Companies go to great lengths to get noticed online. From informative blog updates to social media marketing, corporate leaders are investing in Internet marketing. However, these efforts are only as effective as the websites they represent. The journey to online exposure begins with a detailed technical SEO checklist. Discover what your business is missing for online success. Find out what a technical SEO audit is and why every company needs to get one.

The Best Sites Are Never Perfect

Perfection is an unattainable goal, but site owners can strive to always remain on top of industry best practices. SEO is constantly changing and evolving to bring the best possible experience to online users. With that fact in mind, every site has some type of technical issue. Even the best sites have room for improvement. A technical SEO checklist outlines the various aspects to consider during an informal site audit. A professional audit helps sites rank higher, get targeted traffic, and score more conversions.

Site Architecture and Building a Strong Foundation

Today a robust SEO campaign includes periodic technical SEO audits. Technical issues can hurt your rankings and traffic. A website is the online location for a business. Much like a brick and mortar building, a site must be solidly built and maintained. An audit analyzes the site’s architecture and provides recommendations based on the current best practices. The goals include finding obstructions that could hinder conversion, attract more organic traffic, and establish a technically sound site that search spiders can crawl and consumers will easily find. Anything less harms the SEO health of the site and impedes targeted traffic.

Site Infrastructure and Traffic

A website without targeted traffic isn’t realizing the benefits of conversions. Understanding a site’s complex infrastructure helps determine its potential negative impact on web traffic to the site. Technical SEO issues can cause damage to a site’s visibility, detracting from other business SEO campaigns that might be in progress. Failure to address the technical aspects of a site often means wasting money on marketing that falls flat. Reconciling technical problems removes the online roadblocks that get in the way of attracting organic traffic to your site.

SEO Competitor Analysis

A site should be modern, visually appealing, and easily navigable. In a hectic online environment, people have extremely short attention spans. They want to find something immediately, or they leave the site to find one that works better. Every searcher who surfs away to the competition represents a lost lead. A technical SEO audit may include fundamental information about the competition with benchmarks, so companies can see how they stack up against their competitors. Which keywords are the competitors using, and what blog topics are they covering now? Do they use long-tail keywords and is their site secure? Answers to these questions tell companies if they are doing enough – and what more they should do.

Fix Website Errors

If a site owner doesn’t recognize a problem exists, it never gets fixed. Money invested in SEO marketing is wasted if the site fails to perform properly. An audit could reveal hundreds – or even thousands – of issues that should be addressed. An SEMrush survey in 2017 revealed 80 percent of the sites examined had 4xx broken link errors, proving this is a common error at most sites. And over 65 percent of sites had duplicate content. From simple to complex, fixing these errors eliminates technical problems that could be holding a site back from progressing as it should. Plus, SEO marketing dollars are maximized when a site is technically healthy.

Ongoing Technical SEO Checkpoints

A technical SEO checklist includes dozens of checkpoints. A few years ago, novices were able to perform a technical SEO audit to help boost the rank of their sites. Now, this process has become incredibly complex. Multiple checkpoints exist around three basic SEO groups including technical SEO, on-page SEO, and crawlability. Based on current industry standards, technical SEO errors have various severity levels. It takes more than great content to rank on the search engines. A strong technical SEO foundation is the ideal accompaniment to quality content being posted regularly. An SEO expert understands what it takes to attract organic traffic today – and tomorrow.

Technical SEO checklist

Audit and Analyze Technical SEO Issues

A technical SEO audit goes beyond listing a site’s issues that should be fixed. Each point is carefully analyzed to ensure the site owner understands the problem and knows what must be done to fix it. A proper audit and analysis are the first step toward developing a powerful SEO marketing campaign. During the audit, the site will be completely checked. Competitors will be analyzed. The bottom line is clearly outlined in the audit to help businesses stay on track and anticipate what they should do in the near future. Consider some of the factors that might arise during a technical SEO audit.

Website Security with HTTPS

One of the initial considerations during a technical SEO audit is security. In 2014, Google stated HTTPS would be a ranking signal for SEO which also ensured an advanced secure connection for users. Google’s most recent algorithm update focuses on safety measures, and non-secure sites will be penalized. A site that comes up as HTTP is sure to have its SEO rankings impacted negatively. Fortunately, this is a quick fix that yields impressive results. The site must be migrated to HTTPS by installing an SSL Certificate on your current hosting provider. Always force a single domain.

Make Sure Site Loads FAST

Another common issue is a slow site speed. Online users expect a site to load immediately. Everything they want should be a quick click away. If users don’t get fast results, they’ll surf to the competitors. Plus, site speed is a leading signal used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. Improving the site speed creates an optimal user experience, reduces bounce rates and encourages visitors to stay longer at each page. It should take no longer than 1-2 seconds for a sit to load. WordPress plugins are often used to optimize a site for speed.

Fix Broken Links

Older sites often have broken links and pages. An article might refer to a resource that no longer exists, an article that was archived, or a site that went down. Broken links and pages create a poor user experience, such as 404 errors. Google focuses on the quality of the user experience, making this another issue that should be resolved. Usually, this means implementing 301 redirects for the pages with a 404 error. The user is redirected to a functioning page that is closely related to the content on the error page before it was broken.

Fix Duplicate Content on Your Website

Another technical issue found at many websites is duplicate content. Unique content is a top priority as duplicate content is crucial for a great user experience. It is imperative to minimize duplicate content to ensure a site is viewed as original. Plus, users prefer reading original content that does not appear at the site or elsewhere. Reducing duplicate content boost the potential in high-quality pages and creates the best possible user experience.

Optimize Title Tags

Title tags appear on search engine results and tell users what the article or content is about. These titles appear on SERPS as a clickable headline that takes searchers directly to the page. Title tags are necessary for social sharing, SEO, and utility purposes. Effective title tags are around 65 characters, and no longer so they are easy to view. When the title is too long, people cannot see it, which may reduce the number of people who click on the headline. Reducing the length of title tags, adding one or two keywords, and making them interesting encourage people to click these links.

Review the Metadata

Often a short sentence or two follows the title tag used to refer to web content and articles. These sentences are called the metadata. When a title appears on the search engines, a brief description follows. This metadata should be accurate, clear, appealing, and the proper length so readers see all of the words. Always remember on-page optimization strategies, such as optimized title tags and metadata, to improve the strength of your website.

Use Heading Tags Properly

When used properly, heading tags attract the user’s eye to pertinent information and bring search engines to the topic. For example, H1 tags are used to list post on a page and related posts on inner pages. An H2 tag defines a broad topic, which an H3 tag appears underneath it to outline a supporting topic. Heading tags should contain relevant keywords, and be used in the right order for optimum site organization and best SEO practices.

Technical SEO checklist

Audit Internal and External Links

Quality content answers relevant questions and resonates with your target market. Part of creating this content is including authoritative internal and external links. Internal links are used to connect to your most important posts and pages. External links take readers to sites providing additional information about the topic. Using both makes your web content more useful to readers and attracts the search engines faster. And who links to your website? Relevant links are one of the most influential ranking signals per Google’s latest algorithm. Analyze the number of quality links at reputable third-party websites, and search for opportunities to get links to your site.

The Key is Keyword Analysis

A technical SEO audit also focuses on the keywords that can bring in valuable search traffic. Where does your site rank for these types of keywords? What keywords are bringing in the most traffic to your site and what is the conversion rate? Find out more about keyword positions at sites such as Google Search Console and Analytics. Beyond the keywords, examine the effectiveness of your content. Does it attract organic traffic and drive business to the site? Which blog posts are bringing in the most inbound traffic? Examine your best content to find the ideal niche for your business to focus on in future articles.

Verify that Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

The days of being handcuffed to a desktop computer are over. Now people go online whenever and wherever they have time. They use smartphones, tablets, and laptops to surf the Internet. As a result, sites should always be mobile-friendly to ensure users on-the-go get top quality content. Expecting users to be seated at a computer is unrealistic. Progressive companies recognize the importance of cornering the rapidly growing mobile marketplace.

Explore Sitemap Status

Become an online explorer and find out your sitemap status. An XML sitemap is a map for Google and other search engine crawlers to find your website pages. A sitemap should be formatted in an XML document and follow the right protocol. All updated pages should appear in the sitemap. Finally, the XML sitemap should be submitted to Google Search Console via the Sitemaps tool. Or the sitemap can simply be inserted anywhere in the robots.txt file. Either way, verify the sitemap is free of status codes and has proper canonicals for a satisfactory user experience.

Implement the Technical SEO Audit

Getting a technical SEO audit is only half the work that must be done. The other half is reading the results and implementing the suggestions. SEO requires expertise, time, and effort. Most companies have gone beyond having one person handle every aspect of SEO. Instead, they have teams working to ensure the site is optimized and technically sound every step of the way. Outsourcing this work to a tactical consultant ensure it is done correctly without sacrificing endless hours to try to do it yourself.

Let Galileo Tech Media be your tactical and technical team of professionals. We are ready to provide regular technical SEO audits and help you make the necessary updates to remain relevant in a rapidly changing online environment. Discover how technical updates can improve your site ranking, drive increased organic traffic, and improve conversion rates.

Want more information about what technical SEO audits and keyword research can do to get your site noticed by your target audience? Contact us today!