A technical audit is a series of activities that are carried out to determine the effectiveness of the site or its parts from a technical point of view. During the analysis, tips are given for correcting identified errors.
A site audit can be compared with the technical inspection of the car. Even with proper care, malfunctions require a specialist to check and then replace incorrectly selected or worn parts. To understand what a technical audit mechanism is, you can consider an example. The fastest in the top 10, Google get technically sound sites. And vice versa, if the site has an ideal architecture, optimized meta tags, high-quality content is placed on it, but there are errors in the code or a lot of broken links, you can forget about the successful ranking.
Differences between technical audit and its other types
It is customary to distinguish the following types of work.
SEO audit: It is carried out to show how well the search engines see the resource, whether there are promoted requests in the texts, how correctly the links work.
Usability audit: Such a check shows the attractiveness of the resource for the average user: the convenience of navigating through the pages, the usefulness of the information posted, etc.
Marketing: Work is carried out to determine the site’s effectiveness in the context of the market segment.
Technical: Unlike marketing, usability, SEO-audit of a site, a technical audit includes an analysis of the resource’s health. During the study, the following aspects are checked:
- the presence of errors in the code
- correct architecture
- page loading speed
- the correctness of server responses
- lack of duplicate pages
- correctness of redirects
- right site map and robots.txt
- the existence of broken links, etc.
Optimization of a resource with slow page loading and a large number of errors that appear can be called meaningless since the user will not spend time waiting for the page of interest to load even with an ideal H1 header.
Related article: Difference Between Technical SEO and On-Page SEO
Why audit is necessary
A technical audit is necessary when the site is just starting up and when it is already working. It is recommended that this analysis be done at least two times a year or more often. This will allow us to timely detect the layout features, the new principles of the search engines, the interests of users, etc. and to optimize the resource following them. For some reason, a technical audit needs to be done ahead of schedule. These include the following:
- the low position of the site when investing in it a large number of forces and means;
- flat conversion rate with high traffic;
- the decrease in performance due to sanctions by Google.
The purpose of the technical audit is to identify problems in the site’s functioning and the timely adoption of measures to eliminate them.
How is an audit conducted?
There are three options for conducting a technical audit.
Option 1: do it yourself
This is a method that requires minimal financial investment. It may be suitable for those who do not pursue global goals, as well as specialists in this field. Otherwise, there is a high risk of wasting time and not achieving the desired results. The most popular search engines have special services: Google Webmaster Center and Webmaster. They will help you analyze the site yourself. For example, using Google’s Search Console, you can optimize websites according to your search engine requirements. The tool indicates existing critical errors and offers the best options for fixing them:
- for example, if a resource is in a bathhouse or the number of errors has increased on it, Googlebot will inform you of this with notifications;
- if an error occurred in the meta tags, for example, there is no title, or it is not composed correctly, you will also receive a message where it will be written in which place the robot found it and what actions are required from you to eliminate it;
- “Broken” links (links to missing pages, error 404) will not remain without attention: the robot will suggest replacing them with correct ones or deleting them.
Read more: How to check and fix broken links
Option 2: use of special programs
Today many programs help to analyze the technical side of your resource. There are paid (Screaming Frog, Netpeak Spider, etc.) and free (RDS bar, Xenu, etc.) programs with which you can identify and further eliminate technical errors that impede promotion.
Screaming Frog and NetPeak Spider have a clear interface and are great for both ordinary and advanced users. The results of a technical audit conducted using these programs can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet, which will significantly speed up the processing of results. These programs allow you to find out which pages the description and title meta tags are written and how unique they are within the resource. With their help, you can find duplicate pages that will be offered to either be deleted or closed using search engine indexing robots.txt.
RDS bar is a plugin for Opera, Firefox, and Chrome. Its installation is faster than installing the above programs. For page analysis, the plugin offers more than 60 parameters. From them, you can choose the ones that are of interest to you and add new ones by clicking on the “I want a new parameter!”
Option 3: contacting professionals
This method is one of the most optimal. The specialist will be able to analyze the site, provide a detailed report of the errors found, and offer assistance in resolving them. A professional approach will save a lot of time.