Technical SEO Audit Guide

“I want an SEO audit”

This can mean a million different things, and it’s not standardized.

What seems like a 10 hr job on the surface can easily turn into a 100 hr job to get it all done.

A better conversation is talking about the business objective that the SEO audit might help solve.

Ahrefs: We Studied Over 1 Million Domains to Find the Most Common Technical SEO Issues

This one is really worth reading from Ahrefs and Patrick Stox. I like that it’s super robust.

Technical SEO Audits via Templates: Good or Bad?

In my opinion, a template is fine if it serves the business objective of the client and produces more value than it costs.

It’s not ideal if what’s needed to hit the goals for the mission is unearthing rare insights that can only be found by professionals spending time with their bespoke process and brilliant mind.

Links to Useful and Free Technical SEO Audit Templates

This free, downloadable SEO audit spreadsheet from Moz is great for beginners or non-SEOs looking to get a good fundamental starting point. Pros should expand on it.

Argument: Don’t Use a Technical SEO Audit Template

“A technical SEO audit done via a template isn't worth the metaphorical paper it's printed on.” - Jono Alderson, June 18, 2024 via X

The sentiment here and as echoed in the comments can be summed up as:

  • If you’re purely doing checklist SEO, without any higher level thought as to what’s going on, you won’t have a high quality audit that’s actionable.

Some highlighted quotes from that thread that I like (click link above to see them all):

From a business sense, I totally agree that if you want to create a real company with real process, scale, and value, you can’t be doing bespoke audits for everything, unless you’re working with just 1-2 very big companies at a time:

This just funny, and totally in line with my take that sometimes SEOs keep going down rabbit holes and fill the time with additional work to justify their existance:

I personally agree with this - that I don’t feel like an audit is done unless I consume all the information:

And I like this a lot. The financial industry is huge and robust, and a path has been paved. It’s critical infrastructure. The SEO industry, not as much:

My Opinion: Technical SEO Audits can be very valuable, or a total waste of time

I’ve spent a lot of time in technical SEO audits some way or another.

For certain websites that are sitting on a gold mine of value, but have never been unlocked before, it can be a goldmine.

There was a learning company I saw that had been doing paid ads and TV commercials for 20 years, and only had one landing page really.

They had tons and tons of value and tutorials locked away behind a paywall.

A good technical SEO expert would know how to come in and set up the pages to go from 0 to 1.

On the flipside, there are some sites and business owners that want a technical SEO audit, hoping there’s some magical unlock in there. But there often isn’t.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

What to do instead: Create an SEO revenue technical SEO audit

State what revenue change you want at the business level. Create a hypothesis about why a technical SEO audit will unlock revenue, directly or indirectly.

Do it.