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Technical SEO Audits: Why Getting the Foundations Right is Important

Explore the essence of Technical SEO Audits in enhancing website visibility and performance. Uncover the strategies and components essential for achieving digital excellence in this comprehensive guide

In the digital realm, ensuring a website’s visibility and optimal performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial. One effective way to achieve this is through Technical SEO Audits, a practice that delves into the technical aspects of a website to identify areas for improvement. 

While SEO is a common term in the digital marketing world, its technical aspect can often seem intricate. As part one of a five-part series, this article aims to provide clarity on technical SEO audits, discussing their significance, what they encompass, how often to perform them and why professional expertise plays a vital role in achieving digital excellence.

What Are Technical SEO Audits?

Technical SEO Audits are one element of the broader digital audit — see “What is a Digital Audit and why is it important?”. These assessments aim to evaluate the technical health of a website, scrutinizing various critical components such as site speed, mobile usability, index and crawl status, among others, ensuring the website is optimised for search engine crawling and indexing. Unlike general SEO, which focuses on content optimisation and link building, Technical SEO digs into the codebase, architecture, and technical attributes of a website. The audit identifies issues that could impede the website’s performance or visibility on search engines.

Conducting a Technical SEO Audit is like having a detailed health check-up for a website, pinpointing issues and recommending solutions to foster a robust digital presence. The scope of Technical SEO Audits can be extensive, covering a wide range of elements, and hence a structured approach is essential. The audit requires a blend of technical acumen, updated knowledge of search engine algorithms, and an understanding of good web practices. The objective is to identify opportunities for improvement, rectify technical glitches, and ensure the website is primed for favourable search engine rankings. Through this meticulous process, a solid foundation is laid for subsequent SEO efforts, contributing to a stronger digital footprint.

Core Components of Technical SEO Audits

Technical SEO Audits scrutinise various critical elements of a website to ensure it’s optimised for search engine visibility, user experience, and overall performance.  Let’s delve into the core components that should be examined during a technical SEO audit.

  • XML Sitemaps Structure and Submission Status:
    • XML sitemaps serve as a roadmap for search engines to understand the structure of a website and find its content. The audit evaluates the structure of XML sitemaps, ensuring they are correctly formatted and submitted to search engines via platforms like Google Search Console.
  • Google Search Console Configuration:
    • A properly configured Google Search Console is crucial for monitoring a website’s presence in Google search results. The audit checks the configuration, ensuring correct verification, and optimal settings to garner valuable insights regarding site performance and issues.
  • robots.txt and Crawling Configuration:
    • The robots.txt file instructs search engines on which pages to crawl and which to ignore. The audit reviews the robots.txt file and crawling configurations to ensure search engines can access essential pages while avoiding irrelevant or sensitive areas.
  • Redirects and Schema:
    • Correctly implemented redirects guide users and search engines when page URLs change, while schema markup helps in understanding the page content. The audit reviews both redirects and schema implementations for accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Canonical Redirects and Tags:
    • Canonical tags help in managing duplicate content issues by specifying the preferred version of a page. The audit examines canonical redirects and tags to ensure they are correctly implemented, aiding in the resolution of duplicate content problems.
  • URL Structure and Status:
    • A clean, logical URL structure is essential for both user experience and SEO. The audit reviews URL structures, statuses, and ensures they are SEO-friendly, well-formatted, and free of issues that could hinder search engine indexing.
  • Page Load Time and Core Web Vitals:
    • Page load time significantly impacts user experience and SEO rankings. Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability. The audit analyses page load times and Core Web Vitals to identify areas for improvement.
  • SSL and HTTPS Status:
    • Secure connections via SSL and HTTPS are crucial for website security and user trust. The audit checks the SSL certificate status and HTTPS configuration to ensure a secure browsing environment.
  • Broken Links, 404 and Other Technical Errors:
    • Broken links and technical errors can negatively affect user experience and SEO. The audit identifies and provides solutions for resolving broken links, 404 errors, and other technical issues that could impede website performance.
  • Duplicate Content Issues:

Each of these components provide a comprehensive understanding of a website’s technical health. By addressing the identified issues, a solid foundation is laid for enhancing the website’s SEO performance, user experience, and overall digital excellence.

When to perform a Technical SEO Audit

Technical SEO audits are not a one-off task but a recurring necessity to maintain a website’s health and search engine performance. Here are instances when a company would want to perform a technical SEO audit:

  • Post Website Redesign or Migration: After significant changes like a redesign or migration, it’s vital to check for any technical issues that might have arisen.
  • Regular Maintenance: Performing a technical SEO audit bi-annually or annually is a good practice to catch and fix issues proactively.
  • Drop in Traffic: A sudden or gradual drop in organic traffic could be a sign of technical issues that an audit could uncover.
  • Search Engine Algorithm Updates: Post major search engine algorithm updates, it’s prudent to perform an audit to ensure compliance with new guidelines.
  • Competitive Edge: Stay ahead or catch up with competitors by ensuring your website is technically sound and optimized for SEO.

The frequency of audits may vary based on the size of the website, resources available, and the competitive landscape. Nonetheless, making technical SEO audits a part of the regular maintenance schedule is a sound strategy for sustained SEO success.

Who Should Perform a Technical SEO Audit?

A Technical SEO Audit requires a blend of technical acumen, up-to-date knowledge of SEO best practices, access to strategic tools, and an understanding of web development. Therefore, it is most effectively carried out by SEO professionals or agencies with a proven track record in technical SEO. 

These experts possess the necessary tools, experience, and expertise to meticulously analyse a website’s technical infrastructure, identify issues, and provide actionable recommendations to enhance SEO performance. By entrusting this task to professionals, businesses can ensure a thorough and accurate audit, setting a solid foundation for SEO success and improved online visibility.

Final Thoughts

Technical SEO Audits are instrumental in maintaining and enhancing a website’s performance and visibility on search engines. Understanding their significance and components is the first step toward digital excellence. 

If you are looking to ensure your website is technically sound and SEO-optimized, consider consulting with our seasoned experts at Digital Strategy Consultants. Our team is well-versed in conducting comprehensive Technical SEO Audits, providing actionable insights to elevate your website’s SEO performance. 

Interested? Get in touch today to learn more about how a Technical SEO Audit can propel your online success to new heights.

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