Why Technical SEO Audits Are Important for Every Business (With a Checklist)
Your website is an invaluable marketing asset because it houses your content and other business pages. Competing online becomes more demanding if yours is subpar. Hiring a Chicago technical SEO consultant is integral to keeping your website healthy and your business booming.
Here is a look at why technical SEO audits are a critical part of climbing ranks in search results:
- Purpose of technical SEO audits in business.
- How technical errors damage your SEO ranking.
- Ten steps to follow when conducting an SEO audit.
There is much to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
Watch this video to learn how Digital Authority Partners tackles Technical SEO!
Why Every Business Needs to Audit Their Technical SEO
Errors inevitably arise as you build your website, especially for a business such as eCommerce that manages hundreds of pages. For example, changing a page’s URL causes a quick cascading effect on content linking to it. Once spotted, however, it is easily fixed with a redirect.
Another reason technical SEO audits are important is that they help you comply with the American Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accessibility requirements. Technical SEO affects the user experience (UX), which lately has received renewed emphasis. Security is another trending topic in auditing technical SEO.
Navigation, user interface (UI), crawling, indexing, and backlink building are also covered under technical SEO. Factors and elements in the backend, such as the meta tags and structured data markup, are within the scope of technical SEO. The latter two have a direct effect on search ranking.
Many aspects of a website and digital marketing rely on technical SEO, so revisiting it occasionally is good business sense. At the very least, running an audit annually is a good rule of thumb. If you can afford to do it more regularly throughout the year, the better it is for keeping your website in great shape.
Unfixed Website Errors and Their Effect on SEO Ranking
Internet users expect a certain level of quality from the websites that they visit. Technical SEO errors eat away at UX, leading to fewer people entering the site and more people leaving without doing anything. Poor usability and accessibility do more to harm your website than most other online issues.
Here are three scenarios that highlight the value of technical SEO audits for fixing website errors:
- A Gage Park private high school accidentally erased a single character from its contact page’s URL. This cuts off access to the inquiry form and keeps parents from sending emails to the school, thus, making it lose potential new students due to a preventable error.
- Ecommerce allows business owners to make sales from their website. This makes web design vital to capturing a market. Responsive design lets Kenwood users, for instance, access their favorite retail store from their mobile devices, giving them more shopping options.
- A top accounting firm on the Lower West Side has seen a sharp drop in website traffic over the last week. While investigating the issue, an IT staff member realized its SSL certificate had recently expired. The renewal lapse cost the firm potential clients.
10 Simple Steps in Start-to-Finish Technical SEO Audits
Technical SEO has many linked parts. It is hard to tell which comes first in an audit. For example, an XML sitemap and a robots.txt file are crucial in guiding a search engine's crawl and index through your website. You must generally have the former before making the latter.
Below is a checklist of ten steps in a technical SEO audit:
- Check your website’s secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate and see if it is installed and is current. A certificate is valid for just over two years, giving you enough time to review its status. Setting up automatic payments helps avoid any costly downtime.
- Test your website’s performance by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and optimize pages with poor scores. This process can be very tedious, but working with a top Chicago technical SEO agency ensures that your website always operates at full speed.
- Use responsive web design so that your website properly displays on any device. People who struggle with a website are highly likely to leave, which increases your bounce rate. That lowers your rank because it tells search engines that your website is not helpful.
- Review the internal link structure of your website and ensure that all internal (as well as external) links work. Online tools make this process easy and quick, but fixing the broken links is your decision to make. This is a task that you can outsource to a Chicago technical SEO agency.
- Crawl your website to locate duplicate pages or missing meta tags. Use a plagiarism tool to find similar content and consolidate or reduce it. Meta tags are easier to deal with because SEO tools (e.g., Yoast SEO) integrated into your website can alert you to them.
- Add canonical tags to the “default” or “original” versions of vital web pages. It lets search engines know which pages to index and helps keep traffic flowing to a single page. Consulting with a professional technical SEO agency is best if you do not know which to tag as canonical.
- Enrich your web pages with schema markup to manage their appearance in search results. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes adding this simple. You can then use the Rich Results Test tool to preview your web page as it would appear on results pages.
- Generate an XML sitemap of your website and submit it to search engines to get pages crawled and indexed faster. Although Google is the top search service provider, sending your sitemap to other providers (e.g., Bing) is worth it to increase your online reach.
- Create a robots.txt file to manage how search engine bots crawl and index your website. This part requires in-depth knowledge of SEO best practices, so working with a Chicago technical SEO agency is a smart way to accurately tag web pages and maximize SEO.
- Do a quick search on Google (or another search service) using “site:<your website’s URL>” to verify which pages appear in the results pages. Crawling and indexing take time, but certain issues might prevent it altogether. In that case, run another technical SEO audit.
Chicago business owners need to take great care of their websites or risk losing out on potential revenue. Users prefer businesses that emphasize customer needs, which include having a functional and convenient website. Running regular technical SEO audits ensures that you provide that.
Simple steps, such as tightening security features, give users a sense of safety online. Other technical enhancements, including using structured data to create rich results, also directly affect ranking. Hiring a top technical SEO agency in Chicago helps keep your website in shape.
Need help running a complete technical SEO audit of your business website? Contact Digital Authority Partners (DAP) to learn how we can help.
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