Technical SEO often gets overlooked in the more glamorous world of ‘Great Content’, however it is as important as ever (if not more so) to make sure your website is technically sound from a Search perspective.
Technical SEO forms the foundations that any successful search campaign should be built upon.
This list covers five of (in our opinion) the most important technical SEO checks that you should do to make sure your foundations are strong for 2018!
1. Mobile Crawlability
With the ever-growing shift towards mobile search and Google’s continual shift towards their Mobile First Index it is now more important than ever to make sure your site not only renders correctly on mobile devices but can also be crawled by Google’s Smartphone Crawler.
To see how Google sees your mobile site you can fetch and render within Google Search console:
This not only allows you to see how your site renders on mobile devices but also how Googlebot sees the site:
Tools such as Screaming Frog allow you to simulate Google’s mobile crawler to see how individual pages render and identify any mobile specific issues:
2. Page Speed
There is some debate on exactly what impact Page Speed has on rankings, but one thing is for sure a website that loads quickly provides a much better user experience than one that doesn’t.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a great place to start to identify some areas for improvement:
One of the main culprits for slow page loading times is often large images. Website owners often think the bigger the image the better and fail to compress and optimise images for web. This can significantly improve the performance of a web page from a technical as well as a user experience perspective.
Page Speed can also be checked on an individual page level using Google Analytics:
This gives further analysis into whether there are certain pages that are struggling and where to focus efforts to improve the site performance as a whole.
3. Structured Data
It’s one thing ranking well Organically for any given search term but how do you get your site to stand out from all the other site competing for the same term?
This is where Structured Data comes in. Including Structured Data on your webpages not only helps the Search Engines to better understand the content on the page but also the meaning behind the content.
In addition to this it helps to increase your sites visibility through SERP features. You can check your Structured Data using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool:
This helps to identify any issues with your mark-up and just as importantly make sure the information is accurate and up to date.
You can also use tools such as Ahrefs to identify what Search Features appear alongside your website for related keywords:
This can help you to identify opportunities to enhance your sites appearance in the SERPs by utilising the correct kind of Structured Data to help you stand out from the crowd.
4. HTTPS Configuration
For a few years now, Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking signal and now more than ever prioritises HTTPS pages over HTTP pages within the search results.
If your website gathers any customer information, then this makes it more important than ever to not only make sure you migrate your site over to HTTPS but as part of any audit you make sure there are no legacy HTTP pages that sneak through. This includes all images, JS, CSS etc.
This can be checked by crawling your website and filtering by Protocol to single out HTTP pages:
For continued monitoring of HTTPS and HTTP pages you should set up a separate Search Console property for each version of your website. This can help you to monitor activity before and after any HTTPS migration.
5. Crawl Budget & Site Structure
Google has stated in the past that unless you have a very large site then Crawl Budget is not something you should worry about. However, the principals relating to Crawl Budget and Crawlability should form part of any Technical Audit.
A good place to start to check how your site is being crawled is the Crawl Stats section of Search Console:
This can help you identify any unusual Crawling activity that may be an indication of deeper lying issues on your site.
If you see anything that looks suspicious you should crawl your website with an SEO Crawler tool such as Screaming Frog. You should crawl your site on a regular basis as not all crawl issues are immediately obvious.
Things that can affect your Crawl Budget and therefore lead to issues include:
Keeping a check on these things can greatly improve your sites Crawl Budget and make sure the spiders are able to find your pages in the most efficient way.
So, there you have it 5 technical SEO checks to keep your website in tip top condition.
As anybody who works in Search will know there are hundreds of technical checks and processes that go into a full technical audit, but these 5 will certainly help to sure up the foundations of your Search Campaigns.
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