When search marketers talk about search engine optimization, they’re usually talking about on-page optimizations such as keywords and content. There is an entire another aspect of SEO that is often ignored, but no less important.
Technical SEO is about everything thing behind the scenes of your website that contributes to ranking on search pages. Many of these technical SEO aspects require programming knowledge to fix, but you can find out what issues your site has through a technical SEO audit.
The audit examines all aspects of technical SEO on your site, determines the issues, and makes recommendations on how you can fix them. We’ll examine the various technical aspects that show up on an audit and what they mean.
A Technical SEO Audit Shows Page Load Speed
For years, search engines slowly moved away from desktop search to mobile because mobile search has long outpaced desktop. Smartphones revolutionized the way people use the Internet and search engines were quick to adapt.
Google has made mobile-first indexing standard and made several aspects of mobile search vital to page ranking. One of the most important is page load speed. Whether a person is on Wi-Fi, 4G connection or barely getting a signal, they want their web pages to come up fast on their phones.
A technical audit reviews the page load times of your website and determines if they meet requirements or need improvement. Each millisecond longer it takes your page to load the more likely the searcher chooses another website.
There are many reasons why a certain page would load slower than others. If there is a lot of code on the page that must be read and rendered or if there are there images or CSS files that can be compressed for faster loading, then it could slow your site speed. If your site has a lot of old code that isn’t used, then a programmer can trim the code to make it faster to crawl.
Sometimes the issues involve browser caches or improving server response time.
Checks for Blocked Pages
Is there anything more frustrating than creating great content and then never seeing it on search results? What’s even worse is if your new website never shows up on Google. A technical audit shows what pages are blocked from Google.
There are several reasons why you wouldn’t want Google to see or index a page, but many times it’s a mistake. One of the most common problems is a developer forgets to make your new website visible to Google.
When the developer creates your new website, they make it so Google can’t index it because it’s not finished. It’s a quick process done in the beginning, so after weeks of working on your site, it’s easy to forget.
You may accidentally block pages when you create them. You can always check your indexed pages using Google Search Console or search for the page directly from the search engine.
If Google bots can’t access the site, then they can’t index it. A technical SEO audit shows blocked pages and lets you decide if they are supposed to be blocked or not.
HTTP vs. HTTPS
There was a time when HTTP was the standard for websites. If you had a shopping cart for an e-commerce site, then you might use a more secure HTTPS. As hackers stole customer information from major websites, Google decided standard HTTP wasn’t good enough.
What happens with HTTPS is information goes to the server with increased encryption, which makes it more difficult for hackers to intercept and understand, which is why it was used on shopping carts.
Google wanted every page to be secure, so they decided to place a note near the website bar of their Chrome browser that said not secure if the page wasn’t HTTPS. This could cause serious problems with customer trust if your site says not secure.
Eventually, Google made it part of their algorithm for website rankings. It’s not just the URL that needs to be HTTPS, but all images and videos as well. If you have a page that is HTTPS, but a picture is HTTP, then Google still considers it not secure.
A technical audit will let you know if your pages come up not secure. Be wary that transferring your site from HTTP to HTTPS may results in a temporary ranking drop as Google reindexes the site.
User Experience and Site Architecture
Google has taken an interest in user experience on websites since mobile phones became the norm. Mobile-friendliness and the ability to easily navigate your site is now a ranking factor. Your site architecture is also important for a good user experience. If you want to know more about customer and user experience is part of the expertise of oshyn.com.
A technical site audit will show you orphaned pages and page depth. Orphaned pages are those that aren’t linked to anywhere else on your site. The only way they can be accessed is through a search engine. Google doesn’t believe these pages have much value and doesn’t rank them well.
Page depth is how many clicks it takes to get to a specific page. Pages that take more than three clicks tend to rank lower because Google doesn’t believe they have value since it takes so much to get there.
User experience on mobile includes the size of the fonts on various screens, pictures, menus, and more. A technical audit can show all the problems you may have, but most can be fixed with a responsive website that reacts to the size of the screen.
The Use of Canonical Tags
When you have a website that sells many items and there are only slight differences such as size and color, then it’s not a good idea to have them all indexed because Google may see the pages as duplicate content.
You can use a canonical tag that tells Google the canonical webpage is the primary page, and it should not worry about the other pages. If you have several pages with similar content, then Google considers them of little value since the information is the same.
A technical audit can check canonical tags for you.
Take Advantage of a Technical Audit
A technical SEO audit is a valuable tool to understand why your site isn’t ranking as well as it should. You might need a programmer to help with many of these areas, but they can lead to a dramatic improvement in page rank.
If you want to learn more about technical SEO, then please explore our site.