If you are thinking about how to perform technical SEO audit, this guide will provide you with some useful tips.
Conducting a technical SEO audit is not an easy task and it can be time-consuming. But it is something that needs to be done periodically in order to make sure that your site is up-to-date with all the latest changes in search engine algorithms and guidelines.
The most important thing is to identify the problem and find the solution. For example, if your site has a lot of HTTP mixed content errors, then you should use a site crawler to find out which pages have the mixed content and start fixing.
But, it’s not always easy and if you’re a beginner in technical SEO it’s even harder. So, I’ve prepared 9 steps you can follow to perform a basic technical SEO audit.
But, before that, let’s go over the technical SEO basics.
What is technical SEO? Why is it important?
Technical SEO is about making sure that the website is complying with the best technical practices. It includes things like ensuring that your website’s content is readable by search engine crawlers, ensuring that your pages have a title tag, and so on.
Technical SEO is a subset of SEO which focuses on the technical aspects of getting a website to rank higher in search engine results pages.
A lot of people think that technical SEO is not as important as On-page SEO because they don’t understand how it works and what it does.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth – technical SEO is important. Technical SEO makes sure that your site is crawlable and indexable by the search engines. If the search engines cannot crawl the website, they cannot index it and your target audience cannot see it.
When to perform technical SEO audit?
The technical SEO audit is a deep dive into the website’s technical aspects and how they affect the site’s search engine rankings. The audit should be performed at least every six months in order to identify any changes that might have occurred.
The technical SEO audit should be performed when you notice that your rankings are decreasing, when you have made significant changes to your site or content, or when you want to make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices.
Things to consider when performing technical SEO audit
There are many elements that need to be considered when performing a technical SEO audit. The following are major of those elements:
– Crawlability: if there are any errors in the code or problems with crawlability, it affects the site’s ranking in SERP.
– Page speed: the page load time is an important factor for Google, which can affect the site’s ranking in SERP.
– Mobile optimization: Google has been focusing on mobile optimization, and a website with good mobile experience will rank higher than one without it.
9 Steps to perform technical SEO audit
I’ve covered 9 steps to ease you during your technical SEO audit.
- Crawl the website
- Review the sitemap and robots.txt
- Perform speed test
- Check mobile friendliness
- Check structured data (schema)
- Check links
- Check response code issues
- Check the tracking and verification
- Prioritize the generated issues and start fixing
Crawl the website
The first step in auditing technical aspects of the website is to crawl the website. To do that, I recommend using two of my favorite SEO technical audit tools; Screaming Frog and Ahrefs.
Screaming Frog is my favorite tool when auditing a website. Its feature of crawl tree graph is helpful when auditing the site structure.
That’s why for me, it is the all-rounder SEO audit tool when auditing the whole website.
To crawl the website in Screaming Frog:
- Open Screaming Frog app
- Select the mode you want from the menu section
- You can crawl the whole website
- You can crawl the specific sitemap
- Start the crawl
Another favorite SEO tool is Ahrefs. While screaming frog is best in terms of technical SEO audit, Ahrefs is great for all matters. It shows the issues to be fixed after the site is crawled and prioritizes on the basis of Errors, Warnings, and Notices.
To put the site on crawl in Ahrefs;
- Log in into your Ahrefs account
- Click on site audit in the menu section
- Click on +New Project
- Fill in the details of your website and start the crawl
Review the sitemap and robots.txt
Reviewing the sitemap and robots.txt is the second step I do when conducting the technical SEO audit. These are also the basic things to do for your new website.
Making sure everything is okay in Robots.txt file makes sure the website is crawlable. Sometimes, a tiny ‘/’ in Disallow: section in robots.txt makes the whole website not crawlable.
Also, optimizing sitemap, particularly XML sitemap is important so that search engines get the most important pages of your website. Optimizing sitemap will also reduce your crawl budget for the large sites.
For WordPress users, robots.txt and XML sitemaps are handled by SEO plugins like Rankmath.
Perform speed test
Performing a webpage speed test is an important step in ensuring that the user experience on your website is as smooth and seamless as possible.
The most popular tool for performing this type of test is Google PageSpeed Insights. It provides a score and a set of recommendations to make your site faster. The more page speed score, the better.
Here’s a snapshot for one of my webpages from testing in Google PSI..
When it comes to optimizing a website for search engine rankings, mobile-friendliness is one of the most important factors to consider.
With an increasing number of people using mobile devices to access the internet, it is essential that your website can be viewed and used easily on smartphones and tablets.
There are a number of ways to check whether your website is mobile-friendly, and Google provides a free tool to help you do this.
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool checks a web page for certain factors that indicate how mobile-friendly it is.
These factors include font size, viewport configuration, and use of touch elements. If your website fails any of these tests, it may not be ranking as highly as it could in search results.
To improve your website’s ranking, you should make sure that it is mobile-friendly and meets all the requirements set by Google.
Check structured data (schema)
Search engines use schema markup to better understand the content of a website. This is done by adding code to the website that defines the structure of the page. This code is called schema or structured data.
I’ve written a detailed guide on Schema or Structured data. To know about it, you can visit Structured data in SEO.
One way to check if a website has schema markup is to use the Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool. validator. This is a tool that checks the code on a website and tells you if it is valid or not.
To use the tool, simply enter the URL of the website you want to check and click “Validate.” The results will show you if there are any errors in the code and provide information on how to fix them.
4 types of structured data are detected on my homepage by the tool.
When evaluating the trustworthiness and authority of a web page, checking its links is an important step. Links can provide valuable information about a page, such as where it is linked from and how reputable those sources are. Checking links can also help reveal any potential issues with a page, such as broken links or links to malicious websites.
To check links on a web page, first open the page in Chrome. Then, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect.” This will open the Chrome Developer Tools.
From the Developer Tools menu, select the “Elements” tab. This will show all of the elements on the page, including the links.
To inspect a link, click on it. This will show you all of the information about the link, including its target URL, its “rel” attribute, and its type attribute.
You can also use the Developer Tools to check for broken links. To do this, select the “Audits” tab and then select “broken links.” This will show you all of the broken links on the page.
Moreover, you can also use tools like Screaming Frog, and Ahrefs to check the links.
Check response codes
While performing technical SEO audits, webmasters use response codes to check the status of their web pages and links. Response codes can be generated by web servers or search engine bots. The most common response codes are 200, 301, 302, 404, and 500.
- Response code 200 indicates that the webpage or link is available and functioning properly.
- Response code 301 indicates that the webpage or link has been moved to a new location.
- Response code 302 indicates that the webpage or link is temporarily unavailable.
- Response code 404 indicates that the webpage or link is not found.
- Response code 500 indicates a server error.
Webmasters should check the response codes of their web pages and links on a regular basis to ensure that their websites are functioning properly.
In Screaming Frog, the response code is shown as status code.
Check the tracking codes and verification
Setting up Google Search Console and Google Analytics is a basic thing to monitor the performance and the traffic of your webpage.
There’s a saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” So, proper tracking and verification is needed in order to properly measure the data.
When performing the technical SEO audit, It’s a job for the auditor to check and verify the tracking codes are working fine and proper data is collected. Missing valuable data could lead to an overall ineffective SEO strategy.
Prioritize the generated issues and start fixing
The final step after auditing the website technically is to prioritize the technical errors and start fixing.
Focus your time on the things that matter the most. Ahrefs has made it easy and prioritized the errors. So, you can start working on the errors and make your website technically error free.
SEO Technical Audit Checklist/Report Template
Now, for the full technical SEO audit checklist. This checklist is inspired by Moz. You can use this checklist and present it as a technical SEO audit report to your client directly too.
You can download or view the checklist from the button below.
Praphulla Hada is an SEO professional who has been involved in developing and launching several successful SEO campaigns.. He has over 4 years of experience in the Search Engine Optimization industry. He has helped businesses achieve more sales and revenue through SEO.