How to Perform a Basic Technical SEO Audit Today

27 Jul 2023


Nick Boyle

Nick Boyle

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Ready to get into the nitty gritty of your site’s technical SEO health? We get that this may seem daunting, but with our easy-to-follow, yet super comprehensive X-step guide, you’ll have a well-rounded view of your site’s indexing issues, page speed, backlink profile and much more.

No matter your experience, we believe as an SEO agency that a tech audit is crucial to your site’s success, and therefore, should be accessible for anyone to perform! Our technical SEO site audit points are broken down into steps that almost anyone can follow. Plus, by following these steps, you’ll be able to improve your site’s search engine visibility as well as its overall performance. 

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO can be thought of as the foundation of a website that keeps things running (and ranking) smoothly. It ensures your website is in good health for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to crawl and rank your site.

But how do you get the best out of technical SEO? Doing a technical SEO audit is an absolute must when it comes to taking care of your site. It’s like giving your website a health check-up to see if everything is optimised, particularly for popular search engines like Google.

A technical SEO agency will do some serious digging into your site, however, it’s possible to do a simple technical SEO audit yourself (which we’ll dive into shortly). These types of audits are designed to find any issues that may not seem obvious at first glance –  which can negatively affect your website from showing up in search results.

What is a technical SEO audit?

A technical SEO audit can be thought of as a health check for your website, which deep-dives into the technical aspects of your website to ensure it performs at its best.

During a technical SEO audit, the aim is to ensure search engines can easily explore and understand your website’s content (AKA “crawlability”). It’s like providing search engines with a clear roadmap to discover all of your website’s pages. 

Complete technical SEO audit checklist

Whether this is part of your content marketing strategy, curiosity, or to tackle serious site issues –  follow our 12-step technical SEO audit checklist to get your site as healthy as possible.

1. Perform a crawl on your website

The first step in your tech SEO audit is to crawl your website. By doing so, you’ll get a better understanding of its structure and potential issues that may affect search engine indexing. 

So where do we begin? You can use free tools such as Screaming Frog, or link up your site to Google Search Console to gain insight into things like 404s (broken links on your website), duplicate content and many other issues. We’re huge fans of Screaming Frog, as it can analyse up to 500 links for free – which is great if you have a small site to crawl.

There are other tools you can use too, such as:

  • ahrefs
  • SEM Rush
  • Deepcrawl
  • Moz

Bear in mind these are premium tools, and should only be considered if you have the budget and intent to use them regularly.

In the case of using Google Search Console, there are various reports you can pull to analyse your site:

1. Core Web Vitals

You can use the Core Web Vitals report to find where Core Web Vitals is (an SEO ranking factor) are poor on your site. These metrics impact your page speed and user experience. With this data, you can optimise your site for these metrics, and you’ll deliver a fast experience that users (and Google) will reward you for.

2. Mobile usability

Mobile-friendliness is super important, particularly when it comes to technical SEO. Given that Google now crawls and indexes the web primarily from a mobile viewpoint, it’s important for site owners to develop a mobile-friendly or responsive website that ensures users can effortlessly read and interact with content on their preferred devices.

3. Sitemaps

Sitemaps are like maps for search engines to find and explore new pages on your website. In Google Search Console, you can use the sitemaps report to add, update, or remove your sitemaps. This way, you can keep track of which sitemaps Google already knows about.

4. Security reports

Whilst Screaming Frog is great for identifying HTTP issues, for more serious security concerns, turn to Google Search Console. It can warn you about severe problems, such as malware on your website. Keep an eye out for these issues as they can have a big impact on your website’s traffic and search engine rankings.

2. Watch out for indexing issues

Making sure your web pages are indexed correctly by search engines is super important for getting noticed online. One simple way of doing this quickly is by using the search parameter: “” on Google to see which pages they have already indexed. If you spot any differences between what you think should display vs what’s indexed, it’s time to do some digging.

Check for things like blocked resources in your robots.txt file or meta tags that tell search engines not to index certain pages (which we’ll dive into a little later on – make a note of these for now!). Fixing these common issues will help your pages get the attention they deserve, and so you can rank for your intended terms.

Need a page indexed sooner rather than later? Just follow these super simple steps:

  • Go to Google Search Console
  • Find the URL inspection tool
  • Paste the URL you’d like Google to index into the search bar
  • Wait for Google to check the URL
  • Click the “Request indexing” button – and you’re done!

3. Check your page speed

Page speed is super important for how well your website ranks and how users feel about it. After all, if your site loads slowly, visitors will bounce off of it – signalling to Google you have a low-quality site.

So what should you do? You can check how fast your site loads using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. There are simple ways to speed things up, such as ensuring your images are compressed without losing quality (don’t forget alt text!), enabling browser caching, and compressing your CSS and JavaScript files. A site that loads fast will make both users and search engines happy!

Page speed is a significant ranking factor that impacts user experience and SEO. Analyze your website’s loading times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Optimize your images by compressing them without compromising quality, enable browser caching, and minify CSS and JavaScript files to improve your website’s loading speed. A fast-loading site not only pleases users but also search engines.

4. Perform a Mobile-Friendly Test

As we touched on previously, mobile-friendliness is pretty important in today’s digital landscape, as a large number of online searches occur on mobile devices. This means there’s an emphasis on your website’s mobile-friendly design, which is often why site owners will commission a developer for a responsive website.

Want to know where your site stands for mobile-friendliness? Google has its very own Mobile-Friendly Test tool – here’s how you can use it:

To include a mobile-friendly test in your website’s SEO audit, follow these steps:

  • Visit the Google Mobile-Friendly Test page and input your website URL. By clicking “Run Test,” the tool will assess your site’s mobile-friendliness and provide feedback.
  • Check your site’s responsiveness on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, to see how it adapts to various screen sizes. Take note of any layout issues, readability problems, and navigation challenges on smaller screens. You can use online tools and extensions to emulate different mobile phones if you wanted to compare say an iPhone and Samsung’s display
  • If you’ve set up Google Search Console, review the “Mobile Usability” report to identify any mobile-related issues that Google has detected while crawling your site.
  • Get real-life feedback! Speak to family, friends, colleagues, or real users by having them test your website on their mobile devices. Listen to their experiences regarding usability, load times, and any difficulties they encounter.

What kind of things make a mobile site mobile-friendly? Here are some things to look out for:

  • Legibility – is text readable without having to zoom in?
  • Are buttons large enough to tap on?
  • Is your website design responsive? Do you have to scroll horizontally to view site content?
  • How fast are image, text and video loading times?
  • Readable Text: Ensure that text is easy to read without zooming.

5. Look at your site’s architecture

Google loves organisation, and that extends to how your site is structured. Having a well-organised site structure is essential for all search engines to grasp your content. Take a look at your site’s navigation, hierarchy and URL structure, ensuring they are user-friendly and descriptive. This way, both users and search engine bots can easily find what they’re looking for. Keep things simple with a flat site structure, and try to avoid creating too many subfolders or complex navigation levels. Simplicity is key here!

6. Conduct keyword research

We know content is important for SEO, so doing thorough keyword research is crucial to reach the right audience. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant and popular keywords for your business. Once you have your list, seamlessly include these keywords in your titles, headings, and content. But be careful, avoid stuffing your content with too many keywords as it can negatively impact your rankings. 

You’ll also want to ensure intent is at the forefront of your keyword uses. Want your visitors to buy from you? Include these CTAs where possible (without stuffing). We’d also recommend looking at Google Search Console to see what terms are used to search for your site – if those terms aren’t included, make a note and weave them into your content.

7. Optimise title tags and descriptions

Also knowns as titles and meta descriptions, these serve as your website’s first impression to a user on search engine results and have a direct impact on your website’s click-through rate (CTR). By including relevant keywords and terms people search for, you automatically tell a user that your site is as relevant as can be, and can hence increase the likelihood of your site being clicked on.

Ensure your meta tags accurately reflect the content of each page. If you don’t sell a particular product (or are out of stock), then this can cause users to bounce off your site once they realise your title and description mislead them. And what have we deduced about bouncing? Poor signalling to Google!

8. Check for duplicate content

Duplicate content refers to having the same or very similar content on multiple pages of your site. When search engines come across this, they might get a little confused, wondering which page to show in search results. As a result, they may end up ranking your pages lower or not showing them at all (Google penalty). This is far from ideal.

However, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid this issue and keep your tech SEO in tip-top. Firstly, make sure each page on your site has unique and valuable content. It’s all about giving your users a reason to visit each page and not just seeing the same stuff over and over.

Worried there may be duplicate content of your site out there? Copy and paste segments of your site’s copy into Google’s search bar and see what results come up. We’d also recommend paying attention to your URL structures. Keep them clear and descriptive, so search engines understand what each page is about. If your URLs are messy, it could lead to duplicate content issues.

Another helpful trick is to use canonical tags. Canonical tags tell search engines which page is the preferred version when there are similar ones. This way, even if you have multiple URLs with similar content (like colour variations of the same product), you can tell Google and other search engines which version is the most important and should be considered for indexing and ranking. 

Want to syndicate content? There’s nothing wrong with this, but just be mindful of how you handle syndicated or copied content from other sites. Always give proper credit and use rel=”canonical” tags when needed.

9. Check your internal linking

Internal linking means connecting different pages on your website by adding links within your content. When you do this, search engines find it easier to understand the relationships between your pages, making them more likely to show up in search results.

But here’s the cool part –  when one of your pages gets lots of links from other websites, it becomes more important in the eyes of search engines. When you link from that important page to other pages on your site, you share some of that “importance” with them. It’s like giving them a little boost of their own, meaning increased visibility and more site visitors in the long run.

To increase your internal linking structure, make sure your links fit naturally into your content and use relevant keywords for them. By this, we mean avoiding terms like “here”, or “this link”, but rather terms that are relevant to the page you’re going to link to. 

Keep adding links when you create new content and don’t be afraid to link back to older pages too. It’s like building a friendly web that connects all your pages together, making your website stronger in the eyes of search engines. Remember not to be excessive though, as this can signal spam – which is not what we’re trying to achieve here.

10. Get an SSL certificate

SSL certificates are really important for SEO because they make websites more secure and trustworthy for users. When a website has an SSL certificate, it shows a padlock in the address bar, indicating a secure connection. This makes visitors feel safer when sharing their information, and search engines like Google prefer secure websites, so they rank them higher in search results. Plus, people are catching on to whether sites have an SSL certificate or not, so if you don’t have one, users will be less likely to hang around on your site, let alone make a purchase!

To get an SSL certificate, you can follow these steps:

  • Many hosting companies offer SSL certificates as part of their packages, so you may be able to get one from them directly.
  • If your hosting provider doesn’t offer SSL certificates or you want more options, you can buy one from reputable SSL certificate providers
  • Depending on your hosting provider, the installation process may differ, but they usually provide step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.
  • Once the SSL certificate is installed, you may need to update your website settings to ensure that all URLs use the secure “https://” protocol instead of “http://.”
  • After installing your SSL certificate, search your site in incognito mode to check if the SSL certificate is functioning correctly.

11. Understand Robots.txt and XML Sitemap

Robots.txt are almost like a  helpful guide for search engine crawl bots, telling them where they can and can’t go on your site. In fact, Robots.txt can hide certain pages from search engines, like private ones, meaning you can have more control over what appears in search results to ensure your website appears at its best.

There is such a thing as being too careful, though. Always check the default settings to make sure you’re not blocking any important pages. Essentially, you want to allow access to the pages you want search engines to find and block the ones you don’t want to show up. You can test it to be sure everything is working as it should by doing a search for your site on an Incognito browser.

XML Sitemaps, on the other hand, aren’t too far off what they sound like – a map! They’re designed to show search engines where everything sits on your site, such as the important pages that help search engines understand what your site content is all about.

You can create an XML Sitemap using special tools or plugins if your website uses WordPress or other popular platforms. Then, submit it via Google Search Console. This way, they know about all your precious pages and can show them in search results.

Finally, we recommend keeping your Robots.txt and XML Sitemaps up-to-date by adding new stuff and removing old ones. By doing this, you’ll help search engines crawl your site more efficiently and make sure your website shows up in the SERPs.

12. Look at your backlink profile

When reputable and relevant sites link to your pages (backlinks), it shows search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy. This makes them like your website more and can lead to higher rankings in search results.

So, during a technical SEO audit, checking your backlink profile helps you understand how well your website is doing. You can find out if you have good links from trustworthy sites, or bad links from spammy ones. Good links boost your site’s reputation, while bad links can hurt your profile By analysing your backlink profile, you can fix any issues with harmful links and find opportunities to get more good links. You can ‘Disavow’ bad and irrelevant links, however, you must be very careful when you do this.

Whilst the disavow tool in Google Search Console is handy, there is such as thing as disavowing good links by accident. Take the time to review your backlinks carefully and only disavow links from sketchy or spammy sites that could be dragging you down. Don’t disavow the good ones that are actually helping your SEO. Be smart and strategic about it to keep your website’s authority and search visibility safe and sound. 

Now that you know how to perform a technical SEO audit you can ensure your site’s health is at its best. Still need help performing a technical SEO audit of your website? Contact TAL Agency to find out how we can help improve the health of your website.

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