What Is Technical SEO And What’s Included In A Website Audit?
Technical SEO refers to how your website is built in order to help you appear higher in Google search results . It's part of your on-page SEO, meaning it focuses on components that are on your website, whether visible to users or not.
Why is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO can be seen as the foundation to a strong SEO strategy and potentially the foundation of SEO itself. As discussed in our article – what is SEO? – search engines rank sites by reviewing those that have been indexed and then crawling them to understand their content.
The technical side of SEO is the process which ensures your site has been indexed, is crawlable, and is passing the critical information to search engines that allows you to enjoy successful rankings. By improving the technical aspects of your website, you’re helping search engines crawl and understand your content. Doing this well will contribute significantly to higher search engine rankings.
What’s Included in the Technical Side of SEO?
Crawling and indexing may be a couple of components that come to mind initially – here are some key components which you should also be familiar with when implementing technical SEO across your website.
Crawling- Log file analysis, XML / HTML sitemaps, mobile bot crawl behavior
Mobile- AMP, Progressive Web Apps, Responsive design
Content Optimisation- Entity optimisation, duplicate content, thin content
Structured Data- Schema markup, Microdata & JSON-LD, Rich Snippets
Migrations- Domain migrations, relaunches, CMS changes, HTTP to HTTPS
Page Speed- Rich media and script compression, CSS sprites, server speed optimization, caching
SSL- HTTPS, HTTP/2
Status Codes- 3xx, 4xx, 5xx
Indexation- Canonicalisation, robots.txt, meta-descriptions and title tags
Site Structure- Internal linking, URL structure, taxonomy
When done correctly, you should at least be able to answer these few key questions about your website:
- Can search engine bots crawl/find your page?
- Can search engine bots index your pages?
- Can bots understand content on your page?
- Are you sending search engines the proper signals for dealing with ranking content?
How to understand your current performance
To gain a strong understanding of how your website is currently performing in terms of technical SEO you should carry out an audit. A complete technical SEO audit will allow you to review and analyse each of the components identified above and discover how to make enhancements to areas that are underperforming.
Key components of a full audit:
- Website crawl
- Analyse indexation
- Brand rank check
- On-page SEO checks
- Analysis of meta-data
- Check for duplicate and thin content
- Check page load speed
- Analysis of keyword basket
- Review backlinks
- Content audit
The ideal place to start with an audit is with tools available online. We’d recommend using a mixture of different tools including Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, SEMRush, and GTMetrix. Information from all of these tools will contribute to a holistic evaluation and analysis of performance.
However, if you’d like to do a more streamlined review to get a basic overview, here’s a great tool that allows you to inspect all of the key components of technical SEO and receive an automated report of the results: SEM Rush Site Audit.
They key benefit to running an audit is identifying areas of low performance and being able to make effective changes. You’ll discovers factors that are holding back your overall SEO strategy and, once fixed, you’ll enjoy better rankings in search engines.
The technical side of SEO is critically important to the success of your SEO strategy and ensuring your site is achieving the high search engine rankings you’re working for. The ideal starting point is to run a technical SEO audit to understand current performance and areas of weakness. Enhancing those areas will immediately set you on the path to better ranking positions.