Technical SEO Checklist: A High-Level Look at What Could be Wrong with Your Website

Matt Crowley - January 27, 2014

During many optimization projects, webmasters like to focus on on-page considerations such as content, keyword targeting and density, but none of that matters if your website has technical issues that inhibit it from being seen by the search engines. In this post, we take a high-level approach to technical SEO to give you an idea of what you should focus on before you even think about optimizing your content.

Platform Issues

If your content management system (CMS) wasn’t built with SEO in mind, it could be creating a host of SEO issues, including unfriendly URLs, duplicate content and slow page load times (which impede the search engines from crawling your pages).

Because every CMS has its quirks, it’s important to consult with an SEO expert when selecting a CMS, or when making changes to an existing CMS. Another option is to use a CMS that was created for SEO friendliness, such as MoreVisibility’s proprietary CMS.

Website Architecture Issues

Search engines like structure. When they crawl your pages, they’re looking to identify what your content is about, and how your web pages relate to one another. When your website architecture looks something like this:

Ice Cream > Vanilla > Low Fat > Low Fat Vanilla Chocolate Swirl > Ingredients

Search engines are better able to understand how the pages are related. If every page came from the root:

Ice Cream > Vanilla
Ice Cream > Low Fat
Ice Cream > Low Fat Vanilla Chocolate Swirl
Ice Cream > Ingredients

the search engines would have a harder time understanding how the pages are related to one another, as well as how authoritative your website is on the broader topic. And if search engines have a hard time understanding your website, so will users.

Duplicate URLs / Canonicalization Issues

Duplicate content is a major obstruction to SEO health. One cause of duplicate content is duplicate URLs. For example,,, and Each of these URLs appear to lead to the same page, but they’re actually leading to duplications of that page.

This is where Canonicalization comes in. Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL for your page, and then directing the additional URLs (www., .com/index.asp, etc.) to the Canonicalized URL.

Site Speed

A slow website is bad for both SEO and user experience – especially where mobile is concerned. There are many things that contribute to a slow website, including excess JavaScript, page redirects, and coding issues. How fast is your website? Find out using Google’s site speed tool.

Invisible Content

Search engines can’t crawl content they can’t see. Content is all-but “invisible” to search engines when it’s image-, video- or Flash-based. This is because search engines need textual content in order to understand what a page is about. (Meta data, such as image alt tags, can help. Ideally though, each page should use visible textual content.)

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