Search Engine Optimization is one of the most fundamental units for digital businesses. Through SEO, businesses generate organic traffic on their website through Google.
In 2020, the hard reality is that the digital landscape is becoming increasingly competitive as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more businesses are entering the digital space. Businesses are competing to rank high on Google’s SERP for industry-leading keywords.
This is not to say that before 2020, ranking on Google was easy, but the current situation has increased the competition that businesses have to face. This is where conducting a sound technical SEO of a website becomes crucial, as the margin of error thins out.
Let’s take a look at what a technical SEO of a Website is.
What Is A Technical Audit in SEO?
A Technical Audit of a website is all about optimizing the server-side of a website and improve its crawling speed. The aim of technical SEO is to optimize a website in order to improve Google’s indexing speed on your website.
The more optimized your website, the faster it crawls, and the faster your ranking improves. This helps you outperform your competitors by increasing your chances of ranking higher on keywords, which leads to more traffic and more leads.
A Technical Audit of the website includes two functions. They are:
- On-Site Audit
- On-Page Audit
In On-site Technical SEO, you optimize the overall website, which includes load time, crawl time, CSS compressions, e.t.c., while on-page SEO involves the optimization of individual pages, such as image compression.
For most people, On-page SEO is pretty easy, so we’ll focus more on the biggest pain point of businesses, on-site technical SEO.
Now, let’s dive straight into “how to conduct a technical SEO audit in 2020”.
How to Conduct A Technical Onsite Audit Of A Website:
To conduct a technical SEO audit, the first thing you should look into is the tool you’ll be using to run an audit. While manual audits are possible, they’re nearly impossible to do with accuracy, which is why we. Prefer using the best available tools in the market.
You can use the following tools to conduct a technical SEO audit of a website:
We prefer to use Ahrefs for our websites because it’s a multi-purpose tool and is cost-effective. Once you log-in to Ahrefs, you can select the site audit tab on the top bar, place a website’s URL, and run the audit.
Once the tool completes the audit, that’s when your job starts. In light of the report, you have to look at the following things to optimize your site’s on-site SEO.
Check Which Hosting Platform The Site Is Using:
A lot of people blindly choose a hosting platform, simply based on the pricing that the platform offers. What they don’t realize is that the hosting platform can directly limit your website from ranking high on Google.
The hosting platforms have their own crawl rate, and optimization, and choosing the wrong host can hurt your ranking prospects. We suggest you choose AWS, Namecheap, or GoDaddy to host your website, since the better your hosting server, the better your chances of ranking on Google and generating organic traffic.
Improve Your Website Site Load Speed:
Google is user-first, which means that when it ranks websites, it takes into account the user-experience that website provides.
Naturally, if a website has site load speed problems, then the user experience is going to suffer, and as a result, your ranking will suffer.
This is why you find websites that are generally on the first page on keywords, and search queries ave a great user-experience and load time. This is one of Google’s many site quality audit metrics that it takes into account.
In order to improve your website’s load speed, you can leverage browser caching, lazy-loading, code minification, and image optimization.
The ideal load time of a website is less than 3 seconds, so that’s where you have to be. If you use a templated website, this might be hard, but for businesses leveraging affordable web design services for their website, your developer can take care of these things, if you tell them to and it might not even cost you too much.
You can also check plugins to see if you’ve installed any plugins that are too heavy, resulting in reduced on-site speed and remove them. Moreover, it’s better to make a list of plugins that are single-use and see if you can replace them with multi-purpose plugins.
This will help you do all the things you need plugins for, while reducing the overall number of plugins installed, making your website smoother and faster.
Make Your Website Mobile Responsive:
Google is also mobile-first, which means that when it indexes the website, it audits their mobile responsiveness. If your website is not mobile responsive, you’re lagging behind the industry. Check your website and make a list of issues related to responsiveness that need a fix.
For this, you can use Google’s mobile responsiveness tester to get quick results and ask a developer to fix the issues based on your technical audit report. This is incredibly important for you to rank better on Google’s search engine.
Fix Your XML SiteMap:
One of the most ignored aspects of a technical audit is the XML sitemap of a website. The XML Sitemap is a layout of your entire website’s user journey. It is used to map exactly how many clicks a user will have to make to perform a certain action. This includes filing a form, reaching the desired page, or finding a tool on your website.
In the XML Sitemap, what you should look at is that a user should not need more than 4 clicks to get to their desired page. Anything above four clicks is seen as poor user experience, and poor user experience is a death-sentence for a website.
If you haven’t seen your XML sitemap before, you can use Screaming Frog, which provides a service that allows you to download the XML sitemap of your website.
Even the latest version of WordPress now offers XML Sitemap to make sure you can optimize your user experience.
How To Conduct A Technical On-Page SEO Audit:
While on-page SEO isn’t exactly part of a technical audit, there are a few things that you should look into that can wipe out all of your efforts for on-site optimization.
Let’s check them out.
Keyword optimization is essential to generate traffic on a website. Using Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner, you can find industry-specific and topic-specific keywords that have a high traffic count in searches.
When you’re getting your website’s content written up, you can optimize that content with those keywords to rank on Google.
The skill here is to make sure that the keywords fit in naturally with the content and don’t feel forced into the content.
If you’re not an industry leader already, perhaps what’s best for you is to find keywords with a low difficulty rate but a high traffic rate.
By doing keyword optimization, you will be able to rank on Google’s SERP for that keyword and direct traffic from relevant searches to your website.
For your service pages and blog posts, your SEO team should use keyword finders such as Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords that are high-performing in the industry.
Keyword optimization is also important when writing the meta-descriptions of the web pages. Missing Meta descriptions and Meta Titles will result in Google’s crawler not rating your website very highly. So make sure your meta titles and descriptions are also keyword-optimized, to increase your chances of ranking on the keyword.
Fix All Broken Links (404 Error):
Broken link errors can also impact your website’s overall performance on Google. You can use Ahrefs to find all the broken links that give a 404 error on your website.
Broken link problems can be another death-sentence for your website, so it’s better to fix them or disallow them from being crawled through the robot.txt file.
The code that blocks the entire website from being crawled is as such :
You can also use this code to block specific pages or links to make sure your website does not have any 404 errors.
A Concluding Overview.
For SEO specialists, performing a technical audit is part of their routine, while for junior executives, it is one skill they need in order to grow in their career.
Be it through service keywords or blog keywords, your website’s ranking and traffic will be hurt if your technical SEO audit is not sound, and if the problems are not vigilantly fixed.
Remember, you’re working with an algorithm that vigilantly checks for these problems in order to educate itself on which website is authoritative and which is not trustworthy.
This label will then define whether you appear on top of Google’s SERP or not, so it is essential for you to use these strategies to fix your technical SEO issues through an audit.
It’s not rocket science, but technical SEO is the key to improving your website’s traffic through improved user experience, and that’s why in 2020, where the digital world is so competitive, knowing how to do a technical SEO audit is important, and now you know how to do it.
So at the end of the day, the goal of every technical audit is to improve your search engine ranking, be it for service keywords or blog keywords.
Jane Collen is a creative content writer and digital marketer at CydoMedia. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing blog writing, video script writing, ghostwriting, copywriting and social media marketing services. I have worked on too many sites which are related to Tech, travel, health, education, and fitness.