Understanding technical SEO can be challenging. But there’s no need to worry because a well-structured technical SEO audit checklist can simplify the process significantly.
We created this tool to walk you through every crucial aspect of your website’s technical well-being and ensure that no vital factors affecting your search engine performance are overlooked.
If you’re looking to boost your website performance, these expert insights from a technical SEO page audit checklist will get you started.
Table of Contents
What Are the Key Objectives of a Technical SEO Audit?
The primary goal of a technical SEO audit is to ensure your website is listed by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This listing is similar to having an “open” sign on your business’s door, letting search engines know you exist online.
Furthermore, a technical SEO audit helps optimize how search engines navigate (“crawl”) your site, identifying organizational and structural issues that affect search rankings, which only such an audit can uncover.
SEO Technical Audit Checklist
An audit checklist is like a to-do list where you go through our guide and jot down any problems you discover in a file like Excel or Word. By keeping track of these issues, you can tackle them one by one, ensuring that your website is well-optimized for search engines.
Mobile friendliness is crucial because 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices, and Google uses the mobile version of your site for both mobile and desktop searches.
To check if your site is mobile-friendly, simply use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool. Enter your site into the tool, and it will tell you if Google deems your site optimized for mobile devices.
Confirm Single Website Indexing with Google
Ensure that Google indexes only one version of your site to avoid confusion. You may have different URL versions, like http://yoursite.com, https://yoursite.com, http://www.yoursite.com, and https://www.yoursite.com, which might seem similar to us but not to Google.
If not properly redirected, Google might treat them as separate sites. To check and fix this, simply type these four versions into your browser and ensure they all lead to the same site.
Optimize Site Speed
Google considers loading page speed a ranking factor, and it’s even more critical now. To make your site load fast,
- Clean up your site’s HTML code using PageSpeed Insights to identify issues.
- Test popular pages on your site, not just the homepage.
- Run a speed test to find and fix bottlenecks.
- Lastly, optimize your images because large ones can slow down your site.
Consider upgrading your hosting, as investing in better hosting can significantly improve loading times.
Identify and Remove Unused Pages
Finding and removing “Zombie Pages” is a crucial step that simplifies your SEO audit. Fewer pages mean fewer issues to tackle. Zombie Pages typically include:
- archive pages
- category and tag pages (common in WordPress)
- search result pages
- old press releases
- boilerplate content, and
- pages with thin content (less than 50 words)
Deleting these pages can declutter your website and improve its overall SEO performance.
Monitor Organic Traffic
Let’s check how much organic traffic your website is getting.
- Go to “Acquisition” >> “All Traffic” >> “Channels.”
- Select “Organic Search” to view how many people visited your site from search engines last month.
- Adjust the date range to the last 6-8 months to check if your organic traffic is trending positively.
If it’s flat or declining, don’t worry; this step is about setting benchmarks, and improvements should follow after completing the SEO audit.
Enhance On-Page SEO
Improving on-page SEO is crucial, but optimizing every page can be time-consuming. You don’t need to do that. Instead, focus on your top 5 most important pages, which could be those targeting key keywords, receiving lower traffic than before, or having the potential to rank in the top 5.
Implement Keyword Ranking Tracking
It’s time to monitor your search engine rankings. While many rank-tracking tools are available, SEMrush stands out as a great option. Why? Because SEMrush not only tracks the keywords you provide but also automatically identifies keywords you’re ranking for.
Analyzing your backlinks is crucial as they remain highly important for SEO. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a backlink analysis tool and enter your homepage URL.
- Check the number of referring domains (websites linking to you) to establish a benchmark.
- Assess your Domain Authority, which varies by tool but reflects your site’s authority based on the quality and quantity of backlinks.
- Be sure to identify and disavow any toxic or harmful links to maintain a healthy backlink profile.
This process will help you understand your site’s link profile and make necessary improvements.
Repair Broken Links
While Google may not be overly concerned about broken links, they can harm user experience, which can impact your SEO. To fix broken links on your site, follow these steps:
- First, identify pages Google can’t index by checking the “Index Report” in Google Search Console.
- Then, utilize a tool like SEMrush or the free Broken Link Check to identify and fix both internal and external broken links, ensuring a smoother user experience and better SEO performance.
Analyze Your Competitors
It’s time to analyze your competitors and gain valuable insights. Here’s how to do it:
- First, discover your competitors’ top keywords using tools like SEMrush.
- Second, study the page ranking for those terms and identify common traits.
- Finally, explore who links to those pages, as this can guide your link-building efforts.
Improve Your Content Quality
To make your pages 10 times better, follow these tips:
- Keep your intros concise since online readers tend to skim.
- Use short paragraphs to help readers easily consume your content.
- Incorporate plenty of subheaders to break up your content into manageable sections.
- Enhance your content with visuals, images, and videos to make it more engaging and informative. High-quality multimedia enhances the user experience and aids comprehension.
Enhance User Experience
Improving user experience (UX) is crucial for SEO nowadays. Google’s RankBrain assesses how users engage with your site, so your content should aim to satisfy users. When you optimize for UX signals and make users happy, Google rewards you with higher rankings.
Maximize Internal Linking
Optimize for Featured Snippets
To get your content into this prime spot, ensure it’s mobile-friendly, uses HTTPS, incorporates plenty of headers (H2 and H3 tags), includes concise answers to questions (around 42 words), and links to authoritative resources.
Assess Your Core Web Vitals Scores
To ensure everything is set up correctly, use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar, enter each URL version in your browser, and check the HTTP headers to confirm they all redirect to the same “master” version.
Regain Authority by Fixing Broken Pages
To boost your site’s authority, you must ensure your pages are indexed in Google’s vast database of web pages. Being in this index is essential for ranking in search results.
While indexing issues can be complex, you can start by checking for basic problems to make sure your pages have a chance to compete effectively.
Optimize Your Metadata
These tags help Google understand your page’s content and play a significant role in ranking your pages. They also provide searchers with a preview of your page’s content in search results, acting as advertisements for your content.
Identify Opportunities to Update Your Pages
Spotting opportunities to update your pages is essential. Even making small changes signals to Google that it should revisit and analyze your page. Consistent updates keep your pages current and pertinent in the eyes of the search engine, contributing to better SEO results.
Migrate from HTTP to HTTPS
To verify, just enter different versions of your site’s domain (like www.site.com, site.com, http://www.site.com) and ensure they all automatically redirect (status code 301) to the secure HTTPS version. This transition to HTTPS is essential for security and can positively impact your SEO.
Confirm Your Analytics/Tracking Setup
Check all these pages since some content management systems (CMSs) may handle templates differently, ensuring consistent tracking across your site. This helps you gather valuable data for analyzing user behavior and improving your site’s performance.
Check your Canonicalization
With the plugin installed, go to “Options,” make sure the “SEO” box is checked, and click “Generate Report.” In the generated report, confirm under “SEO” that “Document has a valid rel=canonical” is mentioned under “Content Best Practices.”
Access Google Search Console
As part of your technical SEO audit, ensure you can access the Search Console. Go to Google Search Console and ensure you are logged in with the right Gmail account for your site.
If you don’t have a Search Console account, you can set one up. This is essential to monitor and improve your site’s performance in Google search results.
Search for 404 Errors on Your Site
During your technical SEO audit, check for 404 errors by scanning your site or using free tools accessible to you. This helps ensure a smoother and more effective website for both search engines and visitors.
Audit Your Robots.Txt File
The robots.txt file on your site controls what robots, like Googlebots and Bingbots, can access. By using it, you can restrict bots from certain parts of your site, ensuring that only the pages you want to be indexed make it into search engines.
Address Security Concerns
In Google Search Console’s “Security Issues” report, you’ll find warnings about potential security problems such as malware, deceptive pages, harmful downloads, and uncommon downloads.
Verify your Schema Markup
While structured data doesn’t directly impact SEO rankings, it can enhance how your site appears in search results and boost your click-through rate.
Ensuring that your structured data functions correctly is crucial for improving your site’s visibility and user engagement in search engine results.
Setting Up Your Website to Be Crawled and Indexed
To ensure your website is properly crawled and indexed, you must run a crawl using different tools.
- First, check your robots.txt file, which tells crawlers which pages can be explored.
- Ensure you haven’t blocked essential parts or allowed access to unimportant areas.
A crawl report will uncover duplicate content issues which are detrimental to your search rankings. It also checks if your site is “indexable,” not only by Google but also by Bing and Yahoo. Look for the Google Analytics code (UA code) to confirm indexing.
Managing Internal and External Links
In a technical SEO audit, you must evaluate the quality of your internal links and backlinks.
- Check for broken internal links, which lead to error pages. Having too many of these is harmful to your site’s integrity.
- Assess the quality of your page URLs; avoid using URLs filled with numbers and characters that confuse crawlers and users.
- Examine your backlink profile briefly, ensuring they relate to your business. If low-ranking or irrelevant sites link to you, it can harm your searchability.
You can manually manage this process, but a tool can save time and help ensure link quality.
Organize Your Website, Establish a Clear Hierarchy of Your Content
Effective website organization and structure are crucial, especially for long-established sites with complex histories. As your site evolves, it can become confusing for search engine crawlers to understand its main focus.
Page overload, often seen in businesses like medical offices or law firms trying to rank for numerous services, can hinder results. It’s best to establish a clear hierarchy with a homepage at the top, followed by a few pillar pages directly linked to it.
Make additional sections for lower-level pages to keep everything organized and clear. Make subdomains for the next set of pages to keep things organized and clear, helping users and search engines find your content easily.
15 Tools to Try for Your Website SEO Audit
To perform a comprehensive technical SEO audit, it’s essential to utilize various tools. While the choice of tools is flexible, here are some common ones frequently employed by SEO managers:
- Screaming Frog
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Tag Manager
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Integrity (for Mac users)
- Xenu Sleuth (for PC users)
- Wayback Machine
- SEO Browser
These tools provide valuable insights and data to help you effectively audit and improve your website’s SEO performance.
How Often Should You Perform a Technical SEO Audit?
Google’s AI takes time to recognize your site’s authority. Therefore, it’s advisable to perform a comprehensive SEO audit approximately every six months.
This may sound frequent, but once you establish an audit template, it can be completed in a day or less. It’s good practice to check your on and off-page SEO strategy monthly, even though you don’t need to make major changes each time.
These regular check-ins help shape your overall digital marketing strategy, while the in-depth audit every six months ensures a more detailed analysis of your SEO performance.
Get Started with BrandLume’s Technical SEO Audit Services
A well-executed technical SEO audit is a critical step for enhancing your website’s performance and ensuring it ranks prominently in search results. BrandLume can conduct a comprehensive audit, identify issues, and implement strategic solutions to optimize your site’s performance. Contact us now.