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May 07, 2024 Cetin Buyukogutcu

The Technical SEO Audit Checklist for Enhanced Google Rankings

As businesses strive to enhance their digital visibility in today's highly competitive business environment, mastering the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes crucial. One critical subset of SEO practices that is often overlooked is the technical SEO audit. It is fundamental to ensure your website adheres to the standards set by search engines to attain high-ranking results.

This article presents a comprehensive checklist for a technical SEO audit designed to optimize your website and boost its ranking on Google. We will cover;


1. What is a Technical SEO Audit?

A Technical SEO Audit is a thorough evaluation of the technical aspects of a website that impact its search engine ranking. This process involves analyzing factors such as website speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, indexability, site structure, and more. By identifying and fixing issues related to these technical aspects, a website can improve its search engine visibility and user experience.

During a Technical SEO Audit, tools like Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Screaming Frog are often used to gather data and identify areas of improvement. The results of the audit are then used to create an action plan to optimize the website for search engines.

Technical SEO Audit is essential for ensuring that a website is technically sound and optimized for search engines. By conducting regular audits and making necessary improvements, businesses can enhance their online presence and attract more organic traffic to their website.


2. Reasons to Make a Technical SEO Audit

Conducting a Technical SEO Audit is essential for your website's success.


To give a more detailed explanation, here are the crucial reasons why you should make a technical SEO audit:


2.1 Identify and Fix Technical Issues

A Technical SEO Audit helps you uncover any technical issues that may be impacting your website's performance on search engines.

Issues like broken links, duplicate content, slow page speed, and mobile-friendliness problems can hurt your SEO efforts. By identifying and fixing these issues, you can ensure that your website is optimized for search engines.


2.2 Improve User Experience

A well-optimized website not only ranks higher on search engine results pages but also provides a better user experience.

Technical SEO factors such as website speed, mobile-friendliness, and site structure play a crucial role in determining how users interact with your site. By conducting an audit and addressing these factors, you can enhance the overall user experience, leading to higher engagement and conversions.

According to Google’s helpful content update in 2022, it promotes websites with user-friendly content. This update ensures that all content on the search results page answers a question and helps the user. This ensured a good user experience by penalizing websites that created content for search engines and not humans.



2.3 Stay Ahead of the Competition

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, staying ahead of the competition is key to success.

By regularly conducting Technical SEO Audits, you can keep up with the latest best practices and algorithm updates. This proactive approach ensures that your website remains competitive and continues to perform well on search engines.


2.4 Boost Organic Traffic

A well-optimized website is more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages, leading to increased organic traffic.

By conducting a Technical SEO Audit and implementing the necessary improvements, you can attract more visitors to your website without having to rely on paid advertising.


2.5 Enhance Overall SEO Strategy

Technical SEO is just one aspect of a comprehensive SEO strategy. By conducting regular audits, you can gain valuable insights into your website's performance and identify opportunities for growth. This information can help you refine your overall SEO strategy and make informed decisions to drive better results.

Conducting a Technical SEO Audit is a fundamental step in optimizing your website for search engines and gaining a competitive edge in the digital landscape. By addressing technical issues, improving user experience, and staying ahead of the competition, you can drive more organic traffic to your website and achieve your online marketing goals.

A study that was made by one of the industry leaders Ahrefs shows us the increase in organic traffic over time only with technical improvements:



3. Understanding Technical SEO Audit

A technical SEO audit involves assessing your website from the perspective of Google's web crawling bots.

It is designed to uncover any potential problems that could impact your website's performance on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Now let's delve into the various components of a successful SEO audit:


3.1 Website Analysis

Your website analysis begins with checking the HTTP status codes and discovering any possible broken links.

A tool like Screaming Frog can perform this task proficiently by crawling your website and identifying any URL errors.


3.2 Website Structure and Navigation

Your website's structure and navigation serve as the backbone of a seamless user experience and strong search engine visibility.

A well-organized website not only helps users find what they're looking for quickly but also ensures search engines can crawl and index your content effectively.

A good website architecture allows all search engine crawlers to crawl and index your content easily.



a) URL Structure

The URL structure of your website should be clear, concise, and descriptive.

Use keywords relevant to the content of each page and avoid long, convoluted URLs that are difficult for users and search engines to understand. A clean URL structure not only improves user experience but also enhances the likelihood of your pages ranking well in search results.

Most important tips for optimizing your URL structure:

  • Keep URLs short and to the point.

  • Use hyphens to separate words for readability (e.g.,

  • Avoid using unnecessary parameters or session IDs in URLs.

  • Use lowercase letters to prevent case sensitivity issues.


b) Navigation Hierarchy

The navigation hierarchy of your website should be intuitive and easy to navigate for users.

Organize your content into logical categories and subcategories, making it simple for visitors to find what they're looking for with minimal effort.

Clear navigation not only improves user experience but also helps search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your website's content.

Tips for optimizing your navigation hierarchy:

  • Keep navigation menus simple and uncluttered.

  • Use descriptive labels for menu items that accurately represent the content they link to.

  • Prioritize important pages in the main navigation menu and use submenus for additional categorization.

  • Implement breadcrumb navigation to help users understand their location within your website's hierarchy.


c) Internal Linking Strategy

An effective internal linking strategy is crucial for both user experience and SEO.

Internal links not only help users navigate your website but also distribute link equity and establish relationships between pages, signaling their importance to search engines.

By strategically linking to relevant pages within your site, you can improve the discoverability and authority of your content.


Tips for optimizing your internal linking strategy:

  • Link contextually within the body of your content using relevant anchor text.

  • Prioritize linking to cornerstone content and high-priority pages.

  • Use descriptive anchor text that provides context about the linked page.

  • Regularly audit and update your internal links to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

By optimizing your website's structure and navigation, you can create a user-friendly experience that keeps visitors engaged and encourages them to explore further.

Additionally, a well-organized website makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content, ultimately improving your site's visibility and rankings in search results.


3.3 Website Speed and Performance

Website speed and performance are critical factors that can significantly impact user experience and search engine rankings.

Studies have shown that users expect websites to load quickly, and even minor delays can lead to increased bounce rates and decreased engagement.

Moreover, search engines like Google consider page speed as one of the non-direct ranking factors, making it essential for both user satisfaction and SEO success.



a) Page Load Speed

Page load speed refers to the time it takes for a web page to fully display its content in a user's browser.

To optimize your website's page load speed, consider the following strategies:

  • Optimize Images: Large images can significantly slow down your website. Use image compression techniques to reduce file size without compromising quality. Additionally, consider lazy loading images to prioritize the loading of visible content first.

  • Minimize HTTP Requests: Reduce the number of HTTP requests by combining CSS and JavaScript files, inline critical CSS, and removing unnecessary scripts and stylesheets.

  • Enable Browser Caching: Leverage browser caching to store static resources (e.g., images, CSS, JavaScript) on users' devices, reducing the need to download them with each visit.

  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Utilize a CDN to distribute your website's content across multiple servers worldwide, delivering it from the server closest to the user's location and reducing latency.

  • Optimize Code: Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to remove unnecessary characters and whitespace, reducing file size and improving load times.


b) Mobile Optimization

With the increasing prevalence of mobile devices, optimizing your website for mobile users is no longer optional—it's a necessity.

Mobile optimization involves ensuring that your website is fast, user-friendly, and has a responsive design on all types of mobile devices.


Here are some key strategies for mobile optimization:

  • Responsive Design: Adopt a responsive web design approach that automatically adjusts the layout and content of your website based on the user's device screen size. This ensures a consistent and optimized experience across desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

  • Mobile-Friendly Layout: Simplify your website's layout for mobile users, prioritizing essential content and minimizing distractions. Use large, touch-friendly buttons and text for improved readability and ease of navigation.

  • Optimized Media for Mobile: Optimize images, videos, and other media assets for mobile devices to reduce load times and bandwidth usage. Consider serving different image sizes based on the user's device resolution.

  • Mobile-Friendly Forms: Streamline forms and input fields for mobile users by reducing the number of required fields, using input masks for easier data entry, and optimizing form layout for touchscreen devices.

By prioritizing website speed and mobile optimization, you can enhance user experience, reduce bounce rates, and improve your website's search engine rankings.

Investing in these areas not only benefits your visitors but also contributes to the long-term success and sustainability of your online presence.


3.4 Indexing and Crawling

Ensuring that search engine bots can effectively crawl and index your website is essential for maximizing your online visibility and search engine rankings.

By reviewing and optimizing key components such as your robots.txt file, XML sitemap, and canonicalization strategy, you can ensure proper indexing and avoid common issues like duplicate content.



a) Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file is a text file located in the root directory of your website that instructs search engine bots on which pages they can or cannot crawl.

Here's how you can optimize your robots.txt file for effective crawling:

  • Allow and Disallow Directives: Use the "Allow" and "Disallow" directives to control which sections of your website search engine bots can access. Ensure that important pages are allowed for crawling while blocking irrelevant or sensitive content.

  • Use of Wildcards: Utilize wildcard characters to specify patterns for URLs that should be allowed or disallowed for crawling. For example, you can use "Disallow: /admin/" to block access to all URLs under the "/admin/" directory.

  • Test and Validate: Regularly test and validate your robots.txt file using tools like Google's Robots Testing Tool or Bing's Robots.txt Tester. Ensure that there are no syntax errors or unintended directives that could hinder crawling and indexing.

  • Update and Maintain: Periodically review and update your robots.txt file as your website evolves. Adjust and accommodate changes in site structure, content, or crawling requirements while maintaining proper directives for search engine bots.

b) XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs on your website and provides metadata about each page, such as when it was last updated and how often it changes.


Here's how you can optimize your XML sitemap for effective indexing:

  • Include All Relevant URLs: Ensure that your XML sitemap includes all relevant URLs on your website, including pages, posts, categories, and other important content. Exclude URLs that are meant to be hidden or are not intended for indexing, such as login pages or thank you pages.

  • Submit to Search Engines: Once you've created or updated your XML sitemap, submit it to major search engines like Google and Bing using their respective webmaster tools. This helps search engines discover and index your content more efficiently.

  • Prioritize Important Pages: Use priority tags to indicate the importance of individual pages within your XML sitemap. Assign higher priority values to key landing pages, cornerstone content, and other critical pages to signal their importance to search engines.

  • Regularly Update and Validate: Keep your XML sitemap up to date by regularly updating it whenever you add or remove pages from your website. Validate your XML sitemap using tools like Google Search Console to ensure it conforms to the XML sitemap protocol and contains no errors.


c) Canonicalization Strategy

Canonicalization is the process of specifying the preferred version of a URL when multiple versions of the same content exist.

Implementing a robust canonicalization strategy helps prevent issues like duplicate content and ensures that search engines index the correct version of your pages.

Here's how you can optimize your canonicalization strategy:

  • Canonical Tags: Use canonical tags (rel="canonical") to specify the preferred version of a URL when duplicate or similar content exists across multiple URLs. Place the canonical tag in the "<head>" section of each page to indicate the canonical URL that search engines should index.

  • Consolidate Similar Content: Identify and consolidate similar or duplicate content by redirecting alternate versions to the canonical URL. Implement 301 redirects to permanently redirect users and search engine bots from non-canonical URLs to the preferred version.

  • Handle Parameterized URLs: If your website uses parameterized URLs (e.g., session IDs, tracking parameters), use canonical tags or URL parameters in Google Search Console to specify how search engines should handle them. Ensure that parameterized URLs are not indexed separately to avoid duplicate content issues.

  • Monitor and Resolve Issues: Regularly monitor your website for duplicate content issues and inconsistencies in canonicalization. Use tools like Google Search Console to identify and resolve canonicalization errors, such as missing or incorrect canonical tags.

By reviewing and optimizing your website's indexing and crawling mechanisms, you can ensure that search engine bots can effectively crawl and index your content, leading to improved visibility and rankings in search results.

Regularly monitor and maintain these elements to ensure ongoing compliance with search engine guidelines and best practices.


3.5 HTTPS Status Check

Using secure HTTP (HTTPS) assures your site visitors of data security. Google rewards websites using HTTPS with better ranking positions, so it’s crucial to ensure your site is secure and trustworthy.




3.6 Structured Data Review

Google uses structured data to better understand the content of a page. Websites with structured data are more likely to appear prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs).

By providing structured data, you make it easier for search engines to index and rank your content accurately. It also impacts how your page is displayed in SERPs such as star ratings for product reviews, event details, recipe information, and more. These rich features make your listings stand out and provide users with valuable information.

Therefore, you always need to validate your structured data using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure it is properly implemented for your webpage.



From website analysis to understanding indexability issues, a technical SEO audit relies on various components for optimal website performance.

By adhering to this comprehensive checklist, any website can improve its technical SEO, boost its visibility, and achieve a higher ranking on Google.

Remember, SEO is a continuous process that requires regular monitoring and updates. The more technical issues you fix, the more beneficial your SEO efforts will be in the long run.

If you need any support in making an SEO audit and fixing the issues, NMQ Digital is here with its SEO services. 

Published by Cetin Buyukogutcu May 7, 2024
Cetin Buyukogutcu