This Friday, we want to remind you about the importance of technical audit of your website before you start your another search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. As follows from the points below, you may get terrible results because you have unsolved technical issues. So, learn the vital basics and run all the necessary checks first or contact our experts for assistance.
Why You Need a Technical Analysis
Technical analysis of a site is a complex of activities aimed to identify technical errors and errors in its code. Their timely detection and removal is the key to the successful promotion of your project.
The success of a site promotion depends on a number of factors:
- • Technical condition of the site;
- • Its content;
- • Reference profile (links from other sites);
- • Behavioral factors;
- • Project development strategies.
Technical analysis will identify various shortcomings in the internal site optimization:
- 1. Download speed;
- 2. Duplicate pages and content;
- 3. Functioning of separate modules and the whole site.
And this isn’t a complete list of problems to be solved at this stage.
The audit is carried out at the initial stage of SEO, as well as throughout the lifetime of the project. The completeness of the audit affects what results the site will eventually reach in its niche.
Stages of Technical Analysis of a Site
Regardless of whether it’s an online store or a media site, there are parameters to be analyzed on a mandatory basis.
Before proceeding to a detailed analysis of the project, you need to conduct an analysis of the data in your Yandex.Webmaster panel (if applicable) and Google Search Console. These tools will detect errors on the website and fix them before the search engines assess fines and penalties.
The more pages are indexed by search engines, the more people visit the site and the higher the income is. What you need to check on the site when it comes to indexing:
- • txt file – indicates what it’s possible to index and what is not.
- • The presence of meta tags on the pages – they close the pages from indexing.
- • Sitemap in XML and HTML format speeds up indexing and re-indexing of the pages.
- • Lack of iframe, JS, Flash and other navigate technologies complicates or even makes it impossible to index pages.
- • Data from Google and Yandex webmasters should be checked for restrictions and disruptions in the indexing project.
- • Incorrectly configured server response codes badly affect the position of the site in search engines. If your project has many pages with an incorrect response from the server, it’s possible that the site falls under the sanctions of search engines.
- • In general, the project has code 200 OK on all pages; 301 Moved Permanently – for all pages with redirects; 404 Not Found – for all non-existent pages.
- • Invalid URL structure can lead to problems with site indexing and deteriorate its visibility in search engines.
2. Page load speed
It’s considered that a page load speed should be less than 2 seconds and the HTML web page response time – up to 200-300 microseconds. The higher the page load speed is, the more comfortable users feel on the site. Furthermore, it’s one of the important factors of search engine site ranking.
You can measure the page load speed using a variety of tools, such as “Developer Tools” in the Chrome browser, FireBug, and Google PageSpeed Insights. Do not forget about the mobile version of your site, which should be optimized, taking into account the page load speed.
What to look for when analyzing the page load speed on the site:
- • Server response time;
- • Data transfer speed from server to client;
- • Data caching;
- • Java-scripts are compressed and located at the bottom of the page;
- • CSS-files are combined;
- • Icons and small repeating images are merged into CSS-sprites;
- • Images are compressed in high-quality, meta-data – cleaned, and width and height are specified;
- • Buttons should be registered in the CSS not images;
- • Gzip compression is used;
- • CDN for large sites with wide geography of users;
- • There are Last-Modified and If-Modified-Since HTTP-headers for constantly updated content;
- • Check server uptime;
- • Check the validity of the code and layout;
- • Sites use a single IP. The more sites use the same IP-address, the higher page load speed will be. It’s advisable that your site uses a dedicated IP.
3. Duplicate content
Duplicate content is two or more pages of the site with the same content, usually text.
Complete doubles are pages with exactly the same content, but with a different URL-address:
- • Doubles generated by CMS: index pages, pagination pages / page-1 /;
- • Site mirrors (with or without www);
- • Doubles with and without slash “/” in the URL;
- • Doubles in the form of upper and lower case letters in the URL;
- • Doubles associated with HTTP and HTTPS;
- • Session parameters in the URL-addresses;
- • Service doubles.
Similar (incomplete) duplicates are pages with a very similar, repeating content.
What you need to check for similar/incomplete duplicates:
- • Catalog and product page.
- • Directory and filters.
- • Catalog and filters (price, rating, etc.).
- • Site search.
- • Directory categories and subcategories.
- • Language versions of the site.
- • Blog posts.
Duplicates can be eliminated in many ways, depending on their type. The main tools to fight duplicates are:
- • 301 redirect;
- • Configuring the robots.txt file;
- • Setting htaccess;
- • Using rel = “canonical” attribute;
- • Setting language versions via hreflang attribute.
4. Broken links and 404 pages
A broken link is a link that leads to a non-existent page, image, or other files of the site, available at a specific URL. When users click on a broken link, they usually see a message stating that the page cannot be found and get a 404 page. If the number of errors exceeds a certain threshold, there is a possibility that search engines will apply a filter to the site, which will lead to a deterioration of its rank.
The main causes why broken links occur are:
- • A page has been removed from the site;
- • A link from another site leads to a non-existent page, sometimes this is done intentionally.
How to find this error:
- • Use Yandex.Webmaster Panel and Google Search Console;
- • Use special programs, such as Xenu Link Sleuth or Screaming Frog SEO Spider;
- • View the server error log.
To fix or handle such links, use the correct 301 redirect settings and optimized 404 pages.
After analyzing the site and detecting errors at every stage, we got a list of to-do tasks. As a result of their implementation, the site will fully comply with the requirements of search engines. The improved settings will help you scale and promote the project effectively.