For most clients, a comprehensive technical audit is where we start. It help us understand the current state of a website, and perhaps even more importantly, it reveals whether there are any glaring technical issues that may be getting in the way of attracting organic traffic.
I’ve been working on technical audits at Keyphraseology for nearly three years now. Here are some of the most impactful issues we've uncovered during that time.
1. NOINDEX tags are preventing important pages from appearing in search.
Probably one of the biggest and most avoidable issues we face when reviewing a site is when NOINDEX tags have been implemented on important pages, keeping them out of search engines. (Read more about these tags here: Block search indexing with meta tags.) A comprehensive technical audit checks to make sure that all index-worthy pages on a site don’t have NOINDEX tags getting in the way.
2. Search engines are struggling to index your site because faceted navigation has gone awry.
It’s not uncommon for eCommerce sites to use faceted navigation, which can be an excellent tool as far as user experience goes.
Example of Faceted Navigation at Zappos.com
However, it needs to be reviewed carefully from the perspective of SEO to make sure that it’s not creating indexation problems. If the navigation creates a new page for each unique combination of variables, you’re stuck with a site that has so many (thin) pages that search engines may struggle to index it.
Warning from Google about Extremely High Number of URLs
Here is an example where using NOINDEX tags makes sense, provided they’re implemented strategically. The larger and more complicated a site is, the more it tends to benefit from the implementation of these tags. Technical audits make recommendations about the implementation process.
3. The site is missing keyword-targeted title tags.
While keyword targeting looks a lot different today than even a few years ago, one thing that has remained pretty consistent is the importance of having clearly-defined, targeted title tags.
Example of a Title Tag in Search Engine Results
SEO audits reveal how many pages are missing title tags, how many have been duplicated across multiple pages, and whether your current tags appear to target keywords in a way that’s consistent with the hierarchy of your website and the goals of your business.
4. Top-level navigation is emphasizing low-level pages.
From a SEO perspective, top-level navigation is important because it helps search engines understand which pages are at the top of a website’s hierarchy.
Example of Top-Level Navigation (Circled in Blue)
A thorough technical audit sheds light on whether a website’s top-level navigation reflects the structure of the site and the business goals of the company. If this part of the site is packed with relatively low-level pages, your ability to draw quality organic traffic can suffer.
Audits can be good for getting deep into the details of a site, but they are also important for revealing bigger problems that may be flying under the radar. Technical SEO recommendations can help your site get the organic traffic it deserves, without technical issues getting in the way.