One very big question usually asked by webmasters and online business owner is how to know if their online business doing well.
In an attempt to solve this, so many companies have unveiled tech tools and software’s to help you analyze the growth of online platforms such as websites, and mobile apps.
Most of this software comes alongside your content management software’s such as WordPress and Blogger while some are offered as a third-party platform, like Google Analytics and Google search console. The majority of them come with keyword research tools with paid plans.
With all this data been spread all over the place, it becomes very hard to track what we need to track. Most people spend time tracking daily traffic, some prefer bounce rate and much other useless analytics.
The million-dollar question here is, How do I track my website progress ?, How do I know if my website is doing very well on search engines in particular and this leads me to write about the need to understand the process behind technical SEO audit.
What is a Technical SEO Audit?
A technical SEO audit is a process during which you check the technical aspects of your website’s search engine optimization.
Technical SEO audit deals solely with how well your web platform or website performs and rank on Google. It checks the health of a website and finds out what fixes might be needed to improve it.
SEO is changing constantly and your rivals are keeping up with the changes too, there are several Google algorithm update happening at every instance.
For this reason, you need to remain up-to-date to remain relevant. If you don’t assess your website’s health, you may end up missing out on traffic to your competitors.
As the search algorithms and technology change regularly, it is a good practice to perform mini-audits monthly. You must also ensure that you do administer a full-fledged technical SEO audit every 4-5 months.
Why You should do Technical SEO Audit.
Not too many people value the need to worry about doing a constant technical SEO audit. But in times like these when the search engine is rapidly evolving and even getting more smarter then you need to know and understand that things are likely to change while you might be resting and taking a nap thinking that all would be well and cool.
Here are some very few reasons why you should consider changing your mind.
1. Search Engines are fluid and dynamic.
There are algorithms in how search engines such as Google usually calculate and rank web platforms and while they never release that information, experts in the field have a pretty clear understanding of it.
With so much technical information associated with SEO, only an audit will get to the bottom of every detail, including keywords, phrases, meta tags and more. So many changes are being made often so, therefore, you need to understand things very quickly.
2. You have a better chance to beat your competitors.
I must tell you that when I started this website, I had so many competitors in mind. I ignored the need to do technical SEO audit constantly and was seeking traffic and growth elsewhere which was not cored to my business.
All I needed to understand was how to rank the search engines and beat my competitors and I must tell you that barely after just one month of doing a thorough technical SEO audit my website started to experience good growth. Leaving that aside, It takes a lot to beat your competitors on social media.
Most of them have spent a fortune accumulating followers and building relationships and even developed a stronger fan base. The only chance that you have to beat them to their own game is by optimizing your platform for search engine visibility.
Here is an article I wrote not too long ago to this time on helping you beat your competitors in business.
We live in a more connected and global world, today a competitor could be halfway around the world, which is why it’s so important to focus on SEO.
The best way to accomplish that is by relying on a technical audit to help you beat your competitors.
3. SEO drives online business
Anytime someone buys something new or discover something, the first place that they ever visit is the search engine. On top of that, 9 out of 10 new visits to a website are generated through a search engine like Google. If you’re not paying attention to SEO, you could very well be missing out on all of that potential new business.
How to do technical SEO Audit.
The million-dollar question remains, How do I start hacking my website’s SEO. Here are a very few orderly steps I recommend that you follow.
1. Start By Crawling Your Website.
When it comes to doing a technical SEO on your website, there is no better way to get the appropriate information than crawling your website from the ground up.
Crawling your website yourself gives you an overview of where issues might be coming up on your website, without crawling you can’t know where the fault is coming from.
This is where the use of SEO tools like SEMrush, Spyfu or DeepCrawl and even the Google search console comes to play.
SEMrush’s On-Page SEO Checker also equips you with actionable recommendations to increase your site’s SEO strategy, backlinks, technical SEO, and content quality.
The crawlers help you find errors such as broken links, poor images, page title issues, and bad keywords. They can also help you recognise duplicate content, excess redirects, and unlinked pages.
You can also take a look at the Google Search Console to see your crawl budget. Your crawl budget is the number of pages that Google is crawling on your website and how often it is doing that.
Looking at your crawl budget will give you an idea of how the Google bot is crawling your website.
2. Check the mobile-friendliness of your website.
Mobile-friendly websites are built and designed for small screen mobile phones. This remains the first and the most paramount thing to do first even before hacking your way deep down your website’s source code.
Mobile-friendly websites allow Google to crawl your website very quickly. And just so that you know. We live in a very age when everything is now mobile, So if you ever want to get started with doing business in the 21st century then you need to design a mobile-friendly website.
3. Check the page speed of your website.
I decided to take this on a separate note because it is possible to have a mobile-friendly but very slow website in terms of speed. When I started this website I bought this theme called Bimber from theme forest.
I must confess that it is a very mobile-friendly website but it took a lot of resources to fully load its component. It came alongside so many interesting things that would keep my blog reader on their feet like social login, the ability to start your forum, badges for fans and a lot of rubbish that I never really needed.
I did a page speed test and I discovered that I scored very poorly, afterwards I started stripping off those complex components one by one till they got to a very minimal level.
You can check the page speed of your website by using the Google page speed insight tool as displayed above.
4. Check the SSL status of your website.
SSL stands for standard security technology, and it establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. According to Google, one of the factors used in the ranking website is the use of SSL.
But when you visit a website that’s encrypted with SSL, your browser will form a connection with the webserver, look at the SSL certificate, and then bind together your browser and the server.
Shifting to HTTPS is a must because search engines and users will not have passage to your site if you still have HTTP URLs. They will get 4xx and 5xx HTTP status codes instead of your content. If your website still does not have a valid SSL then Google may rank your website lower.
To check if your website has a valid SSL then you should look at the URL section of your website to confirm. Just to help you with proper guidelines. If your website is prefixed with this.
Then you have SSL installed.
If it then comes like this.
Then you need to get an active and valid SSL.Don’t fret, you can buy your SSL from Bluehost. Here is an article I recommend you read to get started. And if you have not bought your domain and host yet then you have a better chance to do so now.
5. Check the Sitemap status of your website.
A sitemap is a file where you can tell Google and other search engines about pages listed on your website.
Search engine web crawlers like read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.
You can verify if you have a sitemap file by adding the sitemap.xml to your end URL.
Just follow this format.
Just in case you don’t have it on yet, you can get one very easily.
All you just need to do is to do some quick hacks.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress then you need to install an SEO plugin called Smart crawl by WPMU Dev.
It is an awesome plugin and it gives you a default sitemap by default.
Now that you have a .xml file activated, you just don’t leave it there for the birds to come perch on it, you have to submit it for indexing.
And you can do this by adding it to the Google search console as displayed above
There is a sitemap section attached by default to your Google search console dashboard just click and prefix and add the sitemap.xml
The importance of a comprehensive and structured sitemap cannot be underestimated when it comes to SEO.
Your XML sitemap is a map of your website to Google and other search engine crawlers. It assists these crawlers to find and rank your website pages.
Make sure your sitemap includes your most important pages, you can choose what pages you want to be indexed by Google through your sitemap.xml file
Once you have done all this, you should resubmit your sitemap to your Google Search Console.
6. Check the Robot.txt file.
A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site.
robots.txt file can repel the Google bot and can also give it the ability to crawl the entire part of your website.
To check if you have a robots.txt file installed.
Then you can add the robot.txt after your website URL.
Also, not to forget, there is a certain text and instruction that should be in your robots.txt file to allow search engines to crawl it.
If it is written otherwise, then that might just be the reason why you are not ranking on Google.
How should a proper robots.txt that allows search engines to crawl your website look like ?.
7. Perform a Google site search
Not too many people know that they can check how many pages on their website have been indexed by Google.
On the subject of search engine indexing, you can check how Google is indexing your website by typing this into the Google search engine.
This gives you a deeper insight into how Google has indexed all the pages on your website.
8. Check for broken links.
Sometimes you might link to an internal link in your blog then maybe you mistakenly edited the URL like I do most times when auditing my website. Broken links can waste your crawl budget.
They can even distract visitors and are bad for your website SEO, for example, if you delete a post from your blog, you should add a redirect to a post that is similar so as make sure that they don’t land on an empty page.
This can cause the search engine to further relegate your website and you might eventually drop in ranking. I suggest that you link only to credible websites to avoid link breakage and disconnection.
You can check how many broken links are on your website by using a third-party tool called Drlinkchechecker. You can also look up your Google search console to also find broken SEO links.
9. Check your content.
This goes to the bloggers, your content matters to the search engines and you should take it very seriously if you want to rank on Google. If you are a blogger and you don’t update your previous content then there is a likelihood that your content will soon start to drop the SERPS.
A new algorithm update might have been made recently, and it might go a long way to impact the way that particular content ranks on Google. One way to audit your content is to rewrite them from scratch, add new bullet points, add new images and many and ask Google to recrawl that content again, this can be done via the Google search console.
Here is an article I wrote and I think would help you put your contents to check.
10. Make use of the Google search console.
Google analytics tool is for general website tracking, it provides you with more broad information on where your website traffic is coming from such as search engines, Social media and direct search.
Google analytics is not in a very good position to tell you how your website is doing on search engines. When you are doing a technical and website SEO audit, then you need proper insight into how the welfare of your website on search engines, this is more reason why I recommend you make use of it.
There are other SEO tools out there but I love the Google search console. The Google search console allows you to monitor your website’s progress on Google. You get to see what pages have not been indexed and probably request for indexing manually.
Another amazing thing about the Google Search Console is that you also get to see how many keywords you are presently ranking for. Anything you need to understand the health and progress of your website via the Google search engine is made available to you via the Google search console.
11. Check for 404 errors.
A 404 error is a code that indicates a requested page cannot be found.
This means that the webpage has been removed or the URL of such page has been changed.
404 can cause high bounce rates making search engines see your web page as irrelevant and may cause your rankings to drop.
Most times when we have too many pages on our website, we may delete a page and forget to redirect it to another page and this singular act may cause a drop in traffic and search engine visibility for that keyword.
Notwithstanding, I have an everlasting solution to this issue which is for users who created their blogs with WordPress.
If you fall under this category, I recommend you install a WordPress SEO plugin called Rankmath and configure it as shown below.
Just in case you need to have a deeper knowledge about getting started with SEO. Here are very few links to very few important articles that I think you should read.
Just to repeat, it is highly recommended that you do a technical SEO audit at least once in 90 days to 6 months. It is a process that never ends.