The final part of our basic SEO audit looks primarily at how Google sees your site. Remember that we’re using tools that that are free and don’t require getting under the hood (by looking at GA for instance).
So I’d head over to Google’s Page Speed Insights and plug-in the URL you want to check. You’ll get a score out of 100 for both mobile & desktop versions of the site.
In particular, look for the highlighted message. It should just confirm what you know about how mobile-friendly your site is, as well as offering tips on how to improve the user experience.
One final check is really the most obvious. But do a search in Google for your website. Better still, do a “site:yourdomainname.com”.
Check that your carefully crafted Page Titles and Meta Descriptions are showing just as you’d like them to. Remember that Google will use the Title towards ranking your site. And the user will use the Description to judge if it’s worth clicking into your site.
After the initial look at a site, phase two of our SEO audit process delves a little deeper without the need to roll up your sleeves and get mired in analytics. To do this we turn to a wonderful tool with a wonderful (!) name: Screaming Frog Spider.
SFS as we shall call it from now runs through your site and collates key elements that we as SEO professionals want to know about. It give a sense of how strong the site is, SEO-wise, as well as providing specific points that need addressing.
The Page Titles and Meta Descriptions tabs should be our focus: we must see no blank page titles or Descriptions, and their lengths should be towards the optimal length (more on that in another post!), so the ability to sort by these columns is a particularly useful feature. As is the ability to export the report – for example I like to use it as a basis for a report about old/new page titles & descriptions.
The free version of SFS has a reasonable limit of pages that can be crawled. I also like their focus on not just meta tag lengths but pixel width. After all, the value of a Meta Description is in it’s ability to entice the users to make that click from the SERPs to the website, and if your well-crafted Description gets cut off its value is diminished.
And the enemy is… friction, drop-off, attrition, cart abandonment – engagement in general for sure, but specifically by device. But the enemy can be defeated with the right tools. Segment your traffic, and analyse the user experience.
For example, look at the source of your successful conversions. In this example, it’s clear that desktop (blue) has a far far better conversion rate than other devices. So get A/B testing versions of your mobile site!
While you can of course glean a lot from just looking at a site as an innocent user, it’s stating the obvious that the real insights come from looking under the hood. But what can you get from that first glance?
- Well firstly, is it responsive on a mobile device? I keep going on about this, but it is critical. Google doesn’t like it, and frankly real people don’t either.
- Take a quick glance at the Page Title as shown in the tab or browser title bar. Is it meaningful? Does it convey the essence of the page? If it just says ‘Home’ my heart skips a beat – here’s a quick win!
- Next step, view the page source. Do we have a good Meta Description? Are there Rich Snippets? And is there Google Analytics or Tag Manager code in there? I’ll also check for other tools like CrazyEgg, to get a sense of the tools that are being used to gather valuable user experience data.
I’m often asked what are the key Metrics to look at within the wealth of data that Google Analytics offers. My answer is this: anything, so long as you drill down to some more meaningful level.
For instance, of course Bounce Rate is a fairly useful indicator of how engaging a page is – but not particularly for your site overall. So a good, indeed essential, use of BR is say at the Landing Page Report level.
Better still, refine that report to view high traffic pages that have a BR of say over 50%, and straight away you have a hit list of pages you should look at with a view to reducing BR and pulling visitors further into your site. After all, you’ve done something right to acquire the traffic, maximise it (by adding a clear Call To Action)!