The following master’s thesis encompasses an in-depth technical SEO audit of the English version of BCN3D Technologies website, a Spanish 3D printing solutions manufacturer based in Castelldefels.
The reasons behind choosing BCN3D and SEO
First and foremost, I have chosen BCN3D Technologies as the object of my research as I was previously employed by the company as a Digital Communications Assistant. Even though I was primarily responsible for BCN3D’s social media platforms, rather than its SEO practices, I had the opportunity to learn about the lack of SEO strategy and the unsuccessful intents the company has had in the past to increase its organic ranking on Google’s search engine result pages.
Furthermore, I chose Search Engine Optimization as I believed, even before starting my master’s thesis, that SEO is not at all dead but it is very much alive, and it is an impactful and necessary completion of one’s Search Engine Marketing strategy, a theory that has proven to be true after constructing the project’s conceptual framework.
Briefly about the conceptual framework of the project
After describing all the related terminology and diving deep into related subjects, such as the evolution of SEO and Google, I have directed my attention towards the advantages and benefits of Search Engine Optimization. The most outstanding study I have found is the one conducted by Brian Dean and summarized in his blogpost written for Backlinko. According to this article, the first result on a SERP had the highest CTR and this rate dropped significantly as the number of the position progressed.
The research also showed a significant drop in the CTR from the second page onward.
This study, conducted using a data set of 5 million search results, illustrates well the importance of implementing a well-working SEO strategy to score as early on the SERPs as possible.
The aims and objects of the projects
I determined one general aim and four specific aims for this master’s thesis. The general aim of the project was to conduct a technical SEO audit on the English version of the BCN3D Technologies website to get an overview of the present state of the website from an SEO point of view. Afterwards, a proposal was planned to be created to increase incoming organic traffic from all search engines, but especially from Google.
I have decided to conduct the aforementioned technical SEO audit on webpages written in English only, as translations of the webpages to other languages have been inconsistent and not all pieces of content are available in other languages. By conducting a technical analysis on the English version of the BCN3D Technologies’ website, there could be global conclusions conducted that could be applied to the various versions of the website afterwards.
The four specific aims I determined for this master’s thesis were the following:
- To determine whether or not all audited web pages have all the necessary textual elements, such as titles, description, headers… etc., to be adequately indexed by a search engine.
- To detect any possible navigation errors, such as the Error 404, of all audited web pages or the server of the website.
- To determine the audited web pages’ performance, such as the page speed.
- To propose improvements for the audited web pages to increase incoming organic traffic from all search engines, but especially from Google.
I interconnected the four specific aims of the project to the proposed research questions. Therefore, the four research questions I determined were the following:
- Which textual elements could be improved on the audited web pages to optimize their indexation by the search engines?
- Which of the server’s and/or the website’s errors should be corrected to improve the website’s functionality?
- Which elements could be improved on the audited web pages to improve their performance?
- What improvements should be proposed to increase incoming organic traffic from all search engines, but especially from Google, on the audited web pages?
After taking all aspects into account I had previously studied and analyzed, I chose 12 factors that I wanted to examine during the technical SEO audit. These 12 technical SEO factors were the following:
- Title tag
- Meta description tag
- HTTPS protocol
- Errors in the HTTPS status codes
- Broken links on web pages
- Loading speed
- AMP / Adaptive / Responsive
- Site structure and sitemap
Afterwards, I carefully chose the most fitting SEO tools to obtain the most precise results on the technical SEO audit. Four technical SEO tools and methods were chosen; these are the following:
- Direct Observation
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- PageSpeed Insights
After conducting the technical SEO audit and analyzing the obtained results I prepared an in-depth guideline regarding the correct SEO methods and I provided examples as to how can the company correct its faulty SEO practices. At the end of the process, I curated a table that includes all the examined SEO factors, whether they need optimization on the BCN3D Technologies website, and the urgency of the said optimization.
All in all, the technical SEO audit conducted in this master’s thesis has proven to be prosperous, as the audit has discovered several SEO factors that are having detrimental effects on the website’s performance on the SERPs, with special attention paid to the Google SERPs. Also, other alternatives have been proposed as to how to correct these issues.
Last but not least, the technical SEO audit also satisfied both the proposed general as well as the specific aims of the project. Also, the research questions could be answered successfully.
Therefore, the technical SEO audit conducted in this master’s thesis can be perceived as successful, and it has served its proposed purpose.