10 Ways to Audit Your Website to Increase Your Search Rankings
When it comes to SEO, consistent tracking, testing and measuring is crucial to verify your strategies are effective. This includes auditing your website to ensure there are no errors holding you back.
Here is a checklist of 10 things to audit on your website that can help increase your search engine rankings.
1. Make sure your pages can be indexed.
The most crucial aspect of SEO is making sure your pages can be found. You never want to block important pages by mistake. To ensure all your pages are available to be found you should:
- Check your index status on Google. Use the index status report in your Google Search Console to see the number of pages Google has crawled from your domain. You want to see that the page count has continued to increase over time.
- Check your robot.txt file. Do this by adding /robot.txt to the end of your domain to ensure there are no pages that are “disallowed.”
- Review site and URL errors. This is something you can also do through your Google Search Console. Locate the site and URL errors report and see if there are any problems.
- Search your website. Simply do a Google search for site:yourdomain.com and you can retrieve a list of indexed pages.
2. Secure your website.
In a recent update, Google announced that it favors websites encrypted with HTTPS. So if you haven’t already, now is the time to make the switch. HTTPS provides encrypted communication with a web server. You can secure your website with HTTPS using SSL.
3. Check your meta data.
When pages are crawled by search engines, Noldex meta tags can occasionally be inserted. As a result, this will block Google. Check the source of a page for the code <meta name = “robots” content =”noindex”> and make sure this does not exist on your pages.
4. Check your link profile.
A large part of SEO success depends on earning links from trusted domains. You can conduct a complete backlink audit through Google Search Console, Ahrefs or SEMrush to track your backlinks and monitor your progress over time.
5. Optimize page load times.
Every digital marketer is aware that search engines favor faster sites. Not only that, but a slow site increases the likeliness of visitors bailing early. You want to aim your page log time in 3 seconds or less. Here are some tips for optimizing site speed:
- Use speed testing tools.
- Evaluate WordPress plugins.
- Reduce image file size for optimum performance.
- Remove any redirect chains.
6. Eliminate any duplicate content.
Duplicate content dilutes the authority of the primary URL and threatens the capability of your search rankings. Be sure to use canonical link tags to combat things. This lets Google know which is the primary URL to pages containing duplicate or similar content.
7. Remove low valued pages.
You want to ensure pages that are indexed by Google contain rich, original content and relevant keywords. You can accomplish this by de-indexing low valued pages. You obviously need campaign-specific landing pages, but if they’re not robust pages, they only harm your search rankings. Remove them from the index and redirect these pages to content-rich URLs by using a 301 redirect.
8. Generate useful links.
A well-planned internal link structure brings a number of benefits to your overall search rankings. Here are some additional tips for optimizing your site’s link structure for SEO. Also be sure to use descriptive anchor text, making links that feature the same keywords as the page they link to.
9. Optimize for mobile.
Google has been favoring mobile-first site designs for a while now, meaning it’s critical to appear in mobile searches. A few ways to ensure your site is optimized for mobile is by:
- Using responsive design. You can update your site to feature responsive design that creates an optimum experience regardless of screen size.
- Using Google’s testing tool. The Google Search Console offers a mobility usability report that identifies problematic pages and gives you a score for mobile friendliness.
10. Master the basics.
Continue to implement the fundamental SEO tactics, such as:
- Using unique title tags. Be sure to write unique title tags that include a keyword phrase to accurately describe the topic of your pages.
- Implementing relevant keywords. Always include keywords you’ve selected in your headings, subheadings, body copy and URL appropriately.
- Creating meta descriptions. Lastly, indexed pages should always include a meta description that features keywords to encourage readers to click through.
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