to improving each of their suggestions by clicking “See how” under each tab.

 

Here are a few ways to reduce mobile load times that anyone can conduct without your web developer:

  • Compress all images: before uploading, compress images with a free tool, like Compress JPEG.

  • Remove unnecessary page elements: sliders, carousels, big galleries, any element that is a big drain on resources.

  • I.S.S: keep it simple, stupid. On your mobile site, keep it simple. Don’t use heavy transitions, large videos, etc. The less you have, the faster it will load.

For your desktop site, you can run it through Google’s Pagespeed Insights and repeat the simplified steps above!

 

✅ Secure Your Site with HTTPS

In 2014, Google confirmed that HTTPS was a ranking signal.

In 2017, half of the search results on page one of a given SERP on Google were website secured with HTTPS.

 

 

https-page

 

Now, 50% of the top one million sites are secure with HTTPS.

 

https-global-sites

 

Adding HTTPS to your site is a no-brainer.

If you don’t already have your site secured with HTTPS, now is the time.

There are many different companies and ways to acquire HTTPS certificates.

Depending on what hosting provider you have, you can contact them and proceed through them, or locate a provider on your own.

Either way, you don’t have to do any of the work. Just let your host take care of it.

  • Secure your site with HTTPS

 

✅ Disavow Bad Backlinks and Campaign for More Good Links

Link building is one of the most important factors for SEO success. And that’s directly from Google:

“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

  • Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google

Latest data proves the power of links, showing that top ranking content on any given SERP dominates with backlinks:

 

referring-domains

 

Acquiring links is great, but you don’t want links from just any website on the internet.

In fact, spammy links from spammy sites will do the opposite for your rankings: tank them.

If your backlink profile is filled with links from low authority spam sites, you need to disavow them ASAP.

To analyze your backlink profile, fire up a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer and plug in your site:

 

moz-link-explorer

 

Here you can analyze two key sections:

 

moz-link-explorer

 

  1. Inbound links: how many total backlinks your root domain has

  2. Discovered and lost linking domains: a recent snapshot of how many links you are acquiring and losing

 

To locate bad links, scroll down to your inbound link report and filter via spam scores:

 

spam-score

 

If you have a few, that’s totally normal. Every site will have a few links that won’t be a problem.

But if you notice hundreds or thousands of links for spammy, potentially dangerous sites, disavowing them is a good idea.

Once you locate these links, fire up Google’s Link Disavow Tool in Search Console and input your list of links to disavow.

It’s that easy!

After disavowing, you can re-sort your inbound links by DA (domain authority) to locate your highest quality links:

domain-authority

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use these to help campaign for more links by reaching out to those sites for guest posting, native advertising, and more.

  • Use a tool like Link Explorer to locate bad quality links

  • Compile a list of bad links and disavow them in Google Search Console

  • Find good links and campaign for more

 

✅Replace Broken Links on Your Site

While links themselves on your website or within a blog post aren’t direct rankings, they can dramatically impact user behavior on your site.

Rest assured, Google will be taking notes if bounce rates are sky high.

Broken links negatively affect the user experience.

Imagine reading an article, clicking on what appears to be a valuable link, only to get directed to a 404 error page.

Chances are, that reader isn’t coming back to your site.

Thankfully, these are an easy fix.

Using a debugging tool like Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, crawl your entire website and look for 404 errors:

 

broken-links

 

These are indications of broken links.

The Screaming Frog tool will show what pages contain broken links and what the link is, giving you an easy way to fix it!

Now just head back into your post, edit or replace the broken link and you are good to go.

  • Download a debugging SEO tool for free, like Screaming Frog

  • Scan for 404 errors (broken links) and replace or fix them

✅ Run an Index Status Report on Google Search Console

Google indexes each page on your website so that it can show in organic search results.

But oftentimes, pages fail to index, meaning they aren’t showing in organic results.

This is clearly a problem for both SEO and your organic traffic potential.

In the Google Search Console, fire up the Index Status report and look for any pages blocked by robots.

 

index-status-report

 

To fix these, you will have to edit your Robots.txt file to “allow” Google to index. This will be marked with “disallow” if pages aren’t allowed to index.

Another way to do this is via Screaming Frog’s “SEO Elements” report:

 

index-status-report

 

Locate the “Blocked by Robots.txt” report and see what pages are currently blocked.

If any don’t make sense, fix them ASAP!

  • Run an index status report on Google Search Console

  • As a backup, run a Screaming Frog scan for blocked access via Robots.txt

  • Remove any “disallow” codes to pages you want indexed on your Robots.txt

 

✅ Fix Duplicate Content

Within Screaming Frog, you can also scan your website for duplicate content.

Duplicate content, title tags, or duplicate meta descriptions can be a huge negative impact on your technical SEO success.

Run Screaming Frog and check for missing or duplicate content.

 

screamingfrog-seo-elements

 

Based on what you find, rewrite meta descriptions, title tags, and redirect duplicate blog posts or landing pages.

  • Run Screaming Frog to locate duplicate content

  • Either write new content, delete duplicates, or redirect duplicate pages

 

✅ Redirect Multiple Site Versions

Depending on how your website was set up, you could have multiple versions of your site being indexed and scanned by Google.

This is not ideal, as changes won’t necessarily reflect on all sites, and visiting an unsecure site is never good (see: section on HTTPS).

An easy way to test if Google is just scanning one version of your website, type in the following versions and see if Google redirects to the HTTPS version:

These should all redirect to:

https://inserturlhere.com

If they don’t you can easily fix this using 301 redirects. Follow our guide here on how to redirect if your links are loading separate pages.

 

✅ Assess Your Content Marketing Efforts

Content marketing fuels search engine optimization.

But not just any content will drive results. Sub-par content will net you sub-par results.

Start by assessing your current content marketing efforts in relation to best practices:

 

✅ Content Frequency: Post More Often

How often are you posting on your website blog? How often are you creating new, fresh, and impactful content?

According to HubSpot, 16+ times per month will net you the most organic traffic.

 

content-marketing-efforts

 

OrbitMedia’s 2018 data backs this up, showing that posting more often generates stronger organic traffic results:

 

publishing-frequency

 

But remember: these have to be high quality posts. Quality is just as important as quantity.

  • Post at least 16 times per month

✅ Length / Topic Depth: Increase Word Count With More Detailed Topics

The latest studies show that content near or beyond the 2,000 word mark produces the best results:

 

word-count

 

But adding word count for the sake of word count isn’t what produces strong results. Word count isn’t a ranking factor.

Instead, higher word counts often mean that the blog post ecompasses more relevant information.

To expand your word count with ease, try some of the following strategies:

  • Create New Sections For Semantically Related Keywords: for instance, if your target keyword is “SEO tools,” cover other related topics like “SEO page speed tool” as their own subsection.

  • Show and Tell: Start by describing the topic, the pain point, and the problem. Then, deliver the solution in a tutorial fashion.

  • Produce Ultimate Guides: guides are in-depth pieces of content on a broad subject, like an SEO guide.

 

✅ Content Quality: Utilize Tutorials, Multimedia, and Structure to Improve Quality

Content quality is just as important as frequency. According to OrbitMedia’s 2018 data, investing more time, money, and effort into each post nets stronger results:

 

post-time-investment

 

To improve content quality, assess the following steps in your current content and see where you can improve:

  • Increase word count to 2,000+ per post

  • Publish more often (multiple times per week)

  • Use professional editors

  • Improve posts with more tutorials, original images, and video content

  • Develop original research pieces and case studies

  • Use H2s, H3s, and keywords in your title and headers

 

✅ Dominate On-Page SEO With a Few Simple Steps

On-page SEO is critical for content and traffic success.

But if you have a massive site, optimizing it isn’t easy.

Instead of trying to tackle your whole site first, prioritize what you can do on your own!

Did you recently publish a massive guide that will be the center of your content promotion strategy for months to come?

Focus on that.

If not, fire up Google Analytics, locate your top performing pages, and start with them:

 

analytics-organic-page-traffic

 

Top performing pages can be found in the All Pages behavior report. Segment the results by organic traffic and you will have a list of your top organic pages. Start from the top of the list!

  • Keyword density: naturally mention the page keyword focus 3-5 times per 2,000 words and once within the first 100 words.

  • Internal Links: include 3-5 internal links per blog post.

  • External Links: include 3-5 external links per blog post.

  • Semantic Keywords: cover keywords related to your target / focus keyword

  • Meta Description: optimize your meta description with your page’s target keyword.

  • Title Tag: Include the target keyword first in your title tag if possible

Next Steps / Download Your Audit Checklist!

Audits are extremely useful for uncovering potential gaps in your SEO.

While most are too technical and hard to follow without years of coding and technical experience, ours isn’t.

And it still gets results.