You own a small business, you don’t see the need to use SEO services and prefer a DIY method? So how can you perform a brief SEO audit for your website?
Simplifying Your DIY SEO Audit
1. Track Keywords
How to check Google rankings? Checking your rankings in search engine results is one of the methods you can use to measure the success of an SEO campaign. Make sure you’re researching from a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner.
Tracking these keywords that you’re ranking for can be tracked using Google search console, or a third party tool such as SerpLabs.
2. Check If Your Site Can be Found
Do a site: search on Google. Compare it with the number of pages indexed in Google search console. It should be around the same. This is to track if Google is indexing your website well. Check if there’s a sitemap listed on Google search console and Bing Webmaster.
- Check For Google Penalties
How to know if your website is penalized then? You’ll receive a direct email in your Google search console stating that your website is penalized. I advise avoiding penalties altogether by learning about them beforehand.
- Disavow Negative Links Using the Disavow Tool in Google Search Console
Your competitors might partake in negative SEO activities. If you find yourself getting many low-quality links, then you will need to disavow those links.
- Submit for Reconsideration
If your website is penalized, you’ll want to fix the penalty, and then submit for reconsideration to Google.
- Check for other technical errors
You might have Crawl Errors, Robot.Txt Error, Redirect Problems. These errors stated above can be checked in Google analytics.
Understanding how Google views your website is crucial to understanding how Google robots crawl your index and site content..
Search engines aren’t perfect in nature and there are complexities to it including how search engine robots crawl the internet index. There is file formats or content that Google is unable or only partially able to index on their search engines.
Google Is Partially Blind To Certain File Formats
In general, however, search engines are text based. This means that in order to be crawled and indexed, your content needs to be in text format. (Google can now index text content contained in Flash files, but other search engines may not.)
This doesn’t mean that you can’t include rich media content such as Flash, Silverlight, or videos on your site; it just means that any content you embed in these files should also be available in text format or it won’t be accessible to search engines. The examples below focus on the most common types of non-text content, but the guidelines are similar for any other types: Provide text equivalents for all non-text files.
This will not only increase Googlebot’s ability to successfully crawl and index your content; it will also make your content more accessible. Many people, for example users with visual impairments, who use screen readers, or have low bandwidth connections, cannot see images on web pages, and providing text equivalents widens your audience.
– Google Webmasters
Google can’t literally ‘read’ photographs or videos. Design or videography based websites should make an effort to include descriptive text surround those images for SEO purposes. This can be done through the alt text option and other file information options when uploading your media on the WordPress platform.
The Page Source Method
I use this method on Google chrome. It’s simple. Put in your site’s address on Google Chrome and right click to ‘View Page Source’.
The text on in the Page Source is indexable by Google. What’s found there is indexable on Google, and everything else is limited or/ not indexable/ readable at all.
The Fetch and Render Method
Using Google search console fetch and render is Google’s way of actually taking a look how Google bots view your website.
Using this tool found on the right side of Google search console options can be used to both views how Google views your website, and index it at the same time.
If you’re planning to use non-text based media on your site, try to use it sparingly, only where it’s needed. It’s recommended that you use HTML and content for navigation. Secondly, try to provide text-based versions of post and pages. Directing your introduction media (etc. introduction video) to a text-based home page can be helpful for search engines to better view and index your website.
Until Google recognizes images and videos, text is going to be the core of search.
3. Look at Data
Take a look at data from Google analytics will give you a rough gauge if your website is doing well, or is your web traffic generated from targeted search results? If you’re running a flowery business, are you generating traffic from terms related to flowers?
- Look at User Acquisition
- Look at Landing Page Queries
This is correlated to the relevancy (and how well optimized) of content that you put out.
3. Check Site Performance
- PageSpeed – is Your site too Slow?
- Mobile Friendliness
Both page speeds and mobile friendliness are official ranking signals that Google has announced. Right from the horse’s mouth.
4. Check Site Architecture
- Https Certificate: Do you have it and is it working?
Https is a ranking signal that’s officially announced, however, it’s a low weightage ranking signal. Nonetheless, make sure all your URLs are directed to the Https Url.
- Linking Errors
Check for broken links using this broken link checker tool.
- Server Location
If you’re providing services in Singapore, check if your website hosted in Singapore? The server location is a minor SEO ranking factor.
5. Content Factors
- How is Your Website Design/ User Experience?
User experience is a correlative ranking signal, and it affects conversion, branding and trust. Do you have pop ups that ruin sser experience?
Google advises against pop-ups, newsletter prompts etc. Anything that diminished user experience. Design counts for the overall user experience. Don’t scrimp on an ugly looking theme.
- Check for Quality of Content
20-30% of the web is copied. It’s natural that people quote paragraphs, scientific studies and other information from other sources and want to retain their original prose on their websites. The problem comes in when most of your content is copied word for word. There’s also a distinction between copied and spam content. Duplicate content might not be spam and Google will not penalize your website for it, however, Google definitely won’t be ranking your content if it’s duplicated.
If YOU have similar content with YOUR COMPETITOR, Google will actually show JUST 1 SEARCH RESULT instead of both results depending on other ranking factors. Google will merely see that your content is posted at a later date than the sources, and place you in a lower ranking..
Sometimes, you might have multiple URLs on the same domain, but similar content under these different versions of the URL. This is commonly known as: duplicate content. This is a common problem shared among web users and webmasters. The canonical link element can be used when you have similar content that’s accessible under multiple URLs, or even on multiple websites.
6. On Page SEO
Here’s a checklist:
- H1 Title Tags – Does it exist and is it compelling?
- Quality Content – Is Your Content Relevant and of Quality?
- Meta Description – Does it exist and is it compelling?
- Is Your website links SEO Friendly?
I did a detailed write-up on how to do on page SEO on your own. You’ll want to check that out.
7. Off Page Factors
- Check Backlink Profile
This is done using Google analytics, Google search console, and open site explorer. Are the links pointing to your website relevant? Are the sites pointing to you of quality?
- Do you have Social Media Presence and Links?
Social media links are no follow but are an SEO weighing factor.
Stop making SEO Audits Complicated
Unless you want to be an optimization freak, I don’t suggest using any third party tools. There’s just a hell lot of third party SEO tools out there that confuses the hell out of both freelance web designers and SEO consultants ourselves.
If you need to, stick to the ones that are created by industry leaders such as MOZ and SEM Rush. I use the MOZ open site explorer to 1) track backlinks 2) roughly gauge competition. Other than that, I don’t rely on other third-party tools that go into arbitrary metrics. Furthermore, a lot of the metrics used by these tools are arbitrary at best.