Last Updated on 4th March 2024

A comprehensive technical SEO audit checklist that you can use to assess and improve the technical aspects of a website:

1. Crawlability and Indexing:

  • Verify robots.txt file for proper directives.
  • Ensure important pages are not blocked from indexing.
  • Check the XML sitemap for accuracy and submit it to search engines.
  • Check the XML sitemap is using the last time a URL was meaningfully updated for its last mod time and not using server time or current time
  • Be aware that there is no need to add priority to XML sitemaps since these are ignored by Google (everyone thinks their URLs are high priority).
  • Review the use of meta robots tags on pages and remember on-page robots management takes precedent over other forms of robots management.
  • Ensure search engines can crawl and index your site effectively.
  • Use tools like Google Search Console and Screaming Frog to identify any issues.

2. Site and URL Structure and Navigation:

  • Ensure URLs are SEO-friendly, descriptive, and include target keywords.
  • Check for the use of unnecessary parameters in URLs.
  • Implement proper redirects (301 for permanent, 302 for temporary).
  • Avoid URL canonicalization issues (www vs non-www).

3. Website Speed:

  • Evaluate page loading speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Optimize images and use compressed file formats.  Reduce image sizes and utilise lossless compression.
  • Minimize HTTP requests and enable browser caching.
  • Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for static resources such as Cloudflare CDN.

4. Mobile Optimization:

  • Ensure a responsive design for mobile devices.
  • Check mobile page speed and optimize accordingly.
  • Consider utilising exit-intent pop-ups for enhanced user experience, however avoid using initial interstitials on mobile devices since Google has an algorithm designed to suppress sites / URLs which present an interstitial on page load from search.

5. Site Architecture:

  • Create a clear and logical site structure.
  • Design and clear and logical site structure. Organise content into categories and subcategories
  • Optimize your URL structure by making use of descriptive URLs but be careful to never over-optimize URLs (or any aspect of your website).
  • Use breadcrumb navigation for user and search engine understanding.
  • Implement an HTML and XML sitemap for better navigation and to shorten click depth or alleviate hierarchical confusions in the architectue of the site.

6. Technical Markup:

  • Validate HTML and fix any errors.
  • Use proper semantic heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) for content hierarchy.
  • Implement schema markup for rich snippets.
  • Implement semantic page sectioning such as article, sidebar, video, footer, header, according to HTML5.

7. SSL and Security:

  • Ensure the site is using HTTPS for secure connections.
  • Regularly update and patch software to prevent security vulnerabilities.
  • Use a strong and unique password for website access.

8. Duplicate Content:

  • Identify and resolve duplicate content issues.
  • Implement canonical tags where necessary.
  • Check for duplicate meta titles and descriptions.

9. 404 Errors and Broken Links:

  • Identify and fix broken links using tools like Google Search Console.
  • Customize a user-friendly 404 error page.

10. Analytics and Tracking:

  • Ensure Google Analytics and other tracking codes are correctly implemented.
  • Set up goals and event tracking to measure user interactions.

11. Social Media Integration:

  • Optimize social media metadata (Open Graph tags, Twitter cards).
  • Verify that social media icons and sharing buttons are functional.

12. Local SEO (if applicable):

  • Optimize Google My Business listing.
  • Ensure accurate and consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information.

13. Accessibility:

  • Conduct an accessibility audit for compliance with WCAG guidelines.
  • Ensure alt text is present for all images.

14. Monitoring and Maintenance:

  • Set up regular site audits using tools like Screaming Frog or SEMrush.
  • Monitor search engine algorithm updates and adjust strategy accordingly.

15. User Experience (UX):

  • Optimize for a positive user experience, including fast load times and intuitive navigation.
  • Test website usability on different devices and browsers.

Regularly conducting an audit using this technical SEO audit checklist can help ensure that your website remains search engine-friendly and provides a positive user experience.  Bear in mind however that there are many nuances which will be site specific when it comes to technical SEO. Technical SEO issues can occur at any time, particularly on large sites or sites which have many aspects of programmatic content development.

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