Welcome to part two in this guide to doing your own simple SEO audit. I hope the first part has been of interest. Please do let me know if you have any questions or comments on either part.
So, to continue through the simple SEO form, which you can download here.
let’s start with H tags.
H Tags are important for letting Google and your visitors know what they are reading. They range from H1 to H6 in order of importance. You want to use H tags to let people know how important the information is on the page.
For the main topic you will use an H1, for the second most important you use H2 and so on.
How your page title, URL and H tags should run in a sensible fashion as any piece of collateral would, with H1 at the top then subheadings would be H2s etc..
As you can see in this example there is a sensible way that the text is written and laid out so it makes sense to the reader and to Google.
The page title, the URL and the H tag all say what is on the page in a format that makes sense. The content on the page is written for the reader and naturally talks about the subject.
As mentioned before, one of the most important things to consider in good SEO is to have unique content that is regularly updated and is engaging for the reader. Some people find it very tempting to copy text from other websites, such as Wikipedia as this might be the content they want. You can, of course, use websites like this as reference and to give you an idea of what to write about but you should not copy and paste. Write new content that is unique to you and what your visitors and customers are looking for.
The way to find out if your content is unique or not is to do a Google search using some content with speech marks (” “) around it. This is an exact match search and will only bring back results that are exactly the same as the text you have searched for.
For example, I will search for this “A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems”, which I have taken from the plumber page on Wikipedia.
As you can see in this example there are over 22,000 pages which have this content on and I would imagine in this case that most of them have copied this text from Wikipedia to fill out part of their website.
This example shows how the search page should look if your content is unique. I have taken some text from our latest blog on the Google Algorithm Hummingbird update, which, if you are interested, you can read here.
The Author of this blog, Tom, will be very happy to see that only one result has appeared for this.
Unique content, regularly added to your website, is very important for Google to see. It shows that you’re in business and that you are a real person who isn’t just filling your website with other people’s work (manually or with robots). There are literally millions of dead and forgotten websites on the web and this is the only way Google can differentiate between your live and kicking website and someone’s bright idea to sell chocolate teapots online in 2005 that strangely never took off.
This is a massive subject in itself, so I will cover just a small part of it.
Social links are a great way to engage with your audience and create content for your website. Find out which social media platform is best for your type of business. For instance, Facebook is better for B2C businesses whereas LinkedIn is better suited to B2B business. Twitter falls somewhere in the middle and Google+ will be a must for all online business in the not so distant future, take our word for it (keep checking back for our white paper on Google+).
You can see more about this on our video – An Introduction to Social Media for Business.
You should be sharing your content on social media. You should also use social media to answer questions and use those questions to build out content on your site. These are the questions people will put in the search bar when looking for your products so you want content that will answer these questions.
The worst thing to do in social media is not being active. It’s called “social” for a reason. Don’t feel you have to be on all the social media platforms available, pick the ones that are best for you. Do, however, claim your social media pages on the other channels but place a holding message there, pointing people to the social media you do use. There is nothing worse than someone complaining or commenting and you not answering. That comment will stay there forever, unanswered. See our video on social media fails here for more information.
404 pages are important. These show up if someone enters the wrong URL into the address bar or click on a broken link. What you want to do is have a helpful page that will lead them back to the home page and/or your FAQ page. Make sure there are links and they can get back to your main site. Some 404 pages include a search bar so you can help the user to find exactly what they were looking for.
To search for this, put in your URL then /a page you know doesn’t exist or something that amuses you.
I have searched for www.sleepinggiantmedia.co.uk/oops to show you what our 404 page looks like. It has a useful link back to the home page and the menu and search function is visible so the visitor can get to other parts of the website easily.
You can make your 404 page interesting and fit with your brand if you want to.
Here are examples of a couple of interesting 404 pages that I like:
There is a link which takes you back to the home page here
This one has all the helpful navigation at the top, it has a personal and human quality, is entertaining and even gives you the chance to get involved by saving Adam’s job
Having a site map that you submit to Google is important as this helps Google to crawl your site and find the pages.
To find out if you have this, it will either be at the bottom of the website pages like ours below or you should be able to search for it by googling [your url]/site map and it should show up if it exists.
When you have your site map, you should submit this to Google through webmaster tools. There is a link that tells you how to do this here.
Backlinks used to be how to get noticed on Google a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, but not any more. There are still people out there offering to sell you links for pennies and although this might sound great, it really isn’t. If you were to suddenly gain thousands of links from spammy and dreadful websites overnight you will face the wrath of Google and have a penalty placed on your website.
Not a lot of people know this but if you do something bad on Google to try to cheat the system, they won’t just ignore how this might help you rank on search engine results pages and stop you from ranking higher, they will penalise you, which could mean you disappear from the search pages completely.
So really think about what someone might be doing to your site and your business before you take them up on that deal that sounds so good. Make sure you get natural links from people that want to link to you. Backlinks, again, is a huge and dangerous subject. Keep coming back to our site to see updated pages and blogs about this.
Number of pages indexed:
Google crawls the web and looks at your website. When it finds a page it will index it, ready for when someone searches for the content on that page. You can see how many pages have been indexed for your website simply by adding ” site: ” in front of your URL
like – site:wwww.sleepinggiantmedia.co.uk
As you can see we have 647 pages indexed by Google. It is helpful to look at this to make sure your pages are set up correctly and are able to be crawled. You can check back on this to see when your new pages are indexed.
It also helps to have more pages in Google’s eyes. Don’t create pages just for the sake of it but do think about having more to fill out your website content. With this it means you can have more specific pages for those questions you’ve been saving for such an occasion.
So you can see how your SEO efforts are progressing, you will want to benchmark where you are appearing now for different terms.
You should check:
Your brand terms – this is your company or product name. You should appear at the top for this. Make sure you use a depersonalised search for this, as it will be saved in your history.
You can do this on Chrome browser very easily. Simply go to the spanner in the right hand corner
In the drop down, click “New incognito window”
…and you will get a new window with this little guy in the corner.
This window will explain that it will leave no trace on your computer, no cookies or history etc. So fellas, this is a great way to look for those Christmas presents without your wife finding out what you’ve been searching for, if you know what I mean.
You may find that some people are actually advertising on your brand terms. This is a good way to find out if someone is. It is not illegal to do this but we usually find that asking them to stop will work, as it isn’t a very nice thing to do really.
Head terms – these are your top level terms. Your services and products.
Long tail terms – These are the terms you will probably want to target in your SEO. These will create a niche for you and help your business to stand out from the larger businesses and other competitors in your market. Think about how niche you can be in your particular market.
For instance, if you are a plumber (we may as well continue on this theme), you might put your location, or explain your pricing level or a particular job you are specifically good at doing.
Write these terms down and search against them and jot down where they appear in the search. Make sure these are terms your potential clients will be searching for.
It is becoming more and more important to have a website that works on mobiles and tablets, Whether it is responsive or you have a separate mobile site, it needs to work. This is because the number of people searching on mobiles and tablets is forever increasing. According to emarketer mobile search could exceed desktop search as early as 2015.
We have a responsive site and you can check how this works just by making your browser smaller. Neat, huh?
Wikipedia have a mobile site:
These are just some of the things to look at when thinking about your site and how to make it Google friendly. There are lots of other things you can do and there are lots of resources out there to get you started.
You can download our simple SEO audit sheet here.
Do look at your own site and feel free to comment with any discoveries or questions below.
I hope you have found this handy.
Below are links to a couple of resources I find useful.