Technical SEO is arguably one of the most important steps in SEO as a whole. Even if you have the perfect strategy for your SEO but your technical SEO is not well taken care of in your strategies, you will likely end up with your efforts not producing as much results as you expected.
That is why it is important that you know what technical SEO is and understand how to get it right. Technical SEO audits help you take care of technical problems on your site once and for all. Once a problem is identified in your audit and fixed, you won’t have to deal with such a problem again.
And the good news is that you can now leverage different technical SEO tools to help make the whole process of auditing easy and fast. In this post, we will be showing you what Technical SEO is, as well as the top technical SEO tools you can use to put auditing on autopilot.
Technical SEO simply refers to the process of improving the technical aspects of your website with the aim of helping it rank better in search engines. Technical SEO takes care of certain important aspects like making the website faster, easier to understand for search engines, and easier to crawl.
Technical SEO is part of on-page SEO because it focuses on improving elements on your site to help it rank better. It has nothing to do with the actual content of your website or the website promotion. And that is why it is called “technical” – it focuses only on optimizing the infrastructure of a website.
However, even if your off-page SEO – that is the content on your website is excellent, you may not get the chance to rank well on search engines if the technical aspects of your SEO are whack.
Google and other search engines are always looking for a way to help their users get the best results possible for their queries. To achieve this, Google has its robots crawl and evaluate web pages based on several factors.
While some factors are based on the experience of the user on the site, such as how fast the pages of the website load, other factors are based on what information search engine robots could gather from the site to understand what the site is all about. That, in addition to some others, is what structured data does.
Therefore when you pay special attention to improving technical aspects of your website, you will be helping search engines understand the site better. Consequently, that will help your search rank higher on search results for relevant queries.
However, when you work on the technical aspects of your site, you are not only doing that for search engines; but it will also help your users have the best experience on the website. A fast-loading, easy-to-navigate, and mobile-friendly website will make your users happy to want to visit again. And that will come as a double win for search engines and your users.
Improving your site’s technical SEO all starts with a proper technical SEO audit. That is a process of checking through all the technical aspects of your website to see if there are any issues to be fixed. There are no perfect websites; there is always room for improvement even on the best website.
When you audit your website, there may be tons of issues showing up. But the primary focus of a technical SEO audit is to fix those errors so you don’t have to face any problems on your site because of them. If you are confused about where to start improving the technical SEO of your website, here are the best practices for going about that.
This is usually the first thing to do when auditing a website for technical SEO. You will want to first run a crawl report of the site. This will provide you with enough insight into some of the errors you might be having on the site.
A crawl report will show your most pressing technical SEO problems, such as low page speed, duplicate content, or missing HI/H2 tags. There are different tools out there to make this easier for you. These tools can even automatically scan through your site and show you crawl errors on a regular basis – could be monthly or biannually. We will talk about the top technical SEO tools to use in the latter section of this post.
Creating a sitemap is an important thing to do to help you discover new pages and have a good understanding of the structure of your website. After creating a sitemap, you should get it registered in Google Search Console with clean, concise, and up-to-date content.
There is a difference between HTTP URLs and HTTPS URLs. But the latter is the most acceptable for search engines. If you use HTTP URLs, users and search engines will not be able to access your website. More so, HTTP status is now considered one of the important factors for ranking on search engines.
Once that is done, you should also look for other status code errors such as 404 errors. Your technical SEO audit tool should give you a detailed report of these errors. And when it does, make sure you fix them all immediately.
This is often considered as a directional map for search engine crawlers when they crawl your website. If you want these crawlers to easily find your pages and rank them accordingly, you will need to make sure your site’s XML sitemap meets some criteria, including:
Search engines love sites that load fast – users also love them. So make sure your site loads as fast as possible. Site load time can affect other metrics that determine your ranking on search engines, including time on page and bounce rate.
To check how fast your site is loading, take a quick test with Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. All you need to do is enter your site’s URL and let Google run through your pages to see how fast they load.
To improve technical SEO and rankings on search engines, it is essential that your site is mobile-friendly. This is also very easy to check. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check the mobile state of your site.
Some things that improve the mobile-friendly status of your site include having compress images on the site, increased font size, embedded YouTube videos, and the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Don’t confuse search engine crawlers with duplicate content. When you have duplicate content on your website, search engine algorithms see it as though you are trying to manipulate the system to win more traffic or rank higher. You may be punished for that. So when your technical SEO tools show you that you have duplicate content on your site, you should look for a way to fix the issue at once.
Important ways you can prevent duplicate content on your website is first, by using the canonical link element to help search engines identify where you have the original version of your content. You can also stop duplicate content by preventing your CMS from publishing multiple versions of a post or page.
Your robots.txt file should show you if you have certain pages on your site that are not being indexed. This can happen when you mistakenly add a trailing slash where you are not supposed to in your robots.txt file. This blocks search engines from crawling certain pages on your website.
Having a broken link on your site is not good for SEO. It can create a bad experience for your users, waste crawl budget, and reduce your rankings on search engines. That is why you need to carefully check for any broken links on your website and fix them. Again, your crawl report will show you if there are any broken links on your website.
Technical SEO audit is important and every digital marketer should know how to perform it. But it can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming trying to go through all the processes of manually auditing a website. And that is why many digital marketers rely on technical SEO audit tools to help them find important problems with technical aspects of a website and show how to fix them.
You should consider using these tools too because they come with lots of benefits – more than you can imagine. With that being said, here are the top technical SEO audit tools you should try today.
If you have been around in the digital space for a while now, chances are that you have heard about this tool before. Screaming Frog is one of the industry leaders in technical SEO auditing. It boasts a Spider tool that helps with analyzing websites of any size. The tool is a web crawler that helps crawl your site and then delivers technical SEO recommendations to you.
Really, there is nothing Screaming Frog cannot do when it comes to technical SEO auditing. It can help you identify broken links on your site, generate XML sitemaps, find pages with missing metadata, discover duplicate pages, and many more.
It has both a free and paid version, making it accessible to website owners across all levels. The free version allows you to crawl up to 500 URLs while providing a detailed report of all the technical SEO issues it can find on your site. That is okay for small sites though.
The paid version, on the other hand, offers unlimited URL crawling with additional features such as automated crawling, and integration with some other tools like Search Console and Google Analytics.
SEMrush is another technical SEO audit tool worth checking out, too. It is a powerful all-in-one SEO platform that has built a huge name for itself in the industry. SEMrush is a platform that provides amazing technical SEO auditing capabilities to users through a single audit tool that crawls your site and identifies more than 130 technical and on-page SEO issues.
Like Screaming Frog, this tool also covers the full gamut of technical SEO auditing; just that it provides custom and thematic reports which users can access. Each report is specific to one aspect of technical SEO – this is one thing that is not common at all in the industry.
SEMrush provides reports for site performance, crawlability, and international SEO amongst many others. The tool also helps you identify major issues that may be causing problems for your site’s performance.
SEMrush also has both free and paid versions. The free version allows you to audit up to 100 pages, and that includes detailed reports of the audit. Once you have exhausted that, you can subscribe to the premium plan that requires you to pay around $200 per month for using the tool. Though SEMrush might sound expensive, the tool provides much more than just technical SEO auditing – it’s worth every penny spent on it.
Unlike the other two tools mentioned earlier, Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool offered by Google itself. The tool is designed to help digital marketers, web administrators, and web developers to easily monitor their presence in Google search results. In addition to that, GSC offers tools and reports that help you identify important technical SEO problems on your site.
It can tell you what pages of your site are being crawled by search engine crawlers. It makes sure that new pages on your sites are being crawled, and also sends you notifications there is any indexing issue found on your website. What more? Google Search Console allows you to see your entire backlink profile and know how your posts are performing on the SERPs for their keywords.
GTmetrix is another excellent tool on the market. It is a performance analysis and reporting tool that crawls your website and helps identify technical issues that might be impacting load time and user experience on the site. One of the major ranking factors on Google now is user experience, and the search engine has shown marketers many times how improving certain factors that impact a site’s load time can give their search rankings a boost.
GTmetrix crawls your website, sees how your page speed is doing, and compares it with how others are doing. It also suggests possible ways to fix these problems it has detected on your site. The free version of GTmetrix allows you to monitor up to three URLs with only access to certain features and filters.
On the other hand, the paid version, which starts from around $15 per month, gives you access to advanced features such as the analysis server, video capture, remote & hourly monitoring, and more diagnostic features.
This tool provides even more advanced features and customized reporting abilities. DeepCrawl offers every functionality you can find with other technical SEO audit tools out there. But much more, it provides a historical data view that makes it possible for users to compare audit results over time. That way, they would be able to easily see what still needs to be fixed.
With DeepCrawl, you will be able to find broken links on your site, monitor page speed, test XML sitemaps, find duplicate content, and many more. The tool goes for just $14 per month for a single project and about $62 for up to three projects – which also gives users access to additional resources and features.