One of the major reasons that compel people to create or convert all website to WordPress is the excellent search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities of the platform. A very important activity that is usually conducted by digital marketers but must be done by all website owners is to conduct a technical SEO of the interface. The goal of such an exercise is to evaluate its current situation to identify measures that can be implemented to improve its performance according to the latest standards. A 2018 technical SEO audit guide consisting of some essential steps which will be useful in completing the process is being presented here.
1. Installation Of Essential Tools
An audit of this nature requires the installation of some essential tools which will help in getting an in-depth look at the different metrics of the interface. Looking for solutions that help not only in detecting and fixing broken links but also in spotting new link building opportunities will be useful as will be getting a tool that rectifies faulty redirects and validation errors. Besides, installing software packages or employing online resources which can be used for keyword analysis and location-specific optimization in addition to discovering shortcomings in content like canonicalization errors, can be especially helpful.
2. Take Measures To Improve Indexing
Checking the index status of the website will be useful in finding out the number of duplicate URLs, non-canonical URLs in addition to spotting URLs with the no-index tag. An SEO crawling tool or the Google Search Console can be used to generate all this information in the form of a report. The robots.txt file which is present in the root directory of the website is responsible for guiding the search engine towards the XML sitemap besides telling which pages must be crawled and indexed. A manual review of this file will show up all the disallowed pages but even then a few can be missed. The number of indexed pages must be as close as possible to the total number of pages of the interface and to ensure this, instead of manually reviewing robots.txt, acquiring a tool will be more beneficial.
3. Structuring Of The Sitemap
The visibility of a website can be improved by correcting errors in the sitemap and improving its navigation. Google has set a limit of 10MB for the size of a single sitemap which cannot include more than 50,000 URLs and if exceeding these limits cannot be avoided, then multiple sitemaps must be created and sitemap index file must be made and submitted with the search engine. The sitemap must always be updated whenever new content is uploaded and all blocked pages, redirects, and noncanonical URLs must be removed to give it a clean structure.
4. Optimization Of The Metadata
Some recommendations for metadata optimization which is a crucial part of this 2018 technical SEO audit guide are as follows:
Title Tags: Ensure that they are relevant to the content on the page and contain the main keywords. The length must be kept under 70-72 characters for desktops and below 78 for mobiles. They must be different from the H1 headline and must not be duplicated.
Meta Descriptions: Compose brief but unique descriptions which are easily readable with a couple of key terms which are related to the one used in the title tag. The ideal length for desktop is below 200 characters and about 170 for mobiles.
Headline Tags: Take care that only one H1 tag is used with a page and it is tagged with the main headline. H2 tags are used for sub-headers and if there are further sub-headers within these, then more tags (H3, H4 etc.) must be used.
5. Identify Broken Links And redirects
Fixing broken links and redirects is essential for effective SEO and is extremely valuable for improving user experience and page loading speed. An ideal website structure ensures that the number of clicks required to reach a page is kept to a minimum and therefore such links must be found and with the help of the webmaster either be removed or redirected to a functional page. Ideally, redirects must be avoided but if there is a need then it must be ensured that there are no chains of 3 or more redirects as search engine crawlers will not go that far to index a page. Orphan pages are entities that are not linked to any other page and the issue must be resolved quickly by linking them with related pages.
6. Use Structured Data And Rich Snippets
Using structured data to mark up the content will have a positive effect on the appearance of a result in the search listings with the creation of Rich Snippets. These are very useful in increasing the visibility of an interface and can also increase the clickthrough rate because of the presence of ratings in the form of stars demonstrating the dependability of the website.
This 2018 technical SEO audit guide will be extremely helpful in finding and resolving issues that are proving to be a hindrance in improving the visibility of a website, in as less time as possible.