Doing An SEO Analysis
An SEO analysis is a critical task you should do for your website at least once a year. It's useful for a number of things such as on-page optimization; broken and bad links; keyword ranking and crawling/indexing issues. These are just fundamental tasks, and most tools give you more functionality.
If you've never done one, where do you start? The best way is to analyze what's most in your control - on-page SEO.
SEO Analysis For On-Page Issues
Since you control your own website, this is a great place to begin your analysis. There are tons of tools to do this for you, including a lot of free ones, but what I like to use is Google Search Console. Assuming you have this set up, you can check the following on-page factors:
Non-indexable content as well!
Unfortunately, Search Console does not tell you about SEO issues for these on-page factors:
- H1/H2 tags
- Image alt text tags
- Bold/Italicized text
I would suggest searching for no-cost on-page SEO analyzer tools and using those. Be aware that if you have a lot of URLs, most of these tools have a limit on how many they'll check for you. Just sayin'.
SEO Analysis On Links
You'll also want to analyze and see if your links within your site and pointing to your site have any issues. You can start with Google Search Console to baseline what you have, and you can find some free link analysis tools online, but much like the on-page analyzers, you'll only get so much link analysis data for free. But it's a good start!
You are looking for:
- Broken links within your own site
- Broken links pointing to and out of your site on different domains
- Excessive, non-branded anchor text that's keyword-rich
Clean up the broken links and modify anchor text to reduce a majority amount of keyword phrases; use your business name in the majority to stay away from a Google Penguin penalty.
Keyword Ranking & SEO Analysis
I'm a little bit reluctant to bring this up, because so many web owners get fixated on ranking very high for their preferred keyword phrases, but it is a necessary evil. Again, you can visit Google Search Console and see what phrases your content is ranking for, and you can see the pages that are showing up in search results. You'll get an average ranking for them as well, but take any rankings with a grain of salt, since the algorithm changes daily, and Google constantly adjusts what content is ranking for keyword phrases. However, it's good for determining what content and phrases you could do more work on.
Do An SEO Analysis for Crawl/Index Issues
I think the most important thing you want to analyze regularly is if your site is crawlable and has indexible content for the search engines. Again, trot on over to Google Search Console and examine the results of crawl errors and stats, and index status. If Google can't access your site, or it's not search-engine friendly, this is the first place you should come to and look at the data they give you.
Resolve outstanding 4XX errors and sitemap issues. Make sure that your most important web pages and blog posts are being crawled and indexed. Ideally, your indexing rate should either be always going to the right and up, or at least staying steady. If it drops, Google's not visiting your site. You need to figure out why and fix whatever you find.
As I said, these are the fundamentals you should be comfortable with analyzing and fixing. I haven't even gotten into redirect chains, canonical errors, page speed load or mobile-friendliness of your site.
In addition to using Google Search Console, I highly recommend you use Screaming Frog as another must-have tool. It can do many things to help you uncover on-site issues.
If you'd like to dig deep into how to do an SEO analysis, let's get together for a class on optimizing your site and analyzing technical issues. We'll go under the hood of your site, find what issues you're having, and how to fix them.
Until we meet again, keep it safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
Screen shots courtesy of author July 2017