Technical SEO checklist for beginners and advanced SEOs that don’t want to forget basics when doing a technical SEO audit.
|What to Audit?
|How to check?
|Is my website or URL on Google?
|Do a site: search on the specific URL. Ex.: “site:jcchouinard.com“
|Is my website secured (HTTPs)?
|Look out for the secured icon in your browser address bar or perform a site: search. site:jcchouinard.com -inurl:https
|Is my website mobile friendly?
|Go to Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool and see if it loads correctly. (Make sure that you test all your most important pages)
|Is my website fast?
|Go to Google’s Lighthouse Devtools or head over to page speed insights and see if it performs well. (Make sure that you test all your most important pages)
|Is my local business showing up on Google?
|Make sure that you validate your business with Google My Business.
|Is bad content blocked in robots.txt
|Make sure that content not relevant to the user is blocked in robots.txt (search engine pages, URLs with tracking parameters, etc.). Robots file should be at the root of your site
jcchouinard.com/robots.txt. Google has standardized the Robot Exclusion Protocol.
|Does my site contain the Google Analytics tracking code everywhere
|You can crawl your website with Screaming Frog by setting up a custom search for all URLs that do not contain your tracking code (UA-XXXXXXXX-X).
|Is my website validated in Google Search Console
|Google Search Console is the number #1 SEO Tool. Make sure that your domain is validated.
|Is my web page Rendered Correctly
|Use the URL Inspection tool to make sure that the user sees the same thing as Google does.
<title> tags unique and descriptive?
|Make sure that
<title> tags are unique by crawling your website with Screaming Frog. (Each page as their own title, contains page keyword without keyword stuffing, less than 70 characters).
|Is my meta description unique and descriptive?
|Use a descriptive meta description containing your target keyword. The recommended length of 50–160 characters (Moz).
<meta name="description" content="Unique and helpful description containing your target keyword">
|Am I using proper headings (h1-h6)?
|-Only one h1 per page
-Targeted keywords and variations should be in your titles
-Headings that define the structure of a page
-The structure should be coherent
-No empty tags
-Heading always the same size and format
|Do I have the right Structured Data Markups?
|Structured data can be really useful to rank featured snippets such as Google Jobs. Make sure that your website contains the most relevant. See the full list of markups.
|Do I have a Breadcrumb?
|Make sure that you have a breadcrumb and also the structured data markup to go along with it.
home > category > SEO > My First SEO Post
|Is my navigation natural and easy to understand?
|Make sure that:
– All your pages are discoverable;
– No orphaned pages;
– No links to a 404 page;
– Simple, but not too simple architecture. Don’t link to all pages from every page of your website.
– Each page discoverable under 3 or 4 clicks.
– Have an HTML navigation with up-to-date links.
– Content well organized
|Do I have an up-to-date Sitemap.xml
|Create an XML sitemap at the root of your site that has all relevant URLs and last modified dates. (jcchouinard.com/sitemap.xml)
|Do I have a custom 404 page?
|Make sure that:
– Users find a page that can help them find what they were looking for when they end up on a page that does not exist;
– Your 404 page returns the proper HTTP status code. a 404 should return a 404, not a 200;
– The 404 pages are not blocked in the robots.txt;
– Consistent design with the rest of your site.
Just add dummy URL path to your site to find your 404 pages (
|Do I have server errors (5XX)?
|Check Google Search Console’s coverage report to solve your 5XX errors as they directly impact user’s experience and crawl rate.
|Is my URL structure simple enough?
|URLs should be descriptive and easy to remember.
– Use words relevant to your page in URL;
– Use short URLs;
– Don’t keyword stuff the URL (
– Avoid too many subfolders (
– Use text instead of images for your links.
|Do I have duplicate pages?
rel="canonical" or 301 redirects when you have identical content. Example, avoid the same page to exist on subdomains
|Do I have broken links?
|Crawl your website and find all links that point to 404 pages.
|Is user-generated content nofollowed?
|Keep your link reputation by adding
rel="nofollow"to all links that are added by users (in the comments section for example).
|Are images Lazy loaded?
loading="lazy" attribute on images to make your page load faster for your users
|Have I implemented ALT attributes to my images?
|Use Screaming Frog to find Missing Alt Tags.
|Do I have an image sitemap?
|Add an image sitemap.
|Are my Files properly named?
|Check important images to make sure that they have a descriptive name. Again, use Screaming Frog for this task.
|Is spelling OK?
|Use Grammarly to double-check the spelling on your site.
|Are my paragraphs too long?
|Paragraphs should be less than 44 words.
You can use this Xpath as a custom extraction to find all paragraphs that have more than 44 words.
//p[string-length(text()) > 297]
|Are my headings too long?
|Headings should stay under 70 characters. Just look in Screaming Frog Overview Tabs to see which H1s and H2s are over 70 characters.
|Do I have intrusive advertisements (popup, above the fold, autoplaying videos with sound, ads that delay the loading of the DOM)
|Use the Ad Experience Report to see if your website is considered to have intrusive Ads.
|Do I have links that are not using proper Anchor Text?
|Check for your links anchor tags using Ahrefs to find irrelevant Anchor tags such as “Click here”, “this post” or “https://www…”. Also, check for very long anchor text to be reduced.
|Is content copied from another source?
|You can use Copyscape if you have a doubt about plagiarism.
|Is my content trustable?
|Make backlink quality audit with SEMRush, ask for experts’ participation, provide information about who publishes your site, clear and satisfying customer service information, secure connexion for checkout, etc.
SEO Strategist at Tripadvisor, ex- Seek (Melbourne, Australia). Specialized in technical SEO. Writer in Python, Information Retrieval, SEO and machine learning. Guest author at SearchEngineJournal, SearchEngineLand and OnCrawl.