How to Conduct a Technical SEO Site Audit

Once you’ve finished your on-page SEO audit, the next step is to conduct a technical site audit. You don’t want technical issues to make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your site, as that will make it tougher to rank highly and cost you traffic or potential business.

Information Architecture

Information architecture can be slight tricky as it is a broader topic and can encompass many different areas. Information architecture basically means how information flows around on your site.

There are three main areas of information architecture to watch out for.

  • Site navigation: This should be intuitive to the user. Grouping similar content or categories of product together can help eliminate this issue. If it is intuitive and easy to navigate for users then in all probability it will be easy for search engine spiders to crawl.
  • Labeling and naming conventions: Labeling refers to how you name your categories or navigation links. Labeling incorrectly and not using targeted keywords could hurt, so it’s important to get this right.
  • Directory structures: Folder structures refer to what kind of folder hierarchy you have on your site. A recommended approach is not have a site hierarchy more than three folders deep to reach final product page. It may look like this: http://www.yoursite.com/maincategory/products/productpage.html

 

Identifying and fixing broken links fo repair 404s definitely needs to be part of your audit checklist. Broken links can cause in spider traps and wasted crawl budget. It can also indicate to search engine spiders that the site hasn’t been updated recently, causing indexing issues.

It’s always a good idea to use a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth or Screaming Frog to check for broken links. Google Webmaster Tools also provides detailed list of broken links on your site and pinpoints the exact pages on your site from where the broken links originates from. If your site is verified on Google webmaster then you may see a message like the one below:

url-errors-site-audit

Crawling/Indexing Issues

If the pages on your site can’t be crawled then they definitely can’t be indexed by search engines. There are many common issues that impede a search bot’s ability to crawl your site. Most notable among them are broken links or 404s on your site, content in Flash, AJAX, and iFrames or embedding links inside JavaScript.

Site Loading Time

A slow loading site will result in higher visitor drop-out rate and eventually less conversion. Looking at your site page weight is important with excessive use of scripts, heavy images, Flash files increasing the page weight. Ideally, try to keep maximum page weight at around 130K for your home page and 180K on all other pages.

Google’s recent focus on faster loading sites again makes it critical for SEOs to include site loading time as part of technical site audit. Site performance tools like Gomez and pingdom can help you determine your site loading times. Google Webmaster Central also shows you how your site is in terms of performance.

Competitive, Link Analysis and Penguin Update Analysis

This is one of the most important audits for your site since it will uncover keyword ranking issues, possible issues that caused your site to get penalized with the Penguin (Over-optimization) penalty, and who your true online competitive is within the search engines organic search results.

  • Identify low value links pointing to your website
  • Real Online Competition (usually not who you think)
  • Keyword Competition
  • Competitive Link Audit
  • Export of Your Competitions Link Graph
  • Competitive Keyword Difficulty Audit

Panda Audit Content Analysis

Quality content is one of the primary assets your website has when it comes to competing in the search engines for rankings. We conduct the 4 major audits listed below.

  • Panda Update Analysis
  • Duplicate Content Analysis
  • Keyword Analysis

We recently added the Panda Update Analysis after the recent launch of the Panda Update to the Google Algorithm. This analysis combs over your content sets and asks a set of questions to assess the quality and value your content provides. This audit assess if our content is at risk of being devalued by the search engines and caught in the Panda Update. A few of the questions we ask are listed below.

  • Would you trust the information presented here?
  • Does this article have obvious errors?
  • Does this article provide additional information beyond what others are saying, and does it present it in a unique way.
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis?
  • Is this article written by an expert?
  • Would you expect to see this article in print?
  • Would you give this site your credit card?
  • Would you trust medical (replace medical information with your vertical’s information) information from this site.

SEO Website Audits: Penguin, Panda, Technical

With Google constantly changing their algorithm to eliminate low quality content (Panda Update), sites with structures or metrics that don’t support their large content or product sets (MayDay) or sites that try to manipulate the search results with link schemes or other manipulative tactics (Penguin Update), it is vitally important to do website audits on a regular basis. These audits, much like getting a yearly checkup at your doctor (to combat health issues), can eliminate or minimize the effect of the Google updates on a poorly optimized or site that is not in good health.

We analyze close to 50 onsite and offsite variables when doing a website audit, grounded in the TLCs of SEO (Technical, Links, Content, Social). To learn more about some of the questions and data points we analyze please read our SEO Audit Process post.

1. SEO Technical Analysis

This analysis will help identify technical (metrics distribution) problems with your website such as duplicate title tags, duplicate content, or if your web pages are returning an incorrect HTTP status code. Below are some more of the data points we check from a technical standpoint to ensure your site is healthy.

  • 301 (Permanent) Redirect Analysis
  • 302 (Temporary) Redirect Analysis
  • 404 (Client Error) Errors
  • 500 (Server Error) Errors
  • Pages Where The Title is Missing or Empty
  • Duplicate Page Content Analysis
  • Duplicate Page Title Analysis
  • Pages That have Long URLs (> 115 characters)
  • Overly-Dynamic URL Analysis
  • Meta Refresh Analysis
  • Pages Where the Title Element is Too Short
  • Pages Where the Title Element is Too Long (> 70 Characters)
  • Pages Containing Too Many On-Page Links
  • Missing Meta Description Tag Analysis
  • Robots.txt Analysis
  • Meta-robots Nofollow Analysis
  • Meta-robots Analysis
  • Canonical Tags Analysis
  • Indexed URLs Analysis
  • Total URLs Receiving Traffic
  • Total Keywords Sending Traffic