One of the biggest hindrances to SEO success is code errors. These errors are not easily seen and can cause pages to not be indexed and the website to not be indexed completely. Getting a technical SEO audit will help outline the code errors that should be fixed.
SEO providers and SEO software programs report out different errors, but there are some common errors that should be fixed.
Basic Technical SEO Audit Factors
Indexing and Crawlability
- 4xx and 5xx Errors: Generally broken links and server issues that cause links to stop working.
- Resources restricted from indexing: Pages that are not being indexed.
- 404-page setup: Have a 404 page and make sure it's set up correctly.
- Robots.txt: File on the server that tells search engines what to do.
- XML Sitemap: A file that explains what pages are on your website search engines use this for references.
- WWW and non-www versions: Make sure your website is handling requests correctly.
- HTTP/HTTPS site version: Make sure your website is secure with an SSL and that it is set up correctly.
- Pages with 302 Redirects: Temporary Redirects (Usually when the site is under repair or being created)
- Pages with 301 Redirects: Permanent Redirects (Usually when pages are moved permanently)
- Pages with long redirected chains: Occurs when a series of redirects are implemented.
- Pages with rel"canonical" tag: Pages that are determined as the main page for content.
Encoding / Technical Factors
- Mobile-Friendly: The website is designed for mobile devices.
- HTTPS pages with mixed content Issues: Generally secured pages that have non-secure content (links to HTTP websites).
- Pages with Frames: Pages that display content from another website as if it were content on the page.
- Too Big Pages: Pages that have over 3MB of content
- Dynamic URLs: URLs that have dynamic variables (like "?").
- Too Long URLs: Urls that exceed a viewable/readable length.
- Broken Links: Links to other pages/websites that are not functional.
- Pages with excessive links: Too many links can be considered spammy.
- Do follow external links: Number of links to external sites
- Broken Images: Images that are not displaying correctly.
- Empty alt text: Descriptions for images when they are broken or for content web readers. Part of ADA Compliance.
On-Page SEO Elements
- Empty Title Tags: The title of the page is missing
- Duplicate Titles: Titles that are duplicated. Duplicate content is never good.
- Too Long Titles: Tiles that are longer than what is displayed on the search results page.
- Empty Meta Descriptions: Missing descriptions for the page. this information is used for the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
- Duplicate Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions that are replicated from other pages.
- Too Long Meta Description: Meta descriptions that are longer than what is displayed on the search results page.
Technical SEO Priorities
When you are trying to determine which technical SEO elements you need to address first here are simple guidelines.
- Broken Content - Basically if there is suppose to be something there and it's not functional it is penalized. It's considered bad for a user to experience and is misleading.
- Duplicate Content - Duplicate content, even by accident is considered a form of plagiarism, and is penalized.
- Missing Content - If it isn't there it can't be indexed.
- Missing Alt Text - ADA compliance is becoming even more important. Consider this a nod accessibility.
- Mobility Issues -Significant number of web users use mobile devices for web viewing.
- User Experience Issues - If your website is experiencing slow load times, strange errors, or elements are not working, that is a negative impact for users.
Technical SEO Audit
Start with a Technical SEO Audit to know what elements are not working correctly. Work through the list and prioritize efforts based on capacity and ability to address these issues.
Fix it or start a new site?
Sometimes the number of errors is so significant it would cost more to repair the website than to start a new site.
The CMS system you are using is impeding your SEO efforts. Some easy-to-use website development sites have limited SEO capacity.
If your site is on a proprietary system and you can't make changes to your website.
Your website developer/manager is no longer available.
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