Website Technical SEO Audit: The Complete Checklist [2019]

What if I tell you that technical SEO audit is an absolutely doable thing and even non-techie guys(like me) can achieve great results with it?

This article will outline the EXACT strategies I am using for performing a complete website technical audit.

The best part?

All the steps will require only a couple of hours and the rankings can be changed DRAMATICALLY.

Ready to boost website traffic?

Then let’s get to work!

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

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If you are not ready to hire a specialist yet, this SEO audit blueprint will help you a lot!

All the steps outlined below are crucial for any website optimization.

Depending on your website size it may take you a different time. But you definitely SHOULD do it for higher rankings and better performance.

Make sure you go through this guide one step at a time. Perform all the necessary adjustments and you will see the results.

Without further ado here is the list of technical SEO audit steps.

#1 Website Address: Check that only ONE version of your site is browseable

It is strongly recommended that only one version of your website is indexed by search engines.

Google can index different versions of your online property, this practice obviously may lead to confusion.

If search engines index 4 website versions, they will consider them as 4 DIFFERENT websites!

  • http://example.com
  • https:// example.com
  • http://www. example.com
  • https://www. example.com

How to check if Google recognizes only one version?

Simply type each versions address into the search tab.

Normally they all should end up being ONE version.

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What if Google indexes more than one version?

The best solution will be to use 301 redirect for instructing search engines, what particular version they should index.

#2 Junk Content: Delete Dead-Weight Pages

Here is a deal:

Google prefers quality over quantity.

So if you are running a blog for quite a while, chances are that it has lots of “junk” pages.

Not only can these pages clutter your website but even hurt your SEO and rankings.

What are Dead-Weight pages?

  • Archive pages
  • Outdated services pages and content
  • Category and tag pages
  • Search pages
  • Confirmation or Thank you pages
  • Thin content (<200 words)
  • Boilerplate content

How to find Dead-Weight pages on the website?

Type in  site:yourwebsitename.com into Google search tab.

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Google will show you ALL indexed pages:

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If there are some of them that you consider unnecessary – DELETE or UPGRADE them.

Remember the simple rule:  Quality>Quantity

Getting rid of “digital garbage” will boost your rankings and traffic at once!

#3 Site Maps + Robots.txt: Create Site Maps and Robots.txt

Site Maps

Adding Google XML sitemap is one of the most crucial steps towards getting your site indexed by Google.

Ensure that you add Google Sitemap and submit it to the webmaster console.

You can generate it using RankMath SEO plugin.

Robots.txt

This file allows you to control how Google Indexes the website.

One of the most common Robots.txt structures is:

User-agent:*

Disallow: /wp-admin

Disallow: /wp-includes

Disallow: /wp-content/themes

Disallow:/wp-content/plugins

If you want to know how exactly to set up XML Sitemaps, Robots.txt and many more essential WordPress elements, check out this ultimate guide:

WordPress SEO: 36 Essential Settings

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#4 Indexation: Use Google Search Console to Find Indexation issues

Even if everything on your blog looks fine to you, chances are that there are some pages that for some reason are not indexed by Google.

You need to find those pages ASAP and fix the issues.

How to find pages that are not indexed?

To get the information from the first hand go to the Google Search Console.

“Index Coverage” feature will present you the pages that can’t be reached by Google.

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Pro Tip: Even if the report is ERROR-FREE, I recommend to do an extra check using crawling software such as Screaming Frog or BeamUsUp.

#5 Crawlability: Identify Website Crawl Errors with Special Software

As you have checked your website crawling issues in Google Search Console, you still need to dig dipper and use a third-party tool. This way you will guarantee your website’s full accessibility for search engines.

These types of software can also help you find other website technical problems, such as broken links and duplicate Page Titles & Meta-Data.

What are some of the best SEO spiders on the market?

#1 Screaming Frog SEO Spider

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An SEO Spider software, trusted by tons of SEOs and SEO agencies worldwide for technical SEO audits. It goes with free and paid versions.

Anyway, you will get a detailed crawling result.

It is one of the most popular and reliable SEO Crawling software in the world.

Looking for an alternative?

#2 BeamUsUP SEO Crawling Software

A great program with similar features. It will analyze your entire site and find potential issues and threads.

#6 Duplicates: Check for Duplicate Metadata(Titles and Descriptions)

This step is very easy to follow. It also can bring you massive benefits in long and short terms.

Good Title & Descriptions are some of the easiest wins you can get on webpages.

Crafting unique titles and title descriptions are considered the basic level in SEO practices, yet lots of bloggers(even experienced) neglect this process.

How to find out if your website has duplicate metadata?

You can use good old Google Search Console.

Go to Search Appearance – HTML Improvements.

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You will see all the duplicate metadata:

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Alternatively, you can use Screaming Frog or any other technical SEO audit software.

#7 Mobile Optimization: Ensure your site is mobile-friendly

Google has recently started using a Mobile-First Algorithm.

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The amount of users browsing the internet using smartphones has been rising exponentially.

In fact, a recent study has shown that nearly 58% of users nowadays prefer to browse the internet via mobile phones!

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Needless to say, you NEED to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly!

Now, what is exactly a mobile-friendly site?

  • All the pages are shown correctly across all devices
  • No hidden content on the mobile version
  • User Experience(UX) optimized
  • Has blazing fast loading time

How do you know if your site is mobile-friendly?

There are two important steps I recommend you to follow:

Step 1: Use Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to check the mobile compatibility.

The result should be as follows:

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Step 2: Use Google Search Console Mobile Usability feature.

Head over to GSC dashboard – Search Traffic – Mobile Usability.

Google will tell you if there are any usability issues. If you are all set you will see this:

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This leads up to the next step in the technical audit:

#8 Website Speed: Make Your Website Lightning Fast

Website speed has been a HUGE ranking factor for quite a while, on top of that it has now become a crucial in mobile search as well.

Bottom line:

You want to make your blog lightning fast on all devices!

Here is the process in short:

  1. Find out the actual website speed using PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or Pingdom.
  2. Use a reputable web hosting
  3. Run your website with Ultra-Fast WordPress Theme.
  4. Optimize the visual assets for the web
  5. Use CDN and Caching Plugin

Now when your website can compete with Michael Phelps, you need to organize the page architecture Google loves!

#9 Website Architecture: Build a Solid Website Architecture and Internal linking

Website Architecture

Every solid website should have a clear and easy structure. It will let people and search bots scan your content without effort.

Badly organized website architecture makes people abandon the website like the sinking ship.

You probably wonder:

How to build proper website architecture?

Here are the SEO world’s best practices I suggest you follow:

  • The distance from the main page to any page on your blog should not exceed 3-4 clicks.
  • One unique URL per page
  • Be consistent (keep the structure same)
  • Leverage, market leaders’ standards (use the top performers’ structures as a reference)
  • Pyramid style architecture

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Internal linking

Inner links can be serious helpers in technical SEO.

There are numerous benefits in using them, but the question is:

What are best practices in internal linking?

  • First of all, they should be relevant and useful!

When the visitors look at the link, they should know WHY to click it, and WHERE it will get them.

  • Don’t stuff keywords, unless it makes sense.

Keyword stuffing is never a good practice, keep it natural.

  • Include at least 3 inner links in the article

Here is an example of an internal link in the article:

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It improves user experience, engaging rate, and dwell time.

Pro Tip: Consider including sitemap in the footer!

If the website is particularly big, you should leverage all modern techniques in order to keep the structure organized.

Sitemap in the footer will allow users(and search bots) scan the entire website effortlessly

Here is how it can look:

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#10 TLN: Organize Top Level Navigation(TLN)

TLN is the main menu and navigation on your website.

Having a clear and organized menu on a website helps in search indexation and UX optimization.

What should you include in the website menu?

Basically, it totally depends on the website, its size, purpose, and structure. Nevertheless, there are some common elements that people and search engines would like to see there:

  • Links to the main pages of the website(dedicated section or dropdown)
  • Contact, About, Start Here, Blog, Resources
  • Clean design, proper text size, and prominent font style

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#11 Link Profile: Make Sure There Are no Link Issues

Step #1: Analyze the Website Link Profile

The first thing you need to do if you want to find potential problems is to analyze the entire link profile.

How to analyze the link profile?

Use special software like SEMrush or Ahrefs (RankMath works well too).

Note: You may also analyze it using free tools, yet the ones I mentioned above will guarantee the most precise results possible.

Step #2: Get rid of backlinks from low-quality resources.

If you find the links you are not satisfied with, you may disavow them by following the instructions in this guide.

What are the link types you may consider to disavow?

  • Links from low-quality resources
  • Spam forums and blogs
  • Links from the websites that are not related to your blog whatsoever
  • Too many exact match anchor text backlinks are not good as well

Inner Links

Step #1:  Find Broken Links (Inbound and Outbound)

Google hates websites with broken links issues.

In fact, you can compare them with useless weed on the field.

Your website is a field, and useless weed(broken links) should be ripped out immediately.

How to find broken links on the website?

You can use the Screaming frog tool or great alternatives such as:

Step #2: Get rid of them

#12 UX: Optimize your website for User Experience(UX)

User Experience is vital when it comes to technical SEO. Everything should work fast and smooth.

One of the best decisions a blogger can make is to pick up a stunning WordPress theme that has a clean and secure code.

I personally go with minimal design, as it lacks useless elements that distract visitor’s attention.

On top of that, you must make sure that the website is displayed properly on all sorts of devices.

To check how a website looks on different devices visit Quirk Tools ScreenFly

Type in the website URL:

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And check the appearance across all major gadgets.

Pro Tip: Go even further and analyze how your blog looks on different browsers. Use Browserling to handle the task.

#13 Google RankBrain: Optimize for Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain has become one of the main game changers in the company algorithms updates.

In fact, it’s now one of the top 3 ranking factors.

Whereas it has been debated to death if it’s actually possible to optimize for it, there are certain tactics that will help you stay on top of the RankBrain game.

How to optimize a website for Google RankBrain?

In general, it’s all increasing organic Click-Through-Rate(CTR), reducing bounce rate and increasing dwell time.

Now, how do you increase CTR?

Tip #1: Increase brand recognition.

If people know your brand, they are more likely to choose to visit your site.

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Tip #2: Use numbers and signs.

Buzzsumo study has proved that numbers in the titles improve CTR.

Tip #3 Get emotional

I am not talking about clickbait garbage like “Shocking truth about fruit salads revealed!”

Instead, keep it real yet enticing to click: “25 Reading Benefits You Never Heard About”

How to slash the bounce rate and elevate dwell time?

Tip #1: Keep the introduction short

The main purpose the article introduction has is to provide the answer on one simple question:

“What will I get if I keep reading the article?”.

Reader’s attention is a very hard thing to catch. Fail with the intro, and the rest will not matter.

Remember to include:

  • Short sentences and a few paragraphs
  • Reasons
  • Call to action

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Tip #2: Use visual assets

We are all visual creatures, images help up perceive information faster and effortlessly.

So, visualize the blogpost as much as possible. Plain text in blogging is never good in terms of keeping the reader’s attention.

Tip#3 Upgrade the content with SEO copywriting

Mastering the copywriting is a long process that requires time and determination, yet there are some certain tricks that you can implement RIGHT NOW!

Keep reading to find out what they are.

#14 Website Content: Upgrade the content( SEO copywriting + On-Page SEO)

Here is the deal, there are more than 4 million posts that are published every single day. 4 MILLION!

If you want your content get recognized, you need to implement the world’s best SEO and Copywriting strategies at the same time.

How to do On-Page SEO and Copywriting fast?

I wrote more about that in On-Page SEO guide.

Here are the tips you can use right now:

Tip #1 Long content + High readability

Write long(+1500 words), informative pieces of content using short headlines, short paragraphs, and simple grammar structures.

Tip #2 Keyword spreading

Include your target keyword in:

  • Headline
  • Description
  • URL
  • Introduction
  • Across the article

Pro Tip: Use LSI keywords along with the blog post, this is the technique Google loves.

Tip #3 Benefit-driven article sections

Article sections help to organize the article, they are particularly useful when we are talking about in-depths pieces of content.

Now you may try even harder and make them benefit-driven.

This step will help visitors want to read each of them.

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I believe that you don’t rewrite or steal articles from other bloggers, but many others do!

Prevent it by checking your website content on plagiarism.

Use CopyScape to find duplicate content on the internet. You can also use Screaming Frog for that purpose.

The tools above will show you the URLs that include your stolen content on the page.

How can you fight content theft?

DMCA report to Google and the engineers will make sure stolen content never indexed anymore.

#15 HTTPS: Encrypt the Website and Perform an SSL Server Test

Google has acknowledged that HTTPS is a ranking factor.

It is not even an option anymore of whether or not to implement HTTPS.

So do it right now! Unless you want to see “Not Secure” warning near your website URL in Chrome:

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How to encrypt a website with SSL?

Go with Let’s Encrypt or Cloudflare CDN SSL encryption.

How to check if an SSL works fine?

When you have encrypted the website you need to do an SSL test to make sure that everything works fine.

Bonus #1: The Best Free Website SEO Audit Tools

1. RankMath
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This super powerful plugin “puts the power of an SEO audit at your fingerprints”.

It can assess the entire website using 20+ SEO factors. On top of that, RankMath will provide actionable tips for improving the website SEO.

In my opinion, it is BY FAR the most reliable SEO plugin on the market.

2. Seobility
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It is an online SEO software for better websites optimization.

It includes:

  •  Automated website crawling
  • Intelligent error detection
  • On-page SEO, Backlinks and Ranking monitoring

3. SEO Report Card
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The tool analyzes a website and creates a visual report.

What is included?

  • On-site analysis
  • Website accessibly
  • Rank analysis
  • Link analysis

4. SEOPTIMER
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One of the best web checkers you can come across. It’s an excellent SEO Audit Tool that can monitor and grade your website.

The key metrics are:

  • SEO
  • Usability Performance
  • Social
  • Security

5. Website Grader
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Bonus #2: Keyword Cannibalization Audit

Keyword cannibalization has a huge impact on SEO.

It can bring horrible consequences for your SEO.

What is exactly the keyword cannibalization?

It is called so because you “cannibalize” your own SERP results by splitting content, CTR, and links between two(or even more)pages that should be one.

In other words you should never create several pages for the same(or very close keyword), instead, create one piece of solid in-depth content that covers the topic.

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How to deal with keyword cannibalization?

Step 1: Combine several low-quality pages into ONE.

Step 2: Use 301 Redirects(if the pages are already ranked)

Step 3: Find new better keywords

Bonus #3: Optimize for Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are HUGE in modern SEO.

They can improve your CTR like CRAZY!

The question is:

What are featured snippets and how to optimize for them?

A featured snippet is a block at the top of the search results page.

It may include a summary of the answer from your webpage, the page title, URL and link to the webpage.

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The main benefit of featured snippet for bloggers is that it improves your page prominence in the SERP like NOTHING ELSE!

Here are the tips on how to optimize for Google’s answer boxes:

Tip #1: Become an authoritative source

Prominent brands in the industry are more likely to have featured snippets. While this tip may become a long journey toward success, there are certain tactics that will help you achieve the results faster.

Tip #2: Fix the long-tale keyword structure

Instead of using general long-tale keywords try to spice them up with these words:

  • How to…
  • How to do…
  • How does…
  • What is…

Tip #3 Restructure thin content

Again, SEO copywriting will be super helpful to get featured in Google’s answer box.

Consider making your content as detailed and vivid as possible, by adding the following elements:

  • Bullet points
  • Numbered lists
  • Steps
  • Tables
  • Visual assets

Tip #4: Use short and precise answers

The more your answers on to the point the more chances you get.

No more fluff.

Tip #5: Mention authoritative resources

This helps Google understand that your content is well researched, thus deserves to be mentioned.

Conclusion

technical seo audit conclusion

Technical SEO audit has never been an easy task, especially for beginners.

In this guide, I tried my best to present the most accurate and easy-to-conduct strategies.

I hope you found some helpful information in this post!

Which tip did you find the most useful?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Quora, I share some useful stuff there 😉

Wish you good SEO!

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