Your website does not justify the investments and expectations? Advertising budgets are not repaid or compensated with difficulty? Well, then it’s the right time for website audit.
A site audit is an intricate work, aimed at improving the effectiveness of its work. The overarching challenges facing SEO specialist are a comprehensive study of the content, structure, technical features of the site and external influencing factors, the identification of weaknesses, planning and implementation of the necessary improvements, taking into account all the demands of the search engines. And most importantly, that such a review and optimization needed to be regularly conducted, because search algorithms are constantly being improved, and many SEO tactics constantly getting obsolete and no longer work.
In this article, we will talk about how to carry out in-depth technical site audit.
Robots.txt is the service file, which contains information for search engines. Must be available at site.com/robots.txt. If this file does not exist on the site, you must create it.
In the robots.txt you can specify the following information for search engines: sections of the site to be indexed or not, primary mirror, the path to the sitemap, etc.You can learn more about robot.txt in Google Support.
Make sure that server logs, admin panel site, online store shopping cart, and other technical areas are closed from indexing in your robots.txt. Note, however, that site scripts and CSS are opened to search engines bots. To check your robot.txt, use tools like Google’s robots.txt analysis tool.
Website Speed Test
Measuring the page load speed is also a part of a technical audit. Fast website tends to rank higher in the search. Load time also affects user behavior on the site.
The Site Code Check
The site code should be checked for debris: hidden text, commented-out blocks, any section elements invisible for the public. There have been cases when dishonest SEOs placed irrelevant content in the code of the client site, hidden from the user’s eyes. And that was why the site was losing positions in the search results. Thus, check the website not only from the user’s position but also through the eyes of a search robot. You can do it in Google Search Console.
While looking at a site URL structure, you have to ensure that the URL structure makes sense and your top pages are close to the main domain. You need to investigate if every page belongs to a proper category and the URLs are accurate descriptions of the page, including target keywords.
You can check website URLs easy with tools like Serpstat, Screaming Frog or Netpeak Spider. They scan the pages of your site, and you will see all URLs, meta tags, headers, pages status, broken links, redirects, both incoming and outgoing links.
With the help of these tools, you’ll find pages with 404 error and broken links. They must be eliminated. As for the 404 error page, it should be framed to help the user to navigate if yet he got there.
Duplicate Pages Issues
The big number of duplicate pages on the site is one of the main reasons why the site can lose its positions and traffic. The internal duplicates on your site are the most frequent problem here. When the search engine accesses and indexes the several versions of the same page, it is likely that the engine will exclude all but one version.
If you want to highlight your site for the search engines, be prepared for the extra work, implementing solutions for supporting minor changes in the URL, page content, link structure and architecture of the CMS itself.
Firstly you need to ensure your website do in fact have an XML sitemap, this usually sits on www.site.com/sitemap.xml. Tools like Netpeak Spider and Screaming Frog again will help to generate a sitemap.
Many site engines allow adjusting sitemap, which is automatically updated when changes are made to the site (for example, adding new pages).
Checking the HTML-code
Errors in the HTML code affect the quality of the site indexing, ie its advancement as a whole. Therefore, the code must be analyzed for errors. The easiest way to find out the details of HTML-code designing is to check it for validity through the W3C Validator.
If the page is not valid, it is necessary to identify errors and correct them, rewriting the code. Of course, it is not necessary to get down to the minor errors, but such crude and obvious, such as the wrong encoding, the lack of a declaration or unclosed tags should be avoided.
A comprehensive website audit is a must for those who prefer to always keep a finger on the pulse. It allows to quickly receive the information about all the appearing errors and about how well the domain is optimized in general.
Tools like Serpstat are aimed to ease the carrying out of a comprehensive analysis of the site.
While checking your website, you’ll obtain global information on the number of errors and see how well the domain is optimized (special SDO score).
Errors are divided by functional components and level of priority.
You can get lists with links on all your errors and download it for future fixing.
The purpose of the audit is to identify gaps that negatively affect the effectiveness of your site. To get great results from organic search your site SEO must be perfect or as near as it can be.