Dear Website Builders,
In the world of search engine optimization there are many factors that contribute to getting the search engine rankings that you are looking for. This is precisely why we have released our 45 Point Technical Website Structure SEO Audit. Every website gets scanned by google bots before it is indexed into the SERP’S (Search Engine Rank Pages). If you website comes up with any red flags throughout how the structure of the website has put together you will get dinged with some red flags causing lower rankings.
At Get X Media as a part of every website design we consider the proper structure of a website as mandatory for every website design that we complete for our clients. Many digital agencies fail to complete this step as they build a website and consider it to be ongoing search engine optimization services that a client would end up paying extra for. In our opinion, this technical SEO website audit means that the website was built correctly and should be included in the initial website design service.
This is the precise list of checks we complete in every SEO Audit upon project delivery of a website design. 45 key SEO factors for a website design are checked to ensure the highest possible organic rankings.
As a webmaster, the onus is on you to ensure that your website performs optimally. The on-page SEO of a site is crucial for ranking on the search engine results page. Here are 45 items to consider for your website on-page SEO to enhance your site’s performance.
1. 4XX Errors
4XX page errors are caused by links to broken or dead pages on a website. The errors make it difficult for search engine bots to crawl your site. Such bad or broken links should be removed or replaced. The 4XX errors include 401, 403, 404, 408, and 429.
2. Duplicate Meta Descriptions
A Meta description informs the search engine about what a website page is about. However, when a webpage has multiple meta descriptions, the search engine will be confused about which of the descriptions is correct.
3. Broken Internal Links
There are usually links that lead to other pages within the same website. Check if the internal links on your site are active and lead correctly to avoid negative user experience and ranking in the search engines.
4. Missing Alt Attributes
Images used on a website should use alt attributes to provide alternative information about the photos in case they fail to load fully due to a slow network. Look for missing alt attributes in all images on your site.
5. Low Word Count
Having an adequate number of words on a website helps the search engine to have the right understanding of website content. But when you have low word count, usually 1,000 words per page, you should review your textual content.
6. Missing Meta Description
This case arises from the failure to provide the short and correct summary of a webpage. The search engine will not be able to index the page correctly, and it will affect the page’s rankings in the search engine.
7. Missing Canonical Tag
A canonical tag is used to declare that a particular page is the main page when there are many pages with duplicate or similar content. Avoid SEO problems that may result from the missing canonical tag. Nominate your primary page accordingly.
8. Blocked from Being Indexed
Check if pages on your website are prevented from being indexed by the search engines through the use of a noindex meta tags or robots meta tag. Any page blocked from being indexed will not be crawled by the search engine. If this is done unintentionally, remove the noindex meta tag.
9. Temporary Redirects
Check if you left any temporary redirects when working on your site. Redirect links take visitors and search engines to newly established links. Remove temporary redirects to prevent loading delays.
10. Multiple H1 Tags
H1 Tags confirm the most important headings. While it may be harmless to use multiple H1 tags, do not abuse it to avoid spamming. Check if your webpages have multiple H1 tags. Reduce them to just a few.
11. Matching H1 and Title Content
Look for pages with matching H1 and title content. You can use different phrases with the same meaning or interpretation of your content as your H1 and title content. Avoid using the same phrases. Take advantage of both elements to highlight the purpose of your webpage.
12. NoFollow Attributes in Internal Links
The nofollow attributes instruct the search engine not to follow the specified internal links. Remove “nofollow attributes in internal links” from your site, as they do not add any benefits to your website.
13. Missing H1
An H1 tag is the main heading of a webpage, and it provides a better understanding of what a page is all about. Avoid having missing H1 tags because search engines use them for ranking.
14. Short Title
Ensure that your page titles are not unusually short. The Meta title of a page should have a length of 56 characters. Any title with fewer characters is too short to be ranked by search engines for different keywords.
15. 5XX Errors
These are errors caused by the server’s failure to implement a valid request from a visitor. Find out the cause of the error and fix it as soon as possible. The 5XX errors can lower a webpage’s tanking or cause it to be de-indexed.
16. Overused Canonical Tags
Canonical tags help search engines to identify duplicate or similar pages and index only one page. However, avoid overusing the same canonical tag for too many pages. Else, only one page will be indexed.
17. Missing Title
Search engines use the title as a link to the webpage inside of Google search results. The title describes the purpose of a webpage in 50 – 60 characters. Fix any missing titles on your website.
18. Duplicate Titles
Check the titles of all the pages of your website and fix duplicate titles. The titles should not match one another precisely because this will confuse the search engines about the page that is more relevant about the topic being discussed. It can also affect the user experience when navigating your website.
19. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content reduces the quality of a webpage. The search engine may skip all the pages with similar content during indexing, as it would not index two pages with the same material.
20. Broken External Links
If any links leading to other websites are broken or dead, remove them or update them. Since you cannot fix websites that you don’t have access to, leaving broken links to them will affect your site’s reputation in the eyes of search engines and visitors.
21. Broken Internal Images
An internal image should link to another image within the same website without any issues. But when the linking image fails to load because it does not exist or it is too large leading to a time out, you should unlink the photos.
22. Broken External Images
If the images on your site fail to link correctly to external images due to issues at the other ends, ensure that the links are correct or remove them. Alternatively, you can download the external images and host them internally.
23. Robots.txt Blocking Crawlers
A robot.txt file on a website instructs website crawlers which pages of the site they should crawl. As a result, you can select the pages you want to be indexed by the search engines. Ensure that this file is correct as the website may not be crawled or indexed at all if there are errors.
24. Invalid Sitemap.xml Format
A valid sitemap.xml contains all the pages of a website that are intended to be viewed by the public and also for crawlers to crawl. Ensure that the syntax of the XML is correct to avoid errors.
25. Incorrect URLs in Sitemap.xml
Check the list of public pages included in the sitemap.xml for your website to ensure that all the URLs are correct and link appropriately. Any mistakes in the URLs will trigger an error.
26. Missing Viewport Tag
This tag gives you control over the scale in which your website appears on mobile devices. With this tag, your site will appear correctly, not too small or large to mobile devices’ users.
27. Large Page Size
Your website’s load speed is crucial; that is why minimizing the amount of content will be helpful to make your site load fast. The size of the content on your site should be less than 2MB. When you have a large page size, it will affect your site’s load speed and get your website penalized.
28. Missing Canonical Tags in AMP Pages
AMP means Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it is used to limit a page’s HTML to enable fast loading on mobile devices. Missing canonical tags in AMP pages will cause browsers to load pages with duplicate content, which will increase the load speed.
29. Https Redirect
Ensure to have https redirect on your website to ensure that visitors can access your site securely. The https redirects will redirects requests from http to https. Https signals that your website is secure.
30. Long Title
Title tags of 70 characters or more are considered too long. Search engines usually truncate long titles to fewer than 70 characters. Keep your titles below 70 characters.
31. Too Many On-Page Links
Keep links on your webpage below 509. Excessive links will affect user experience and provide several exit options to users. Also, search engines frown at having several links of more than 500 on a page – they have a hard time crawling the page.
32. Slow Page Load
A website must load entirely in no more than 3 seconds. Your webpage will be considered to be too slow if loads for more than 7 seconds. Assess your website’s load speed and optimize it accordingly.
33. Low Text to HTML Ratio
The amount of text on your website compared to HTML should not be less than 10%. Excessive HTML content on a website could make the page load much slower than usual. And the search engine will not find the page relevance. Ensure that the textual content on your site is more than 10% of the entire webpage content.
34. Too Many URL Parameters
Avoid more than two parameters in the URL. Having too many parameters in your URL is not appropriate, as it would be difficult for the search engine to single out the defining keywords for the website.
35. Encoding not Declared
Failure to declare the appropriate encoding for a webpage will cause the characters not to be displayed correctly. The primary encoding is usually set to UTF-8, but it may be different.
36. Doctype not Declared
The doctype instructs a web browser the version of HTML used for a webpage. It appears first in the page’s source code. If it is not declared, it can cause a misinterpretation of the code and make the site difficult for the search engine to crawl.
37. Flash Content Used
Avoid using flash on your website as much as possible. It is usually difficult for the search engine to interpret the flash content, and it will skip crawling the page. Besides, the flash does not load quickly and may not show on the mobile device. Google Chrome will stop supporting flash in 2020.
38. Frames Used
Avoid using HTML frames – they are outdated and difficult to be read by search engines. Get rid of frames from your webpages and use the latest acceptable methods.
39. Underscores in URL
Using underscores in the URL is bad for SEO. Although it is allowed semantically, use hyphens instead.
40. Missing Sitemap.xml Reference
Ensure to indicate the location of your website’s sitemap.xml in your robots.txt. Search engines read the robots.txt file for guidance in crawling and indexing the webpages.
41. Sitemap.xml not Found
All pages on a website expected to be crawled and indexed by the search engines are listed in the sitemap.xml. If this file is missing, your site may end up not crawled or indexed.
42. Robots.txt not Found
A robots.txt file instructs the search engine on the website pages that should be crawled. Also, you can indicate the pages you want the web crawlers to index. If the file is missing, several pages of the website will get skipped and ignored by the search engines.
43. Long URLs
An ideal URL should not be longer than 100 characters for SEO purposes. A longer URL will be challenging to read or share.
44. NoFollow Attributes in External Links
The “nofollow” attribute instructs web crawlers not to crawl the specified page. However, if you want to build links to external sites, remove the nofollow attributes.
45. Keywords Usage
Make sure you use your keywords in the webpage’s title and description. This will help the indexing of your site.
Technical SEO Audit Takeaways
Implement the guide provided in this write-up to improve the performance of your website and enhance its search engine optimization. Your on-page SEO is crucial to your site’s ranking in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).