If you're in the business of creating and maintaining websites, you're fully aware just how important SEO is. Want your site and content to rank higher, net more relevant traffic, and lead to greater conversions? Performing an SEO technical audit can help you spot errors and fix them.
After all, doing such an audit is mission critical to make sure a client's site is in tip-top shape for SEO optimization. And that your website-building, maintenance, and content-creation efforts aren't ultimately going to waste.
In this 101 post, we'll cover some of the basics for executing an SEO audit. Here's what you'll want to check for.
On-Page SEO On-page SEO has to do with the content and HTML source code of a page. You'll want to make sure individual web pages are optimized so they rank higher and generate better traffic.
Ensure a site is generally healthy by hunting for and diagnosing broken links, 404 error messages or broken pages, and thin content, recommends Mark Richardson, an SEO and SEM expert.
Off-Page SEO Whereas on-page SEO refers to the content and HTML source code, off-page SEO has to do with what you're doing outside of the website to boost your rankings within search engine results pages (aka SERPs).
This can be achieved by boosting the content's popularity, authority, or trustworthiness. Start by doing a link audit and acquisition.
"Examine your backlink profile and that of your competitors," says Richardson. "See where you can add variety, specifically 'followed' links versus 'nofollow' links. "What's the difference? While all links are "followed" links by default, essentially a 'nofollow' link tells search engine bots not to follow your links.
Only real-live humans can follow these links. Plus, having a variety of domain extensions – edu, gov, org – is ideal. An all .com profile will look pretty basic, whereas a diverse link profile increases trust with search engines, explains Richardson.
HTTPs In order for users to access your website, you'll need to switch from "HTTP" to "HTTPS." Otherwise, visitors will get an error message. When making the switch, look for other status code errors and ensure that the SSL certificate is correct.
Metadata You'll also want to check the metadata or meta tags. These are snippets of copy that describe a page's content, which are also key components of on-page SEO. Think title, headers, and descriptions. "Each page should have unique meta tags and image tags," explains Richardson. It's common to have duplicate meta tags, especially if you have, say, an ecommerce business with thousands of pages.
Schema Markup and Open Graph protocol Schema Markup and Open Graph protocol are meta text you should add to the code. They help search engines better understand the elements and info on a page, which in turn provides richer search results and more click-friendly social sharing, Richardson explains.
Another benefit? These are thought to help influence Google's knowledge graph, which powers their in-search answers.
High-quality content Brands need to make sure that you're creating great, useful, content on your site, says Richardson. "So try reaching out to authors likely to share or link to those pieces of content in their own articles or on their social feeds," he explains. "Quality evangelism equals quality traffic, and Google's main interest is in inbound traffic stays and shares.
"Mobile-Friendliness Ensure that your clients are using responsive design for mobile devices. This boosts a site's technical SEO and search engine rankings. Richardson recommends checking a site's responsiveness with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which Google now uses as a mobile-ranking factor.
Examine User Experience Nobody likes a site that takes forever to load. Your users will drop off and so will engagement. So check the load time for your pages. Does the site load quickly, and is it easy to navigate, especially on mobile devices? Richardson suggests also looking at whether users visit multiple pages when they enter the site. There's a lot that goes into an SEO audit, but it's not as challenging as you think.
With a bit of know-how and experience, you can get your head around the basics to perform your own audit. Check out Learn from Fiverr's SEO - Website Technical Audit e-course. You'll not only learn the nuts and bolts of technical SEO, but about using technical SEO tools, approaching a client, and performing an audit.
Want to know more about SEO audits? Ask us in the comments below—and then check out Learn from Fiverr to keep growing your digital skills!