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Technical SEO Audit Services - Must Read Before Buying

Before you purchase a technical SEO audit from a service provider, make sure you know about these 9 elements!


A Technical SEO Audit is crucial for enhancing your website’s performance by identifying and resolving SEO issues, such as crawlability, site structure, broken links, site speed, mobile-friendliness, security (HTTPS), and redirect management. You should conduct an audit if you notice drops in search rankings, plan significant updates, see high bounce rates, lack mobile users, or have recently redesigned or migrated your site. When choosing a technical SEO audit service, avoid those who lack transparency, offer unrealistic guarantees, communicate poorly, lack credentials, focus on quick fixes, or aggressively upsell services. Regular audits ensure your website remains healthy, visible, and user-friendly, driving more traffic and conversions.

As with any other SEO & Content Marketing agency, we of course also offer a Technical SEO Audit service. But that’s not what this is about, we’re not writing this to sell you on our audit services (but don’t mind us if you get interested ;-)).

Our main goal here is to make sure you know what you should look for in any SEO Audit service, what to watch out for, and how to spot the “bad guys” that just want your money.

We offer you guidance so that you can find the best SEO service out there, which means that you can have peace of mind when it comes to the technical parts of SEO.

Why and when to get a Technical SEO Audit done

Do you recognize yourself in any of these situations?

  • You want to ensure compliance with the latest search engine guidelines
  • You notice a significant drop in rankings or visibility in search engines
  • You are preparing for a major update to your content or site structure
  • Your site is suffering from high bounce rates and/or low engagement
  • You notice that you barely get any mobile users on your website
  • You plan to increase the scale of your website significantly
  • You have recently redesigned or migrated your website
  • You want to identify and fix broken links and 404 errors
  • You are struggling to grow your organic traffic

Then it’s time to do a technical SEO audit.


Because a good technical SEO audit service provider will identify your specific pain points, and things that are holding back your results. It provides actionable solutions to improve your site’s overall SEO health.

A good technical SEO audit reports about critical areas such as site architecture, page speed, security, mobile-friendliness, and more.

You see, I keep emphasizing “good”, cause unfortunately there are many SEO practitioners out there that offer you a technical audit for x amount of dollars and they then deliver a one-page PDF file to you with a list of things that are in a realllllly bad shape (according to them) and you should pay them more so they can fix it for you.

Don’t fall for that!

Spotting "Bad Guys" in Technical SEO Audits

Here's a few things you can call "red flags" when it comes to choosing the right SEO partner to work with:

Lack of Transparency:

Transparency is crucial when selecting a technical SEO audit provider. Be cautious of those who make vague promises about achieving specific rankings or delivering instant results, as SEO is inherently a long-term effort. A reputable provider should clearly articulate their methodology.

If a company is reluctant or unable to explain their process in detail, it’s a significant red flag indicating they might not deliver on their promises.

Unrealistic Guarantees:

Providers who promise guaranteed #1 rankings should be approached with skepticism. No one can guarantee top positions in search results. No one.

This goes both ways btw. Clients that expect #1 rankings within a week will also be approached with skepticism.

no ranking guarantees with SEO

Additionally, be wary of services offered at very low prices. These may rely on automated tools that fail to provide valuable insights or cut corners, potentially leading to subpar results or even harmful practices.

Poor Communication:

Effective communication is a hallmark of a reliable SEO audit provider. If a company responds with generic, templated messages or fails to address your specific needs, it suggests a lack of personalized service.

Furthermore, the absence of a clear point of contact or designated account manager can lead to miscommunication, reducing the quality of the service provided.

Lack of Credentials or Experience:
A reputable SEO audit provider typically showcases their credentials through case studies and client testimonials. If a company does not provide such evidence, it may lack the necessary experience or success history.

Additionally, a weak or non-existent online presence, including a poorly maintained website, can indicate a lack of legitimacy and professionalism.

Absence of Customized Solutions:

Effective technical SEO audits should be tailored to your website’s specific needs rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach. Providers who rely on generic templates likely won’t address unique issues pertinent to your site, which can limit the effectiveness of their recommendations and strategies.

Focus on Quick Fixes:

Beware of providers who emphasize quick fixes or hacks, as these can often lead to penalties from search engines.

A good SEO audit should focus on sustainable, long-term improvements rather than short-term gains.

Additionally, if there’s no discussion of a long-term strategy, the provider’s recommendations may not provide lasting benefits.

Lack of Detailed Reporting:

Comprehensive reporting is essential for a valuable SEO audit. Providers should be able to share sample reports demonstrating the depth and quality of their analysis.

If a company cannot provide such samples, it’s challenging to assess the value of their service.

Furthermore, reports should cover all critical aspects of SEO, including crawlability, site speed, and mobile optimization, to ensure a thorough evaluation.

Aggressive Upselling:

While upselling can be a legitimate business practice, be cautious of providers who aggressively push additional services without clearly demonstrating their value. Constant upselling can indicate a primary focus on sales rather than service quality.

red flags in SEO

this is what AI thinks an aggressive salesman looks like 😅

What your ideal Technical SEO Audit must include.

There are several important SEO elements that fall under “technical SEO”. They might sound complicated, so let’s explain what they are in simple terms.

1.Crawlability & Indexing Overview

A technical SEO Audit service provider should always have a report on how “crawlable” your website is. Meaning: is it easy for Google to read your website?

Google has robots to “read” websites and rank them. These robots are called “crawlers” or “spiders”. Or even better: crawling spiders 😂These bots have 4 jobs:

  1. Crawling: Discovering new or updated pages on the web.
  2. Indexing: Processing and storing the content found during crawling.
  3. Rendering: Understanding the content by executing JavaScript and processing stylesheets.
  4. Ranking: Determining the order of pages in search results based on relevance and quality.

So if your website is not easy to crawl, you might not rank at all.

A good Technical SEO Audit Service provider will discover this issue right away.

Want to discover the issues yourself? Here are some tools you can use:

Google Search Console

Navigate to the “Coverage” report to see which pages are successfully indexed and which are excluded. The “URL Inspection” tool provides details on how specific URLs are being crawled and indexed.


This tool simulates a search engine crawl of your site. Use it to check for errors like broken links, audit your robots.txt file, and ensure your XML sitemap is correctly implemented.


This tool scans your entire website, identifies SEO issues, and provides recommendations for fixes, such as resolving duplicate content or improving internal linking issues.

2. Site Architecture

Site architecture is about the structural design and organization of your website’s content and how different pages are interconnected. It has a significant impact on the crawlability and indexability of your website.

Things you would see mentioned in a good Technical SEO audit are:

  • URL structure ( vs
  • Navigation and internal linking (your menu, breadcrumbs, useful internal links)
  • Hierarchy & depth (how many clicks does it take to find a page?)
  • XML sitemaps
  • Robots.txt file
  • Canonical tags
  • Duplicate content

An important part of your site architecture is schema markup. By implementing schema markup using tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper you make it easier for Google Bots to understand the architecture of your site.


- Product Schema for e-commerce products,

- Breadcrumb Schema for improved navigation

- Article Schema for blog posts.

Proper schema markup helps search engines understand your content better, boosting your visibility and ranking.

We know how complicated this can be for developers using Sanity, that’s why we build the Schema Markup plugin for Sanity.

A good technical SEO Audit service provider will inform you about pages that have no internal links coming in. Meaning: there is no single page on your website that links to this page. We call those orphaned pages.

When the Google spider visits your website, it can follow all the links on the page and then crawl the next page. Maybe it follows all links, maybe just a few, that’s not up to you.

So you must make sure that your pages are getting linked to from other pages, aka internal linking structures. These structures are important hence there are full SEO strategies surrounding these structures.

But links can “break”.

Broken links are when a link on your website is leading to a 404 page. The page you’re linking to no longer exists.

A URL gets changed, a page is taken offline, or maybe you made a spelling mistake?

Whatever the reason, it’s bad practice to have broken links on your website. It’s frustrating for your visitors and Google marks it as a UX issue.

A good technical SEO Audit reports on orphanage pages, broken links, the number of incoming internal links to your pages, and how many clicks it takes for a visitor to find a page (click depth).

Want to find these pages yourself? Use a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to run an audit yourself.

4. Site Performance

Site performance is a crucial pillar in technical SEO, impacting your Google ranking. It’s been a Google ranking factor for a long time, so it’s an important element in your audit.

Your site performance has everything to do with site speed and page speed. This might also be the most technical part of an audit. Let's dig in.

Page speed: loading time of a single page

Site speed: average loading time of a set of page

So: improve your page speed and you’ll automatically improve your site speed.

To test the loading speed of your pages, you can use the Google tool PageSpeed Insights (or Lighthouse Chrome extension). It will provide you with a list of technical elements that have an impact on the performance of your website:

page speed insights screenshot - technical seo audit service

The shorter the list, the higher your score will be. And of course, you want all of these metrics to be in the green.

If there’s a lot going on in your PageSpeed Insights report it’s advisable to book a consultation with an SEO expert to see what is really going on and what can be done to increase your page speed.

Most important metrics in this report are the Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance
  • First Input Delay (FID): Measures interactivity
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability

Plus, the Optimization Techniques: Implement techniques such as minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, compressing images, and leveraging browser caching.

For example, if your images are very large, it will take a long time to load those. The PageSpeed Insights report will inform you about which images need to be optimized. You could improve your website’s performance by lazy loading images to defer off-screen images.

We could write a long blog article about all the metrics that could potentially show up in this report, and maybe we will, but for now, we strongly recommend talking to an expert about these kinds of technical elements.

Good to know: you can only run PageSpeed Insights on one page at the time. The tool does not scan all your pages.

To get a good understanding of your entire website, you could use Google Search Console or a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs.

Other tools you could use to optimize your page speed:

  • GTMetrix
  • WebPageTest
  • SEMRush
  • Ahrefs
  • MOZ

5. Mobile Friendliness

Mobile-friendliness became a key factor for Google rankings on April 21, 2015, with the “Mobilegeddon” update. This means that sites optimized for mobile devices started ranking higher in search results

After that, Google has continued to focus on mobile, especially with the Mobile-First Indexing starting in 2018, where they prioritize the mobile version of a site for ranking and indexing.

So, having a mobile-friendly website is really important!

To ensure your website is mobile-friendly, you can do a couple of things:

1. Google Search Console:

  • Use the Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console.
  • It highlights mobile usability issues across your site and provides insights on how to fix them.

2. Responsive Design Mode in Browsers:

  • Most modern browsers have a responsive design mode.
  • You can simulate different device screens and see how your site performs.

3. Manual Testing on Mobile Devices:

  • Open your website on various mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) to check its appearance and functionality.

4. PageSpeed Insights:

  • Use Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Enter your website URL and analyze.
  • It provides mobile performance scores and suggestions for improvement.

This Mobile-friendly update from Google is a pretty old one. If your website is build after 2015, it should be mobile friendly already. But ok, we know things happen over the years and stuff can happen.

So, if you are in the situation of a mobile UNfriendly website, reach out to our Head of Web Dev to get a thorough and custom website audit. He will be able to explain to you exactly what can be done to fix the mobile-friendly issues.

6. Code Issues

In a technical SEO audit, several code-related issues should be checked to make sure of mobile-friendliness and overall site performance. Here are the key code issues to look for including the impact and solution:

1. Missing Viewport Meta Tag:

  • Issue: Absence of <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">.
  • Impact: Pages may not render correctly on mobile devices, leading to poor user experience.

2. Unoptimized CSS and JavaScript:

  • Issue: Large, unminified CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Impact: Slower page load times and potential rendering issues on mobile devices.
  • Solution: Minify and combine files, and load them asynchronously or defer non-critical JavaScript.

3. Fixed-Width Layouts:

  • Issue: Use of fixed-width elements or layouts.
  • Impact: Content may not adjust to different screen sizes, causing horizontal scrolling or content cutoff.
  • Solution: Use relative units (e.g., percentages) and CSS media queries to create responsive layouts.

4. Tap Target Issues:

  • Issue: Small buttons or links that are difficult to tap on mobile screens.
  • Impact: Poor user experience and increased frustration for mobile users.
  • Solution: Ensure tap targets are at least 48px by 48px.

5. Font Size Issues:

  • Issue: Text that is too small to read on mobile devices.
  • Impact: Users may struggle to read content, leading to a poor user experience.
  • Solution: Use a base font size of 16px or higher and ensure text scales appropriately with screen size.

6. Image Optimization:

  • Issue: Large, uncompressed images.
  • Impact: Slow load times, especially on mobile networks.
  • Solution: Compress images and use responsive image techniques like srcset.

7. Blocking Resources:

  • Issue: CSS or JavaScript files that block rendering.
  • Impact: Delayed content visibility and slower page load times.
  • Solution: Use async or defer attributes for JavaScript, and inline critical CSS.

8. Flash and Other Non-Supported Content:

  • Issue: Use of Flash or other media types not supported on mobile devices.
  • Impact: Inaccessible content for mobile users.
  • Solution: Replace Flash with HTML5 elements.

9. Interstitials and Pop-ups:

  • Issue: Large pop-ups or interstitials that cover the main content.
  • Impact: Negative impact on user experience and potential penalties from Google.
  • Solution: Use smaller, less intrusive banners or interstitials.

10. JavaScript Errors:

  • Issue: Errors in JavaScript code that prevent functionality or rendering.
  • Impact: Broken features or content on the website.
  • Solution: Debug and fix JavaScript errors.

11. Redirect Chains and Loops:

  • Issue: Multiple redirects or infinite redirect loops.
  • Impact: Increased load times and potential crawl issues.
  • Solution: Minimize redirects and ensure there are no loops.

12. Canonical Tags:

  • Issue: Missing or incorrect canonical tags.
  • Impact: Potential duplicate content issues.
  • Solution: Implement correct canonical tags to specify the preferred version of a page.

13. Structured Data Issues:

  • Issue: Missing or incorrect structured data markup.
  • Impact: Missed opportunities for enhanced search result features.
  • Solution: Implement correct schema markup relevant to your content.

By addressing these code-related issues in a technical SEO audit, you can improve your website's performance, usability, and search engine rankings, particularly for mobile users.

As said before, this is very technical and you would want to get advice from a developer or SEO specialist before touching these elements.

7. Security Issues (HTTPS)

A good technical SEO audit service provider adds a list of pages that use HTTP instead of HTTPS in their reporting

HTTP and HTTPS are ways websites talk to your browser.

HTTP is like sending a postcard – anyone who sees it can read what’s written. It’s not secure, so private information like passwords can be easily seen by others.

HTTPS is like sending a sealed letter – only the person it’s meant for can read it. It’s secure because it scrambles the information so no one else can understand it. This keeps your information safe when you’re shopping online or logging into a website.

Websites with HTTPS are often ranked higher by search engines like Google because they’re safer.

HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, was introduced in 1994 by a company called Netscape for their web browser. Originally, it used a security method called SSL, which has now been upgraded to a more secure system called TLS that we use today.

Now, if this was introduced in 1994, why are there still websites out there that are working with HTTP??

There are two main reasons why:

  1. Lack of awareness by the website owners
  2. (Very) Old website

Other reasons for working with HTTP, according to chatGPT, are void:

SSL certificates are free or very affordable, migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS is not that complicated, and yes, you really need HTTPS for your modern website.

8. Status codes (4xx 5xx)

This is an easy one! If your technical SEO audit shows you a list of 4xx errors (like 404 pages), you have 2 simple options:

  1. Redirect the URL with the error to the page that is correct
  2. Locate on your website where you link to that page and change it

Option 2 has our preferability, but sometimes external sources are linking to your pages and you don’t have access to change the link. In that case, use a redirect.

Did you also receive 5xx error messages in your audit?

5xx errors indicate that a server has encountered an error or is unable to perform a request. These errors signify problems on the server side rather than issues with the client's request. So, if this is too technical for you, get your developer and let him/her problem solve this one.

404 error

9. Redirect issues

Redirects are implemented when URLs change or pages are taken offline.

Think about a website that has pages for event announcements. Let’s say a restaurant website that is hosting a party for Independence Day. All information about the event is on that page. But after the 4th of July, that page is no longer needed. The most logical thing to do is to take the page offline. You don’t want visitors to see the page anymore and you for sure don’t want the Google crawlers to spend their crawl budget on pages that don’t matter anymore.

But, the page is indexed and maybe other external websites are linking to it. Taking it offline will mean that a 404 will happen. The Google crawlers will find it and as said before, they don’t like UX issues.

So to avoid 404’s, you will need to redirect the old URL to a page that comes closest to it. In our example, we would redirect the traffic to the general events page of the website.

There’s also a thing called redirect loops.

A redirect loop is when you send all traffic from page A to page B, but also set a redirect from Page B to Page A. This means that a visitor (or bot) keeps going from A to B to A to B… a loop. Not user-friendly and a big no-no in SEO.

Here’s a couple of other Redirect issues that you could find in an SEO audit:

1. Identification of Redirect Types:

  • 301 Redirects: Permanent redirects that pass full link equity.
  • 302 Redirects: Temporary redirects that do not pass full link equity.
  • Meta Refresh Redirects: Typically used within HTML and less SEO-friendly.

2. Redirect Chains and Loops:

  • Redirect Chains: Sequences where a URL redirects to another URL, which then redirects again, creating a chain.
  • Redirect Loops: Circular redirects where a URL redirects back to itself or to another URL in the loop, causing infinite loops.

3. Broken Redirects:

  • Redirects leading to 404 (Not Found) or other error pages.

4. Non-Canonical Redirects:

  • Redirects that lead to non-preferred versions of URLs, affecting SEO consistency.

5. HTTPS and HTTP Redirects:

  • Ensuring all HTTP URLs correctly redirect to their HTTPS versions to maintain security and SEO benefits.

6. Redirect Mapping:

  • A comprehensive map showing all redirects, their sources, and destinations.

Bottom Line

In short, a technical SEO audit is crucial for making sure your website runs smoothly and ranks well on search engines. By checking things like site structure, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and fixing issues like broken links and redirects, you can keep your site in top shape.

Regular audits help you stay up-to-date with search engine changes and improve your site's performance, making it easier for users to find and use. A well-maintained site is key to better visibility, more traffic, and higher conversions.

And the best part? Technical SEO Audits are part of our services as SEO agency. And yes, we include all the above!

Josien Nation profile picture

Josien Nation


Co-Founder & Head of Marketing

Josien Nation is a co-founder and partner at Operation Nation. She is the leader of all things SEO at Operation Nation. She has 6+ years experience helping businesses grow their audience and get found on search engines.

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Josien Nation

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