A technical audit is the process of analyzing and evaluating various technical factors that may affect the functionality and performance of a website. These factors may include site loading speed, content optimization, HTML tags, links, and other technical characteristics that affect user experience or search engine rankings.
A thorough technical audit helps identify problems with a website that reduce its effectiveness. It also gives recommendations and insights on how to improve it. Typically, an audit includes a page-by-page site analysis that checks key performance indicators such as page load time, response codes, and other technical elements on each page of the resource. Based on the results of the audit, significant improvements can be made to increase its visibility in search engines, improve its position in SERPs, and improve the user experience.
Modifications after a technical audit improve the visibility of the site in search engines, increase user friendliness. A technical audit is an important part of a long-term website performance strategy, so it’s worth doing it regularly and not putting it off.
When Do You Need Performance Audit?
During a technical audit, various aspects of the overall condition of the site are carefully checked. The audit includes checking for broken links, identifying duplicate content, analyzing site architecture and page speed, reviewing meta descriptions, and ensuring that the site follows to SEO best practices.
Is the site loading slowly? The problem may lie in a large number of heavy files, images, or lack of caching.
Is your site not ranking in search results? There may be problems with page indexing, page metadata.
In addition to the fact that the audit must be carried out regularly, consider situations when it is definitely necessary.
5 Situations After Which a Technical Audit is Required
1. The site has just been developed and launched.
Ypu may have a question: why does a site need an audit if it has just been launched? Technical audits are critical to the long-term success of a website. According to the results, it will show errors, the correction of which will allow you to index the site faster and simplify the future SEO optimization process. A technical audit early in the life of a site will help identify any potential issues before they become serious.
2. The site moves to another CMS, platform.
In order for the site not to lose positions in the search, it is necessary to audit for the presence of problems that should not be transferred to a new site. It will help you find out if page redirects are configured correctly, if directives for indexing pages are written, if sitemap.xml is generated correctly, if there are broken links, if meta tags are transferred, if canonical pages are configured to eliminate duplicates. Site migration is a global process in which technical audit is only one stage. For more information on what to do in terms of SEO during the transfer, read the article “How to Migrate a Site to CS-Cart And Save Positions in Search“
3. Expansion and scaling of the site.
The more pages that are added to the site, the greater the chance of errors. And if they are added in bulk, as in the case of expanding the site to several domain zones, then errors can grow with the same progression as the number of pages. An abundance of technical errors can affect search engine visibility and traffic. Conducting a technical audit before scaling a website across multiple domains will help ensure that each domain is stable, secure, and consistent.
4. Planned increase in the load on the site.
A sharp increase in traffic to the site may be due to seasons, sales, or other reasons. A technical audit involves reviewing a site’s back-end infrastructure, including its servers, network components, and codebase, to make sure they can handle the expected spike in traffic. We also analyze the front-end of the site to identify issues related to usability, accessibility or performance that may affect the user experience.
5. A complete redesign of the site.
Global changes in the site interface may affect the availability of pages and their performance on different devices. The abundance of heavy images, new elements, unoptimized code on the page can slow down page loading or not be displayed at all on mobile devices.
What is Included in a Technical Performance Review?
The verification of all components of a technical audit can be divided into groups. The verification includes an audit of the following items:
1. Load speed audit
This checks the current performance of the site and the components that affect it. This includes the current page loading speed, server-side and host-side checks, server-side and client-side code checks.
2. Site structure analysis
Here, the correctness of the settings of the robots.txt and the sitemap.xml, the security of the resource, the URL of the pages, the presence of mixed content, duplicate pages, the availability of internal links and link nesting are checked.
3. Assessment of external technical components
Checking the indexing of pages in Google and other search engines, setting up outgoing links and the presence of broken links.
4. Internal technical components
The presence of micromarking and assessment of its filling, the presence of redirects and the correctness of their settings, the presence and absence of meta tags on pages, the presence of duplicate pages, the evaluation of canonical pages are checked.
Checklist for Technical SEO Audit
Below we have prepared a brief checklist for the technical SEO audit of the site. This is a minimum of work that will allow you to successfully launch the site, as well as check the basic SEO optimization of already working resources.
Search engines have a negative attitude towards sites containing a large number of “technical” pages. Such pages include: feedback forms, user’s personal account, pages for official use, user’s personal data, pages with search results, sorting pages, etc. Such pages must be closed from indexing so that the site does not fall under sanctions and filters. For this, the Disallow directive is used. This directive is written in the robots.txt file with a list of all pages that need to be closed.
A sitemap is a file with links to the pages of a site that tells search engines about the actual structure of the site. Here you can specify the most important sections of the site and additional information about them (for example, versions in other languages or when the page was last updated). This allows search engines to more accurately index content on your site.
3. Using metatags and titles
Title is one of the main elements of internal optimization. It displays the main page title. Avoid keyword spamming. Use only the most basic keyword phrases that will capture the essence of the page. The more interesting and meaningful the title of the page, the more clicks on it. The Description metatag is designed to display a brief description of the page content. If you do not fill in this tag, the search engine will take a section from its text to describe the content of the page, which may be undesirable. H1 headings should be unique for each page.
4. URL optimization
Duplicates are pages on the same domain with identical or very similar content. Most often they appear due to the peculiarities of the CMS, errors in the robots.txt directives, or in the wrong setting of 301 redirects.
The lower the page nesting level, the more:
- The landing page will be indexed faster.
- The page will get more weight.
- Less chance that the page will fall out of the index.
- The visitor will reach the goal faster.
5. Image optimization
The lighter the picture, the faster it will load, the lower the bounce rate on the site. In addition, the small size of the images saves hosting space. The Alt attribute adds a text description to the picture. Title describes the image when hovering over it. They should be different to avoid duplication, describe the image and not contain common words.
The micromarking briefly conveys the content of the desired page. Most often they are used to unambiguously distinguish certain types of content from the crowd. Search robots better understand the content of the page. Also, the use of micromarking helps to increase transitions to the site.
7. Site usability
To collect traffic from all possible sources, you need to configure it to display correctly on various devices and in various browsers.
If the site does not display correctly in some browser or on some device, you lose visitors. Search robots prefer sites with correct (valid) HTML code. Search engines are guided by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard. You can check your site for validity using online tools and services. They will find errors in the HTML code and display them on the screen with the necessary recommendations.
How to Check the Site On Your Own
You can find both paid tools for complex SEO audit and free services for dedicated tasks.
Semrush, SE Ranking, Rush Analytics are popular among paid services. Benefits of paid services in a variety of tools. In one service, you can find insights for a marketing strategy in terms of SEO promotion. On the other hand, a set of tools does not mean that all of them will be useful to you or that the most necessary one will be absent among them.
We have made a selection of free services to check the technical components of the site:
- PageSpeed Insights – allows you to find out how quickly the pages of the site load, gives an estimate of the speed of loading pages on PC and mobile devices. As well as recommendations for improvement.
What to Do With the Results
Diagnostics of the technical part of the site, error detection is the first step to the effective functioning of the site. The task of the audit is only to identify errors that, in order of priority, need to be corrected. This will serve as a good foundation for the site for further search promotion.
One of the most frequently asked questions is: Is fixing technical errors enough to improve search rankings? Search promotion involves not only technical factors. Search engines evaluate hundreds of factors to generate search results. It is not known how much weight each factor has in order to say for sure: “correcting a technical error will raise the site 2 positions up”. In addition, search engine algorithms are constantly changing and updating to ensure that users actually get the right content for their search results.
Just improving the download speed and getting to the top of the search results will not work. This requires a set of measures for search promotion. SEO audits are like a check of the health of your site, which must be carried out regularly, from launch to development.
In Cart-Power, following the results of the Technical Audit service, you will receive a detailed report with a description of the problems, their prioritization, an explanation of the significance for the site, as well as ready-made tips for correcting. You can fix the errors yourself or entrust it to us.
Useful Tools If Your Site is Made on CS-Cart
SEO-names Editor. For easy management of SEO names of any objects: products, categories, characteristics, tags, pages, blog articles, etc. Sometimes when objects (products, pages, etc.) are deleted, records about this object remain in the seo_names table, thereby blocking the use of this SEO name for other objects. This add-on will help you easily find, change or delete unwanted entries.
Lazy Load for Images and Blocks. Loads images not immediately when the page is opened, but as it scrolls. This helps improve performance and conserve device resources. According to our data, the loading speed of pages with more than 50 products doubles.
WebP Images. The add-on automatically converts images to modern WebP format without quality loss. As a result, images weigh on average a quarter less than their PNG and JPG sources. As a result, page loading times are reduced.
SEO For Images. It adds alt and title texts to all images. You can also change the names of image files. It is enough for the administrator to set up a couple of templates, and the texts for them will be generated.
SEO For Filters. The add-on creates SEO-optimized landing pages for search queries like “Category + filter combination”. Not all filter pages need to be turned into landing pages, but they can be optimized by creating SEO names for them. The module allows you to set SEO names for feature variants used in the filter.
SEO Optimization. This is a package of solutions for SEO promotion of your store: flexible management of the indexing of site pages will allow you to exclude pages that should not be in the index, minification of the page’s HTML code, export / import of 301 redirects, working out extra slashes in the URL, managing the canonicity of various pages store and the Last-Modified HTTP header, and even an SEO name editor to edit the SEO name table right from the admin panel.
Extended Sitemap XML. It allows you to generate an advanced XML sitemap that meets all the requirements of search engines. Exclude missing products, products without prices, categories and brands without products from the sitemap. Add additional custom links and a separate XML image map.
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