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What is a Technical SEO Audit? + What Will it Find?

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Updated September 10, 2019
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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

A technical SEO audit is basically an analysis of your website’s web presence. Using best practices, and tools that track the health of your website compared to others on the web, the audit can help determine any next steps to improve or fix your web presence and organic search performance.

The first thing you need to have is an SEO audit if your website has been around for a little while. If you’ve built a site, and it’s been online for a bit but you aren’t getting any traction, an SEO audit can help find out if people are finding your site organically, and staying on site.

SEO Defined

Before we get into it, it’s important to know a few terms, especially if you’re new to marketing your website or company.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the practice of increasing traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

Organic Traffic – This is the opposite of traffic from paid ads. People used a search engine like Google or Bing, and found your page organically, without being referred to your page from another site or advertisement.

Keywords – SEO keywords help make it possible for people to find your site on the search engines. It’s basically what they are searching, so including those keywords in the content on your website helps connect you with searchers.

Crawling – What it means when your site is being crawled by Google is that it is indexing your website, making it searchable on the web and via Google organic search results.

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Technical SEO Audit Podcast Episode

When you get your site audited for SEO, it may or may not uncover a lot of issues that need to be changed to improve your site. What some SEO companies do is audit your site and make some technical changes. However, during our audits, we find and diagnosis a multitude of things that can help improve your website for the long term. We talk a lot about nurturing your business and building brand equity. The same goes for your SEO, small changes in both the backend and the customer-facing webpages will slowly build up and up, gaining momentum with organic traffic because of your due diligence.

Three things that work really well for improving your SEO are:

  • Good, targeted content
  • Utilizing keywords
  • Linking back to your site via guest posting, skyscraper content, local directory listings, and press releases

Helpful SEO Tools

An SEO audit may only scrape the surface of what you could proactively do for your site. Some tools that we use that help get your website fully optimized are Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and SEOptimer.

Screaming Frog is a premium service that offers SEO support with keyword and market research, linking, technical SEO audits, SEO marketing, the list goes on. It can be a great tool to monitor your website’s performance and do your own audits to determine any issues or needed improvements.

Ahrefs is another premium service that aids in keyword optimization. You can track your rank with backlinks, keywords, your organic traffic, traffic value, and so on. It can get very granular and you can narrow it down to specific keywords, while also seeing what keywords rank the most so you can optimize your site to those whenever you need to.

SEOptimer can give you a FREE SEO audit of your site and is one of the easiest DIY SEO tools out there. It’s free, comprehensive, and gives a very detailed analysis and works great for even for beginners. We recommend anyone trying to track and optimize a site, to use SEOptimer.

Site Issues Worth Optimizing

Header tags! Every page on your website needs an H1 tag, which is essentially a header for your page. It may be one of the most important things you could do for SEO because the H1 tags tell search engines and people searching what the content of your page is about. They also help your site rank higher in search results.

301 pages are pages that redirect to another webpage. Every link your website gains power over time, and when a 301 is put in place, that diminishes the power of the pages. Having too many redirects on your site can be bad for site crawls, because it’s indexing content that isn’t actually where people are landing.

Page speed can crush your website’s ranking, and time on site for visitors. Some things you can do to fix page speed include using smaller images, which you can resize via compression websites, or resize with a program like photoshop. The larger the photo, the longer it takes to load on the page, which slows down page speeds. If you use a WPN for hosting – some hosting sites can give you a CDN, or content delivery network, which will search a network nearby to the server, which can help page speeds. The farther the network is from your site – the slower it will be.

Meta titles and descriptions are incredibly important to have built out on your site. You know that blue link text you see on Google search results? That’s your meta title! The small little blurb below that? That’s the meta description! Your organic search results will never be close to page 1 if you don’t have either of these things. So, in whatever platform you run your website, do not fail to write your meta titles and descriptions.

Thin and duplicate content can negatively impact your entire site, even if you only have it on a few pages. Thin content is content that isn’t very robust and it’s indexing a very poor page, that isn’t going to perform well for you in search results. Duplicate content is bad for indexing as well, and it shouldn’t be added with canonical URLs associated with any duplicate content.

SSL certificates stand for secure sockets layer and are a form of security for your website. Especially for websites that collect or store customer information, having an SSL certificate is going to bring your site above the rest, and improve ranking in search results. The telltale sign of an SSL certificate is having https in your link. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, talk to your web hosting server about getting that.

Usability is very important when it comes to optimizing your webpage. For example, if you have not optimized your site for mobile, Google sees this and is going to negatively affect your ranking on search. Your website needs to be easy to navigate on both web and mobile, and have a taxonomy and navigation that makes sense to users, increases their time on site, and helps Google crawl your page.

And last, but not least, be proactive and track your own site data with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you track the performance of keywords, how many people visit your site and manage SEO and marketing campaigns traffic. This data can, in turn, help you optimize all of the above tips, so you can have the most optimized site possible.

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

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