Technical SEO Audits

What is a Technical SEO Audit?

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A technical SEO audit is a way to evaluate the technical on-site factors that affect search engine rankings and overall user experience. A good audit will provide clear recommendations for improvement while also addressing the bigger picture of your website’s health. This sort of high-level approach can be crucial for larger organizations, which typically have numerous priorities, departments, and stakeholders.

A technical SEO audit may be part of a larger Content Optimization Audit, or it may be more targeted depending on the goal and scope of the audit. It often involves crawling the site and evaluating its architecture, in addition to looking at configuration settings for search engine bots (e.g., robots.txt) and cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) headers.

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technical-seo-audit-process

What Does The Process Cover?

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Many SEO agencies will start with a crawl of the site to evaluate its underlying technical structure. This crawl typically includes the main domain and all subdomains, as well as any other relevant pages or content hosted on third-party domains (e.g., Typekit fonts loading from Google Fonts). This is crucial for understanding how Google sees your site. Tools like Screaming Frog , DeepCrawl , and Urchin can be used for the initial crawl, but there are many other paid and free tools available online depending on your needs.

Thereafter, you will want to evaluate the site architecture (e.g., relative URLs), as well as implementation of canonical tags, meta robots tags, and H1 tags. You should evaluate internal linking (e.g., the ratio of hreflang to noindex/canonical variants) to understand how Google Bot is navigating your site.

Liquid variables form another important area that SEOs often overlook, but can have a direct impact on rankings (particularly for e-commerce sites). You should also evaluate sitemaps and robots.txt files to determine how Google is interacting with your site, as well as any indexing issues that may be affecting the crawl rate, number of URLs indexed/ranking, etc.

When you’re finished crawling the site and evaluating its structure and content, it’s time to look at specific configuration settings that have the biggest impact on the crawling and indexing of your site. This includes settings for:

– Site speed – Caching/Compression (ETags)

– Content display (meta robots, canonical tags, noindex/canonical variants)

– XML sitemaps – Robots.txt files

Each one of these areas may have important impact on your crawl rate, indexing, and/or rankings. For example, a recent study by Searchmetrics found that

– 71% of URLs crawled had at least one sitemap (excluding XML Sitemaps)

– Only 45% had the correct robots.txt file set up to allow crawling

– 60% of content pages were not indexed

All of these configuration issues can have direct impact on your indexing rate, which is also important for observing the impact of changes and improvements to your site architecture. Identifying areas that affect crawling and indexing are critical for analyzing user experience (UX) as well, since Google will be able to find a limited subset of your content.

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