Small and even large companies who don’t have their own internal team who is able to take on the challenge of managing a company’s ever-growing and ever-changing business will have at least once been approached by someone, maybe even their current external team, and told they need to undertake a Technical SEO Audit. *(Insert confused business owner meme/emoji here!)* This article will help give those of you looking at taking their SEO to the next level with an external agency, the opportunity to understand what a technical SEO audit undertakes.
For business owners that probably barely know enough about SEO to start with trying to understand why they should spend a four-figure sum on a process that shows you the issues with your site can be hard to grasp. However, once you spend a small amount of time working out how detailed, specialised, and time consuming a process it can be, you’ll begin to understand the wider picture of the audit. Let’s start with a definition.
While some are happy to simply distinguish it as “any sufficiently technical action undertaken with the intent to improve search results”. There are those however that prefer a more detailed explanation. Technical SEO covers all of these areas and more: Crawling, Indexation, SSL, Migrations, Page speed, Mobile, Content optimization, Status codes.
If you’re looking for a quick way to understand the topic or simply the words, one of the leaders in SEO education and discussion Moz has a great series focused on just this area.
The Technical SEO Audit
This rundown of an audit has been provided by a company that have specialised in this area for almost 10 years. Further information regarding the audit process from this SEO marketing agency can be found on their website.
An audit is a thorough scan of your website, but from the viewpoint of a search engine. This includes undertaking everything that a search engine would do such as a full site crawl and analysis. Just this aspect includes URL structure, site speed, meta descriptions, canonical mark-up and much more. From this in-depth look the auditors are able to compile a report that can provide a hugely detailed description of your site currently, and furthermore their recommendations in how to improve any issues that may have been detected.
The ability of these audits to detect and fix issues that might be stalling the progress of a business in achieving better results from the rest of their SEO work is where an audit really finds its value. Making corrections in the ‘deeper’ aspects of your site can affect wider marketing goals such as; Keyword Rankings, CTR, User Engagement, Conversions. This process can be seen as removing the thorn from the foot of the lion, a small change that makes such a difference.
Audits of this nature also include Local SEO, crucial to business big and small. The more information search engines hold regarding your business that customers might need to know quickly, such as location, opening hours (if appropriate), and contact details, the greater the improvements to your local SEO performance will be. This process reviews your listings across all the major search engines such as your Google My Business Page as well as equivalents on Bing and location information on Google and Apple Maps.
The auditors should take the time to walk you through what they have found and explain it to you in the best way possible. Beyond this they should give you their recommendations based upon their findings and expertise. At this point you should work together to ensure these recommendations work with your wider objectives and goals. It is no use following the advice if it isn’t going in the direction you need it to!
Taking actions on these next steps now is passed back on to the business. Whether they want to hand this list over to an in-house team, back to the auditors or to a new external team to conduct the changes is up to them. Make sure you make the right choice. While the auditing team will have a better understanding of your site initially, they should present their findings in the audit in a way that anyone else well-versed in this area will be able to take up the task quickly and simply, with minor questions.