Technical SEO Audit Checklist

A technical SEO audit comprehensively assesses your website’s technical health. It identifies any issues preventing search engines from correctly crawling, indexing, and ranking your pages. A technical SEO audit is important because it can help you improve your website’s visibility and organic traffic. By fixing any technical issues, you can make it easier for search engines to understand your website and rank your pages higher in search results. We guide you to the Technical SEO Audit Checklist in 10 simple steps.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is optimizing your website’s technical infrastructure and elements to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves ensuring that your website is crawlable, indexable, and mobile-friendly, as well as addressing any other underlying technical issues that may be preventing it from performing at its best.

Businesses and website owners often overlook technical SEO, but it can have a significant impact on your website’s organic traffic and overall success. By investing in technical SEO, you can make it easier for search engines to understand your website and content and improve your chances of ranking higher for relevant keywords.

Why is technical SEO important?

There are a few key reasons why technical SEO is important:

  • It helps search engines understand your website. Search engines use crawlers to index the web, and these crawlers need to be able to access and understand your website’s content to rank it. Technical SEO helps to ensure that your website is crawlable and indexable and that your content is structured in a way that is easy for search engines to understand.
  • It improves your website’s performance. Technical SEO can also help to improve your website’s performance in terms of loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall user experience. These factors are all important ranking signals for search engines, so by improving your website’s technical performance, you can also improve its ranking potential.
  • It can help you to avoid penalties. Search engines like Google can penalize websites with technical issues, such as duplicate content, broken links, and 404 errors. By addressing any technical issues on your website, you can avoid being penalized and improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.

You can use various tools and resources to perform a technical SEO audit. Some popular options include:

  • Google Search Console
  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz Pro
  • Screaming Frog

Once you have chosen a tool, you can begin auditing your website. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

1. Check your sitemap

A sitemap is a file that lists all of the pages on your website. It helps search engines understand your website structure and crawl your pages more efficiently.

To check your sitemap, go to Google Search Console and select Sitemaps from the left-hand menu. If you have a sitemap, it will be listed here. Ensure that your sitemap is up-to-date and includes all of the pages on your website.

Check your sitemap

2. Check your robots.txt file

The robots.txt file tells search engines which pages on your website they can and cannot crawl.

To check your robots.txt file, go to the root directory of your website and look for a file called robots.txt. Ensure your robots.txt file is not blocking any important pages from being crawled.

There are two ways to check your robots.txt file:

i. Using a web browser

To check your robots.txt file using a web browser, navigate to the following URL:

https://example.com/robots.txt

Replace example.com with your domain name.

If you see the contents of your robots.txt file, then your robots.txt file is properly configured and accessible to search engines. If you see a 404 error, then your robots.txt file is missing or not accessible to search engines.

ii. Using Google Search Console

You can also use Google Search Console to check your robots.txt file. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Google Search Console and sign in to your account.
  2. Click on the “Coverage” tab.
  3. Click on the “Excluded” section.
  4. Click on the “Robots.txt” tab.

You will see a list of all the URLs blocked by your robots.txt file. You can click on any URL to learn why it is blocked.

3. Check for duplicate content

Duplicate content appears on multiple pages of your website or multiple websites. Duplicate content can confuse search engines and make it difficult for them to rank your pages correctly.

You can use various tools to check for duplicate content, such as Copyscape or SEMrush. If you find duplicate content, you can remove it or ensure the original page is properly canonicalized.

There are two ways to check for duplicate content:

i. Using Google Search

One way to check for duplicate content is to use Google Search. To do this, copy a few unique phrases from your content and paste them into Google Search. If you see other websites that have the same content, then your content is considered duplicate.

ii. Using a duplicate content checker tool

There are also several duplicate content checker tools available online. These tools can scan your website for duplicate content and provide you with a report.

Some popular duplicate content checker tools include:

  • Copyscape
  • Grammarly
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Siteliner

To use a duplicate content checker tool, enter the URL of your website or the text of your content into the tool. The tool will then scan your website or content for duplicate content.

4. Check for broken links

Broken links are links that point to pages that do not exist. Broken links can frustrate users and make it difficult for search engines to crawl your website.

To check for broken links, you can use a tool such as Screaming Frog or Ahrefs. If you find any broken links, fix them as soon as possible.

There are two main ways to check for broken links:

i. Manually

To manually check for broken links, you can click on all the links on your website. If any of the links lead to a 404 error page, then the link is broken.

However, this method can be time-consuming and impractical for websites with many pages.

ii. Using a broken link checker tool

There are several broken link checker tools available online. These tools can scan your website for broken links and provide a report.

Some popular broken link checker tools include:

  • Google Search Console
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Dead Link Checker
  • Broken Link Checker

To use a broken link checker tool, enter the URL of your website into the tool. The tool will then scan your website for broken links.

Once you have identified any broken links on your website, you can fix them by updating or removing them.

5. Check your site speed

Site speed is the time it takes for a web page to load. A slow site speed can frustrate users and hurt your search engine rankings.

You can use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to check your site speed. If your site speed is slow, there are several things you can do to improve it, such as optimizing your images, using a caching plugin, and reducing the number of plugins and widgets on your website.

There are several ways to check your site speed. Here are a few popular options:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool from Google analyzes your site’s performance and provides recommendations for improvement. It also gives your site a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating faster sites.
  • GTmetrix: This tool provides similar information to Google PageSpeed Insights, but it also includes a waterfall chart that shows how long it took each element on your page to load.
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test: This tool provides a simple and easy-to-read report of your site’s speed and performance. It also includes a comparison of your site’s speed to other similar sites.

To use any of these tools, enter the URL of your site into the tool and click the “Test” button. The tool will then analyze your site and provide you with a report of its speed and performance.

6. Check your mobile friendliness

More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet. You will miss out on much potential traffic if your website is not mobile-friendly.

To check your mobile friendliness, you can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. If your website is not mobile-friendly, there are many things you can do to improve it.

There are two main ways to check your mobile friendliness:

i. Using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a free tool that you can use to check how easily a mobile device user can access and use your website. To use the tool, enter your website’s URL and click the “Test” button.

The tool will then analyze your website and report its mobile friendliness. The report will tell you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, and it will also provide you with specific recommendations for improvement.

ii. Using a mobile device

Another way to check your mobile friendliness is to visit your website on a mobile device. Pay attention to the following factors:

  • Is the text on your website easy to read?
  • Are the images on your website optimized for mobile devices?
  • Are the buttons on your website easy to tap?
  • Can you easily navigate your website on a mobile device?

If you answer no to any of these questions, then your website is not mobile-friendly.

7. Check your site’s security

A secure website is important for both users and search engines. A secure website uses HTTPS encryption. HTTPS encryption protects user data from being intercepted by third parties.

To check if your website is secure, look for the padlock icon in your browser’s address bar. Your website is insecure if you do not see the padlock icon. You can fix this by installing an SSL certificate on your website.

There are several ways to check your site’s security, including:

  1. Use a security scanner. There are several free and paid security scanners available online. These scanners can scan your site for known vulnerabilities and malware.
  2. Check your SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts the data transmitted between your site and visitors’ browsers. To check your SSL certificate, look at the address bar in your browser. If the address bar begins with “https://” and there is a green lock icon next to the URL, then your site has a valid SSL certificate.
  3. Keep your software up to date. Outdated software can contain security vulnerabilities. Make sure that your website’s content management system (CMS), plugins, and themes are all up to date.
  4. Use strong passwords. Strong passwords are difficult to guess and crack. Use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords.
  5. Back up your site regularly. If your site is hacked or compromised, having a backup will allow you to restore your site quickly and easily.

8. Check your structured data

Structured data is formatting your website’s data so search engines can easily understand it. Structured data can help search engines display rich snippets in search results, which can improve your click-through rate.

You can use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to check your structured data. If you find any errors in your structured data, fix them immediately.

There are two ways to check your structured data:

i. Using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool is a free tool that you can use to test your structured data and see how it is rendered in Google Search results. To use the tool, enter your website’s URL and click the “Test” button.

The tool will then analyze your website and provide you with a report of your structured data. The report will tell you whether your structured data is valid or not, and it will also provide you with specific suggestions for improvement.

ii. Using a structured data validator

There are several third-party structured data validators available online. These validators can also be used to test your structured data and see how it is rendered in Google Search results.

Some popular structured data validators include:

  • Schema Markup Validator
  • JSON-LD Testing Tool
  • Microdata Testing Tool

To use a structured data validator, enter your website’s URL into the tool and click the “Test” button.

The tool will then analyze your website and provide you with a report of your structured data. The report will tell you whether your structured data is valid or not, and it will also provide you with specific suggestions for improvement.

9. Check your crawl budget

The crawl budget is the number of pages on your website that a search engine will crawl in a given period. If your website has a large number of pages, it is important to make sure that your crawl budget is being used efficiently.

To check your crawl budget, go to Google Search Console and select Crawl from the left-hand menu. Then, click on the Crawl Stats tab. You will see your crawl budget listed here.

Suppose you are concerned about your crawl budget. In that case, there are many things you can do to improve it, such as prioritizing important pages, using a robots.txt file to block unimportant pages, and using canonicalization to avoid duplicate content.

There are two ways to check your crawl budget:

i. Using Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to see how Google is crawling your website. To check your crawl budget in Google Search Console, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Google Search Console and sign in to your account.
  2. Click on the “Settings” tab.
  3. Click on the “Crawl Stats” tab.

You will see a report of your website’s crawl stats. The report will tell you the number of pages that Google has crawled, the number of pages that Google has indexed, and the number of pages that Google has blocked.

To get a more detailed report of your crawl budget, click the “Crawl Stats by Host” link. This report will show you the crawl stats for your website’s hosts.

ii. Using a server log analyzer

A server log analyzer is a tool that can be used to analyze your website’s server logs. Server logs contain information about all of the requests that are made to your website.

To check your crawl budget using a server log analyzer, you must download your website’s server logs and then analyze them using the server log analyzer.

The server log analyzer will show you the number of requests Google has made to your website. This information can be used to calculate your crawl budget.

10. Check your log files

Your website’s log files contain a record of all the traffic to your website. You can use your log files to identify any technical issues that may be occurring, such as broken links or 404 errors.

To check your log files, you will need to access your server. Once you have accessed your server, look for a file called access.log. This file will contain a record of all the traffic to your website.

Some resources are available online if you are unsure how to read your log files. You can also contact your web hosting provider for assistance.

To check your log files, you can use various methods, depending on the type of log file and your operating system.

Windows

To check log files on Windows, you can use the Event Viewer. To do this:

  1. Open the Event Viewer by pressing Windows + R and typing eventvwr.msc.
  2. Expand the Windows Logs node.
  3. Expand the Application node.
  4. Click the System log.
  5. In the right pane, you will see a list of all of the events that have been logged.

You can also use other tools to check log files on Windows, such as:

  • Log Parser
  • Event Log Explorer
  • LogMeIn Central

Mac

To check log files on Mac, you can use the Console app. To do this:

  1. Open the Console app by pressing Command + Space and typing Console.
  2. In the left pane, select the log file you want to view.
  3. In the right pane, you will see the contents of the log file.

You can also use other tools to check log files on Mac, such as:

  • Loggly
  • Papertrail
  • Sumo Logic

Linux

To check log files on Linux, you can use the cat Command. To do this:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Navigate to the directory where the log file is located.
  3. Type the following command:
cat log_file_name

This will display the contents of the log file.

You can also use other tools to check log files on Linux, such as:

  • Logwatch
  • Graylog
  • Splunk

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

Fixing Technical SEO Issues

Once you have completed your technical SEO audit, you must fix any issues you found. Here are some tips for fixing common technical SEO issues:

  • Sitemap issues: If your sitemap is not up-to-date or missing important pages, update it and submit it to Google Search Console.
  • Robots.txt file issues: If your robots.txt file is blocking important pages from being crawled, remove the offending lines from your robots.txt file.
  • Duplicate content issues: If you have duplicate content on your website, you can either remove the duplicate content or ensure the original page is properly canonicalized.
  • Broken link issues: To fix broken links, replace the broken links with working links.
  • Site speed issues: There are many things you can do to improve your site speed, such as optimizing your images, using a caching plugin, and reducing the number of plugins and widgets on your website.
  • Mobile-friendliness issues: You can use a responsive design or a dedicated mobile website to improve your website’s mobile friendliness.
  • Site security issues: To secure your website, install an SSL certificate.
  • Structured data issues: To fix structured data errors, follow the instructions from the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
  • Crawl budget issues: If you are concerned about your crawl budget, you can prioritize important pages, use a robots.txt file to block unimportant pages, and use canonicalization to avoid duplicate content.

Conclusion

By following the tips in this article, you can perform a technical SEO audit of your website and fix any issues you find. This will help you improve your website’s visibility and organic traffic.

FAQs – Technical SEO Audit Checklist

Q: How often should I perform a technical SEO audit?

A: You should perform a technical SEO audit at least once a year. However, you may want to perform more frequent audits if you have made significant website changes or are experiencing technical issues.

Q: What are the most important technical SEO factors?

A: The most important technical SEO factors are:

  • Sitemap
  • Robots.txt file
  • Duplicate content
  • Broken links
  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Site Security
  • Structured data
  • Crawl budget

Q: What tools can I use to perform a technical SEO audit?

A: There are several tools you can use to perform a technical SEO audit, such as:

  • Google Search Console
  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz Pro
  • Screaming Frog

Q: How can I prioritize technical SEO issues?

A: When prioritizing technical SEO issues, you should consider the following factors:

  • The impact of the issue on your website’s visibility and organic traffic
  • The difficulty of fixing the issue
  • The time and resources you have available

Q: How can I improve my crawl budget?

A: There are several things you can do to improve your crawl budget, such as:

  • Prioritizing important pages
  • Using a robots.txt file to block unimportant pages
  • Using canonicalization to avoid duplicate content
  • Reducing the number of pages on your website
  • Submitting a crawl budget request to Google

Q: How can I analyze my log files?

A: To analyze your log files, you can use various tools, such as AWStats or GoAccess. These tools can help you identify patterns in your website’s traffic and identify any technical issues that may be occurring.

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