Crawlability, indexability, and ranking growth – all these aspects heavily depend on tech SEO requirements. Thus, whenever your commercial website underperforms in one of these aspects, it’s a sure sign that you need a qualified technical SEO audit service.
These days, full-service digital marketing agencies cater to a wide range of clients’ needs. But today, we’ll explain why a tech SEO audit is usually a start for any SEO strategy, what it should include, and the necessary steps, as well as share our own approach to technical SEO audit service.
What Is a Technical SEO Audit Service?
Technical SEO audit service is about orchestrating the core tech SEO aspects to eliminate SEO issues and errors to ensure sustained website visibility & growth in search results.
Tech SEO issues can derail your entire SEO efforts as those undermine the primary conditions of its sustainable performance in SERP. Missing pages, incorrect redirect paths, duplicated content, and more – all these technical errors confuse search engines and users, making it impossible for them to map the coherent structure of the website.
To achieve sustainable SEO performance, a comprehensive examination scenario should include:
- Revealing tech SEO issues and understanding their impact
- Benchmarking the current website conditions and performance
- Analyzing relevant SEO metrics and performance reports to evaluate the outcomes of post-audit improvements
- Prioritizing the troubleshooting tasks and making decisions on the best approach to deal with them
- Providing recommendations to web developers on how to fix them.
Ideally, it’s recommended to re-run a tech SEO audit periodically or out-of-schedule (in case recent updates from Google demand new tech SEO practices).
Which SEO Audit Elements to Examine and How Often Should You Perform an Audit?
Tech SEO audits primarily aim to reveal flaws and incompleteness in websites that underlie a smooth SEO performance. Those tech aspects mainly allow search engine bots to crawl and index a website’s code seamlessly. However, there’s no strict line between optimization requirements for better crawling and user experience. At Marketechy, for example, a comprehensive technical SEO audit service considers both sides.
For instance, the haphazard implementation of 301 redirects hurts both. On the one hand, it might confuse users as they see that the landing page URL and contents don’t match the SERP snippet. On the other hand, webmasters might unintentionally create a 301 redirect chain. Those significantly slow down page load and eat up quite a chunk of a crawl budget.
13 Key Tech SEO Elements to Inspect
At Marketechy, we conduct technical SEO audit services to identify all tech-related SEO issues. Our reports include actionable conclusions and set the priority and recommendations for resolving each matter.
Website Structure and Architecture
Revising the website structure helps to understand a logical site hierarchy to properly re-organize and cross-link the pages if needed. While the website structure might seem an easy deal and nothing special for websites with 10-20 pages, many B2B websites have a plethora of supported or long-forgotten subdomains, separate landing pages, articles or guides & documentation hosted outside of the main website, and connected (or not) via a complicated, chaotic, and often random cross-linking approach. Making heads and tails out of this, setting up proper subfolders and subdomains categorization with clear connections, and removing the outdated chunks of the website will result in immediate performance improvements.
A well-laid site structure will allow users and crawlers to navigate seamlessly and simplify the website’s further development.
The URL Structure
The URLs must reflect the consistency of your site hierarchy. It is fulfilled by strict order: domain.com/category/subcategory/item. Ideally, we recommend going no deeper than level 4 in the crawl depth for the Resources part of the website (articles, media, videos, etc.), and no deeper than level 3 for the key website pages (features, use cases, services, etc.). It’s also recommended to have your target keyword for the page in question as a part of the URL.
If you run a multi-language website or have a regional subdomain, your URL structure should reflect that: domain.uk or domain.de; doman.com/en/ or domain.com/de/.
Technical SEO audit service relies on general mobile usability testing. Google Search Console (GSC) used to have dedicated Mobile Usability reports with insights on key areas for improvement. These reports flagged the issues related to incorrect display of adaptive layouts, overlapped or cropped clickable elements, etc.
For the time being, Mobile Usability is unavailable in the GSC admin panel. However, webmasters can still detect the majority of mobile usability issues with Google Lighthouse.
Page Speed Insights Metrics
Google's Page Speed Insights benchmark provides essential insights into improving user experience. But most importantly, these metrics are confirmed Google ranking factors.
Specifically, since the update of June 2018, page speed define rankings for search results and Google Ads displayed on mobile devices. The update of June 2021 established Page Experience Signal as a ranking factor. This multifactorial signal encompasses mobile friendliness, browsing security requirements, and Core Web Vitals metrics.
Robots.txt and Meta Robots Directives
Robots.txt and meta robots tags determine the instructions for crawlers, so they won’t scan non-essential content and take it to the Google search index. Previously, we explained how to adjust these tech SEO features within the Webflow admin panel.
Typically, site builders would automatically generate sitemap files containing all indexable web pages. Re-sending Sitemap.xml through Google Search Console for recrawl is common when webmasters need to update search engines on SEO enhancements.
Note that sitmap.xml must be thoroughly revised before submission. It must contain only:
- Canonical URL
- URLs allowed by robots.txt and robots meta tags
- URLs that return 200 response codes.
Maintaining your SSL certificate up-to-date is paramount as it’s a confirmed Google ranking factor.
HTTP Response Status Codes
During an audit, we’re primarily interested in detecting pages with 3xx, 4xx, and 5xx status codes. Those indicate redirected, missing, or non-responding due to server issues pages.
Webpage content might duplicate another one wholly or partially. The duplication is usually caused by incorrect canonicalization or the absence of sitewide 301 between HTTP and HTTPS versions and URLs with and without www. Prefix.
Duplicate and missing meta titles and meta descriptions influence search click-through rates directly and heavily impact page’s visibility and keyword ranking. This is a less technical and easy to fix SEO element from the content perspective. We recommend to keep it high on your priority fixes list as implementing proper metatags with carefully selected keywords will bring you immediate positive results.
Missing/Duplicated ALT Attribute Texts
Missing alt attribute texts are also worth working on. Brand logos, infographics, and live photos will feature visual search results thanks to relevant ALT descriptions. Thus, you’ll have additional search visibility and bring in more site visitors.
Rel= “canonical” attribute instructs search engines on which of duplicated or partially duplicated pages is the primary. By doing so, SEO specialists prevent these non-essential pages from indexation.
Eventually, canonicalization minimizes keyword cannibalization risks when webpages compete for the same rankings as their content is wholly or nearly identical.
Structured Data Markup
Schema markup code informs search crawlers on the type of the webpage content and its purpose. Inspecting and correcting a structured data markup increases the chances that your web pages will make it to featured and rich snippets. Schema implementation is vital for winning higher search visibility and click-throughs.
How Often Should You Run Tech SEO Audits?
The rule of thumb is to perform comprehensive SEO audits at least twice a year. Larger websites like business portals with lots of subdomains demand more frequent checks, and it's normal to audit them four times a year.
The truth is that webmasters often conduct tech audits off-schedule. Any technical SEO audit service provider would recommend re-running audits depending on performance monitoring history, reports from GSC and SEO tools, and recent rollouts of Google updates.
That said, there are definite markers you must consider to plan scheduled tech SEO audits and recognize when you need to run one off-schedule:
- Global Updates of website architecture and URL structure
- Massive rollouts of new content
- Suspicious crawl stats from GSC
- Leveling up with industry’s average benchmarks
- Seasonal SEO fluctuations.
5 Tools for Technical SEO Audit Service and the Marketechy Team’s Approach
Examining tech SEO vitals should be consistent when launching the newly built website or requesting a re-crawl after migration. Note, however, that in most SEO audit tools (Semrush, Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, Ahrefs, etc.), you can customize crawler settings to include/exclude parameters optionally. That's fairly convenient if you split-task troubleshooting or need to double-check some particular tech SEO vitals after a while.
Also, note that using just one tool is insufficient for a comprehensive tech SEO audit. First, different tools have their own ‘specialization’ and might catch different errors. Second, some areas, like website architecture, usually require additional manual checks, and specific Google tools would additionally verify page speed insights.
#1. Google Tools Suite
The most important GA4 reports for your SEO audit are Acquisition and Engagement. The first one informs the SEO team on how organic users get to your website, and the second shows users' interactions with the website.