What You Can Do To Audit Your Website Today
One of the first things we do when taking on a new SEO client is to do a content audit on the website. Many of today’s ranking “signals” are on-page, content-based so the audit can reveal important areas that need attention.
If you’ve been paying attention, by now you know that the search engines utilize “spiders” (sometimes called bots) to “crawl” each page on your website to ascertain what your site is about and determine where the site should appear in their SERPs (search engine results pages). A very useful tool is the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool. The tool is written for desktops (Mac or Windows) and crawls your site just as the search engines do.
Screaming Frog’s crawl can reveal site issues that might effect its ranking such as too long or duplicate page titles and descriptions, missing image alt tags, missing H1 tags, thin content, bloated image files, and broken links.
There is a basic, free version and a paid version. The free version crawls a maximum of 500 URLs, so if your site exceeds 500 pages, you’ll need the full license. The paid version also gets you Google Analytics integration and several other features. The full version costs just under $200 at todays British pound to US dollar conversion rate (The frog lives in England!).
Let’s look at five items you’ll want to check after that loud-mouthed frog crawls your site…
1. Image Issues: Large pics slow site loading
Click: IMAGES tab, then FILTER: OVER 100KB
Yikes, those are some wickedly huge files on this site! Your images should be no larger than 200kb if at all possible since the search engines regard page loading speed a ranking signal and those jumbo file sizes will slow your site to a crawl!
2. Image Issues: Missing ALT tags
Click: IMAGES tab, then FILTER: MISSING ALT TEXT
Every one of your images on your site should have an ALT tag, these are the ones that don’t. Time to get busy!
3. Meta Title Issues: Check for dupes and length
Click: PAGE TITLES tab
The Meta Title tag for each of your pages should be unique to that page, so check for duplicates. While your at it, check the length of each tag, Google truncates after about 70 characters, so keep them to that length.
4. Meta Description Issues: Check for duplicates
Click: META DESCRIPTION tab
Even though the Meta Description tag has been demoted by Google in terms of the effect it has on your site’s ranking, it’s still important; see this post to learn why. Make sure each page has a unique description.
5. Word Count: Content is still king and content-rich sites rank well
Click: INTERNAL tab, then scroll way to the right
Pages containing fewer than 500-1000 words are likely deemed to have “thin content”. You should work to add copy to those pages having less. But be careful, duplicate content will get you penalized, so don’t just copy and paste content from other pages or worse, other websites. Write content that interests your readers.
Screaming frog can help you to identify issues quickly and easily. There are many, many other data points it provides, even the free version. Download it today!