If you’ve ever done one before, you already know how tedious and time consuming a Technical SEO audit can be.
Ryan Steward over at Webris put together an excellent Technical SEO Checklist & Guide, which will become our starting point. Here you’ll find a step-by-step process to identify issues that your website may have.
To prepare for your audit, you’ll need to:
- Copy the WEBris companion spreadsheet to your Google Drive. You can find it from the link to the WEBris guide.
- Install the Technical SEO workspace to your Gryffin account. From Gryffin, go to Admin > Template Library and install the SEO Audit template:
Once installed, you’ll be taken to your new workspace, where you can create unlimited technical audit projects. The default Workspace view is a spreadsheet.
To create a new technical audit project, click the button:
You’ll be taken to your new audit’s Project Hub:
A new, blank Project Hub
Your Project Hub includes…
- A SEO Technical Audit tracking template: Here you can fill out all the audit details, including the name, client, client contact person, due date, project manager in charge, audit support, expected duration, and more.
- An Automated SEO Audit Workflow to walk you through your technical audit. Each step (“Status”) generates a new checklist in the form of tasks.
- File storage for you to upload any files.
- Additional features including Calendar, Billing (for freelancers), Time Tracking, and more.
Sample Project Hub all filled in:
Now you’ve got everything set up to run your audit, so let’s get started!
Crawling the Site
In the top right, you’ll see a Status widget with a drop-down. The Status is the current stage of the project based on the automated workflow.
When you first create a project, it will automatically go to the first Status: “Run Crawlers,” and will generate all the tasks associated with that stage of the project. In this case, there are tasks to crawl the target site on 4 recommended audit tools:
- Crawl on SEMrush
- Crawl on Site Bulb
- Crawl on DeepCrawl
- Crawl on Screaming Frog
All tasks are assigned to the “Audit Support” used assigned in the project template.
Each of these tools will give you lots of data, which you will need when performing further technical checks.
Once you’ve crawled the site and marked the tasks done, you can select the next Status, and a new set of tasks will be generated, and so on, guiding you through each step of your technical audit.
Identifying Technical Errors
Next, you’ll go through several statuses that include looking for potential issues. Most of these will be explained in the WEBrish technical SEO guide.
These statuses include:
- XML Sitemaps
- URL Issues
- Meta Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Heading Tags
- Structured Data
- Keyword On Page SEO
- Image Optimization
- Duplicate Content Checks
- Canonical Tags
- Link Issues
- Google Search Console Errors
- SEO Equity
- Page Speed
When you click on each Status in Gryffin, new tasks will be created for you to review. You can save your issues in your Technical SEO Audit spreadsheet that you downloaded from WEBris. The guide will explain where to find these issues, what they mean, and what you can do about them.
As you find problems, you can create additional tasks for the relevant team member to address each issue. You can use the notes field, subtasks, or comments to link to/provide more data or details about what is wrong.
Once you’ve gone through all of the statuses and tasks, you should have a spreadsheet with a list of all of the technical problems you encountered.
When you hit the Audit Wrap-up Status in Gryffin, there will be 3 tasks for you to create the audit narrative, and prioritize the list of tasks.
Providing the client with an SEO audit checklist of fixes and to-dos is necessary, but many clients like a narrative to go along with the audit findings, giving an overall impression of what you found. A story is much more powerful than a simple list.
That doesn’t mean it has to be a massive or complicated story! Don’t waste time on a 200 page write-up that will overwhelm or turn off the client from reading it. A 2-5 page write-up should be more than enough, complemented with your tasks and links to the URLs affected by the issues.
Implement Audit Recommendations
At this stage, you’ll want to go through the task list of potential issues to start making the necessary changes.
For example, you may find that there are thin pages. You’ll want to create a task to “Consolidate or No-Index” these pages. You may have found errors in Schema markup. The error will be to review schema errors and fix. You’ll get a list of pages with meta titles that are too short or long—you’ll want to edit those to make them fit Google’s recommended search results character count.
Some of the fixes will be for developers, others for writers, etc.
The key is for you to make sure each and every fix is documented with a task, assigned to the relevant person, and assigned with a due date.
If you update the project with the overall due date of the project, you’ll know when all of your tasks need to be turned in so you don’t miss the deadline.
Once all of the fixes are implemented, the final task is to simply monitor the site’s performance to see the effects of the changes.
You can create a task for yourself to check Google Analytics and Google Search Console six weeks from the implementation finish, so you can see how the site is progressing.
Your project should have all of your spreadsheets included in the Relevant Links section, with any notes, details, etc.
What’s powerful about this method is that you can use multiple team members to help you in the process of running the audit and executing the changes. Whether you are using a virtual assistant to gather data, writers to spice up your meta titles and descriptions, developers to optimize code, or a designer to improve images, you can task everyone and task their progress from one single project.
If you have files, they can be uploaded to the files section. If there are questions or issues to be discussed, you can add them in the chat. Everything related to your audit can happen around one central hub. It takes the complexity out of technical SEO audits and makes running them seamless.
In the end, you’ll see the results of your hard-earned work through the increase in organic traffic and, simultaneously, sales!