Technical SEO Audit in 12 Steps [+ Checklist]

Embarking on a technical SEO audit is no small feat. Neglecting routine checkups can wreak havoc on your website’s performance. Overlooked glitches and bugs are often the culprits behind subpar website indexing, a flawed user experience, and missed profits. Not to mention the jeopardy it poses to all your prior SEO endeavors.

Within this comprehensive guide, I’ll navigate you through the intricacies of a technical SEO audit, bridging the gap between theory and practice. By traversing these 12 indispensable steps, you’ll not only refine your website to captivate search engines but also ensure user satisfaction.

For those pressed for time, feel free to grab our succinct yet potent Technical SEO Audit Checklist for a speedy overview.

Technical SEO

What is a technical SEO audit?

When delving into the realm of content creation, three pivotal factors demand attention: “perplexity,” “burstiness,” and “predictability.” Perplexity serves as the yardstick for measuring textual intricacy. Simultaneously, burstiness gauges the ebb and flow, the variances within sentences. Lastly, predictability determines the likelihood of predicting the subsequent sentence. Human-authored content tends to embody greater burstiness, oscillating between longer, complex sentences and shorter, crisp ones. Conversely, AI-generated sentences lean towards uniformity. Consequently, for the forthcoming content creation task, a desirable blend of perplexity and burstiness is sought, coupled with minimal predictability. The language medium for this task is exclusively English. Now, let’s reimagine the following passage:

Embarking on a technical SEO audit mirrors a meticulous examination of your website’s digital well-being. This scrutiny encompasses aspects such as crawlability, indexing, site structure, loading speed, and overall performance, among various other elements. This comprehensive analysis serves as a diagnostic tool, enabling the identification and resolution of technical issues. The ultimate goal is to ensure your website operates seamlessly, appears prominently in search results, and delivers an exceptional user experience.

Technical audits may serve diverse objectives, ranging from pre-launch website scrutiny to optimizing ongoing processes, managing site migrations, or addressing issues related to Google sanctions. My intention in crafting this checklist was to establish a universal guide, encompassing all key facets of a technical SEO audit. However, feel free to tailor the approach to align with your distinct requirements and objectives.

Reasons to conduct a technical SEO audit

In the realm of crafting compelling content, three vital elements come into play: “perplexity,” “burstiness,” and “predictability.” Perplexity gauges the intricacy woven into the fabric of text. Meanwhile, burstiness delves into the dynamic spectrum of sentence variations. Lastly, predictability quantifies the likelihood of someone predicting the subsequent sentence. Humans, often opting for a blend of extended, intricate sentences and concise ones, introduce heightened burstiness to their writing. On the flip side, AI-generated sentences tend to adhere to a more uniform structure. For the forthcoming content you are tasked with creating, a substantial infusion of perplexity and burstiness is imperative, coupled with a deliberate reduction in predictability. Additionally, please adhere strictly to the use of the English language.

Now, reimagine the ensuing text:

Embarking on a technical SEO audit proves instrumental in uncovering issues that pose a threat to your SERP rankings. If Google encounters hurdles in crawling your content and indexing your pages, the consequence is a severe impediment to your website’s ability to rank and attract traffic.

Nevertheless, a judiciously timed audit empowers you to identify and rectify these glitches before they inflict substantial harm. The ensuing clean-up operation plays a pivotal role in elevating your website’s visibility across search engines, fostering growth in traffic.

How to perform a technical SEO audit

Step 1: Scan your website’s pages

Let’s commence by conducting a comprehensive examination of your website through an in-depth site scan, encompassing all its pages and resources such as CSS, images, videos, JavaScript, and PDFs. This method lays the groundwork for a meticulous analysis of your entire site.

To initiate the scanning process, launch Website Auditor and establish a new project. On the initial screen, input your website’s URL and proceed by clicking Next. For those familiar with Website Auditor, simply select New from the top bar to embark on a new project. By default, Website Auditor will navigate through your website using the SEO-Power Suite-bot. However, if you wish to modify the crawler’s settings, perhaps configuring robots.txt instructions for a specific search engine, check the box labeled Enable expert options.

Please ensure that your instructions and interactions are communicated solely in the English language.

Step 2: Detect crawlability and indexing issues

Ensuring the accessibility of your website to Google and other search engines for crawling and indexing is paramount. Without this capability, your pages will inevitably fall short in securing rankings.

In essence, crawlability and indexing issues can be broadly categorized into two types:

  1. A URL remains unindexed when it should be included in the index.
  2. Conversely, a URL is indexed despite not meeting the criteria for inclusion.

It is imperative to address these issues to uphold the effective functioning of your website on search engines. Please maintain communication in the English language.

Step 3. Check the site structure

A straightforward and well-defined website structure is indispensable for several compelling reasons. The primary ones encompass:

  1. Facilitating effortless discovery and access to content for users.
  2. Accelerating the scanning and indexing process for crawlers.
  3. Enhancing the scalability of the website, a transparent hierarchy simplifies the addition of new content and sections without disrupting the overall organizational coherence.

Step 4: Fix redirects

When the URL of a web page undergoes changes or relocates to a new address, redirects come into play to guide visitors to the correct destination. However, if redirects are not configured correctly, visitors may encounter errors or be directed to irrelevant content. This adversely impacts their user experience and has the potential to drive them away from your website.

From an SEO standpoint, improperly set up redirects can also impede search engine crawlers, hindering the indexing and ranking of your pages. It is crucial to ensure precise configuration to maintain a seamless experience for both users and search engines. Please communicate in the English language for clarity and understanding.

Step 5: Audit for internal linking issues

Detecting internal linking issues on your site is vital for preserving your SEO well-being. When search engines face challenges in comprehending the connections between content, specific pages may encounter difficulties in being crawled or indexed accurately.

Kindly ensure communication is conducted in the English language for clarity and coherence.

Step 6. Examine on-page tags

On-page tags play a pivotal role as a direct ranking factor. Without proper optimization of HTML tags, your pages are unlikely to appear in search results. Search engines utilize titles and meta descriptions to construct a search snippet, which serves as the initial impression for users and significantly influences the organic click-through rate. It is crucial to address and optimize these elements.

Headings, coupled with paragraphs, bulleted lists, and other structural components of a webpage, contribute to the creation of rich search results on Google. Additionally, they naturally enhance readability and user interaction with the page, potentially sending positive signals to search engines. It is imperative to review and refine titles, meta descriptions, and H1–H6 headings across all pages, a task efficiently facilitated by WebSite Auditor.

Step 7: Address duplicate content issues

While Google doesn’t impose severe penalties for duplicate content, it can still detrimentally impact your position and reputation. For instance, Google’s algorithm may index an incorrect version of a page, leading it to appear in the SERP. Alternatively, an entire website might suffer from poor indexing, being perceived as spammy due to an abundance of duplicates.

Certainly, it’s more convenient to prevent the creation of duplicate content than to address it later. However, practical challenges arise, particularly on extensive e-commerce sites, where avoiding duplicates entirely can be challenging.

Step 8: Test load speed and page experience

The speed of your website and the overall page experience have a direct impact on organic rankings. Enhancing these elements can result in improved visibility and higher positions. It is crucial at this juncture to conduct an audit of your core web vitals.

Core Web Vitals constitute a specific set of ranking factors that Google deems essential for gauging user experience.

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): evaluates the loading time of your pages.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): measures the time it takes for a page to respond to a user’s interaction.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): assesses the visual stability of a page during the loading process.

Step 9: Check mobile-friendliness

As you’re aware, Google has completely transitioned to mobile-first indexing. Hence, the significance of mobile-friendliness cannot be overstated when it comes to organic rankings.

Common issues that impact mobile-friendliness include:

  1. The text is too small to read.
  2. The viewport is not set.
  3. The content extends beyond the screen width.
  4. Clickable elements are positioned too closely together.

Step 10: Spot coding errors

Even if a webpage appears visually appealing and seamless, it’s imperative to inspect its code. While users may not perceive flawed code, Google has the ability to delve into what lies beneath the surface. If a search engine encounters unreadable code, it can significantly impact loading speed and bid farewell to securing favorable positions in the SERP.

Step 11: Ask Google to recrawl your site

After completing the audit of your website and resolving all technical issues, expediting the recognition of changes by Google involves requesting a recrawl of your pages. To accomplish this, navigate to Google Search Console, submit the updated URL (or multiple URLs) using the URL Inspection tool, and click on “Request indexing.”

Step 12: Conduct regular website audits

The online landscape is susceptible to various unforeseen events, some of which have the potential to disrupt your rankings. Additionally, the human factor cannot be overlooked, as inadvertent actions by a website owner can occasionally lead to issues. Hence, integrating regular technical audits into your SEO strategy should be deemed an indispensable practice.

Wrapping up

I know, tackling a technical SEO audit may seem daunting at first sight. But I hope that these instructions will help you nail this task and maintain your website in good shape.

And don’t forget to grab our technical SEO checklist PDF for a quick revision later on.