Sometimes technical errors make ineffective all attempts to promote the site. To avoid this situation, you need to check the compliance of the resource with the requirements of search engines from time to time. Below you will find a checklist with which you can quickly conduct a technical audit of the site.
- 1. Are the pages indexed normally?
- 2. How many landing pages attract traffic according to Google Analytics?
- 3. Is the issue formed correctly for branded requests?
- 4. Are search engines caching a site?
- 5. Is the site ranked in mobile search?
- Page optimization score
- 6. Is the title optimized correctly?
- 7. Title and description of the important landing pages of the site motivate people to go to the site?
- 8. Description of pages optimized?
- 9. Does the content satisfy the information needs of the audience?
- 10. Are images optimized?
- 11. Are URLs optimized?
- Duplicate content
- 12. Does each page have one URL?
- The possibility of indexing the site
- 13. Is the robots.txt file correct?
- Site structure and internal linking
- 14. Does the site have a vertical and horizontal structure?
- Mobile optimization
- 15. Mobile users happy with the site?
- Regional optimization
- 16. Is the site adapted for users from different regions?
- Web analytics
- 17. Are analytics systems used correctly?
- Other technical issues
- 18. Is the download speed high?
- 19. Do you use correct redirects?
Assessment of the overall situation
1. Are the pages indexed normally?
- Enter in the search box the query site: example.com.
- How many pages does a search engine give out? Does the resulting number match the number of pages of your site?
- Is the main page in the first place? If so, do not worry. If the first page is ranked lower than others, this is an occasion to think. A few years ago, Google honorary engineer Matt Cutts claimed that a search engine on a site: example.com query generates a page output according to certain page characteristics, including PageRank and the length of the URL. Often the home pages have the highest PageRank and the shortest URL. Therefore, some experts in the field of SEO consider it abnormal if the main one is ranked not in the first place. However, in early January of this year, Google spokesman John Muller said that there is no need to worry about the order of pages in the output generated by the request site: example.com. Therefore, you can rephrase this question like this: is the main page displayed on the first page of the issue? If not, pay attention to the content on the main, internal relink and site architecture.
2. How many landing pages attract traffic according to Google Analytics?
- Does the data obtained using GA coincide with the number of pages issued by the search engine for site: example.com?
- If you have recorded a significant difference, pay attention to the quality of the content.
3. Is the issue formed correctly for branded requests?
- Is the link to your website ranked first? If this is not the case, the site may be subject to sanctions.
- Repeat the search with branded queries, for example, "buy a laptop in Connected." Link to your website should be in the first place of issue.
4. Are search engines caching a site?
- Is the content in the search engine cache?
- Is there a navigation menu and links?
- Are there links on the saved copy of the page that are not visible on the site?
5. Is the site ranked in mobile search?
- Links to your site are ranked in first place for branded queries?
- Are pages loading fast?
Page optimization score
6. Is the title optimized correctly?
- Does each page have a unique title?
- Is your company name included in the title of each page? By including the brand name in the title, you increase the CTR of the links in the output. This is true for large companies and recognizable brands.
- Page headers do not exceed 60 characters or 512 pixels? Check how the link to your site will look in search results.
7. Title and description of the important landing pages of the site motivate people to go to the site?
- Make sure that the title of important landing pages attract attention. Use recommendations for writing catchy headers.
- Make sure that the description of important landing pages intrigues users. Search engines often include a page description in a snippet, so a good decription boosts CTR.
8. Description of pages optimized?
- If the site has pages with blank descriptions, correct this error.
- If the site has a description created for search engines, replace them with human ones.
9. Does the content satisfy the information needs of the audience?
- Audit content. Delete or rewrite borrowed and re-optimized texts.
- Update the content plan.
- Use a wide semantic core.
- Include the main search phrase in the H1 header. This will help users and search robots find your content.
- Ensure readability of the content.
10. Are images optimized?
- Does the site have very "heavy" images? Reduce their weight.
- Is the name of the image files informative? You need files called lennoxlewis.jpg, not foto1.jpg.
- Are there any captions on the pages of the site?
- Is the alt attribute full?
11. Are URLs optimized?
- Are the pages URLs informative? A good URL looks like this: example.com/blog/kak-kupit-slona.
- Do you use static URLs?
- Is your URL less than 115 characters? Robots easily read long URLs, but people find it easier to perceive short ones.
12. Does each page have one URL?
- Use canonical URLs.
- See if anyone has stolen your content. If this happens, tell Google and Yandex.
- Close from indexing pages of categories and tags.
- Make sure your content is not republished on a subdomain or other site of your company.
The possibility of indexing the site
13. Is the robots.txt file correct?
- If you do not want to close any content from your site from indexing, do not change anything in the robots.txt file.
- Verify that the XML sitemap is working correctly.
- Check for error messages in the Yandex.Webmaster and Webmaster Tools accounts at Google.
- Check the site for access and indexing errors using Screaming Frog or another program or service.
Site structure and internal linking
14. Does the site have a vertical and horizontal structure?
- Home page should link to category pages. Category pages should link to subcategories and product pages. Product pages, if necessary, should refer to relevant subcategory and category pages. This is a vertical structure.
- Category pages can optionally link to other category pages, and product pages should send users to relevant pages of other products. This is a horizontal structure.
- Website menu should be convenient and logical, internal links should be natural and have informative anchors.
- The site should not be broken links. You can find them using the Link Checker service.
15. Mobile users happy with the site?
- Does your website have an adaptive layout or a mobile version?
- Is it convenient to use the site using a mobile gadget? Try to read articles, view photos, place an order, call the office, subscribe to the newsletter.
- See if Google treats your site as mobile-friendly.
- Make sure that there are no redirects on the mobile version of the site. For example, if a user wants to view content on the internal page of the full version from a mobile gadget, do not forcefully redirect it to the main page of the mobile version.
- Check whether the alternate attribute is used when pointing to the mobile version of the URL.
- Consider whether your audience needs a mobile app.
16. Is the site adapted for users from different regions?
- Check if the regional versions have the correct URL. You can use the following options: example.com/by/ or by.example.com.
- Make sure the site has the correct regional identity. This can be done in the offices for webmasters Google and Yandex. If the search engines did not automatically assign the site to the desired regions, do it manually.
- Check whether rel = "alternate" hreflang attributes are used to indicate regional versions of the site.
- Make sure that the URL of the regional sites is formed in the appropriate language of the region.
17. Are analytics systems used correctly?
- Make sure that the current Google Analytics code, Yandex.Metrica, or other systems is installed correctly.
- Using filters, exclude traffic from your office from monitoring results.
- Link accounts for web analytics with contextual advertising systems.
Other technical issues
18. Is the download speed high?
- Compress data using gzip protocol.
- Allow data caching.
- Do not use "heavy" images.
19. Do you use correct redirects?
- Make sure you do not use "bad" redirects, for example, 302 or 307.
- Avoid chaining redirects.
This checklist will help you discover the main technical problems that adversely affect the effectiveness of the site. If you have a large site that a team of specialists works with, check it regularly. Also use the checklist after changing the design, transferring the resource to a new CMS and other large-scale changes.