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Six Key Steps in Technical SEO Auditing

The foundation of effective organic search engine optimization (SEO) rests upon three key elements: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. While technical SEO is often overlooked due to its complexity, it is crucial in the current competitive landscape of search results. To ensure optimal website performance and ranking, having a site that is easily crawlable, swift, and secure is more essential than ever.

This article focuses on six fundamental aspects of technical SEO that are vital for improving website performance and maintaining its health. While it doesn’t cover the entirety of technical SEO, it serves as a starting point for enhancing your site’s effectiveness. Once these foundational aspects are addressed, you can delve into more advanced technical SEO strategies.

What is a technical SEO audit?

Technical SEO involves optimizations that enhance a site’s efficiency for crawling and indexing, enabling search engines to deliver relevant content to users promptly. A technical SEO audit covers various elements, including site architecture, URL structure, coding, redirects, sitemap, robots.txt file, image delivery, and site errors.

Technical SEO vs. on-page SEO vs. off-page SEO

This article will specifically delve into the initial six steps essential for a quick technical SEO audit. For those seeking assistance with other SEO types, comprehensive guides on on-page SEO and a 10-step SEO audit covering both technical and content optimizations are available.

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

The following are the six key steps covered in this technical SEO audit guide:

  1. Ensure your site is crawlable:
    • Verify the robots.txt file to determine which parts of the site should or should not be crawled.
    • Use Google’s robots.txt tester to check crawlability and identify any errors or warnings.
  2. Check that your site is indexable:
    • Utilize Google Search Console coverage report to assess the status of pages (errors, warnings, valid pages, excluded pages).
    • Employ crawl tools like Screaming Frog to check indexability and reasons for non-indexability.
  3. Review your sitemap:
    • Ensure a well-formatted XML sitemap adhering to protocol.
    • Confirm inclusion of canonical URLs, exclusion of “noindex” URLs, and coverage of all new pages.
    • Use tools like Yoast SEO plugin or Screaming Frog for detailed sitemap analysis.
  4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly:
    • Given the importance of mobile-first indexing, assess mobile responsiveness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
    • Manually check site functionality on mobile devices, addressing any errors.
  5. Audit page speed:
    • Assess site speed with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Test My Site from Google.
    • Consider factors such as minifying CSS and Javascript, optimizing images, and effective caching to improve page speed.
  6. Duplicate content review:
    • Utilize Google search parameters and tools like Screaming Frog to identify and address duplicate content issues.

These steps serve as a foundational guide for digital marketers aiming to ensure their websites function effectively for search engines. Importantly, these measures are cost-free, providing a solid starting point for a technical SEO audit.

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