I contacted few friends to assist them optimize their website for search engines, but the feedback I always got was, my web designer implemented it for my website. How sure are you? That has always been my follow up question. I realized most people do not crosscheck their websites for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is complicated and how do you check if you have it implemented for website. In this article, I will point out some basic website audit for SEO then you will be able to tell whether your developer lied to you or not.
The audit should tell you how your website is doing technically, content and its exposure. Below are some of the things you can do to audit your website.
How Google sees your website
Let’s first identify what Google sees about your website. To do this, go to google.com and run the query site:example.com for your website. Note that there should be no space between your colon (:) and your domain name. You can explore the results you get. Your homepage should be the first results right after the Google Promotion results. If you see other results for pages you wouldn’t like to show, then your SEO expert didn’t really tell Google the pages to crawl.
How do you tell Google the pages to crawl?
This can be done in ‘Robot.txt’ file in your website’s source file. To check whether your website has this file, add ‘/robot.txt’ to your domain like this ‘http://example/com/robot.txt’. This file tells Google and other crawlers what to do. If you do not want Google and other crawlers to browse pages that you don’t want to be indexed, you must add this file to your website and disallow the pages. You just add disallow: /test and this will prevent Google from indexing http://example/com/test page.
Next, you must look for sitemap.xml just the way we looked for our robot.txt file. Sitemaps help Google to navigate all sections of your website and if you don’t have that, that is a red flag for your SEO. It is an important component and if you don’t have that, then that is not a good sign. You can check if your website has a sitemap just like the way we checked for the robot.txt file. You add ‘sitemap.xml’ to your domain just like this ‘http://example/com/sitemap.xml’. If your website doesn’t have one, then you must create one for it here.
Text and Size of Images
Identify the texts and images on the website. All images that are text wouldn’t help in SEO hence you’ll have to change images that are text to texts instead. An instance is instead of having the image below, you should have a text instead. The more images you have on your website, the more the pull request on your website which slows the speed it takes to load your website and that affects SEO.
You can also download the images on the website to know the size of the images. The bigger the size of your images the slower your website.
Most websites are viewed on mobile phones and tablets more than PCs lately and Google checks how responsive your website is across devices to rank you higher. It is advisable you run a Mobile-Friendly Test for your website. You can do this by googling ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’ or you use this link https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly to test your website.
Your page can be mobile-friendly, but you will have to check page loading issues to see if you have any. Click on the ‘Page Loading Issues’ text to know the issues if there are any broken links or other errors that you would like to investigate.
The ‘h1’ element
Check whether all the elements are in place especially the headlines which happens to be primarily the keywords for SEO. To check this, when using Google Chrome browser, you can hit the F12 key or right click on the heading or title on your page and click on the inspect element. There should not be two h1 tags on your page. That is a red flag and google might not crawl that page.
Also check whether your heading doesn’t have any shortcuts. An instance is instead of ‘Ghana Constitution’ someone might put ‘Ghana Const’ which shouldn’t be allowed.
Page Speed Insight
How fast your page loads also influence SEO. Run a page speed insight to tell you how fast your page loads and higher page speed helps you to score better on Google. A page speed insight score above 75% is okay but anything below it is a red flag. After the test, Google will show you all the things to fix if there are any problems. You can run your websites page speed test here https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
Website Structured Data
Check the structured data on your website. Structured data helps Google understand what’s on your website. If you don’t have structured data on your website, that’s no problem but when it comes to SEO there are a lot of benefits. Because it aids in faster and easier crawling by search engines. Check your websites structured Data here and add more structured data to your website if you don’t have enough on your website.
Lastly, you must check your website’s actual crawl. There are several tools to check that, but I will recommend Screaming Frog or SEO Book because they are free and easier to use. They show you the keywords on your website so that you can cross-check to see whether your website has the actual keywords you need. These tools also show you all the links (pages and images) on your website and you can disallow Google from seeing the irrelevant links in your Robot.txt file.
Run these SEO audit on your website and find out what you are not doing right. You will be surprised what these few tweaks can do to greatly improve your traffic. Please note that these are not all the SEO audit you can perform on your website because SEO can be really complicated.
Let us know in the comment below if you have any other. Do not forget to share this article if it has been helpful and please let me know if have any further questions in the comments below.