In previous post we learned about the basic points to be checked while performing the website audit. In this post we will learn about the technical seo check list and the off page activities to be covered in your website audit.
You might be stuck why the off page activities? But believe me this is also as important as on page for the website.
Lets move ahead with our process of Website Audit aka Website Analysis.
Technical SEO Checklist
Now, the next crucial step is performing a thorough review of your site. For this, you have to begin with the Technical SEO. This has to come first since you need to ensure that the search engine can access as well as index the pages of your website without any hassle.
Now, though it is called technical, you really don’t have to be a system administrator or a developer to perform through the steps.
Here, we’ll now, present you the Technical SEO Checklist. In case, you don’t understand any of these tasks listed below, you can simply comment below, and we’ll help you through it.
Have you registered your website with the Google search console and Bing webmaster tools?
In case you have not done that already, this should be a top priority.
For this, you can use the Google Search Console. It is a free tool which is provided by Google. Using this tool, the web masters can get information about the website. Every information that is known by Google about your website is available in the different tool options as well as the reports.
This will include things such as:
- The number of pages which are submitted to Google and the number of pages that are actually indexed.
- The keywords for which your website is ranking.
- The keywords that generate maximum Google traffic.
- Security as well as the other indexing issues related to your website
- Mobile usability issues
And a lot more.
Some settings as well as the reports of the Google search console have been covered by us below. Let’s read through them.
Have you specified a preferred domain in your Google Search Console?
Google mostly considers the websites which start with www ahead of their domain i.e. https://www.example.com and with no www in front of the domain i.e. https://example.com as two different websites.
In order to avoid any sort of duplicate content issues, it is important for you to specify the preferred domain in both Google search console and website settings.
Is your robots.txt file optimized?
All the websites today have a robots.txt. This is necessary to control the pages that should be accessible to the search engine crawlers. Any mistake made here in the robots.txt file can in turn lead to serious indexing issues. Thus, optimization of the robots.txt file should be on top of your list.
Do you have SEO Friendly URLS?
It is seen that nowadays, most of the website development platform as well as CMS have this properly configured, it is still a good practice to review the URL structure to ensure that you have SEO friendly URLs.
You need to check that the URLs mentioned for every page is unique and properly formatted.
This is a non-optimized URL:‘http://www.example.com/12/badformattedurl/121358898
On the other hand, this is a good URL ’http://www.example.com/good-formatted-url’
All good URLs happen to have keywords. However, make sure that your URLs are not stuffed with keywords. You can include the hyphens ‘–‘ in order to separate the keywords. Make sure these keywords are unique for each page and are less than 255 characters including the name of the domain.
Breadcrumb menu activated?
On the top of the page, you can find the breadcrumb menu. This menu helps the users navigate back to the homepage by following the menu links. Google will always recommend you to have a breadcrumb menu. This makes the process of site navigation pretty simple and easy for the users. Do ensure that your breadcrumb menu is configured properly.
Do you have structured data enabled?
Now, a structured data is a highly trending topic, today. And further, this will continue to be prevalent for many more years to follow. When you have the structured data mark up added to the page, you actually help Google understand the meaning as well as the context of your content. This will add to the additional ranking benefits.
Google employs the use of the structured data in order to accentuate the presentation of a website in the search results as well as for the voice searches.
Thus, as part of your SEO Audit, you ought to check that you have structured data enabled for:
- Your homepage (Logo, Website and Company)
- Your breadcrumb menus
- Your articles
- Your products
Do you have a canonical URL set for all your pages?
Now, the purpose of the canonical URL is that it helps Google identify the most crucial pages of a website. The web masters make use of it in order to deal with the duplicate content issues.
One of the best SEO practice involves having a canonical URL for every page of the website.
Is your 404 Page Optimized?
Now, what is a 404 Page? A 404 page basically, is the page which is shown to the users when they reach a page that is not found on your site. You need to optimize this page, in order to ensure a smooth user experience. Don’t worry, this page is very easy to optimize.
Is your XML Sitemap optimized?
An XML sitemap contains a list of all the web pages that the Google needs to know about. This sitemap is generated by the CMS and is submitted to Google via the Google Search Console.
Now, you don’t have to include all the pages of your website in the XML sitemap rather, it should only have those web pages that are important for your website.
Is your website HTTPS?
A renowned ranking signal is Https. So, now, this means that the websites which have a secure certificate installed and have a URL starting with https have an advantage over the non secure websites. Now, if you have a website that is not HTTPs yet, you need to include this in your to do tasks right away.
Also, please note, that when you make your website https, you ought to ensure that you do it in the right manner. This is necessary to ensure that the ranking of your website is not affected.
Is your website fast enough?
A Google study states that even a one second delay in the mobile load time can hamper your mobile conversions by over 20%. In my personal experience, I believe that handling the web page speed is indeed one of the hardest things to achieve especially for the non technical users.
However, not many know or agree, but this is also one of the most important SEO factors which needs to be addressed successfully. Several studies have been conducted over time which showcase the importance of the page speed, especially for the mobiles. Further, it can affect both your conversion rates and rankings.
Your website should be able to load fast and if said rightfully, faster than all your competitors.
You can easily find tools on Google, which will give you recommendations about the speed of the page. However, in general, here are somethings that you can do.
- You can compress all the website images by making use of the tools such as squoosh or optimizilla. These are helpful tools which can dramatically reduce the size of the image on your website without hampering the quality of the images.
- In case, there are a lot of images on your website, you can consider using a CDN.
- You can Minimize the http calls by making use of the browser caching and sprites.
- Further, reduce the CSS and HTML to make the size smaller.
- Employ the use of a caching plugin or a page speed service to serve cached pages to the users.
- Update to the latest version of PHP.
- Update your website and software to the latest versions.
In case, one or more pointers from the above list, does not make any sense to you, it is time, you hire a developer or an SEO expert to work on your behalf. Honestly, it won’t cost you a lot, and will also help you improve the rankings of your website in the long run.
Is your website mobile friendly?
You aren’t unaware about the use and prevalence of the mobile devices. So, now, every website that you create must be mobile friendly. However, a lot of website owners, omit this point. There are still a number of websites, which are yet not optimized for mobile. As a result of this, there is a severe loss of rankings and traffic.
With the advent of the Google Mobile First Index, websites which are not mobile optimized are excluded from the mobile searches. So, when you start, it is important for you to check your website with a Google Mobile friendly test tool. Based on the recommendations given, you need to work on your website.
Is the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for you?
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new and an advanced way of creating mobile pages. This format is supported and created by Google (and other companies). All the Accelerated Mobile Pages tend to load much faster than the regular HTML pages. However, there are certain restrictions on the functionality you can use with these pages.
In the SEO industry, there has always been a long debate as to whether the site owner should adopt the Accelerated Mobile Pages on their websites or not.
So, my recommendation for this is simple. If you are a News publisher, you can opt for the Accelerated Mobile Pages. On the other hand, if you have a corporate website, blog, or ecommerce store then going with the Accelerated Mobile Pages will only lead to an increase in the cost without bringing any benefit or (increased) revenue.
Is your website available in more than one language?
All the websites, which are available in more than one languages, ought to have the requisite SEO settings which are defined in the HTML code. In case, you do not do that, Google may even consider your translated content as a duplicate content.
Is your website structure optimized?
Now, irrespective of the type of website you own, there are a few elements which are common to all. These elements are basic, yet necessary for a good user experience and a better SEO of the site.
You should check all of the following in this.
- Is the content structure of the website clear?
- Is your content grouped into relevant categories and pages?
- Does the website have a Disclaimer?
- Does the website have a contact form?
- Is there a separate Contact us option?
- Is there an about page describing the website?
- Are all the important pages linked to from the webpage?
If all of this is done, you can conclude that your website is optimized.
Fix the structure of your website
In case your website doesn’t make any sense to the users, they will find themselves to be lost. And so will Google.
In order to avoid this situation, you need to ensure that your main menu has any and all the main pages from the website. You can further, add these to your homepage and footer section.
Further, you can also include a sitemap which explains the structure of your website.
For instance, let’s say your website is a pyramid. The main articles on your website should be further supported by the other pages which target certain keywords.
In case, your site speed and the site load time is slow, the structure of your website won’t do you any good. Because if the load time is slow, people will click off even before they see the content on your website.
Analyze the website for all the structured data errors
Further, the next thing that you need to do in the audit process is testing of the structured data on the site. You need to ensure that the site contains all the essential data and ensure that it is formed properly.
Let’s look at some examples of the content which may benefit from the inclusion of structured data:
- Product information;
However, you can anyway mark up any type of content to a limited extent. But, do ensure that you don’t end up spamming your users. Make use of the Structured Data Testing Tool of the Google. This tool is helpful in testing whether the existing data on your website is structured or not. You can paste in the URL that you want to test and hit the “Run Test” button. Once you do that, Google will analyze the structured data from your page and then present to you all the errors.
In case, no errors are located, there couldn’t have been anything better. However, if you do find errors, it goes without saying, that you got to fix them as soon as possible.
Integrate a content SEO strategy
The content on your website should be complete. It should be fully capable of answering all the questions that a searcher might ask Google. Auditing of the content can be a tricky thing since you need to look at the quality of your work along with the best on page factors. So, this means, that you ought to double check for all the grammar related issues. You can use grammarly for checking the pages on your website for all the grammar related errors, so that the content on your website is error free.
Further, if you are writing the content directly on the WordPress, you need to Install Yoast SEO. This plugin is necessary to ensure that your work is optimized well for the target keywords.
You can also make use of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider, so that you can find the content that you can lengthen. Look out for the content or the articles that have a word count which is less than 300 words
Off-Site SEO checklist
In the Off site SEO checklist, there are primarily three items. However, you need to do a bit of analysis before you have a clear picture about the off site SEO current state.
Evaluate your incoming links and identify toxic links
In order to know the incoming links, you can either use a tool like SEMRUSH or use the ‘Links to your site’ report from Google Search console.
When you are reviewing the incoming links report, there are certain questions that you need to answer. Let’s see these questions one by one.
- What is the number of unique domains which are linking to you?
- How many of these domains can be regarded as the trusted domains?
- How many of these links are pointing to your home page?
- How many of these links are pointing to your internal pages?
- Which all of your pages have the most incoming links?
- What is the % of the links that are keyword based?
- What is the ‘toxic score’ of each link?
Based on the answers received above, you will have to employ some corrective measures to ensure that all of these are included in the action plan taken by you.
For instance, if there are only a few domains which are linked to you, you will need to get the links from the related domains so for this you’ll need to create a list of all the possible website that you need to use for guest blogging or the blogger outreach campaigns.
In case you do not have the links from the trusted domains, you can get in touch with the leaders in your niche and them know about your existence. Of course, we very much agree that this is easier said than done, but please know, that if you are noticed by one big fish, you naturally have more chances of surviving in the pot.
In case all of these links are pointing to the homepage, you will need to ensure that the links are pointing to the internal pages as well. In order to do this, you can either remove the links from the home page or by building more links to the internal pages.
In case, all of the links are keyword based, and Google hasn’t penalized you yet, you must urgently alter them in order to ensure that they look more natural. You can use your domain name online, your full post title and things like ‘click here’,’ link’ etc.
In comparison to the on-site SEO, off-site SEO is rather not straightforward. This is the reason, why you need to know how and what exactly needs to be done.
Links play a pivotal role, if you want the rankings of your website to be really high. However, you don’t have to go out and about, to build links like crazy. Rather, you must focus and divert your efforts in building good websites which have good content to ensure that the links flow naturally.
Analyze your backlink profile
Lastly, you can make use of Ahrefs. This will help you conduct a quick and hassle free manual audit to study the link profile of your website.
Here, we are mostly, looking out for the standout issues of your website.
If everything looks relatively clean and straight forward, you can move on to the next stage of the audit.
Now, your website audit is 100% done. Yes, SEO AUDIT = COMPLETE!!
If you have followed all the steps listed above, you have definitely incorporated a lot of changes in your website and these changes will sooner or later, improve the ranking of your website.
On the basis of the recommendations that you get after your site audit is done, you are certainly going to improve the ranking of your website and bring in organic traffic to your site.
A complete and comprehensive SEO audit is a much lengthier process. This can take somewhere between a few hours to a few days depending on the size and volume of your website. However, this is a perfect process to kick start any new SEO campaign and get a feel of how your site is currently set up.
In case, still there is anything from the above listed steps or about the SITE audit in general, you can send in your queries. Write to us, in the comments below, and we’ll be more than happy to answer all your queries.