The Beginners Guide to Technical SEO Audits

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June 6, 2024

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The Beginners Guide to Technical SEO Audits

The Foundations of Technical SEO

Technical SEO is like the unsung hero of the search world. It’s the foundation that holds everything together, yet it often gets overshadowed by the flashier aspects of SEO like content and link building. But let me tell you, if your technical SEO isn’t up to snuff, you might as well be trying to build a house on quicksand.

You see, technical SEO is all about making sure your website is accessible, crawlable, and indexable for search engines. It’s the detective work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure Google and co. can easily find, understand, and rank your content. And trust me, if you don’t have these basics covered, you can kiss those top rankings goodbye.

I like to think of technical SEO as the foundation, the content as the walls, and the links as the roof. You need all three elements working in harmony to create a sturdy, successful SEO strategy. But if that foundation is cracked and crumbling, well, the rest of it isn’t going to matter much, is it?

Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking: The Technical SEO Trifecta

To really get a handle on technical SEO, you need to understand the three key processes that search engines go through: crawling, indexing, and ranking. As the folks at Ahrefs explain it, it’s this “crawl, index, rank” cycle that forms the backbone of technical SEO.

Crawling is where the search engine bots, like Google’s Googlebot, follow the links on your website to discover and analyze your content. They’re essentially scouring your pages, trying to understand what they’re all about. Once they’ve crawled your site, the next step is indexing – where the search engine takes all that juicy content and stores it in its massive index, ready to serve up to users when they search.

And finally, the ranking part. This is where the search engine decides which of those indexed pages are most relevant and valuable to the user’s query, and serves them up in the search results. Simple, right? Well, not exactly. Because if any part of that trifecta is off, your chances of ranking start to crumble.

Tackling the Fundamentals: Crawlability and Indexability

When it comes to technical SEO, the first things you want to get right are crawlability and indexability. These are the building blocks that everything else rests on.

As the team at Semrush explains, crawlability is all about ensuring search engines can actually find and access your webpages. This means making sure your site architecture is logical and easy to navigate, that your internal linking game is strong, and that you’ve got a clear robots.txt file and sitemap to guide the bots.

Indexability, on the other hand, is about making sure those crawled pages actually get stored in the search engine’s index. This is where things like your robots meta tags, canonical tags, and URL structure come into play. You want to make it crystal clear to Google and co. which pages are the ones you want them to index and rank.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – robots.txt? Canonical tags? My eyes are already glazing over. But trust me, these technical elements aren’t as scary as they sound. With a bit of guidance (hello, this article!), you can get a handle on the fundamentals and make sure your site is primed for search engine success.

Putting it into Practice: Auditing Your Technical SEO

Alright, now that we’ve covered the high-level stuff, let’s talk about how you can actually go about auditing your technical SEO. Because let’s be real, identifying and fixing issues isn’t always the most glamorous part of the job, but it’s absolutely essential.

As Areej AbuAli of Women in Tech SEO fame advises, the key is to approach it systematically. Don’t just start plugging your URL into a million different tools and getting overwhelmed by the data. Instead, start by understanding the structure and templates of your site.

What are the main pages? How are they all connected through internal links? Are there any orphaned pages that search engines might be struggling to find? Take the time to really get to know your site from a technical perspective before you start diving into the nitty-gritty.

Once you’ve got that foundation, then you can start using tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Semrush’s Site Audit to uncover any issues around crawlability, indexability, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and more. The beauty of these tools is that they give you actionable insights and tips on how to fix the problems they identify.

And remember, technical SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing process of monitoring, optimizing, and staying ahead of the curve as your website evolves. But trust me, the effort is worth it. Getting that technical foundation rock-solid is the key to unlocking your SEO potential and dominating the search results.

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Technical SEO Considerations

Okay, so you’ve mastered the crawling and indexing essentials. But there’s still more to the technical SEO puzzle, my friends. As your website grows and becomes more complex, there are a few additional elements you’ll want to have on your radar.

One big one is duplicate content. Semrush explains how having the same or very similar content across multiple pages can cause all sorts of headaches, from confusing search engines to diluting the authority of your pages. Using canonical tags is crucial here to tell Google which version is the original.

Another important consideration is site speed and Core Web Vitals. As Ahrefs notes, Google is putting more and more emphasis on user experience metrics like page load times, so you’ll want to optimize the heck out of your site’s performance.

And let’s not forget about internationalization. If your website caters to a global audience, you’ll need to make sure you’re using hreflang tags to signal to search engines which language and regional versions of your pages they should be serving up.

The list goes on, really. Structured data, redirect management, mobile optimization – the technical SEO rabbit hole runs deep. But the key is to tackle these advanced elements with the same methodical, detective-like approach you used for the fundamentals. Stay curious, stay vigilant, and let the data be your guide.

The Joy of Technical SEO

I know, I know – technical SEO doesn’t exactly scream “fun and exciting.” But hear me out. There’s something deeply satisfying about being the unsung hero, the behind-the-scenes wizard who makes the magic happen.

Think about it – you’re like a secret agent, crawling around your website, uncovering hidden issues and opportunities. You’re the Sherlock Holmes of the digital world, piecing together clues and solving puzzles. And when you finally fix that nagging redirect problem or optimize that sluggish page speed, it’s like a little victory dance in your chair. Trust me, the sense of accomplishment is real.

Plus, let’s not forget that technical SEO is the foundation for everything else. Once you’ve got that solid base in place, you can start building out your content and link strategies with confidence, knowing that the search engines will be able to find, understand, and rank your pages accordingly.

So embrace your inner technical SEO nerd, my friends. Dive headfirst into those crawl reports and schema markup generators. Because at the end of the day, you’re the one holding up the whole SEO house. And that, my friends, is pretty darn impressive.

Ready to put your technical SEO skills to the test? Head on over to MCR SEO and let’s get started!

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