Aqueous Digital

How to carry out an in-depth technical SEO audit

Our guide to what to include in your audit

 

All too often SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is treated like a ‘fire and forget’ exercise.

Companies tick off a checklist of SEO essentials when they create, or update, their website and then forget to return and regularly review how their SEO strategy is performing.

Is it delivering the goods as you would expect? The only way to find out is by conducting frequent technical SEO audits.

technical SEO audit is one of the primary tools for ensuring that your SEO is in place and working as it should.

Below, we explore the purpose, importance, and essential elements of any technical SEO analysis in detail.

 

What is a technical SEO audit?

A technical SEO audit is the process to check the technical aspects of your website’s SEO are working as you intended. This involves measuring the overall health of your website, and then finding out what fixes you need to carry out to improve performance.

The algorithms used by search engines, such as Google, to rank websites are constantly evolving and your website will need to take into account these changes.

During a technical SEO audit, you will often be required to correct glitches, update information, and add new elements – all of which help to improve your search engine performance.

 

What is the purpose of a technical SEO audit?

The ultimate purpose of conducting technical SEO audits is to improve the performance of your website.

In turn, a website that’s performing well (and abiding by Google’s Search Essentials – formerly known as Google’s Webmaster Guidelines) is far more likely to be ranked higher, ensuring the website receives a higher level of organic traffic.

 

Why technical SEO audits are important

As explained above, regular technical SEO audits can help you to improve your site performance and therefore rank higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

These higher rankings ensure your website is being seen by a greater level of organic traffic, and with more organic traffic, you won’t need to spend as much of your marketing budget on Paid Ads or other revenue avenues.

Instead, this organic traffic should steadily increase sales figures, helping your business to generate more profit.

This profit can then be reinvested back into the business to further support other areas of your enterprise such as building your brand, improving customer service, and streamlining the buyer journey.

 

What does technical SEO audit include?

A technical SEO audit includes analysing many different areas of your website to build up an overall picture of your its health. This includes finding out more about your site loading speed, its content and layout, the quality and quantity of backlinks it possesses, as well as the number and structure of internal links.

Each one of these crucial technical SEO auditing aspects should be thoroughly explored when conducting a technical SEO analysis, but what’s the best way to do this?

Luckily, our team of experienced SEO specialists and account managers have put together a straightforward guide.

 

How to do a technical SEO audit

Wondering how to conduct a technical SEO site audit? To ensure you analyse every important aspect of technical SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide.

From showing you the best way to crawl your website to explaining how you can check your SEO score, you can find out all this and more below.

 

Crawl your website

Any technical SEO audit should start with crawling your website. To do this, you can use a variety of SEO tools such as SEMrush and DeepCrawlScreaming Frog is also a good free option for websites under 500 URLs.

These crawlers will locate everything from poor images, page title issues, bad keywords to broken links. They should also spot duplicate content, excess redirects, and any unlinked pages – providing you with a long list of potential issues to rectify.

Following on from this deep crawl of your website, you try to address these issues. For example, you should remove any duplicate content, repair links, and amend any bad keywords. You should also address any issues that were discovered with the content of your website.

If you’re unsure where to start, the crawl programme you chose to use should be able to identify these issues, rate their fix urgency, and guide you through repairing them.

 

Check your SEO score

You can find your SEO score by using websites such as SEO Site Checkup and Google Lighthouse. Scored out of 100, your SEO score lets you know which aspects of your website are performing well and which require attention. It therefore identifies glitches and allows you to tackle them quickly and easily.

Produced by Google, Google Lighthouse is particularly useful for technical SEO auditing as it has the advantage of matching what Google is promoting as ‘good practice’.

 

Browsable versions of your website

If there’s more than one version of your website available to search engines, such as an old, outdated version, then you will be sending mixed signals about which is the correct version.

It can also occur due to duplicate mobile and desktop versions, or HTTP, and HTTPS versions. This will, in turn, negatively impact your Google ranking.

To prevent this from affecting the performance of your website, it’s important to make sure that there’s only one browsable version of your site available online. You can do this by using a crawl programme and looking for http and https variability – if there is a mix on your site, then there may be more than one version.

It is also worth checking as part of your technical SEO analysis for exact match text on the internet. If Google can find more than one copy of your text, there may be duplicates that you’ll need to remove.

 

Review your sitemap

A technical SEO audit should always include looking at the sitemap of a website. This is because it informs the search engine about both your site’s content and layout. Most important, the sitemap should be clean and concise, with any errors removed.

As a result, you should remove any unnecessary pages and ensure that it is up to date. You can view your sitemap at https://yourwebsite/sitemap.xml or /sitemap_index.xml to check.

 

Check your internal links

All your internal links should be working and your site should be straightforward to navigate for any customer that lands of your website. An easy way to find out more about the internal linking structure of your site is to check the click depth of each page – this refers to how many clicks it takes to reach a page.

The fewer clicks for each page, the better, so you may need to rethink and reorganise your website layout and navigation.

When analysing your internal links, you should also look for broken links. You can then repair any broken links and delete any orphan pages (website pages that do not have links from any other page on your site) that are no longer needed.

 

Test your site speed

No technical SEO audit should leave out a speed test. Internet users don’t like to wait long for websites to load, so the slower your website the higher your bounce rate will be. Google therefore takes into account website speed when determining how to rank your site. If yours is sluggish and takes even just a few seconds longer to load than your competitors, then your chances of featuring as favourably in search results is lower. Google Lighthouse is an ideal tool for this.

 

Audit your backlinks

Backlinks play a crucial role in establishing the credibility of your website with search engines. You should therefore regularly check to see how many backlinks your website has as part of your regular technical SEO audit. You should also take a look at the status of the websites on which they’re appearing – are they credible or not?

You will need to check whether these links still current, and if so, whether the sites they’re featured on are credible. If you’re appearing on websites that look as if they’re spam-generated (as a means to try to quickly improve SEO), then Google is likely to view your site less favourably as this goes against their Search Essentials guidelines.

Intelligent use of social media can help you to build a portfolio of high-quality backlinks. You can check how Google views backlinks at https://search.google.com/search-console/links.  If you think you have an issue with poor backlinks or have received a Google Manual action for poor backlinks, then you should consider consulting with a professional SEO company to review this for you.

 

De-index your low value pages

If certain pages on your website are underperforming, have low value content, or are duplicated, you may want to consider de-indexing them from Google. Poor content and pages riddled with errors are likely to have a negative impact on your search rankings.  Removing them from the Google indexes will therefore prevent them from becoming dragging down the rest of your site.

While you can de-index your low value pages in a variety of ways, the easiest method is to add a ‘noindex’ tag to the page Meta. This will prevent Google from being able to access this page, effectively ignoring it when it comes to assessing the overall performance of your site.

 

What tools do you use for technical SEO audits?

Unfortunately, there’s no single tool that can help you to complete a full technical SEO audit. Instead, you will often need to utilise a variety of SEO tools to help you complete your technical SEO checklist.

SEO tools for crawling your website

There exists a wide range of SEO tools for crawling websites including platforms like SEMrush, SE Ranking, and DeepCrawlScreaming Frog is also a great, free alternative for websites under 500 URLs.

SEO tools for checking your SEO score

For checking your SEO score, we recommend exploring tools like SEO Site Checkup and Google Lighthouse.

 

SEO tools for reviewing your sitemap

Luckily, you don’t even need to use a dedicated SEO tool for analysing your sitemap. Instead, you can simply visit https://yourwebsite/sitemap.xml%20or%20/sitemap_index.xml. Alternatively, most basic SEO tools should be able to find your sitemap.

 

SEO tools for analysing internal links

General SEO toolkits such as Moz and Ahrefs both can provide their users with an internal links report, identifying opportunities to include links and highlighting any broken internal links, too.

 

SEO tools for checking your site loading speed

At Aqueous Digital, we recommend using Google Lighthouse to review your site loading speed. Easy to install and use, it’s ideal for those with minimal SEO knowledge.

 

SEO tools for auditing your backlinks

Most SEO toolkits will allow you to easily explore both the number of backlinks your website has and the quality of these backlinks. However, we suggest using SEMrush and Google Search Console to help you identify which backlinks should stay and which need removing.

 

SEO tools for de-indexing low value pages

To de-index a low value page from your website, simply use Google Search Console and submit a request using the Removals tool.

 

How long does a technical SEO audit take?

For simple websites, a comprehensive technical SEO audit should take no longer than a few hours. However, a technical SEO audit of a larger, more complex website could take even an experienced SEO specialist 2-6 weeks to audit. For a more accurate answer/estimate, it’s wise to ask a professional SEO agency to take a look at the size and structure of your website.

 

Expert technical SEO auditing

technical SEO audit can be as extensive and thorough as you like and the tasks listed here are just a snapshot of what can be done. Some of these processes are particularly technical, time-consuming, and easy to get wrong. It therefore often make senses to get professional help for your regular technical SEO audits.

At Aqueous Digital, we are SEO experts. Not only will we ensure your website has outstanding SEO from the outset, our award-winning SEO strategies and experienced team will ensure it keeps working.

To speak to a member of our team about our technical SEO auditing services, simply give us a call on 0800 285 1424 or email us at hello@aqueous-digital.co.uk.

We offer a range of packages to suit your budget including technical-only SEO. We offer a full technical SEO audit and no-obligation consultation free of charge.

Serving clients in the Sheffield area, we welcome all enquiries from Sheffield-based businesses as well as companies located further afield.

 

Further reading on SEO

Why pillar pages are the foundations of a successful content strategy

How to conduct a thorough digital marketing audit of your website

Why digital marketing is important to business owners

Digital marketing trends to get ahead of the curve

Short-form vs. long-form content: Which is better for your website?

Digital marketing channels: Which one should you choose?

Content Optimisation: How to improve existing content on your website

How AI is becoming more prominent in digital marketing

How to create a results-driven digital marketing campaign

SEO for YouTube: How to optimise YouTube videos for search

How to boost your website’s domain authority

What is Evergreen Content and why does it matter for SEO?

Why we build backlinks to your website

How to develop a content strategy for SEO

Content is King. What is content marketing?

Creating great content: How to write for SEO

How digital marketing has changed over the years

How video content can elevate your website

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Aqueous Digital’s Ultimate Guide to the cost of SEO in the UK

Aqueous Digital’s Guide to the Top 501 SEO and Digital Marketing Terms

How video content can elevate your business

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Beginners Guide To SEO

What is Technical SEO?

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