Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO experts Shelly Fagin, Ryan Jones, Adam Riemer, and Tony Wright. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!
This week for Ask An SEO, we have a question from Shay in Morehead City, who asks:
“How can I overcome technical SEO issues on a budget?”
While some technical issues will require allocating a budget to tackle, others are pretty simple to address yourself.
Identify Your List of Technical SEO Issues
First off, you are going to need to identify the site issues.
If you’ve already had a technical audit performed, excellent.
Start by transferring the list of the technical problems into a spreadsheet.
Next, add a column so you can assign who is capable of fixing each issue.
Can you or another teammate handle the fixes, or do you need a developer?
Then include a column and format with checkboxes so you can quickly check off the tasks once done.
Fire Up Your Favorite SEO Tool(s)
If you have not had a recent site audit performed and the budget doesn’t allow for one, have no fear.
Screaming Frog’s crawler is handy for identifying common problems like a poor HTTPS implementation, broken or redirected internal links, duplicate content, and missing title tags or H1s.
SEMrush’s site audit tool is fantastic for identifying thin content, orphaned content, poor internal linking, redirect chains, crawl issues, and more. This tool is also excellent for sending you emailed updates to alert you when new problems arise.
Considering that you are on a tight budget, make sure to use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, as both are available for free.
Both search engines have provided us with invaluable information about our websites. Use them.
One of the first things I do when performing a site audit is to do a site search on Google.
Entering site:example.com can make it easy to spot a lot of issues. If your site has been compromised, this is the easiest way to detect a hacked website.
Your Google Analytics account is a fantastic tool for identifying pages on your site that are loading slower than the other ones.
Make sure to inspect slow ones in the Google Page Speed Tool and or Google Lighthouse.
Some of the slowest loading pages are usually due to an oversized image or two. Maybe the pictures aren’t compressed.
These are pretty simple technical fixes that you can handle fixing your self, and it makes a huge difference.
Prioritize Your List of Technical SEO Fixes
Once you have compiled your list, split it between two tabs, one for the fixed you can handle and the other for the tasks that need the assistance of a developer. Then organize each by order of priority.
Or, if you are lucky, your SEO auditor might have already done that for you.
If not, in tools like GSC and SEMrush, you’ll want to prioritize Errors over Warnings.
Anything marked as an error should always be first as soon as possible before addressing the warning messages.
If you do have a little budget to work with, find a developer who can help you work through the more complicated items your list one at a time or as the budget will allow.
Sometimes a website is built poorly and full of technical issues and inefficient code.
In that case, you should prioritize fixing your on-page issues first, like fixing or removing internal links that pass through a redirect or return a 404 error page or result in a redirect chain.
Fix missing header tags, title tags, meta descriptions, and adding in content links to orphaned pages where appropriate.
These are pretty simple tasks that can make a big difference and move the needle in a positive direction.
Hopefully, the needle will move just enough to convince the C-suite to buy into having a new and improved website built.