It’s time to perform a technical SEO audit for your site! Yay! <3
In order to cover absolutely everything you need to, and find out exactly what about your site needs a bit of tweaking, you’ll need to follow these steps.
Crawling your Site
First off – let’s do a site crawl. My personal favourite crawling tool is Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider – it’s free for the first 500 URLs you crawl so it’s perfect if you’re just after optimising your own sites. There’s also Xenu’s Link Sleuth which is worth having a look at, as it’s free, but it’s not quite as involved as SEO Spider and is really best just for finding broken links.
You won’t be able to set a user agent on the free version of Screaming Frog – if you’ve got the paid version, for Google you’ll need to set it to:
“Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)”
(According to Moz)
Anyway, your crawl should show you any problems with your site – that is, any broken pages or links, external and internal broken links, response times of each page, whether you’ve got any duplicate titles, what pages are missing meta descriptions and meta keywords, and your de-indexed links.
It’s pretty awesome.
Your site’s pages are actually accessible by search engines, right? You don’t have a robots.txt file floating about somewhere?
You can check with Google Webmaster Tools to find out if any parts of your site are being restricted by robots.txt. Also, make sure that your robots meta tags aren’t restricting crawlers. I’ll probably do a more in-depth post about robots.txt and robots meta tags soon.
Make sure that your pages, if they redirect, redirect with 301 HTTP redirects rather than 302 HTTP redirects to keep that link juice flowing.
Mapping out your Site
So about your XML sitemap – it’s something which allows search engine crawlers to find your site’s pages nice and easily. Here’s a good rundown on a good XML sitemap.
Now, a bit about site architecture. As a rule, it’s best to go for a flat site architecture as much as possible.
Take a look at how pages are linking to each other, and how easy it is to get from one page to the next. If, in order to get to an important page, you need to click about a million times from the homepage, you need to revamp your site.
Plus, if you’ve got some issues with TTFB, it’s a good idea to rethink your hosting provider.
I’ll do another post on site penalties soon, and how to sort it out.