Your website may look great on the outside – it has a nice design, is easy to navigate, and has lots of useful content and call to actions to encourage visitors to take the next step. All of this is important for SEO purposes, but what’s also important is what’s going on behind the scenes. An SEO audit should include analyzing things like inbound links, keywords, and anchor text but it’s also important to look at the technical aspects of your website. The coding on the back end may not mess up the “look” of your website, but it could potentially harm your SEO efforts.
The coding of your website is extremely important for SEO purposes. The search engine spiders aren’t humans. They aren’t actually looking at a site to see that is has a nice design or that it is easy to use. They are “reading” everything on the back end. It’s important to take a look at your website from the search engine spider perspective by conducting a technical SEO audit every now and then, especially if you are making any drastic changes to the layout of your website.
Technical SEO audits can be achieved by using SEO software that thinks like a search engine spider. It will analyze your site for any errors that are red flags to the search engines like duplicate page content, duplicate titles, missing meta descriptions, error pages, etc. The search engine spiders favor sites that are comprehensive and include unique meta information for each page of the site. If you have duplicate pages, that’s a major “no-no”. Even if it isn’t being done on purpose, it looks like you are trying to game the system by having two different pages of your site rank for specific keywords. If you find that you have duplicate pages, it’s necessary to have a developer 301 re-direct the duplicates to one page. Don’t delete the duplicates entirely because you want to preserve all of the trust.
Technical SEO issues are a reminder of how important it is to use a good content management system that is easy to use and that won’t mess anything up on the back end. Messy code makes it difficult for a developer to make changes and can lead to mistakes that negatively affect SEO.
A technical SEO audit may point out a variety of “issues” but it’s necessary to understand which need fixing and which don’t. Remember, the user experience of your website is always the most important thing. For example, a technical SEO audit may warn you that you have a duplicate title issue, but that just may be because you operate a blog and the duplicate title is a result of the pagination. Pagination is good from a user standpoint, so you would want to leave that as is.
If you experience a sudden dip in traffic or are undergoing any major website development changes, conduct a technical SEO audit. Regular review and clean up of the coding on the back end can keep your SEO program running smoothly.