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How Do You Conduct a Technical SEO Audit?

A technical SEO audit involves checking the technical aspects of your website. Find out in this article how you can easily carry out an SEO audit.

Technical SEO Audit: an Introduction

Technical SEO is all about ensuring your website is technically perfect for users and search engines. A technical SEO audit is important for checking that your website is functioning properly. This gives visitors to your website a good user experience, which sends positive signals to Google, helping to improve your website rankings. In a technical SEO audit, your website is analyzed in detail based on various factors such as URL structure, page architecture, keyword rankings, or other OnPage factors. You can derive concrete proposals from a website SEO audit to try to improve your website's overall rankings in search engines.

In this article, we provide an audit checklist to guide you. We show you which features you need to check and optimize to ensure a flawless website.


1. How do you check your website’s indexability?
2. SEO onpage check: how do you check your OnPage factors?
3. How can you analyze your content?
4. How do you analyze page architecture and internal linking?
5. Are your status codes and redirects correct?
6. How do you check your website’s loading time?
7. Are there international versions of your website?

1. How do you check your website’s indexability?

The first thing you should do when conducting an SEO audit is check your website's indexability. If your website is not indexable, it will not be visible in the Google search result pages for new visitors to find.

1.1. Check the number of pages in Google’s index

The site review is a quick way of checking the number of your website's indexed pages. Indexed pages are pages that are visible for users to click in the SERPs. It's important to check that search engines can crawl and index your pages properly.

You can easily run the site review in Google (enter site: into the Google search).

  • How many pages were found in total?

  • Is the homepage the first search result?


Figure 1: Running a site review in Google

1.2. Check the number of organic landing pages in Google analytics

Google Analytics is a fantastic free tool for gathering and analyzing website data. You can also check your indexed pages here. Under "Behavior" - "Site Content" - "Landing Pages", you will see a list of your landing pages.

  • Do the pages found in Google Analytics match the number of pages found in the
    site review?

1.3. Search for your own brand and keywords associated with the brand

Branding is an important marketing instrument and plays a central role in search engine optimization. If users search for your brand, it's vital that your website is the first one in the search engine results.

  • Is your homepage displayed at the top after searching for the brand name?

If the homepage is not displayed at the top when searching for the brand, this could be due to a Google penalty, your homepage may not be indexable, or maybe another page of your website is displayed as the top. In this case, you should think about adjusting your content to ensure that the most relevant content is on your homepage.

1.4. Run a mobile search

The mobile-friendliness of your website plays an important role in usability and for your Google rankings. Mobile friendliness has been an official ranking factor since April 2015. Therefore, it's important to ensure your website also appears in the mobile search results.

  • Is your homepage the first search result when doing a mobile search?

  • Can your landing pages be navigated and operated easily using a mobile device?

For more advice about ensuring a mobile-friendly website, download our ebook here. You can also use Google's mobile friendly test tool to test the mobile friendliness of your website.


Figure 2: Google’s test for the mobile-friendliness of a page

1.5. Robots.txt

The robots.txt file gives instructions to the search engine, and must be saved in the root directory of the domain. It is important that the robots.txt

  • Is the robots.txt in the root directory?

  • Are any important pages or directories blocked?

  • Easily test your robots.txt file using the free Ryte tool

1.6. JavaScript, Cookies and CSS

JavaScript and CSS play an important role for user experience. JavaScript can portray interactive engaging elements and in the CSS files, you can determine crucial design elements of your website. However, if these files are too large, they can slow down your website's loading time. You should consolidate as many JavaScript files as possible in one file to unnecessary server requests.

  • Do you have JavaScript and CSS files on your website?

  • Do the navigation links work?

  • Is there a cookie acceptance obligation on the pages? Pages that can only be viewed by the crawler after acceptance of cookies present a problem for search engines, and are neither crawled nor indexed.

  • Are there any large JavaScript or CSS files that slow down the page speed?

  • How fast is the page without JavaScript? Can it be navigated?

Read this article for more advice on how to analyze and optimize your JavaScript and CSS files.


Figure 3: Use Ryte to check the subpages on your website where JavaScript is used

1.7. XML Sitemaps

The XML sitemap gives Google an overview of all URLs of your website, giving the search engine a complete overview of your website structure. This is helpful for Google in case any crawling problems should arise - your pages can still be indexed as Google knows the structure of your site. The sitemap should be in the root directory of your website, and you should upload it to the Google Search Console.

  • Is the XML site map in the root directory?

  • Is the sitemap listed in the robots.txt file?

  • Is your XML sitemap in the Google Search Console?

  • Are the most important pages included in the sitemap?

  • Are your XML sitemaps structured to show indexing problems?

  • Do your sitemaps follow the XML protocols?

1.8. Orphan pages

Orphan pages are pages that are not linked from any other page on your website. This means that search engine crawlers won't be able to find and crawl your page via the link structure, and users will also not be able to access the page. You can check for orphan pages with Ryte Website Success - in the navigation click on "Links" --> "Pages without incoming links". You should ensure that these pages are incorporated within your internal linking structure.

  • Do you have any orphan pages?


Figure 4: You can use Website Success to easily identify orphan pages

1.9. "Noindex" meta robots tag

The noindex meta tag is the preferred method of preventing pages from being indexed by Google. This tag is included in the head area of the page in the source code. There are many reasons why you might not want certain URLs to be indexed, for example areas that require a login. The tag should be used with caution. If used incorrectly it could mean that relevant pages on your website are no longer indexed, which could lead to a big drop in traffic and revenue.

  • Was the "noindex" meta robots tag accidentally used on any pages, preventing the page from being indexed?

  • Are there pages that should have the "noindex" command?

1.10. Check Google cache on important pages

Websites change very quickly. You can always retrieve old versions of the website from the cache.

  • Is the content displayed?

  • Are there any links that are not visible on the page?

  • Have you checked the text version of the cached page?

  • Is the navigation available?


Figure 5: An older version of the website can be retrieved from the Google cache using the "cache:www.domain.com" request.

These 10 factors are all important for ensuring that your website is indexable. These should be at the top of your seo audit checklist. If your site isn’t indexable, it won’t be found on Google by your users.

2. SEO onpage check: How do you check your OnPage factors?

2.1. Title Tags

You can check your title tags as part of your onpage seo audit or seo onpage check. The title can be found in the header section of an HTML page. The content of the head section is enclosed by an opening head tag and a closing head tag. The title is important for conveying to search engines the content of the page. The title is also visible to users in the SERPs, therefore it should accurately describe the page content to encourage users to click on it

  • Do you all URLs have titles? Missing titles could have a negative effect on rankings as search engines will not know the page contents.

  • Are the title tags long enough? They should be 55-60 characters long (or up to 512 pixels) to be fully displayed.

  • Are all title tags unique? You should avoid duplicating page titles as this makes it difficult for search engines to judge the relative importance of pages.

  • Is the brand name in the title tag of the homepage?

2.2. Descriptions

Descriptions do not play such an important role as the title in the search engine evaluation of the page, and are no longer a ranking factor. However, page descriptions can heavily influence the click through rate of a URL in the SERPs, therefore are important factors to be included within your onpage optimization.

  • Does each page have a description?

  • Is the description structured as a call-to-action?

  • Are there any descriptions that are too short or too long?

Read this article for more advice regarding how to create the best meta descriptions.


Figure 6: View of a search result with title and description on Google

2.3. Keywords

To successfully and sustainably optimize a website, you have to have the right keyword strategy.

  • How are your keywords distributed in the SERPs? If a lot of keywords have a ranking position lower than 10, you should optimize the URLs for this keyword, for example updating the text, title and description.

  • How does your keyword ranking compare to that of your main competitors?

2.4. H-Headers

Titles are marked using the h tag. Numbers 1-6 are used to signify the relevance of the titles, h1 being the most important headline.

  • Are H-headers set in a descending order where H1 is the most important headline?

  • Is there more than one H1 tag on a URL?

You can analyze your page headings with Ryte. In Website Success, click on "Content" - "Title" in the navigation to get an overview of your page headings.


Figure 7: Use Ryte to analyze the use of headers on your website

This article provides you detailed advice how to optimize your html heading tags.

2.5. Alt tags

The ALT attribute is an important factor in onpage optimization. It conveys information to Google regarding the content of images, as search engines can not read images. If your images can not be displayed for technical reasons, alt tags provide users with information about the image. They are also great for accessibility as they can be read by screen readers.

  • Are relevant keywords used in the ALT tags?

  • Do all image files have relevant ALT tags?

There are many tools available to help you easily check if your images contain alt tags or not. You can easily check with the Ryte free account.

2.6. URLs

There are two types of URLs: static URLs and dynamic URLs.

  • Are you sure that your URLs don’t contain special characters (e.g., ?, !, $, %)?

  • Do the URLs have session IDs or long parameters? These should be avoided.

  • Are the URLs static or dynamic? Search engines tend to prefer static URLs.

  • Do the URLs convey the content of the web-page?

  • Can the URLs be hacked? This would mean that the user can automatically access the overlying directory level by deleting the last part of the file name from the URL.

If you want to change a URL, you should implement a redirect. Generally you should only optimize URLs if it is really necessary, as changing the URLs could end up having a negative impact on traffic.


Figure 8: Example of a dynamic URL


Figure 9: Example of a static URL

2.7. Canonicals

The canonical tag is an indicator for search engines that the original content of a page is on a different URL. This is useful for example for avoiding issues with duplicate content - if two pages have similar content, a canonical tag can be used to convey to search engines which page is the more important, and therefore should be indexed. The tag is best defined in the head section of a page.

  • Does each page have a canonical tag?

  • Are there any contradicting canonical tags?

  • Does every unique URL have its own canonical?

  • Are there any invalid or wrongly declared canonical tags?

3. How can you analyze your content?

3.1. Amount of content compared to ads

Since the rollout of the Panda update, Google has been improving the quality of search engine results by ensuring that top results contain relevant and high quality content. Therefore, the proportion of relevant content on page is an important factor for the evaluation of the page by search engines.

  • Is there enough unique content in the upper part (above the fold) of the webpage?

  • Does the section with unique content outweigh the ads on the page?

3.2. Keyword focus

The keyword focus is an important aspect of search engine optimization. Generally, there are two strategic keyword orientations: the short-tail and the long-tail strategy.

  • Does the motive of the keywords match with orientation of the page?

  • Are there pages that are optimized for long-tail keywords?

3.3. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is a source of risk for your website’s ranking, and presents a great challenge for many website owners, particularly owners of online shops, as search engines cannot judge which page is most important and should therefore be included in the index.

  • Do the URLs have parameters or tracking codes?

  • Do completely different URLs have identical content? This often occurs when the same content (e.g., products) is available in different categories.

  • Copy a section of the content in quotes, and enter it in the Google Search. Does this content also appear elsewhere in the domain?

  • Has the duplicate content already been deleted? If so, you should submit a request to remove the content to Google.

  • Is identical content available on different subdomains?

  • Are there any print-friendly versions? If yes, this could possibly result in duplicate content that is accessible from another URL.

4. How do you analyze page architecture and internal linking?

Internal linking is important for SEO, helping you avoid orphan pages and generally improving your site architecture. This can have a positive impact on your rankings.

4.1. Anchor texts

Make sure you do not confuse Google by linking to different pages with the same link texts. It is important to maintain a clear keyword focus, especially with internal links.

  • Are internal link texts selected so that they match with the content of the linked page?

  • Are anchor texts the same when they have the same destination link?


Figure 10: You can use Ryte to analyze the use of link texts on your website

4.2. Number of links on a page

Internal linking is an important ranking factor and can have a significant effect on the website’s rating in Google search results.

  • Does the website have over 100-200 internal links?

  • Too many links on a single URL will weaken the link power, since the value of every link destination is divided by the total number of existing links.

4.3. Vertical link structure

The homepage is often the most frequently linked page, since every subpage has a link pointing back to the homepage.

  • Does the homepage link to the category pages?

  • Do the category pages link to the subcategories and product pages?

  • Do product pages link to the relevant category pages?

4.4. Horizontal link structure

The more a subpage is linked to internally, the greater its importance will appear to be.

  • Do category pages link to other relevant category pages?

  • Do product pages link to other relevant product pages?


Figure 11: You can use Ryte to improve the structure of your link hierarchy

4.5. Links within the content and footer

Link texts can frequently repeat themselves (e.g., in the footer), and they can consist of a single word.

  • Make sure you link to other relevant pages when linking internally.

  • Are there massive link blocks in the footer instead of a correct user-friendly navigation?

  • Is the correct anchor text used in the footer?

5. Are your status codes and redirects correct?

5.1. Status codes

The status code 200 means that a web page is accessible. If you come across 4xx and 5xx status codes when checking your website's status codes, you should fix them as soon as possible. Too many errors have a negative effect on your Google rankings as well as on user experience. This article can help you identify and fix your error pages.

  • Are there any 4xx or 5xx status code error pages?

  • Are there any 302 redirects?

  • It's worth checking whether there might be a better alternative than a 301 redirect.


Figure 12: Use Ryte to identify 404 errors and redirects

5.2. Correct use of 301 redirects

301 redirects are very important if you have removed any pages. You can redirect a deleted page to a current URL to ensure that users do not come across a 404 status code. If you implement redirects, you should use 301 permanent redirects rather than 302 redirects.

  • Are permanent 301 redirects used for all redirects? This saves the crawl budget.

  • Avoid incorrect redirects.

5.3. Redirects lead directly to the target URL

If changing a URL is imperative, you should configure a 301 redirect.

  • Bear in mind that redirect chains significantly reduce the link power of the destination URL.

  • Google suggests not following redirect chains that have multiple redirects.

5.4. Use of JavaScript

Decide whether JavaScript files should be at the beginning of the source code, or if it is enough to load them at the end of the HTML document.

  • Is the content displayed with JavaScript?

  • Are links displayed via JavaScript? Are the PR purposes ascribed or by chance?

5.5. Use of iframes

iFrames are used to display other web content as independent documents in a defined area of the browser.

  • Are iFrames still used on your website?

  • Make sure that important content is not placed within an iFrame.

5.6. Use of flash

With regard to search engine optimization, there is nothing wrong with using Flash. However, certain rules should however be observed. Flash should not be used for important content, as search engines cannot crawl flash. Therefore, makes sure that no entire pages are built with Flash.

6. How do you check your website's loading time?

6.1. Load time of important pages

The load time of a website is very important for search engine ranking. It should be reduced as much as possible, and can be affected by many factors.

  • Are the load times of important pages too long?

  • Does the page take more than 3 seconds to load?

  • How long is the "Time to First Byte"?

  • Are large CSS/JS/HTML files compressed?

  • Is caching activated?

  • Is Gzip used?

  • Are image sizes optimized?

  • Is CDN used for images?

There are many different tools for testing the page speed of a website, for example the page speed insights tool from Google. In this article, we compare 6 tools for testing page speed.


Figure 13: The PageSpeed Insights tool from Google

6.2. Mobile

Particularly with mobile devices, users expect fast load times, as they want to access their desired information as quickly as possible when on the go. Mobile friendliness has been a ranking factor since April 21st 2015.

  • Are the pages optimized for mobile devices?

  • Is there a mobile version of the homepage?

  • If yes, is it a mobile page, responsive design, or dynamic serving?

  • Has analytics been set up for a separate mobile page?

  • Is the mobile page experience satisfactory for mobile visitors?

  • Do mobile visitors have different intentions compared to desktop-based visitors?

6.3. Mobile redirects

When designing your page, make sure it has good mobile usability. One possible way of doing this is redirecting to a mobile page.

  • Are there any faulty mobile redirects?

  • Are mobile visitors redirected from the actually desired URL (typically to the homepage)?

  • Is the connection of the mobile page to the desktop page clear?

  • If a mobile page (m.domain.com) exists, does the equivalent desktop URL also redirect to the mobile page with a rel=“alternate” and a canonical tag?

7. Are there international versions of your website?

If international versions of your website are available, there are many factors you can check when carrying out a technical SEO audit.

7.1. Is country-based targeting activating in the Google Search Console

Search engines usually have different reference points to identify the language and geographic orientation of a website.

  • In the Google Search Console, is it specified whether a page is targeted towards a specific country?

  • If the page has international sections, are these defined in the Google Search Console?

  • Is hreflang/rel alternate implemented?

  • If there are several versions of a page in the same language (e.g., a /us/ and a /uk/), is there a copy of the page so that two independent pages are available?

  • How is the currency of the destination country used?

  • Is the language in the URL adapted to the language of the destination country?

7.2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics evaluations are detailed, and allow a fundamental data analysis.

  • Is the analytics tracking code implemented on each page?

  • Is the analytics code integrated correctly on all pages?

  • Are internal search requests captured properly?

  • Is demographic tracking activated?

  • Are AdWords and AdSense linked properly?

  • Are internal IP addresses excluded?

  • Are UTM campaign parameters used for marketing measures?

  • Is event tracking activated for the desired user interactions?


Just like your own health, your website can be kept "healthy" through regular maintenance. A technical SEO audit is, for many reasons, the perfect way to check your website’s health. With this website audit checklist, we provide a plan with which you can regularly review the most important technical factors of your website. You can also download our seo audit template hereto help you even further with your technical SEO checklist.

Such a comprehensive analysis requires a certain amount of time, regardless of the size of your website. Long-term planning, conducting regular technical SEO audits, and continuous monitoring using common web analytics tools, will pay off in the long term. This is how you can sustainably improve the quality management of your website, and ensure that your website has the necessary quality to obtain good rankings in search engines.

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Published on Mar 12, 2019 by Olivia Willson