A Simple Guide To Performing An SEO Audit In 2017

SEO Audit Guide

You may be familiar with the basic concepts of an SEO audit if you are running a website and leveraging SEO for your online efforts.

Basically, the process of auditing your site involves evaluating how well your SEO efforts are doing and where they can be improved. However, there’s more to an SEO audit than just making sure the content on your site is properly optimized. You will need to do a technical SEO audit as well. Let’s start off with understanding technical SEO audit.

What Is A Technical SEO Audit?

SEO Audit Guide

The technical SEO of your website determines how easy it is for Google to crawl and index your content. Performing a technical SEO site audit is something that you should do regularly. This is because of the changes that Google often makes to their algorithm.

For example, Google recently announced an update on JavaScript crawling support as well as the migration towards mobile-first indexing. These are updates that you will want to prepare for and keep in mind as you perform a website SEO analysis.

Performing a Technical SEO Audit in 2017

Just the word technical might make it seem like such an audit would be incredibly complex. Fortunately, learning how to SEO audit on the technical side of things isn’t too difficult. The following are some of the important things you should evaluate when performing a technical SEO audit this year:

1) Mobile Web Crawling

Google’s ability to crawl through every page of your site is vital to ensuring that it’s properly indexed.

Crawl errors in the Search Console consist of everything from 500 errors (server errors) to 404 and 403 errors (page not found errors). Such errors can hurt your ranking as well. For example, 404 errors are caused by links to pages that no longer exist.

While searching for crawl errors is a basic step in any technical SEO audit, you’ll need to audit your site for mobile web crawling as well. This is because Google recently announced that they are migrating to a mobile-first index as a result of the fact that most of their searches are now mobile-driven.

Basically, not only do you need to evaluate how Google accesses your website content, but also how their smartphone crawler does it.

The following are three types of technical SEO tools that you can use to your advantage to assess the mobile crawl-ability of your site and the accessibility of your mobile content:

Basic tools to check mobile status

SEO Audit Guide

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Search Console’s Fetch as Google tool are both user-friendly and can be used to identify how Google’s mobile crawler sees any page on your site, allowing you to use them to check the mobile status of the top pages on your site. You can also use the Mobile Usability tool to determine exactly what pages have mobile usability issues, if there are any.

Log analyzers

Log analyzers allow you to compare and identify the existing gap between your crawls and what the mobile Googlebot has accessed. Some of the most effective SEO targeted log analyzers include OnCrawl, Botify, and Screaming Frog Log Analyzer.

Mobile crawler simulators

There are a number of different tools that allow you to simulate the behavior of a mobile search crawler on your site, such as Deepcrawl, Sitebulb, Botify, and Screaming Frog SEO Spider, to name a few. A tool like Screaming Frog is particularly useful due its ability to let you view your pages in a List mode that verifies the status of specific pages, including rendered mobile pages.

2) JavaScript Crawling Behavior and Content Rendering

JavaScript can be a bit tricky. When you are doing a website SEO analysis, it’s important that you figure out whether your site is relying on JavaScript to show your main content or navigation and that you ensure that it’s not only accessible but also properly rendered by Google.

SEO Audit Guide

Google did come out and state that it was able to improve its execution of JavaScript so that it could better its understanding of web pages better a few years back. However, this depends on how JavaScript is actually implemented in addition to the framework that’s being used. Because of this, it’s best to only rely on JavaScript if it’s completely necessary.

You can also check the JavaScript crawling behavior on each individual page on your site as well by using Chrome’s DevTools or Search Console’s Fetch as Google. Doing so is relatively easy, just check any page DOM with the elements panel and then compare it to the Google’s cache version.

3) Structured Data Usage and Optimization

Google’s SERPs have been evolving at a rapid pace over the past few years with the introduction of elements such as rich snippets, knowledge panels, rich cards, answer boxes, and more.

SEO Audit Guide

These features have been introduced by Google as a way to improve and streamline user queries.

It’s important to note that larger and large number of queries are being answered with the addition of these features. What does this mean for your search results? It means that earning more clicks and drawing more web traffic is not just a matter of ranking well in organic listings, but that you need to maximize your website’s visibility through such features as well.

Fortunately, maximizing visibility through such SERP features isn’t too challenging. Mostly, it’s achieved by implementing structured data and making sure that your content is formatted in a way that answers audience queries due to the fact that modifiers can actually create a change.

The best way to identify what content has the best opportunity to be displayed in different SERP features is to use effective search competition and keyword tools like RankReveal.

How To Get High-Quality Backlinks

RankReveal is a great tool to keep track of your keywords rank (even your competitors’) without having to check it manually.

We also recommend using the Search Console Search Analytics report to monitor what SERP features you are ranking for and the impact on your web traffic that they are having.

4) AMP Configuration

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a feature that Google designed last year that allows websites and ads that are published in the AMP open-source format to load practically instantly, thereby providing users with a much better experience on their smartphones.

SEO Audit Guide

The improved user experience of an AMP page has made it an extremely important component of SEO, especially since Google requires AMP configuration for content that it includes in its News Carousel, one of its SERP features. Google has also begun to give AMP configured content preference over other content when it comes to its search results and image results.

Because of its increasing importance, you’ll want to check your website’s AMP implementation to verify that it complies with all of Google’s requirements, which include the following:

  • Web pages must be created according to AMP specification.
  • Your AMP must be hosted at a URL that relates to your main website.
  • Your AMP must be discoverable.
  • Your web pages must be written in valid AMP HTML.
  • Your content must be marked up with structured data.
  • You must monitor your AMP report for errors using Search Console.

To perform site-wide validation of your AMP pages, you can use SEMrush Site Audit or Sitebulb, which identifies common issues with AMP implementation. If you want to use tools like Botify or Screaming Frog, it’s a bit trickier. You’ll need to configure SEO crawlers with custom HTML extraction to verify the existence and status code of your AMP pages.

However, besides just doing a site-wide validation, you should validate some of your AMP configured content on a page-by-page basis, especially when it comes to your most important pages and when you have identified any problems while performing a site-wide validation. By performing a page-wide validation of your AMP configured pages, you’ll reveal more specific information about any existing errors and how to fix them.

There are a few tools that you should consider using for page-by-page AMP validation. AMP Playground is the official tool for determining if your pages pass AMP validation. You can also use Chrome’s AMP Validator, Chrome’s DevTools, and Google’s AMP Test.

Once you’ve run your tests and fixed any existing errors, we do recommend keeping track of how your AMP configured content performs and whether any errors occur using the Search Console’s AMP report. You may also want to keep an eye on the SEOmonitor rank tracker to monitor the visibility of AMP in SERPs and how it is impacting your web traffic and conversions.

5) HTTPS Configuration

HTTPS is a much more secure version of HTTP. Because of this, half of the pages that are loaded by Firefox and Chrome are using HTTPS, not to mention half of the pages that appear on Google’s first page of search results. In fact, Google began to use HTTPS configuration as a ranking signal back in 2014, which has certainly contributed to the large HTTPS migration that has occurred.

SEO Audit Guide

Moz found out that half of the page on the Google results page are using HTTPS. So they came out with this chart to estimate the HTTPS trend by the end of 2017.

If you have yet to migrate to HTTPS, then you should do so. Not only does it help with your SEO ranking, it will also provide your visitors with a more trustworthy and secure experience to your visitors. In fact, it’s absolutely vital that you use HTTPS if you have any kind of online store on your site.

However, when migrating to HTTPS, you’ll want to ensure that your site’s SEO efforts aren’t hurt during the transfer. This means that you will need to do SEO validation before you migrate, during the course of the migration and following the completion of the migration to HTTPS. Some of the SEO validations you’ll want to focus on include the following:

  • Before migrating, audit your website structure in order to ensure that you link, 301 redirect and canonicalize in Hreflang and XML sitemaps to the original versions of the URLs that you are planning to migrate.
  • Don’t forget to migrate all of your images, JS, CSS and all other content and resources that you use in your pages. You’ll need to migrate your subdomains and other properties for CDNs if you’re using them as well. If you don’t, you’ll have mixed content problems and you’ll end up showing content that’s not secure through your HTTPS pages.
  • Identify what your top pages are in terms of web traffic, visibility and conversions so that you can carefully monitor them as migration is performed.
  • To monitor the activity of your HTTPS domains and subdomains before, during and after migration, set up individual Search Console profiles.

Over To You

These are some of the technical aspects that you should make sure to go over when performing an SEO audit in 2017. By checking these aspects of your site’s technical SEO, you’ll ensure that you’re keeping up with some of the most important SEO-related changes that Google has made in the past few years.

When performing an SEO audit, don’t forget to check your website’s overall SEO score at the outset to give yourself a good idea of where your website stands in regards to your SEO efforts.

SEO Audit Guide

We recommend using SEOPressor Site Audit to track your website’s SEO performance.

What do you think of this SEO audit guide? If you have other tips that you’d like to share with us, feel free to let us know at the comment section down below!

Updated: 26/9/17


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