As a business owner, you probably know that it’s important to understand the health of your site. But how do you go about it? While we may be experts in SEO, we promise determining the health of your site is easier than it sounds. To help get you started, we’ve put together a technical SEO checklist with 20 tactics that are easy to do and comprehend. And if you’re still needing some help, feel free to reach out to our team for some assistance.
#1 Make Sure Only One Version of Your Site is Indexed
Did you know that www.TKG.com and TKG.com are technically two different sites in the eyes of a search engine? If you leave both in place, search engines will get confused and have a hard time indexing your site correctly. You should choose one version to ensure the indexing process goes smoothly. You can choose your site’s preferred domain using Google Search Console.
#2 Check Your Core Web Vitals
To find out the overall health of your website you’re going to need to check its core vitals. The core vitals of your site refers to its performance, responsiveness and visual stability. You can easily check to see how your site is doing by entering your site’s URL into PageSpeedInsights.
#3 See What's Slowing Down Your Site's Speed
You know that feeling you get when you’re a website is taking forever to load. You know the one. Where you want to throw your device across the room. Well chances are if your site is too slow users are leaving it before it even gets a chance to load.
You can easily find out the biggest contenders for slowing down your site by using dozens of free sites on the web.
#4 Add Structured Data to Showcase Your Content
Believe it or not, search engines speak their own language and it’s not English. To help them understand what your website is about you’ll want to add structured data throughout it. Structured data is a piece of code written in a very specific format whose goal is to help search engines understand content of a page while indexing it.
Major search engines like Google and Yahoo came together to create Schema.org, a website that helps you find the codes you need that describes your content. By helping search engines understand your content you’re helping your site receive higher rankings that can lead to rich results.
#5 Make Sure You Have a Sitemap
Having a sitemap is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle and is key to your ranking. Your sitemap lists out the most important pages of your site, making it easier for search engines to find and crawl your pages.
#6 Check if Images are Too Large Where They're Being Shown
Bigger isn’t always better. And that goes for images on your site. Images that are too large can seriously slow your site down which can majorly affect your ranking with Google. Spend some time checking to see if your images fit properly across your site. Do you have unnecessarily large images throughout? Or do they look a little grainy? Make sure every image has a purpose and fit the proper dimensions.
#7 Review if Redundant or Uncompressed Scripts are Being Used
You can see if these issues are happening on your site with PageSpeedInsights.
#8 Configure a robot.txt file
A robot.txt file is a plain text file you can create that allows you to choose what pages and files you want crawlers to have access to. This way you can keep pages on your website that don’t add much SEO value without fear that they’ll affect your ranking. They’re very helpful if you don’t want search engine crawlers to index login pages, certain files like PDFs or internal search result pages.
#9 Make Sure Your Content is Being Indexed
A big part of how search engines rank your site is largely determined by its overall performance. When your content is optimized, it makes it easier for search engines to find your site and go through all its pages to determine their relevance. Some factors that can help get your site indexed faster are regularly updating your content, adding a detailed sitemap and getting other sites to share links to yours.
#10 Find and Fix Broken Links
User experience is incredibly important to Google. After all, that’s what’ll keep people on your site and broken links are an easy way to get people to go straight to your competitors. You can check for broken links manually by visiting every page on your site or by using a link checker like Google Search Console.
#11 Setup 301 Redirects to Transfer SEO Equity
301 redirects are used to redirect users and search engines from a page that has been permanently removed to its new location. They help prevent a 404 Error from popping up and ruining the user experience. Google will notice the ease of use and will preserve rankings from pages you moved from one URL to the next.
#12 Remove Unnecessary Redirects From Your Site
While we just explained how awesome 301 redirects are it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes they’re completely unnecessary. Having too many can actually slow down your load time (an absolute no-no for SEO) and hinder your ranking.
You can actually figure out which 301s on your site are used on a regular basis by implementing UTM tags through Google Analytics. These tags will send data to Google Analytics indicating every time a user clicks on one of your redirects so you’ll know how they’re performing.
#13 Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
With more people spending most of their time on their phones versus computers it’s crucial that your site is mobile-friendly. What makes a website mobile-friendly? This simply means your content still looks great and is easy to navigate on a phone. The text is still readable, links are easy to click on and images fit just right.
#14 Encrypt Your Site with HTTPS
We all know website security is important, but many don’t realize it directly affects SEO. Search engines take into consideration the integrity of your site to help keep users safe from cyber-crime. Upgrading your pages from HTTP to HTTPS will make your website more secure, ensuring users have a safer, more reliable experience.
#15 All Your Pages Should Have a Page Title and H1
One of the easiest ways to help optimize your site is by including page titles and H1 headings. Your page title is what draws people to your site. They’re the words that say, “click on me! I’m exactly what you’re looking for.” H1 headings are the actual name of your article like, “10 Digital Marketing Tactics to Leverage in 2022” while your page title might be “Best Marketing Tactics for 2022.”
We know, it’s a little confusing. But check out this awesome article by Serpstat for some visual examples.
#16 Review and Set Canonical Tags
A canonical tag is a piece of HTML code that helps decipher the importance of pages when there are similar or duplicate pages on a site. Basically, if you have similar content on multiple pages with different URLs, a canonical tag will help specify which one is the main page that should be indexed.
So, where does SEO come into play? Google isn’t a fan of duplicate or similar content and will end up wasting time crawling pages that aren’t the same instead of finding new, relevant content on your site.
#17 Use Easy to Understand URL Structure
The structure of a URL is simply how it looks. Ideally, a URL should include a description of the web page, keywords that describe the content of the page and is simple and concise. It’s essential that a URL is easy for users and search engines to understand.
#18 Find Where Internal Links Can be Improved
Internal links are any link from one page on your website to another. Internal links helps elevate the user experience by guiding users and search engines throughout your site. Without them, search engines can miss important pages and won’t be able to determine whether your content is valuable.
Spend some time going through your site and determining where internal links can be placed to help more of your content get exposure.
#19 Set Hreflang Tags
Hreflang tags are ideal to implement if your business serves an international market. Hreflang is code used to optimize pages aimed at different languages and/or regions. It helps ensure the right users are landing on the right page from the get-go, preventing high bounce rates, and preventing duplicate content.
You might have pages with very similar content in English targeting users in the US and Australia with only slight differences. With hreflang tags, Google will know that while your content is similar it is optimized and aimed for different users.
#20 Test Often
The truth is, SEO is a best that is constantly evolving and changing. So, it’s important to perform regular SEO technical audits to uncover strengths and weaknesses in your SEO strategy. By doing so, you’ll gain important insights into how your website is performing and what needs done to help you improve.
TKG is proud to say we’ve been implementing SEO strategies for over 20 years, long before the phrase “search engine optimization” was coined. Need some help determining the health of your site or just your overall SEO strategy? Start by using our free website grader to see your website’s key metrics like performance, SEO, mobile readiness and security and we’ll be in touch soon to review your results.