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We don't build faster horses. We identify and correct the problems. A technical audit is mandatory with all of our digital marketing clients. This is the first step ensuring there are no site side or server side issues preventing us from releasing all the potential your website has for attracting new business.
Take time to review the steps below and read more about Technical SEO audit best practices. You might be surprised at what you find.
What is indexation?
- The number of pages on your website that are indexed (stored for retrieval) by search engines.
Why does indexation matter?
- Search engines seek rich, relevant content. Google and other search engines want to index pages. Our job is to make sure we give them what they want.
- Indexation is the search algorithm's way of rewarding websites for great content and well designed site architecture.
- Low indexation might indicate poor site architecture, bad content, low domain authority, linking issues (both internal and external), blocking code or potentially other things.
How can I check my site’s index rate?
- By using Google's site search operator in this form: site:yoursite.com and seeing how many pages show up in Google’s index.
- By checking your Google Search Console (webmaster tools) to see how many pages are indexed.
What is a meta robots tag?
- It is a snippet of HTML code that is inserted on pages that tells search engines how to read and render that particular pages content.
- Instructs search engines how to index the page or its elements such as images. The tag can also be used to tell search engines NOT to index the page or not follow links on a page.
Why do meta robots tags matter?
- We have seen code accidentally placed on web pages that prevent search engines from indexing important pages.
- It is possible you have content themes that overlap in nature causing duplicate content to appear on site. In order to avoid duplicate content penalties use the noindex tag.
- Search engines follow both internal and external links. There may be some links you don't want them to follow, particularly those that exit from your website. This is not always the case, but strategic digital marketing will help you decide.
How can I check my site’s meta robots tags?
- Download the free version of Screaming Frog SEO Spider and install. Once you have it running insert your site URL then click submit. It may take a couple of minutes for the spider to complete the crawl depending on how many pages are on your website.
- Fine the 'Internal' tab on the top level navigation and scroll to the right until you see 'Robots 1' and 'Meta Robots 2'.
- Review these two columns to see how meta tags are used on pages.
What is a Robots.txt file?
- A text file placed in the root of your website directory that tells webcrawlers and bots which files and folders to access.
Why does a Robots.txt file matter?
- It controls access to your website in this format:
How can I view my Robots.txt file?
- Go to your website and add /robots.txt like this: yoursite.com/robots.txt
- In Google Search Console, navigate to Crawl > Robots.txt tester
What is an HTML sitemap?
- An HTML sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site. It provides a road map for visitors.
What do I do with my HTML sitemap?
- Make it accessible to site visitors so they can use for navigation to deeper pages on site. It can also help distribute link equity throughout the site.
How can I check if my site has an HTML sitemap?
- Normally can be found by going to your site and adding /sitemap.html at the end of the URL like this:
If there isn't a HTML sitemap you can generate one here. If you have a WordPress site I would be happy to recommend a plugin to generate one for you.
What is a XML sitemap?
- An XML file that helps search engines crawl and understand your website. It helps improve the indexation of pages on your website.
What should I do with the file?
- Submitting the file to Google Web Tools (Search Console) and Bing Webmaster Tools instructs both search engines to fetch and index the website as directed in the content of the file.
How can I check if my site has a XML sitemap?
- Enter the URL of your site and include the sitemap.xml parameter as shown here mydomain.com/sitemap.xml
How do I generate a XML sitemap if I don't have one?
- For WordPress sites, there are dozens of plugins to help you create one. Contact us if you would like a specific recommendation.
- If your website is something other than WordPress you can use this tool.
What is a video XML sitemap?
- A video sitemap helps search engines to quickly identify video content and index it for video searches.
Why do video XML sitemaps matter?
- Video content is a great way to attract organic traffic. A Video sitemap tells search engines about the content and can help improve Google rankings.
How can I check if my site has a video XML sitemap?
- Enter your website URL in a browser address bar and the parameter /sitemap_video.xml as shown here
What should I do with my video sitemap?
- In Google Search Console, navigate to Crawl > Sitemaps.
- Submit the sitemap to Google.
- Navigate to Bing Webmaster Tools. Submit the video sitemap.
- Go here to generate a video sitemap.
What is pagination?
- Pagination occurs when pages with content that run over into additional pages, are treated by search engines a single page of content.
- The (“rel = prev” and “rel = next”) HTML commands on these pages inform search engines to treat them as a single page.
- This also applies to eCommerce sites with multiple product pages.
Why does pagination matter?
- Without pagination search engines could possibly treat content as duplicate content leading to penalties and low indexation rates.
What is a custom 404 page?
- A custom page, usually with a friendly and/or branded message that alerts users that the page they have navigated to does not exist.
Why do 404 pages matter?
- It gives visitors an opportunity to locate what they were looking for.
- It tells search engines that page doesn't exist.
- It alerts visitors where to find other important pages on your website.
How can I check if my site has a 404 page?
- Type mydomain.com/anythingyouwant into the address bar of a browser.
What is a subdomain?
- It is an extension of your primary domain that can be used for multiple purposes:
- Setup your own blog: blog.mydomain.com.
- Create a development environment to test offline content before pushing live to your primary domain. For example: dev.mydomain.com. Be sure to set it to noindex to avoid duplicate content issues.
- Secure an internal company portal for staff and employees companyinfo.mydomain.com. Be sure to set it to noindex because you don't want these kind of pages in search results.
Why do subdomains matter?
- They can be part of your digital marketing and overall SEO strategy. Subdomains should have separate (robots.txt and sitemap.xml) for proper search engine indexation.
How can I check my subdomains?
- Login to your hosting CPANEL account and review domains.
- Use this free tool to find and discover your site’s subdomains and other interesting data.
What are breadcrumbs?
- A clickable secondary navigation to help website visitors navigate your website. It can also be beneficial for SEO if carefully applied.
Why do breadcrumbs matter?
- Web crawlers and search bots use links to understand your sites hierarchy and page structure.
- Breadcrumbs also help users to navigate content.
- E-commerce sites with lots of products tend to have many pages. Breadcrumbs assist customers and search engines navigate.
- Non-e-commerce content heavy sites benefit from breadcrumbs by allowing visitors to continue browsing by giving them easy to understand links.
How can I check my site’s breadcrumbs?
- Breadcrumbs generally appear near the header but in the body of your pages as visitors navigate through pages.
If you have WordPress site there are many plugins to help you. Please research what will work best for your installation and site requirements.
What is a TLN?
- The menu generally found in the header with links to pages. Not always Silo pages. Your digital marketing strategy will determine which pages belong in the top level navigation.
Why do TLNs matter?
- User experience matters. The top level navigation provides visual guidance how to find pages on the website.
Do silo pages need to be in the TLN?
- No. Search engine algorithms are smart enough to find links on a page and understand the hierarchical structure of those links within the website structure.
- If they are, do not use drop down menus to the category pages. It can lead to theme bleeding.
Why do footers matter?
- Visitors have become accustomed to looking at the footer for additional links or information.
- Footers can be used to pass equity to important pages of your website.
How can I analyze my site’s footer?
- Is it organized in a way that makes it clear how to navigate?
- The footer is ideal for search engines to find additional important pages of your website.
What is site depth / structure?
- How many clicks away from home page to find important pages.
Why does site depth matter?
- Closer to the home page is generally better for user experience.
How can I analyze site depth / structure?
- Open screaming frog and enter your website URL.
- Find Site Structure tab on the far right side.
- See pages and the depth of those pages from the home page.
What are hyphens in the URL?
- The default URL structure should use hyphens (” – “). For example:
- Good: http://mydomain.com/digital-marketing-professionals/
- Bad: http://mydomain.com/digital_marketing_professionals/
- Really Bad: http://mydomain.com/digital,marketing,professionals/
Why do hyphens matter?
- Search engines interpret the hyphen as a space between words.
- Search engines interpret the underscore or comma as different strings of data and causes search engines to read URL strings wrong. This will definitely harm your SEO efforts for organic search.
How an I check my URLs?
- In Screaming Frog, run a crawl of your website.
- Click the “URI” tab.
- In the search bar enter an underscore “_”.
- Filter the results to see if your URLs contain underscores.
What is URL friendliness?
- URLs should be structured to be relevant, descriptive, short and shareable.
Why does URL friendliness matter?
- User engagement in search engine results is measured by click through rate. This is increasingly important as a ranking factor. Well designed URL's gain more clicks in SERP's.
- For example, which would you click?
- Run screaming frog and crawl your website.
- Click on the URI tab.
- Review URL structure.
- Consider modifying URL's particularly for important pages. Be sure you do 301 redirects for those pages.
What is Page Source Meta tags?
- The information that is displayed by the search engines in the SERPs about a particular page or website.
- Your meta descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters. Search engines will truncate characters after that.
- Each page should have meta tags.
- Meta tags should be unique without duplicates.
Why do Meta tags matter?
- They tell search engines about the site and content on a particular page.
- Users see the title tag and description in SERPs.
- Meta tags are not a ranking factor, but descriptive title tags can influence SERP click through rate, which is a ranking factor.
How can I check if I have Meta Tags
- You can view the source code of your page and look for <title> <description> in the head tag.
- Run screaming frog for a site wide report.
What are page headings?
- <h1> tags are special html tag that tells search engines this is a page heading and is a relevant head line for the content on this page.
- There should only be one h1 heading on each page.
Why do H1 tags matter?
- Tells search engines about important content on the page.
- Reinforces important keyword concepts for page content.
How can I check my H1 tags?
- Run screaming frog and review H1 tags.
What is structured data markup
- A snippet of code (HTML) located in the <header> tag that instructs search engines what your page is about.
- These markups come in different forms (local business, video, etc) and should be used based on your website and content type.
Why does structured data markup matter?
- It makes it easier for Googlebot to get to the meat of what your page is about without having to read complex code.
- For product reviews, having a rich snippet show up on the SERP with stars, which greatly increases click through rate.
How can I check for structured data markup?
- Paste your website’s URL into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.