Doing a technical SEO audit for your website

SEO

Glen Burnett

12th February 2022

Table of contents

The speed of your website
Keep your URLs at a reasonable length
Make the URLs human-sounding
Don't cannibalize your pages with duplicate content
Examine the structure of your website overall
Use a sitemap
Check for broken links and fix them

Technical SEO is a sub-category of SEO (search engine optimisation). It has to do with the technical side of things with your website. Like sitemaps, website speed, link structure, and so forth.

It's a rather large topic, so we can't go through everything in this blog, but we'll cover some easy wins that you can look out for with your website. Ready?

The speed of your website

If you have a great website in terms of content, but the site loads slow, this can harm your SEO. Google looks at how fast your website loads (among many other things), so it needs to load fast wherever possible.

What things can slow a website down? Web hosting can, for one. If your web hosting company's servers don't have a lot of grunt or are under high demand, it can cause the website loading speed to struggle.

But before you look at the host, firstly, make sure you do everything else to optimize the page. If they are large file sizes, images can slow a website down.

There are some great resources available to help compress and optimize images right down without losing the quality of the picture.

The next thing you can look at is ensuring the website is cached. Caching is a way of storing a copy of the web page to be retrieved much more quickly rather than having to request the entire page's content from the web hosting server all over again each time.

If you run a WordPress website, a few great plugins can help cache your website, including LightSpeed Cache, WP Optimize, W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache.

Keep your URLs at a reasonable length

First of all, what is an URL?

A URL is the website address—for example, www.somewebsite.com. Websites often have more than one page, so using this example again, there might be:

www.somewebsite.com/contact

www.somewebsite.com/blog

www.somewebsite.com/blog/5-things-that-make-cats-happy

When we talk about the URL length, we're talking about the total number of characters in a URL. In that last example, you can see the length can get quite long if we're not careful.

Why does this matter? Well, when Google indexes your website, the keywords in these URLs have some small contribution towards your website's SEO ranking.

So how long should a URL be? There isn't an exact number. Different SEO experts have different opinions, but there isn't any one rule of thumb on URL length.

It's not that Google doesn't like long URLs per se, but you'll have a much better chance at ensuring the website page's ranking improves a bit better with shorter URLs than longer ones. Also, there's less of a case of the URL being cut off when listed in Google search results.

Make the URLs human-sounding

Following on from the length of URLs, you also need to ensure that your URLs are readable by a human being. What do I mean by that? Well, let's look at an example:

www.thiswebsite.com/3Njk3408yGFlpz72?=app2

versus

www.thiswebsite.com/history/world-war-2

The first example has a trail of jibberish that neither a person nor Google would make sense of for keywords.

On the other hand, the second example is readable both by a person and Google, and it's clear what the topic is likely going to be about if someone goes to that website address.

If you're using a WordPress website, you can control whether your website URLs are human-sounding under permalink settings.

Don't cannibalize your pages with duplicate content

When writing content and creating pages for your website, always write original content for each page you publish.

Sometimes it's ok to have a few keywords mentioned by chance on more than one page; it's unavoidable. But if you have one entire page with numerous, specifically placed keywords, all closely related to each other, and there is an exact copy, it can harm your SEO ranking.

Why? Because it means both pages begin fighting for the top spot for specific keywords, with neither winning, mainly because Google will have difficulty understanding which is more relevant and essential than the other.

Examine the structure of your website overall

Google pays very close attention to the structure of your website. By structure, we mean what pages are linking to which.

If Google can see that multiple pages are all linking to one specific page, that particular page will have higher importance than all the other pages linking to it.

So how you structure your website matters.

You could also argue that what 'kind' of pages are linking to another can have some significance to Google's understanding of the entire website.

For example, if you have the following pages:

- Oil change

- Engine service

- Brakes

- Radiator repairs

And they all link to a page called Car repair services, as the topics are highly related and contribute to the overall understanding of the term car repair services, Google can have a better chance deducing that the website overall is to do with a car repair business.

And so that page beings to rank a little higher where people are looking for those kinds of services in the context of car repair shops.

Google also recognizes any pages linked to from the home page important because generally, the home page itself is the most important page of all.

Use a sitemap

Sitemaps are a fantastic way to make it a lot easier for Google to crawl your website and understand the importance of pages and their relationship to each other in the overall website architecture.

A sitemap, usually an XML file, is what Google will look for as a massive suggestion for how your website is supposed to be structured.

If you're using a WordPress website, a few plugins out there generate a sitemap for you. Some worthy mentions are SEO Yoast and Math Rank.

Check for broken links and fix them

When Google crawls your website, it's going to explore every nook and cranny that it can. That means following where every link leads.

If a link is broken and doesn't work, it can impact your SEO, partly because it shows the website isn't kept up to date and well maintained.

It also means Google is hindered from understanding the entirety of the whole website simply because it hasn't been able to find those other pages and index them.

Are you looking for someone who can help you get your website's technical SEO up to scratch? Thriving Web Design is your go to Perth SEO company. Drop us a line to see how we can help you with your SEO needs.

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