I’m a data driven marketer who enjoys talking shop, Salsa dancing and 90’s sitcoms. Whenever I'm not maniacally poring over an audit, I’m probably contemplating an intricate strategy to dominate Google while tenting my fingers.
Table of Contents
Fixing technical roadblocks is the
towards better search engine rankings.
We can identify these roadblocks by performing a technical SEO audit.
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to make a copy of the Template ⚠️⚠️
Getting started with the template
You’ll notice there’s a lot of tabs – 95% of them are just data export tabs.
The tabs that matter are the ones colored in yellow
The “Checklist” tab is where you will run your technical evaluation. Column A has the “Item” in review, columns B and C are where you will record your findings.
Columns D, E, F and G will show you exactly how to find and evaluate each “Item” in question.
The “Summary” tab is where you will record your findings in detail. This is the critical part that makes your work actionable – we’ve left a ton of examples to give you context on how to fill this tab out.
The goal of a tech SEO audit is to
them. After you complete the audit, you will likely need a developer to fully implement your recommendations. This audit
does not include
, competitive analysis and link profile analysis. Our audits focus solely on the technical performance of a website.
If you’re a beginner, I suggest you take a few hours to read through
Google Search Central
(formerly Google Webmasters). It is by far the best resource on the internet about what matters in technical SEO. Read it. Learn it. Implement it.
Everything you need to run a full technical SEO audit is included in the free spreadsheet template. The remainder of this post will break down all of the technical items that the technical audit entails.
“Findability “refers to how easily website information can be discovered by both search engines
website visitors. This section will cover how to identify and correct issues with your website being discovered by search engine bots.
What is indexation?
How many pages on your website are indexed by search engines.
Why does indexation
We’re moving to a search algorithm that favors content rich websites. If you operate in a competitive space (i.e. legal) you standard 5 page website just won’t cut it anymore.
If you have a lot of content on your website, this will tell you if Google is aware of it.
A low indexation rate could point to a number of issues (lack of internal linking, render blocking code on your pages, low domain authority and more).
How can I check my site’s index rate?
1. By going to Google and typing in
and seeing how many pages show up in Google’s index.
General rule of thumb, anytime your website isn’t rendering properly for visitors, this is a bad thing.
404 errors in particular go against
SEO best practices
. When deleting or moving pages, we want to make sure the proper steps have been taken to ensure a proper user experience (UX) and minimal loss of inbound link equity.
An XML file that helps search engines better crawl and understand your website.
Why do XML sitemaps matter?
They help improve indexation of your website.
You’re able to set a “crawl budget”, i.e. the importance of each page / page type on your website. This is especially important for massive (10K+ pages) websites that want to give preference to set of pages for search engine crawl time.
It helps protect your website against duplicate content. Getting a page indexed and list in your sitemap will give you ownership over it.
How can I check if my site has an XML sitemap?
do you have one listed?
In Google Search Console, navigate to Crawl > Sitemaps.
Here you can view your sitemap or submit one.
For WordPress sites, there are dozens of plugins to help you create one.
It could be a CMS issue forcing URLs into unfriendly states. If URLs are human generated, you should recommend creating a URL structuring guide for those pushing URLs live to ensure friendliness going forward.
Consider changing extremely unfriendly for cleaner ones, 301 redirect old into the new.
Absolute vs. Relative URLs
What are absolute and relative URLs?
Relative URLs are often used by web developers as shorthand to code internal links on a website. They do not contain the full URL, but still link to the destination page.
Absolute URLs contain the full URL string when linking internally to another page.
Why does this matter?
Relative URLs are SLIGHTLY better for page loading times and easier for developers when coding HTML.
Absolute URLs are better for SEO as they contain the full URL string, better optimized for search engine crawling.
How can I check my URLs?
On any given page on the website, right click and select “view source code”.
This markup connects the entire website to the publisher.
While they can be used mutually exclusive, publisher markup is for companies and authorship markup is for individuals.
Similar to how authorship markup shows a picture of the author as a rich snippet, publisher markup shows a summary of the companies google plus page on the right hand side of the screen when someone searches for the company by name.
Why does Publisher markup matter?
It good for branding as the searcher will get a snapshot of your company’s name, logo, address, pictures and reviews.
How can I check if I have Publisher markup?
Verify that your website is connected to your business google plus page.
section of your website for this code
Page Source META tag
What is Page Source Meta tags?
The information that is displayed by the search engines in the SERPs about a particular page or website.
Your meta descriptions should be no longer than 156 characters. Anything more will get truncated by Google.
should all have meta tags
, none missing.
should all have
, no duplicates.
Why do Meta tags matter?
They matter because they act as descriptors for your site.
They tell the user what content they can expect to find when they click on the result.
While they have no direct ranking impact, they increase SERP click through rate,
which is a ranking factor
How can I check if I have Meta Tags
You can view the source code of your page and look for
in the head tag.
Check your Screaming Frog report.
tags per page
The title of your pages.
This should be written both for SEO benefit and to incite a click from the user.
It’s best to structure your page title with your main keywords within in.
You must keep page title’s to under 65 characters. Anything more will get truncated by Google.
should all have title tags
, none missing.
should all have
, no duplicates.
Why do the
Title tags are HUGE on page ranking factors.
It draws the most attention to the user in the SERP with larger text and highlighted blue.
How can I check my
Viewing the source code of your page.
operator to read your titles in SERPs.
Check your Screaming Frog audit.
Page headings (H1)
What are page headings?
tags, are generally found at the top of the page and display the page’s heading (may be different from the title tag).
There should only be 1 heading on each page.
Why do H1 tags matter?
Tells search engines about important content on the page.
A good place to work in LSI keywords different from the main keyword in the title tag.
How can I check my H1 tags?
Check your Screaming Frog Audit.
Use of structured data markup (Schema.org)
What is structured data markup
A snippet of code (HTML) located in the
tag that instructs search engines what your page is about.
These markups come in different forms (local business, video, etc) and should be used based on your website and content type.
Why does structured data markup matter?
It makes it easier for Googlebot to get to the meat of what your page is about without having to read complex code.
For product reviews, having a rich snippet show up on the SERP with stars, which greatly increases click through rate.
Page titles are a ranking factor, they tell search engines what your page is about.
Does not give the user a clear indication as to what the content on the page is about.
How can I check if I’m missing
Using the title tab in Screaming Frog.
What are duplicate title tags?
When at least 2 pages on your site have the same title.
Why do duplicate titles matter?
You run the risk of search engines passing over them as similar or duplicate content. Each page on your site should have a clear, unique message.
If pages have duplicate titles most likely they have similar content which would be better suited to merged together to create one robust and authoritative page with a unique title tag.
How can I check for duplicate
Title Tag Length
What are optimized title tags?
Having less than 65 characters in the title tag.
Why does character size matter?
Having more than 65 characters will result in the title being truncated.
This can cut off keywords or your message to searchers.
How can I check for title character size?
Missing Meta Descriptions
What are missing meta descriptions?
When you don’t enter your own meta description, Google takes what it thinks is the most descriptive part of the content and uses it for the snippet to show users in the SERP.
Why do meta descriptions matter?
While filling out the meta description has become less important to tell the search engines what your page is about, it’s still a good place to put in keyword phrases and language that will elicit a click from the user.
By not filling out the meta description, you miss the opportunity to frame your snippet the way that you want it to read.
How can I check the for missing meta description?
Screaming Frog > Meta description
Duplicate Meta Descriptions
What are duplicate meta descriptions?
When two or more pages have the same content in the meta description
Why do duplicate meta description matter?
It’s better to either have unique meta description or no meta description than to use duplicate meta description.
Each page on your site should have a clear cut message.
How can I check for duplicate meta description?
Google Search Console
SEO Equity Tests
SEO equity refers to the power of your website and how well it’s being distributed across pages. This section covers how to check SEO equity to ensure it’s not bleeding out.
What is a 302 redirect?
Tells search engines that a page has been moved temporarily.
Why do 302 redirects matter?
302 redirects do not pass SEO equity, meaning if you redirect a page, the link value does not pass through.
It may prevent content on the new url from indexing because Google believes at some point you will revert back to the redirected url.
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a critical part of an SEO campaign – it should serve as a core part of your technical analysis. These are the step by step checks to run in your account.
Google Analytics linked to Google Webmaster
What is Google Analytics?
A data providing tool by Google to monitor and maintain your site’s performance.
Why does GA linked to SC matter?
Give you data to improve visibility and user experience on your site
It will inform you of critical issues that have an affect on your site’s rankings
Give you data that you can use to optimize your website for better conversions
How can I link Google Analytics to Search Console?
Sign up for a free account and select one of the methods available to connect your site to Search Console.
What are internal links?
Links that point to other pages within your website.
Why are internal links important?
Internal links pass link equity across your website.