How to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit of a Site?


What Is a Technical SEO Audit?

The first thing that you need to learn before getting down to performing a technical SEO audit of a site is understanding what it is in the first place and why it is important to conduct.

In a nutshell, a technical SEO audit is an evaluation of the website’s search engine optimization performance and how well it manages to appear in search engine results pages. In order to conduct one, you need to go step by step and check every single factor that affects your website’s SEO performance as well as fix any issues that are identified during this process.

Why Do You Need Technical SEO Audit

Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing and other low-quality tricks used by SEO specialists in an attempt to get more traffic to their website. Nowadays, search engines are much more intelligent and careful with their ranking.

It is important that you optimize your website technically as Google and other search engines use bots to crawl the websites and determine which ones are worthy of getting indexed. Indexation is the only way of getting traffic as only those websites that get indexed manage to appear in the search results.

Since only indexed pages can be beneficial, it is important that you ensure your SEO is successful and efficient at all times. This is exactly when a technical SEO audit comes in handy.

When Is a Technical SEO Audit Required?

As discussed previously, an SEO audit needs to be an ongoing process as you want to be sure that your website is in its best shape at all times. However, if we are being realistic, providing a 24/7 audit seems impossible due to a number of reasons.

Therefore, it is recommended that you conduct a technical SEO audit of the website once it is up (during the first month of its operation), and after that repeat the process ever 1 to 3 months. At the same time, however, you need to make sure that you always keep an eye for any major issues that can disrupt your website.

Step by Step Guide on How to Conduct a Technical SEO Audit of a Site

Step 1: Make Sure That You Are in Control of All the Browsable Versions of the Site

The first thing that you need to do when you start conducting a technical SEO audit of a site is checking the number of browsable versions the website in question has. Ideally, you should aim for having just one such version as this can have an immensely positive impact on your ranking by Google.

The reason for this is fairly simple: if your website has different versions of it, the search engine will be confused as to which one it should show the people searching the relevant keywords. And it is always bad news if a search engine is not happy with your website. If it does not know how to show your website to the users, it will significantly lower your ranking to the point where your website would simply stop coming up in the visible areas of search results (i.e. relocate to the third page or even further than that!). Ranking as one of the top websites in the niche is one of the prime tasks of any search engine optimized website, so checking this should be your priority.

There are a couple of ways in which this issue is birthed. The most common ones are related to the HTTP and HTTPS duplicates and the mobile and desktop versions.

For instance, you have a website that can be accessed by typing in the following link into the browser address bar:

In the ideal world, this is exactly what happens: all the website’s visitors are typing in this exact address, and get to your site without any problems. This is what should happen. Sadly, this is not always the case. Often, people opt for one of the alternative names:

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As you can see, the differences are minimal, but this is exactly what creates confusion for search engines. In order to make sure that your SEO is effective, you need to make only one, the canonical the website version version of the site browseable, while the rest of them should be 301 redirected to it.

Another thing that can contribute toward multiplying duplicate versions of the site is the case sensitivity of the links. It is one of the most widespread problems when it comes to SEO audit as a lot of website owners and even SEO specialists forget to ensure that all URLs are case insensitive and show the same version of the website using the 301 redirections.

In the past, 301 redirecting used to negatively affect the website’s ranking, usually taking away up to 15% of the ranking potency with each subsequent 301 HTTP. However, Google has reviewed this approach to ranking, and at the moment 301 redirecting does not have any adverse effects on the website’s ranking.

Step 2: Turn to SEO Crawling

The next step that one should take on their way to conducting a successful technical SEO audit is SEO crawl the website. There are currently many services, both free and paid (it is natural that the paid ones are often much more functional and reliable than the free ones), that help you to crawl your website.

What Is SEO Crawling and How Is It Done?

Essentially, SEO crawling also known as SEO spidering is a process that refers to Google (or any other search engine for that matter) sending a bot to ‘read’ the website. It should not be confused with the indexing of the pages as not all crawling results in your website getting ranked. However, all indexation is a result of the website getting crawled. Therefore, you need to make sure that your SEO is effective, you do not have any underlying problems with your website so that the search engine could mark your website as worthy and start showing it to people.

However, crawling as a practice is not limited to the search engines exclusively. SEO specialists, too, can exploit SEO crawling and spider their website to identify all the areas of improvement that they need to work on as well as assess the general efficiency of the current SEO strategy.

There are several tools that can be used to crawl a website, but the most popular and commonly used are SEMrush and DeepCrawl.

However, you also need to remember that there is a crawling budget that limits your actions, so it is necessary that you take that into consideration. The problem is, search engines do not have endless resources, and need to distribute their efforts accordingly. In order to save some resources, search engines are focused on prioritizing the efforts and allocate a crawling budget available for each website. It is natural that you want to get your new pages posted online noticed by the search engines as quickly as possible and eventually indexed. After all, you can only benefit from the pages that have been indexed. Nonetheless, if you get too many pages crawled (especially the ones that do not have that much importance for your website), you may exhaust your crawling budget before the search engine even gets a chance to check the pages that matter. This is where the next step comes in handy.

Step 3: Indexation Check

If you do not want some of the website’s pages to be crawled in order to save some of the crawling budgets and use it for different pages, you need to make sure that you made this known to the search engine. The thing that affects your website’s ‘visibility’ to search engines is whether you use the meta robots tag on the pages of your website or not (alternatively, using disallow in the robots.txt file). If you want to exclude some of the pages from being indexed (for instance, Terms of Use or Privacy), you should include the aforementioned tags to your pages or describe the disallow commands in the text file.

At the same time, however, you do want to make sure that the website is not missing a chance of getting indexed by the search engine and subsequently bringing benefit to the website owner simply because the designers of the website failed to use the tags properly.

There are several ways to check whether your website gets indexed by the search engine or not. The most basic one is by doing it manually.

If you want to check any specific page, you can do the same thing as described previously with the only difference that you should type in the link to the sought page.

However, if your website has a little too many pages and checking all of them manually would be a waste of time, you can turn to various indexation status checking tools. One of the most common tools is Google Search Console that allows you to see how many pages out of the ones submitted are indexed at the moment.

Step 4: Conduct URL Analysis

The next thing that you need to do is pay close attention to your URLs. Having SEO-friendly URLs is one of the key steps on the way to getting better search engine rankings, so you want to make sure that it is not left unattended.

When conducting URL analysis as a part of your technical SEO audit, you need to focus on checking whether all the URLs use hyphens, whether they are readable and easy to remember. While people rarely type in the exact URL into the address bar instead of simply searching keywords, a clean URL can actually increase the number of interactions your website gets and therefore increase its search engine ranking. This will create a positive loop and, subsequently, attract even more visitors to your platform.

Therefore, URLs, despite being on the very surface of SEO, play an incremental role in improving the website’s recognition.

The things that you need to look out for what conducting URL analysis include:

  • Make sure there are no underscores or commas in your URLs – you can use tools such as Screaming Frog to run a crawl of the website and determine whether any of your website’s structure contains those;
  • Keep an eye on making the URL hierarchy structured and clean;
  • Focus on creating user-friendly URLs (if your URLs are generated manually, write a detailed guide on how to create an URL, if not, make sure that you have fixed all the unreadable ones).

Step 5: Time for ‘On-page SEO’ Checks

On-page SEO check is one of the most important and, therefore, the most time-consuming part of a technical SEO audit. Even if all the other steps are flawless, failing to provide adequate on-page SEO can destroy all of your SEO efforts.

It is recommended that you first focus on your most important pages when conducting the initial on-page SEO checks. The reason for this is the fact that conducting this step is rather difficult if you are not using any auxiliary tools and try to tackle the task manually. That being said, however, it is up to you to determine which pages are the most important to you. There is no set formula that can be used for that, but most often the most important pages are the ones that bring the most organic traffic e.g. the landing page.

The things you need to pay close attention to include:

  • Meta “hreflang”. This operator ensures that the search engine sees the website in the language that it is used on the page and subsequently shows your website to the people whose IP-addresses are linked to the locations where this language is spoken. This is particularly important if you use the language different from the one spoken in your area or use several different languages on the different pages of the website.
  • Page source Meta tags. It is essential that you control the length of your page source Meta tags as anything over 156 characters long will get truncated by Google. Those are extremely important as they give the visitors an idea of what the contents of the page are and let them decide whether they want to click on the link or not. This means, Meta tags increase the SERP click-through rate, which, in turn, affects the website’s ranking.
  • Correct use of Page headings aka <h1> tags. It is important that there is only one H1 heading per page.
  • Page Title. This is a ranking indicator, so you need to make sure that each page has a clear <T> tag.

Once you have conducted the preliminary on-page SEO check, invest in some tools to audit the rest of the pages and boost their chances of getting indexed.

Step 6: Determine Whether There Are Any Link Issues

Another important thing to pay your attention to when conducting a technical SEO audit of a site is making sure that the website does not have any link-related issues. This is particularly important as effective link-building is one of the main sources of natural traffic and it allows search engines to rank your website.

There are several main areas of link checking that you need to focus on. First of all, you need to ensure that there are no broken links on the website as those adversely affect user experience and can diminish the volume of traffic generated by the website. You need to ensure that all the broken links are either removed or (if the latter is impossible for any reason) kept to a minimum and lead to some alternative pages.

Besides, it would also be extremely helpful to revise all the external links placed on the pages of your website to ensure none of them lead to a malicious platform and are still relevant to your website.

Step 7: Check the Website’s Speed

At last but not at least, it will be helpful to check your website’s speed. In fact, this is one of the aspects that determine the quality of a website and subsequently help search engines to rank it.

If your website takes too long to load, people are likely to bounce and choose your competitors’ websites instead. In fact, there are statistics to suggest that websites that take longer than 5 seconds to load have an almost 90% bounce rate. If you and your competitors use the same keywords, it will lead to them getting ranked higher than your website.

In order to monitor your website’s loading time you can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. It will determine the loading speed and how it compares against the loading speed of the competitors. You can reduce the loading speed by optimizing the content of your website, especially by focusing on ensuring all the images you place on your platform are light.

Hi, I'm Raj Hirvate and I am a Tech Blogger from India. I like to post about technology and product reviews to the readers of my blog. Apart from blogging i'm a big Anime fan I Love Watching Naruto, One piece and Death Note.