Are you paying through the nose for a “invisible” SEO service? You don’t know how to check if your site is SEO optimized? Here I’ll tell you how to audit your website to find out if the consultant you’ve hired is really working on it.
One of the greatest problems that a new website experiences is search ranking; this usually happens because the website owner paid someone to create the website and the person who wrote it may not have had the proper training in SEO optimization.
One of the ways to ensure that your website has the proper amount of SEO optimization is to audit your website. There is a simple way get your website audited even if you are not a tech guru, using the techniques that are listed within this guide.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business that you are making your website for, SEO optimization is a must-have for every kind of endeavor. Getting your business to the front page of a search engine, you will need to know how to check if your site is SEO friendly.
Simply follow the step by step instructions here and get it done quickly and efficiently without any help.
Just a note: the process of working on the SEO for your website is a time-consuming job. Therefore if a consultant was hired, you will need to ensure they have the adequate time to get the job done.
11 things to check if site is SEO optimized
First of all, it is important to you understand how search engine works.
There are over 10 billion web pages on the World Wide Web and performing research would be almost impossible without powerful search algorithms such as Google and Bing. These search engines are able to analyze and store data from the web, sorting them and making them quickly accessible. They are so invaluable that the internet would likely not exist without them.
But how do sites like Google perform this task? Basically through four main processes: crawling, indexing, retrieval and ranking. When you type a query into a search bar, a page with corresponding results is loaded in a second, classified by importance and relevance, thanks to these processes.
In order to return the best results to a user when they perform a search, search engines must find all pages that match up with a particular query. The first step in doing so is crawling:
Search engine’ bots called “spiders” or “crawlers” start with selected sites that are considered reliable, then visit the links contained within those sites to locate related sites. Through those links these bots can visit billions of interconnected web pages. They then examine the HTML code of all documents (text, images, video) on the web. During this analysis, the Spider focuses on specific parts of the code: the meta description, alt text of images, bold or italic text and links.
Among these specific components, the software will search for the most common and relevant keywords that will be useful in the indexing process. During this process, the spider builds an index of terms for each page crawled. The crawling process is recurring: spiders regularly turn back to already scanned sites looking for changes and new content. If the spider detects any updates it will save the latest version of the page.
Before indexing, all this information is nothing but a giant database which contains all the significant terms on each crawled page. During the indexing phase, the large amount of web documents, previously transferred to the database, is put in order.
The search engine classifies the pages by the keywords, categories, themes and many other parameters captured by the Spider and creates a library.
These resources can be indexes in different levels: they can be stored permanently or temporarily, or they can be inserted into a secondary or specialized index. So when a user performs a search, the engine will not search the entire web, as we would think, but merely it’s database containing the data already sorted.
It’s through this mechanism that it’s possible to obtain a response from a search engine so quickly.
When the user enters the search query, the engine picks from the database only the documents semantically close to the query, then sorts them in order of perceived importance and relevance.
- Relevance is the degree to which the content of a given web page corresponds to the terms and intention of the query. The greater the content that contains terms relevant to the keywords used in the search, the higher the page will be ranked in the search results. The relevance increases if other relevant pages across the web link to this content using relevant anchor text. Relevance can be considered the essential step to being ”part of the game’. If it doesn‘t use terms relevant to the query inserted by the user, the page won’t be included on the SERP.
- Importance is measured by citation, namely by quality links and signals from social networks. You can think of importance as a way to determine which website will rank first, second and so forth when there are many pages with the same relevance. Of course the authority and trust of a given website are taken into account.
Ultimately, it’s the combination of relevance and importance which determines the ranking order. The search engines’ algorithms calculate relevance and importance by considering hundreds of ranking factors such as:
- Most frequently used words on the page.
- The presence of the query in the URL, meta title tag and first lines of text.
- Synonyms of the searched keyword in the content.
- The quality of the site.
- Domain-level keyword usage
The page with the search results is called the SERP (search engine results page) and generated in descending order from the best content (highest rating) to the worst (lowest rating).
1. The Basic SEO Tools
While the practitioners of SEO have many hundreds of tools available to them, the best and most reliable are Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. If you don’t find them set up properly on your website, it is doubtful that any SEO optimization has been done. So it is important to check to ensure that they have been properly added to your website to check if your site is SEO friendly.
When asking a SEO expert to tell you about the one tool that he or she would never give up, they would say the Google Search Console or Webmaster tools. This usually means that if it is not active on your business site, then it is a good chance that the consultant that you use is a cheat.
There are many great tools that the search console has for a webmaster. It tells you:
- If the search engine is running smoothly over the web pages and how to correct any errors
- If your website is being hacked or if you have malware
- About your websites positioning
- About your different keyword data.
- If your visitors used the appropriate keywords to find your website.
- And many more interesting things…
The easiest way to check is to run to Chrome and click on View > Developer > Source Code and try to spot the string <meta-name=”google-site-verification”…/>.
The Google Analytics is an analysis tool for traffic that will tell you how your site is doing. Google offers the service for free to new websites that enables you to check on your website’s traffic. The software is designed to show you both the statistics of your website and data that pertain to the visitors who have access to your particular website.
Make sure your website is being monitored on Google Analytics, using this quick and easy step. First you will need to load your website on your browser and check for either the ga.js or for the analytics.js.
It is easier using Google Chrome. Go to View > Developer > Developer tools > Network, then check in the initiator space you should either find either ga.js which stands for Classic Analytics, or analytics.js which is the Universal Analytics.
Many practitioners in SEO optimization fear that the heavy pages will slow down any search engine making it crawl as well as a using the indexing process to cut your site off from the mobile search. Checking on the speed of your website is a simple as going to Google Analytics then click on Behavior > Site Speed > Overview.
One of the favorite tools of many of the SEO experts is Gtmetrix.com, it gives you advice about improving your site on your desktop and on your mobile devices. The speed on your page depends on how good your website is, the average load times for any page shouldn’t be more than a few seconds. This site will help you to improve your page speed making sure that your site is easily optimized for its speed alone.
3. Mobile Friendliness
In today’s business world, the mobile devices reigns supreme, as does marketing for them. The people can work from their tablet, their smartphones and a whole slew of business opportunities. That is why it is so important for a website to have mobile access. In addition to opening your website through your smartphone, you can also take a test called the Mobile Friendly Websites, a tool by Google.
4. Accessibility of your Website
The search engines all use the same formula when they search for your website, it must be found quickly and they must be able to crawl it. The process starts with the fact that your website must be written in HTML which is the standard language in all internet pages.
An example is flash files; they look easier but are much harder to be analyzed by the search engine. If you have someone working on the writing of your page, you may want to make sure that your new website is not using old technology.
5. Search engine health check
Another process that checks if your site is SEO optimized is a search engine check. The health of the search engine is an important aspect of optimizing your website. You can ask the search engines about the health of your SEO status. Check to see if all of your pages are showing on Google by doing a site:<yourdomain.com> search to make sure that all of the pages are indexed.
Moreover, make sure that your Google cache is the latest version. If you are to see your cached site, you will need to search using Google, then you click on a green down arrow, afterwards you click Cached.
Lastly you will want to do a search with your brand name, should you be having trouble ranking for it, then you can be equally sure that something is very wrong.
6. Checking your Keywords
This is probably the single most important part of SEO, the right keywords in the right content, makes Google very happy. To get the right keywords you will need to research the keywords that you want to use to reach your target audience. The other thing is that they must be inserted properly in sentences within your content.
For most websites a person must find the perfect keywords that will bring lots of traffic to the website from the business owner’s niche. Additionally you will need to use those particular keywords on your website. This process is one that is used to enhance your pages with awesome keyword optimization that no one can actually figure out, unless you tell them that you have optimized it. Making the pages, sound like perfect English even with your keywords in the content will make both Google and your users very happy.
7. Duplicating Content on your website
Most people find at some time or another that their whole article is duplicate content, or that they have a number of articles, that are duplicates bringing down there ability to bring traffic to your site because duplicate content is a bad thing when it comes to your SEO efforts.
Also you may also want to check to ensure that you are not using another version of a web page. An example is this, you unintentionally are the host of both the www and the non-www, which would give Google a real frown. It is important that the non-www version get a 301 redirect to a www version and visaversa.
Additionally, you can check if you have https which are the duplicates of all http pages. Checking whether or not you have duplicates is to copy some of the text on your main page, then you will need to paste it in the search bar. You will be surprised that some of the SEO experts will make duplicates without trying.
You can use the free tool Siteliner.com to check if there are duplicate content on your site.
8. Meta Tags
Another of the most important things to check if your site is SEO optimized is the Meta Tag. It is HTML tags that were set in the website and it also provides search engines with the content’s information. The tags are usually invisible to their users but they are read by the members of the search engine and the browsers.
The most important part of this type of tag is the title tag which tells the search engines results to appear in blue and underlined. The title tag is currently one of the top 5 important factors which affect the ranking. When coming up with the title should be catchy, short, descriptive and be sure that it has the right keywords.
Another equally important tag is called a meta description which is a summary of the content found on that particular page. It should not be too long but it should it contain one of the main keywords.
Additionally you may also want to check and see if your pages contain Meta Robot Tag, no follow and no index. The Meta Robots tag lets the search engine know that it should search your page or it should not and that it should be following the links or not.
The best way to investigate on is through Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool.
9. URLs and internal links
Make sure that the URLs that you choose are unique, clean, short, very descriptive and must include your main keywords.
The internal links are the signal for the search engine to deem the initial page important. However it is not that important that this page have a large amount of internal links, so maybe you may consider rethinking the structure of the internal links. In Google search console, it is easy to check on the site pages and their internal links. Simply go to Search Traffic > Internal links.
Lastly for the external links, you will need to get as many as your site can get, and you can also get back-links from those sites.
Another important thing to consider is the subdomain which is a domain that is underneath the main domain. If you have a domain name of southerncooking.com and the subdomain is recipes.southerncooking.com. From the SEO perspective, the Subdomain have a tremendous impact on the SEO point.
Learn more about the use of subdomains.
11.Sitemaps and Robots
Your website is made up like a gigantic map, this map is called a sitemap. It is a complete list of every page on the site which should be given to the search engine to index the pages. You can check out your sitemap by going to the search console. Simply go to Crawl > Sitemaps and check if it has been submitted.
This list are the very basic things that that anyone can do to audit and identify your SEO problems. Remember that your SEO on site and off site work will take months, so give your consultant adequate amount of time before judging her work.
Finally, if you are running a restaurant, you might be interested in best practices to improve your ranking now.