How to Carry Out a Technical SEO Audit
Whether your site is brand new or well-established, an audit is an essential part of good housekeeping to ensure that your domain is as visible as possible to search engines and performs well for your visitors.
So, where do you start?
There are some key areas which should be covered in any technical SEO audit, namely:
- Basic SEO visibility
- SEO performance
- Technical performance
Basic SEO Visibility
With SEO, if you can’t measure it, you can’t hope to improve it. Establishing where you site is currently performing in terms of basic online visibility is an essential starting point to carrying out a technical SEO audit.
Domain Authority (DA) is an important benchmark of how well your site is currently performing with search engines.
It is a measure of SERP rankings and is an indicator of how many other websites are linking to your own URLs and more importantly the quality of these links. It is not an official metric used by search engines but was developed by the inbound marketing and analytics company, Moz to replicate the importance that is placed on domain trust.
All new websites are given a score of 0 with the best performing sites achieving a DA of 100. Few websites will have a ranking anywhere close to this level and it is important to use the DA merely as a comparative tool by checking how your own compares to the competition.
All domains should be attaining a minimum score of 25 but should be focussing on achieving a higher rate than the competition. You can increase your domain authority by securing quality backlinks and improving the quality of the content on your website.
The link index database provider, Majestic, offers another metric to assess performance of a domain which is called the Trust Flow. Like Moz’s DA, it is a measure of the kind of backlinks you have for your site and whether these have authority or not.
Alexa rates the top 30 million global websites and ranks these in order of how many monthly visitors a site receives. Whilst many SME’s cannot hope to achieve similar rankings to the likes of multinationals with huge advertising budgets, this is another good comparative tool to assess how your domain performs against the competition.
Establishing your site’s current performance is essential if you want to be able to set targets for, and monitor, improvements.
SEO Visibility and Page Rankings
Rank tracking software can help you determine how visible your site is when it comes to those keywords that have been identified as being crucial to how users search for your website.
Determine how many searches are performed for each keyword and monitor where your domain ranks in the SERPs for the two main search engines, Google and Bing. Once you have established your sites’ current performance, you can check that of your competitors.
There are lots of free tools that will allow you to see those domains that are linking to your own but the more detailed the reporting is, the better the data is to inform you of your next actions.
In simple terms, a handful of backlinks from several domains that have a high trust flow will be more valuable than thousands of backlinks from low ranking domains such as poor-quality directory sites.
Analytics & Website Traffic
Google provides the most powerful free analysis software to enable webmasters to monitor and track visitors to a site. The Google Search Console will be able to establish some important base metrics such as:
- Number of returning visitors
- Number of new visitors
- Popular landing pages
- Source of new visors (backlinks, organic searches, referring pages etc)
- Bounce rate
- Average time spent on site
- Average number of pages viewed on site
The console can also give you essential information on what visitors do when they hit your site as well as some incredibly useful insights into the demographics of your audience.
Technical SEO Audit – Performance
In order to perform well in search engine results pages it is essential that your site meets the technical expectations laid out by search engines like Google and Bing. Both place an enormous amount of importance on:
- Mobile friendliness
- Speed and page load times
- Rich snippets and structured data
In addition to ensuring that these technical requirements are met, your technical SEO audit should also cover:
- Crawl Errors
- Crawl Stats
- Response Codes
- Image ALTs
- Meta Issues and H1s
- Canonical Tags
- URL Structure
- Internal Linking
Google Search Console can help you with a lot of these checks but site crawlers will also return issues with these technical aspects. A very powerful tool to consider using is Screaming Frog SEO Spider, which we’ve covered here.
You should also run some checks on your content to make sure there is no duplication which could expose your domain to penalties from search engines like Google.
Lastly, if you are operating within the EU then it is essential that your site complies with the GDPR as well as Cookie Compliance legislation.
Opace & Technical SEO Audits
Opace offers a range of technical SEO audits from high-level summary reports to in-depth reviews. We even provide a penalty removal service to ensure your domain is not being affected by low quality links and content.