3. URL Optimization
When you’re creating a new web page (or updating an existing page), it’s important to pay attention to the URL. If your URLs don’t contain your target keywords or are complex, this will lower your rankings. Furthermore, mismatched URLs can dissuade users from clicking on links and can, therefore, disrupt the customer journey.
If you’re running a fashion eCommerce website, for example, a product category page with the following URL:
is far more SEO-friendly and clickable than:
While this may seem a relatively simple way of boosting SEO rankings and enhancing the usability of a website, it’s something that many site owners overlook and an element that is always identified as part of a technical SEO audit.
Here are some best practices to follow when deciding on your URL:
- Incorporate descriptive keywords.
- Avoid excessive parameters.
- Use hyphens for word separation.
- Ensure a consistent URL structure throughout your website.
4. Page Speed
Since 2015, page speed has been an extremely important Google ranking factor.
Equally, even a delay of a second or two can drastically increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate. This makes page speed a top priority if you want to retain users and increase your rankings.
As part of a technical SEO audit service, page speed should be analyzed, but the factors affecting page speeds should also be assessed. This will tell you not only how long it takes your web pages to load, but why. With this information, you’ll be able to increase page speeds by resolving these specific issues.
Here are a few things you can do which will typically reduce page speed:
- Compressing images
- Minifying HTML code
- Enabling browser caching
- Improving server response time
Core Web Vitals
Intricately linked to page speed and website performance, Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of three user experience metrics that were introduced as a Google ranking factor in 2021. Google prioritizes websites that pass the CWV “test” in the SERP.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP measures the loading performance of a web page by determining the time taken for the largest content element (such as an image or text block) to become visible within the viewport. It helps assess how quickly users can see the main content and is considered good when it occurs within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): FID evaluates the interactivity of a web page by measuring the time between a user’s first interaction (E.G. clicking a button or selecting a dropdown) and the browser’s response. It indicates the responsiveness of the page and is considered good when it is less than 100 milliseconds, ensuring users can smoothly interact with the website.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures the visual stability of a web page by calculating the amount of unexpected layout shifts that occur during the page load. A layout shift happens when elements on the page move unexpectedly, causing frustration for users. CLS is considered good when it is less than 0.1, ensuring a visually stable browsing experience.
A technical SEO audit will assess how your website performs in relation to the Core Web Vitals and, in turn, what you can do to improve your LCP, FID, and/or CLS.
Side note: Google recently announced that Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will replace FID as a Core Web Vitals metric in 2024. INP assesses webpage responsiveness using the Event Timing API, measuring the latency of user interactions and reporting a single value representing the threshold for most interactions.
5. Mobile Responsiveness
Now that mobile traffic accounts for over half of all online traffic, it’s more important than ever that your website is ‘mobile-friendly’. Not to mention, Google now uses “mobile-first” indexing, meaning the mobile version of a website is the primary basis for determining rankings.
The wide variety of mobile devices means that users could be viewing your website on virtually any screen size and ‘mobile responsiveness’ refers to how effectively your site’s layout and content can be delivered across these mediums.
As you might imagine, mobile responsiveness has a significant impact on the user experience (UX). If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, users won’t remain on your site when browsing via a mobile device, but you won’t achieve high SEO rankings either, even for desktop searches.
We analyze your website’s mobile compatibility and recommend employing responsive design principles, thus ensuring seamless user experiences across all screen sizes.