So you work in an SEO Agency, what are the first things I should look for on a Technical Audit?
Historically within SEO, technical SEO was seen as a task to be passed on as a web developer but as Google has increased the value of technical performance, page speed and JSON, this is no longer the case. At first the amount of code, acronyms and technical language can seem overwhelming, but once technical SEO is broken down into priority areas and you know what you can handle or identify yourself it becomes a very manageable.
SEO Agency Insights
As an SEO agency we think of a site in two ways that effect how the site is found and interacted with; usability and visibility. Technical SEO effects both aspects of a site and needs to be optimised by someone mindful of the gains and ramifications that lack of optimisation will have on your site. Here is quick list of the things to look out for when you are composing a technical audit for a client or your own site.
Page Speed, Page Speed, Page Speed
Ok, so page speed, why is it so important? Websites must be optimised for mobile and desktop to rank well, long load times are a very damning chink in the armour of your site. If your site takes too long to load, people will give up and try your competitors especially on mobile devices where our patience is even more limited (the curse of the instant generation perhaps?). Amazon suggest for every 100ms their site takes to load it loses 1% of sales. Over one second, that equates to $1.6billion.
Slow loading pages are also detrimental to indexability as slow sites are recognised by Google as performing badly or being poorly maintained.
Page speed also, rather annoyingly is also a double-edged sword, the more you add to the site; high resolution images, code, content, plugins or themes, the slower your site becomes. This means that SEOs must employ a little cunning when it comes to creating solutions to improve page speed and usability as the two can be mutually exclusive at times. Options like lazy loading images are a perfect example of the foxy whit needed to circumvent this issue.
Versatility- Responsive Design
Ensuring the site is designed with responsive design is pivotal for any SEO agency or company trying to obtain a top space in Google Rankings. An adaptable interface that works and looks good across a range of devices and browsers will pay dividends in device accessibility of your site and ranking potential as outlined by Google. This can be applied on many themes or be integrated by a developer, but as a tech SEO its your job to recognise the need for this work and get the ball rolling.
Being well acquainted with the internet and how websites work the term ‘404 page not found’ will probably not be unfamiliar to you. However broken links go a lot further.
As an SEO Agency we always monitor 404 pages to ensure indexing isn’t compromised, but this work only tells a client part of the story.
Whilst there are lots of different errors that you can encounter on a site, here are the cliff notes which should help you to identify the type of error and inform your continued search:
- 1xx – Provisional response before receiving a regular response
- 2xx – Successful acceptance of a client request
- 3xx – Redirection, client must take further action to fulfil this request
- 4xx – Client Errors or human errors (this category has the most different errors)
- 5xx – Internal server errors which can be very varied
Indexability with Sitemaps and Robots
A golden oldie among SEO Agencies, but well worth doing. Ensuring that you have regularly updated HTML & XML sitemaps and a working Robots.txt file ensures that all your important content, that you work so hard on can be crawled an indexed by Google or another search engine.
- See how the pros do it – take a look at our (or any other sites’) robots text file by typing /robots.txt after the URL
- Same goes for the XML Sitemap: /sitemap.XML
Scheming with Schema
Schema tagging is the only item on this list that may be up for some debate among SEO Agencies. Whilst it isn’t a core of tech SEO in everyone’s eyes its benefits cannot be underestimated.
Creating Schema Tags (schematic code) for products, locations, services, digital profiles or just about anything else you can think of is a way of highlighting to Google that your content is even more relevant than your competitors.
This is done by displaying the information that your searchers want to see on the search engine listing such as business open hours. If you work in a calculated manner, you can obtain a ‘position 0’ in Google (also known as a rich snippet) whereby Google verifies your site as the informational authority on a particular topic and gives to the spot before position 1!
As an SEO Agency you can’t do much better in terms of credibility and visibility.