Performing Regular Tech SEO Checks with SE Ranking
April 20, 2022
Disclaimer: Recently, SE Ranking kindly granted Elementive a free trial of their tool. This post is a result of our time trying out SE Ranking during that free trial.
A while back, I wrote a post about the regular technical SEO tasks that should be conducted on a routine basis. That included fixing errors, finding and removing low-quality content, improving speed, and more. Although these tasks can be completed using a variety of tools, in this post, I want to walk through how we can do each of these tasks and, more generally improve the website’s technical structure, using SE Ranking’s audit tool.
Quick side note: I’d not used SE Ranking before this trial but after the trial, I’m impressed with what the tool has to offer. SE Ranking has some very good features and that’s what prompted me to write this post to highlight some of those features. I’d suggest you give SE Ranking a try if you haven’t already and see what all it has to offer.
SE Ranking Setup & Starting the Audit
Before getting into the specific tasks, you’ll want to add your website to SE Ranking, if it isn’t added already. After this initial screen, you’ll want to input the various items to track, like keywords or competitors.
Once you’ve added a site to your SE Ranking projects, access it from the Dashboard or from the drop-down list under the Projects tab and go to the Website Audit section. This is where you’ll find lots of great data to help with your tech SEO tasks.
A website audit will start automatically after adding the project and then you can re-run the crawl too from this page. As with every crawler, keep in mind that it will take some time to process given the volume of things that SE Ranking takes into consideration.
Once completed, SE Ranking lists the errors, warnings, and notices. Errors represent the most critical issues, warnings are the semi-important issues, and notices are not necessarily a problem but something to investigate. This is what we’ll pay attention to for the various tech SEO tasks you’ll want to complete on a regular basis.
With that audit completed, we’re ready to dig into the regular technical SEO tasks. SE Ranking reports on a lot more than the few items I’m covering here, so I encourage you to review those items in more detail for your website.
Task: Find 404 not-found errors and find any broken links leading toward those errors. Once found, you can fix the broken link and redirect the not-found error.
As you scroll down SE Ranking’s audit report, in the sidebar menu select Issue Report and then choose HTTP Status Codes. One issue reported here will be the number of pages with a 4xx response.
You can click on the number in the Pages column to check pages with 4xx or other status codes. You can also export the list to a CSV or Excel file.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the exact status code is provided in the right column when you click on the page’s list. You can filter all the pages for those being 404 or 301 (or any other status code).
Once you have the complete list of pages in error, you can go back to the detail list and link “view all” to see all the pages containing a broken link referencing this error. This is also available in the Issue Report, if you go to HTTP Status Code, filter to 4XX HTTP Status Codes, and then look at referring pages. That is very helpful and something SE Ranking does better than other SEO tools which tend to hide the source links pointing to the error. With this list, you can quickly run through each source link and update the broken links.
Finding and Removing Low-Quality Content
Task: Find low-quality or thin content pages and remove them from the website. You don’t want bad content to ruin good SEO.
This can be a tough issue to locate in SEO tools, but SE Ranking does a good job here. Go to the Issue Report and review the Duplicate Content and Textual Content sections.
Within the Duplicate Content and Textual Content sections, you can find information about several different content issues—more than I’d called out in that initial post about regular tech SEO checks. SE Ranking will report on duplicate content, low-volume content, missing headers, duplicated headers, or headers that are too long.
Like with the errors, you can click the cell with the issue name to find more details about this issue. Helpfully, SE Ranking lists how many pages link to the page with the content issue. This feature helps to clarify the importance of the issue—if an H1 tag is missing from a page that is only linked to once throughout the entire site, that issue probably isn’t as important as an H1 tag missing from a page linked to from several hundred pages on the site. That’s because of the likelihood of traffic to those pages and the importance Googlebot gives to internal links.
You can also find content issues under “Images”. This section will report on which images are missing alt text and which images are too big. SE Ranking also reports on broken images under the HTTP Status Code report when viewing 404 errors.
Improving Speed & Site Performance
Task: find where your website is running slowly and find ways to optimize. If you think you are fast enough already, you are (almost always) wrong and can improve your website load time more.
SE Ranking helps you take on one of the most important and technically hardest aspects of technical SEO: speed and Core Web Vitals.
In the Website Speed and Performance sections of the audit, SE Ranking provides details on the website’s speed and ways to improve. Helpfully, SE Ranking also breaks out the individual issues to focus on and the count of pages with that particular issue.
I’ve only touched on a handful of items within SE Ranking’s audit (and more generally within SE Ranking’s total offering). Within this audit, you can find details about problems with title tags, meta descriptions, internal linking issues, problems with dofollow vs. nofollow, and more. There is also an ability to generate an XML sitemap which can be handy if your website can’t auto-generate this or if your website generates an XML sitemap full of errors.
One more tool that SE Ranking offers that I want to mention in a little more detail is the ability to view and track various kinds of search features. Search features include a wide variety of things. Some, like featured snippets, don’t have much to do with the technical side of SEO. However, other features, like Reviews, do have more to do with technical SEO because getting those features relies on schema.
To access this reporting, you’ll want to leave the audit and access the Keyword Rank Tracker tool, which is under “Rankings” in the navigation.
On the Summary page, you can see details about ranking trends, top keywords, top pages, and competitors. In the detailed report, you can filter to “SERP Features”. This report will show you how many of the tracked keywords have search features either for your website or for your competitors. For example, in this graph, we can see that this website doesn’t use any review related search features, but competitors do—that might indicate an opportunity to use reviews schema on the website to better compete in the search results.
I want to thank SE Ranking for giving Elementive access to this trial. SE Ranking is a solid tool and it provides a lot of useful information about a website’s SEO performance, including several reports that are helpful for understanding the technical SEO factors and problems that need to be improved. As you are evaluating SEO tools for your SEO work, I would recommend trying out SE Ranking to see if it can be a good tool for your specific needs.
For more information about the technical SEO factors you do need to pay attention to, please consider checking out my book, Tech SEO Guide. Or, for more personalized help, please contact me today to discuss how your website is performing.