Mastering technical SEO audits in just 10 easy steps

Mastering technical SEO audits in just 10 easy steps

Bodie Czeladka
By Bodie Czeladka

If you're thinking about doing a technical SEO audit, you've probably got a good handle on what SEO (search engine optimisation) is and why it's so important. But like with all digital marketing, just implementing SEO strategy isn't enough. You have to monitor and adapt as you go, keep up with search engine changes, stay ahead of competitors, etc. That's where the technical SEO audit comes in. Think of it like a health check for your website.

But doing a technical audit is no small feat. So let's break it down.

What is a technical SEO audit?

Put simply, it's a pulse check on whether you've got your technical SEO down pat. Often overshadowed by its more popular flashy cousins, off-page and on-page SEO, technical SEO is the unseen backbone of your SEO campaign.

It’s not just about identifying problems but also about finding opportunities to improve and optimise your website for better user experience and search engine rankings.

What is technical SEO?

While on-page and off-page SEO impact your site's relevance and authority, technical SEO actually determines how easy it is for search engine crawlers to read your site and understand, to even judge those other SEO elements.

It looks at your site architecture, speed, security, URL structure and so much more. All the on-page optimisation in the world won't help you get higher on Google search results if the search engine can't even see the good work you're doing!

Good technical SEO means:

  • Improved website visibility on search engines
  • A better user experience for people who land on your website
  • Better search engine rankings
  • Less crawl errors so that web crawlers can efficiently scan your site
  • Optimised mobile performance for users who like to browse on their phones
  • Faster site speed (which also helps user experience)
  • Secure browsing for all visitors

Why should you do a technical SEO audit?

As we said, you can't set-and-forget when it comes to digital marketing, and technical SEO is no exception. The world, and search engines, move fast. Things are always changing and those who think that good implementation is enough, are going to be left behind very quickly.

Your technical SEO audit can be as regular as you need and as detailed or quick as you want. It depends on your strategy, time, current organic traffic, goals, algorithm updates and more. Things like how frequently new content is added to the site, how hefty the site structure is, and so on can also demand more regular audits.

It may sound like a lot of work, but don't worry. We're going to simplify it all for you, so you can get as efficient as possible.

Tools you'll need for a technical SEO audit

Before you get started, make sure you have all the tools in place. You may need to sign up for accounts or subscriptions with some of these services, depending on how detailed you need to do your audit. We've compiled a handy list to get you started but we'll name a few more specific ones as we go:

How to do a technical SEO audit in 10 steps

Alrighty, let's get into it. We've created a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to do your first technical audit. Your audit process may change in the future as not every item needs to be checked every time. You'll need to find the right balance for your site audit, and come up with your own up-to-date audit checklist as you go.

1. Audit your site structure and make sure it's indexable

Audit Your Site Structure


To make your site as crawl-friendly as possible, you need to maintain a good site hierarchy. Think of it like creating a mind map of your site to tell the search engines exactly how things relate to each other. Right at the top, you probably have your homepage as one of your most important pages. You may then have service, product pages or category pages, also referred to as parent pages, in your next tier down. Subservice pages or products may then follow those.

URLs and internal linking are the two main ways to make your hierarchy clear.

If you're following good site structuring, you'll probably end up with URLs like "" where "seo-agency-perth" is a "child" page of the "parent" services page. This structure tells search engines that all the pages after "services/" belong to that category - they're related. 

Once you've established a clear hierarchy, you want to make sure all your pages are indexable (as in, they can be crawled). Create a sitemap that shows this structure and submit that to Google Search Console so it can get a baseline for your site's organisation.

Here's what Dilate's sitemap looks like - you can clearly see how our content is categorised, and how it will display when search engines crawl as well:

Dilate Sitemaps

2. Run a crawl and identify technical errors

Run a Crawl and Identify Technical Errors

Now you want to emulate those crawlers and emulate how the search engines crawl your site. Screaming Frog, SEMrush and Ahref are pretty good tools to use here. If you're not ready to sign up to a premium service, the Checkbot chrome extension is a pretty good free tool to get started with - keeping in mind you won't get all the features of the paid subscription services. Some key SEO issues to look out for are:

  • Broken links: Check for any links that lead to non-existent or error pages (404 errors).
  • Redirect issues: Look for improper or excessive redirects, which can confuse search engines and users.
  • Duplicate content: Identify pages with identical or very similar content.
  • Unindexed pages: Ensure that all important pages are indexable.
  • Slow-loading pages: Identify pages that take too long to load, as this can negatively impact user experience.
  • Blocked resources: Check for resources (like JavaScript or CSS files) blocked from crawling, which could affect how search engines view your site.
  • Orphan pages: Look for pages that are not linked to from any other parts of your site, making them hard for search engines and users to find.
  • URL issues: Identify overly long, complex, or non-descriptive URLs.
  • Large images or files: Spot large files or images that could be slowing down your site.

SEMRush Site Audit Report

Structured data errors: Look for errors in structured data (if used) which can impact rich snippets in search results.

3. Make sure your site is secure

Ensure Site Security

A safe site is a must. A very quick check (you can do this via SSL Shopper) is whether your site is HTTP or HTTPS like "". The "HTTPS" indicates the site has an SSL certificate, which means users can be assured that information passed between the website and the browser is secure.

This is a key ranking signal, so ensure every page has a HTTPS status code, and there are no SSL certificate errors. Make sure you always know when your certificate is going to expire and keep it up to date.

4. Check your on-page technical elements

Check On Page Technical Elements

You'll need to check all those key on-page elements - a good tool for most of this is the SEO META in 1 Click extension:

  • Are your title tags and meta descriptions engaging, up-to-date and keyword-friendly?
  • Do you have a clear hierarchy of heading structure (only 1 H1, and then H2, H3, etc in a way that paints a clear narrative)?
  • Have you done image optimisation (they're a good size, with relevant file names and contextual alt tags)?
  • Does your URL structure give context, establish structure and include keywords?
  • Do you have canonical tags as needed to avoid any issues of duplicate content? A canonical URL tells Google to prioritise SEO impact on a primary page, and ignore others with similar content.
  • Do all your pages have relevant schema markups and are they being picked up correctly (you can use a schema validator tool for this)

6. Review your content

Review Your Content

Good optimised content is one of the best ways to get more organic traffic to your site. So it should feature as a big part of your site audit. Always remember that the goal of content on your site is to offer value to your users. It's as simple as that, and that's the main thing Google will judge you on.

  • Are your keywords well-dispersed throughout the content? Are the keywords that drive traffic to those pages the ones you would expect? You can use the performance insights on Google Search Console to see what keywords on Google Search lead to clicks through to specific pages.
  • Is your content engaging, and is it answering the question people have when they land? Check the bounce rate of a page on Google Analytics - if people bounce immediately most of the time, something is wrong.
  • Is the content a decent length compared to competitors? You don't want to be long for the sake of it as that can impact user experience, but thin-content pages can also be penalised by search engines.
  • How frequently are you adding new content to the site and refreshing old content?
  • Is there any duplicate content across your site?

Yoast has a great free tool to help you answer a lot of these questions. It's easy to use—just copy and paste your content, fill in the 'focus keyword' text box and it should give you some really good insights to get started!

7. Ensure your site is mobile friendly

Ensure Your Site is Mobile Friendly

In today's mobile-obsessed age, this is a big one. You have to test your site on various mobile devices and ensure it's responsive and easy to navigate. Hubspot's website grader is a good place to start. You want to look out for:

  • Elements that don't format well on mobile (they get squished or stretched or take up too much space) or hover elements that can't be hovered
  • Text size that can't be read without zooming
  • Menus that can't be clicked or navigated easily
  • Elements that overlap or are too close to click properly
  • Plugins that aren't supported on mobile
  • Slow loading speeds
  • Blocked resources
  • Intrusive pop-ups that can't be easily dealt with on mobile

Content that is too chunky - if it's a hefty paragraph on desktop, it's going to be an overwhelming wall of text on mobile.

8. Check your website speed and performance

Check Website Speed and Performance

These are huge ranking signals as well because they impact user experience so dramatically. No one wants to be stuck on a web page that's taking ages to load.

A handy tool here is Google's PageSpeed Insights which not only breaks down site speed on mobile versus desktop for specific URLs, but also tells you how accessible your site is, how many technical best practices you follow and how SEO-optimised it is.

Google Pagespeed Test Results

It also gives you a very clear list of what you can actually do to improve those scores in the "Diagnostics" section. Each flagged error has a very clear actionable step to take to reduce the impact:

Google Pagespeed Test Results Proposed Actions


10. Create an actionable report

Create an Actionable Report

Once you've done all of the above, you'll probably end up with a hefty to-do list of technical SEO issues to resolve. It may take some time to fix all the areas you've found. You should create a detailed report of all the technical issues you need to address, and what you want to monitor to see if there's a positive impact on your SEO performance.

And from this audit, you should end up with a technical SEO checklist relevant to your site for the next audit.

Ready to start your technical SEO audit?

To be honest, there's a lot more to a really advanced technical SEO than what we've covered above. Each of those points probably warrants a whole detailed blog post and more. Fixing a lot of the issues you find in your audit is going to push you in the right direction, and you should see an increase in organic traffic.

If you're interested in boosting your whole SEO strategy, check out our blog on everything you need to know to get to the top of Google Search results

But if it's all sounding a little much, or you want a much deeper health check on your site, feel free to give us a shout! As an SEO agency in Perth, we deal with technical SEO audits for our clients every single day, and we're happy to walk you through the process or even tackle an audit for you. So reach out today to book a free strategy session. 

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