Imagine you have a restaurant. You have delicious food and charming ambiance. Now you’re expecting people to fill every table. But the door is locked, and the kitchen is a mess. Will customers ever learn about your restaurant, let alone enjoy the food there? In SEO terms, your restaurant needs a technical audit.

To put this example in SEO context, the restaurant is your website. The delicious food is the content, and the charming ambiance is the user experience. Locked doors mean you haven’t permitted crawlers to crawl your website, and the messy kitchen is the confusing site architecture. The customers are potential visitors, and not learning about your restaurant means your website not showing up high in SERPs.

What is a technical SEO audit?

If you only have to hear one argument in favor of how critical technical SEO audit is, it is this:

Technical SEO serves as the core foundation for any website. Without addressing technical issues, other SEO efforts may not yield optimal results.

A website technical audit is essentially a checkup to see how search engines like Google crawl and index it. It examines the technical aspects of your site that affect SEO. This includes the audit of many technical SEO factors, like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and the overall user experience of your website.

Why perform technical SEO audit

The significance of a technical SEO audit lies in its ability to identify and fix issues that may hinder a website’s performance in search engine rankings. By addressing technical issues, businesses can ensure their website is easily understandable and accessible by search engine crawlers, leading to better indexing and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here are some of the obvious benefits you’d reap after identifying issues in technical audit and fixing them:

Improved visibility

A technically optimized site is more likely to be crawled and indexed properly by search engines, which can lead to higher visibility in SERPs.

Better user experience

A technical audit may flag many technical SEO factors that contribute to an enhanced user experience, such as faster loading times and mobile-friendliness, which can lead to higher engagement and lower bounce rates.

Competitive advantage

Identifying and fixing technical issues can help a website outrank competitors that may have neglected technical SEO, providing a competitive advantage in search engine rankings.

Prevent penalties

Search engines may penalize websites for technical issues such as duplicate content or security vulnerabilities. Conducting regular technical audits helps to identify and address these issues before they negatively impact rankings.

A solid foundation for further SEO

A technical SEO audit helps ensure your website is technically sound, allowing you to build upon that foundation with other SEO tactics to maximize your website’s potential in search rankings.

A step-by-step guide on how to conduct a technical SEO site audit

1.    Crawl Your Website

This is the first step of every SEO audit guide – crawling. It is the foundation of a technical SEO audit. It essentially mimics how search engines discover and analyze your web pages.

The first step is to decide which SEO tools you’ll use for the audit. There are multiple options like Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, SEMrush Site Audit, Ahrefs Site Audit etc. Then, use your chosen tool to crawl your entire website. This will reveal issues like broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta tags, etc.

While not a dedicated crawler, Google Search Console (GSC) offers a ‘Coverage’ report within its functionality. This report provides insights into how Google sees your website’s indexability, highlighting any crawl errors or blocked URLs. Some of the issues highlighted in the crawl report include:

Number of URLs: The crawler identifies the total number of URLs on your website. This helps understand the website’s size and complexity.

Indexable pages: The crawl differentiates between indexable and non-indexable pages. Indexable pages are the ones that search engines can access and potentially rank in search results.

Crawl errors: The crawler report highlights any errors encountered during the process, such as broken links (404 errors), server errors (500 errors), or blocked URLs by robots.txt.

Sitemap coverage: The report can show if all URLs listed in your sitemap (if you have one) were successfully crawled. This helps identify discrepancies between your intended indexable pages and what the crawler discovered.

Additionally, you can also check GSC for any indexing errors. GSC provides valuable insights into how Google sees your website. Look for issues like blocked URLs by robots.txt, no-index directives, or internal linking problems that hinder search engine access.


2.    Analyze Website Architecture and Information Architecture

This is a crucial step in technical audit for SEO as it focuses on how your website is structured and organized. This involves analyzing two key aspects:

Website architecture: This refers to the technical aspects of your website, like does your website has a clear and logical hierarchy, with a strong homepage, or are pages organized in a way that makes sense to users and search engines, or how well-connected are your pages with internal links, etc.

Information architecture: It focuses on the organization of your website’s content. It’s about how users navigate and find the information they need and, whether your website is easy to navigate or not, and is your content grouped logically by topic or category, etc.

Here’s how you can analyze your website and information architecture:

Evaluate website structure

Analyze how your website is organized. Is there a clear hierarchy with a strong homepage? Can users find the information easily? Determine if the website follows a logical hierarchical structure that organizes content from general to specific. For example, if you are an e-commerce store selling men’s shirts, then the items should follow the structure of Homepage>Products>Men>Casual shirts>Item.

Evaluate URL structure

Analyze the URL structure to know if it reflects the website’s hierarchical organization and content categories. URLs should be descriptive and user-friendly, containing relevant keywords where appropriate. Ensure that URLs are consistent and follow a standardized format throughout the website.

Content labeling and organization

Review how your content is labeled (titles, headings, subheadings). Is it clear, concise, and relevant to the content itself? Is the content organized logically within each page and across the website? Map out user journeys to see how users navigate their website to complete specific tasks. This helps identify any roadblocks or confusing layouts that hinder user experience.

Sitemap and wireframe analysis

Review your website’s sitemap (a visual representation of all your website’s pages and their structure). Does it accurately reflect the current website structure? Are there any inconsistencies between the sitemap and the actual website?

If you have wireframes (low-fidelity mockups of your website’s layout), review them to see if the planned information architecture aligns with user needs and facilitates intuitive navigation.

There are several tools that can aid your analysis. You can use website analytics tools like Google Analytics to see how users interact with your website, or you could seek help from tools like Treejack that allow users to complete tasks by navigating a tree structure representing your website’s IA.

If you find this daunting, you can also hire a company that offers technical SEO audit services.

3.    Identify duplicate content issues

Duplicate content occurs when significant portions of your website’s content appear on multiple URLs, either within your own site or across the web. This can be problematic for SEO as search engines may not know which version of the content to index and rank.

There are three types of duplicate content:

Internal duplicates: Identical content appearing on multiple URLs within your site. This can happen due to product pages with thin variations, printer-friendly versions, or session IDs in URLs.

Near-duplicates: Content that is very similar to yours but with minor variations, like product descriptions with slightly different wording.

External duplicates: Your original content appearing on another website without your permission (plagiarism).

You can identify duplicate content using various techniques, like:

Manual review

For small websites, manually checking for duplicate content across pages is feasible. Look for identical sections or repeated product descriptions.

Site search operators

Use Google’s advanced search operators like “site:[invalid URL removed]” along with specific keywords or phrases to see if identical content appears on multiple URLs of your site.

SEO audit tools

Many SEO audit tools like Screaming Frog or Semrush crawl your website and identify potential duplicate content based on high content similarity. Here are some of the tools and how you can use them to weed out similar content:

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Enter the website URL you want to audit to let the tool crawl the site. Once that is done, go to the ‘Duplicate Content” section and review pages with high content similarity. It detects duplicate titles, meta descriptions, and content and flags pages with similar content.


Enter your website’s URL in the designated field and click ‘Start Audit.’ Once the audit finishes, navigate to the ‘Issues’ tab within the Site Audit tool. In the search bar provided, type ‘duplicate’ to filter the issues list. This will display all issues related to duplicate content.


While some SEO audit tools crawl your entire website, PlagSpotter focuses on analyzing specific URLs. This can be beneficial if you want to target particular sections of your site or have a smaller website. Its Single URL Check feature is free and allows you to paste the text content of a webpage or enter the URL directly. The tool also offers automatic monitoring of your URLs, but that is for paid users.

Google Search Console

While GSC doesn’t directly pinpoint high content similarity like some SEO audit tools, it can still be a valuable asset in identifying potential duplicate content issues. Use the URL Inspection tool to diagnose specific URLs suspected of being duplicates. Look for the ‘Canonical’ section. This indicates the URL Google considers the main version for indexing purposes. If Google chose a different canonical URL than you intended, it might be a sign of duplicate content.

4.    Analyze site speed and performance

Website speed is a crucial ranking factor. Assessing your site’s loading speed can help you identify factors slowing down your site, such as large images, render-blocking JavaScript, or inefficient server response time.

There are several free and paid tools that can help you assess your website’s speed, like Google PageSpeed Insights, BrowserStack SpeedLab, Pingdom Tools and GTmetrix, etc. These tools provide a score (usually 0-100) indicating your website’s overall speed. A higher score indicates a faster website.

In the technical SEO audit report, you should look for specific metrics like First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Time to Interactive (TTI). These metrics measure how quickly different elements of your website become visible and interactive to users.

The tools will provide a list of actionable recommendations to improve your website speed like optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, improving server response time, etc.

5.    Check for Technical Code Issues

A clean and optimized code ensures search engines can crawl, comprehend, and index your content effectively. Validate your website’s code using W3C validators. There are a number of issues that might hinder search engines’ understanding of your website and content and identifying them is an important checklist for technical audit.

Some of the common technical code issues that might be identified during the check are:

HTML errors and warnings

Identify and fix any errors or warnings reported by the W3C Markup Validation Service. These can include missing closing tags, invalid attribute values, or deprecated code.

Missing schema markup

Schema markup provides rich snippets of information about your content in search results. Use tools like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check for missing or incorrect schema markup.

Broken JavaScript and CSS

Broken scripts can prevent search engines from rendering your content correctly. Use a website crawler or browser developer tools to identify and fix broken scripts.

Incorrect HTTP headers

HTTP headers provide instructions to browsers and search engines. Ensure your headers are set correctly, especially for caching and content type.

Missing or incorrect meta information

Check for missing or poorly optimized meta descriptions and title tags. These elements are crucial for search engine ranking and user click-through rates.

Unminified code

Minification removes unnecessary characters and whitespace from your code, improving website speed. Consider minifying your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

Resource blocking rendering

Certain scripts or stylesheets can block the rendering of your content. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify render-blocking resources and optimize their loading.

The next step

Once you have identified the issues through the audit, the next step is to prioritize them based on their impact and urgency. The issues that require minimal effort for rectification should be fixed as a priority. Then, you can strategize on how to fix the more complicated issues.

Technical SEO audits are a routine process and should be done periodically. Regular audits are essential for improving your website’s performance and search engine ranking.

Ideally, you should perform the technical audit quarterly – four times a year – as this will help you make changes to your website according to the periodic updates released by search engines.


Technical audit is like a routine trip to your mechanic or a check-up by a doctor. While on the outside, things appear to be flawless, an in-depth technical SEO analysis always reveals something that requires your attention.

This checklist is your complete guide to identifying issues that are stopping your site from reaching its full potential. By following them, you can improve your website’s technical structure and increase your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).