A Guide To Check Your Website SEO

Many small business owners face a dilemma with their websites. They may have a state-of-the-art website for their business, with built-in SEO added by the web developer during the design phase, but they still do not receive any organic traffic. The explanation for this can be straightforward: their website SEO may be incomplete or possibly non-existent. If you find yourself in the same position and are unsure why your website is not ranking on search engines or is buried under search results for keywords relevant to your products and services, do not lose hope. This SEO checklist will help you identify any missing or insufficient factors that search engines use to determine your website’s optimization for ranking purposes.

Let’s get started right away:

Is Your Website Secure?

First and foremost is the security of your website. No one trusts an unsecured website, let alone the search engines. You can check if your website is secure by looking for the padlock icon in the address bar or check your URL if it begins with “HTTPS,” which means it is secure. If the padlock icon is missing and the URL begins with only “HTTP,” it is not a secure connection, and you must contact your web hosting provider. They will be able to sort that out for you in a jiffy.

Screenshot of SearchSchematic.com showing a lock icon in the address bar, indicating the website is secure.

Content

Have you wondered why most of us never go past the first page on search engines for our queries? It is because search engines like Google & Bing do an excellent job of recognizing their user’s search intent and provide them with accurate, useful content for their queries. Therefore, the importance of content can never be overstated. It is not only good for SEO but crucial for an overall solid marketing strategy.

To check your content’s quality, you must examine it from your potential customers’ perspective. Is your content optimized for the following:

  • Does your content describe your products and services in detail? It is your business. You are the expert. Your content is an opportunity for you to share your expertise with your potential customers.
  • Is it relevant and targeted to the specific product and service and not off-topic? For instance, if you are a dentist offering several treatments, a good SEO will have a separate page for each service instead of describing teeth whitening on the same page as a root canal.
  • Does your content state the locations where you provide your services? Imagine you are a small business in New York, but there is no mention of New York in your content. It will not only confuse your potential customers but search engine web crawlers as well.
  • Is your content well structured and easy to read? The headings and subheadings are important. They organize the content and make it easier for the readers and search engine web crawlers to navigate and understand your content better.
  • Is you content enough? While a word count of around 300 to 700 words is often advised for informative web pages, it’s the quality of the content that truly impacts SEO. Modern search engine algorithms, such as those used by Google, look beyond mere word count, evaluating factors like user engagement and content relevance. So, while maintaining a decent word count can be helpful, your focus should always be on delivering high-quality, meaningful content to your audience.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes make your content and your business look unprofessional. Make sure your content is free of any grammatical and spelling errors.

Keyword Utilization

Check if your content uses keywords that match what your customers are searching for. You can verify this using online keyword density tools. Adding the right keywords can help your website appear more often in relevant search results.

Internal Linking

Make sure your content links to other pages on your website. This is a key part of SEO. Internal links make it easier for your visitors to find more information on your site and help search engines understand your website’s structure better.

Ensure your business has a Google My Business account to be more visible in local search results and on Google Maps. This is especially important if your business serves customers in a specific area.

Social Media Integration

Check if your website has links to your social media accounts and if your social media accounts link back to your website. This can help expand your online presence, getting your website in front of more potential customers.

Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions

Meta titles and meta descriptions are the snippets that appear on search engines’ search results after the user searches for its query. They are the first impression of your website to the internet users. Therefore, it is essential to write compelling meta titles and meta descriptions that accurately describe your webpage content. It is good practice to keep your meta title under 60 characters and meta descriptions between 60 to 155 characters. There are several ways to check your meta titles and meta descriptions.

Meta Title

The simplest way to check your webpage meta title is by opening the webpage and hovering the mouse on the webpage browser tab, and the meta title will appear.

Meta Title on Web Browser Tab

Meta Title on Web Browser Tab

Meta Description

You can check your webpages’ meta titles and meta descriptions by following these steps:

  1. Right-click on your webpage in question and click on the “view page source” from the menu.
  2. On the View Page Source, click Cntrl and F simultaneously and search for “<title>” to find the Meta Title. Anything between “<title>” and “</title>” will be your page title or meta title.
  • Click Cntrl and F simultaneously, and in the search bar, search for “<meta name=”description” and locate the meta description for your page.
Meta Title & Meta Description on Browser View Page Source

Meta Title & Meta Description on Browser View Page Source.

Web Images Optimization For SEO

Images on the webpages enhance the design of the website. They bring your content to life, helping your website users visualize your products and services. They also play an important role in your website’s SEO.

 

Alt Text

Alt text, also known as alt attribute, alt tag, and alt description, is an HTML code used to describe the image’s purpose and function on the webpage. It is needed for people with visual impairment to identify the image by using a screen reader. The alt text also helps search engine web crawlers to understand your content better and index the image correctly on the image search engine. Therefore, it is essential to write an alt-text that accurately describes the image and is relevant to your content. For example, suppose you are a Personal Injury Lawyer in New York, and one of your practice is car accidents. On your car accident webpage, you have an image of a car accident. It will be good SEO practice to add alt text “Car Accident Lawyer New York” or a similar relevant keyword to that image.

 

How to find alt-text of web image

There are two simple ways to look up the image alt-text for your web images.

  1. You can add a screen reader extension to your web browser.
  2. Right-click on the image and select “Inspect” or “Inspect Element”. The element box will pop open with image element text highlighted. Look for “alt=.” anything after that is your image alt-text.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

In this day and age, the vast majority of us use smart devices to access the internet. Therefore, it only makes sense that a search engine like Google gives priority to mobile responsive websites when determining their search engine ranking.

You can test if your web pages are mobile-friendly by using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

How’s The Speed Of Your Website?

Your website’s loading speed matters not only to your website visitors but also for SEO. Google uses loading speed as a ranking factor. An ideal website loading speed is under 1-2 seconds on all devices. The slower your website, the higher the bounce rate and a negative indicator to search engines for ranking.

There are several excellent free tools available on the web to test the speed of your website. These tools don’t only analyze your website’s loading speed but also give insights, outlining actions you can take to maximize your website’s loading speed.

Is Your Website Authoritative/Web Authority

Your website authority or some people refer to it as domain authority, is a million-dollar question. It is one of the significant metrics for search engines when determining the ranking of your site. Think of it as your website’s popularity within your industry. If many other websites relevant to your sector mention your website in their web content, it is an indicator to search engines that your content is credible and worthy. In the search engines’ eyes, it is a signal that you must be doing something right to earn a link to your content on another authoritative website.

The link from another website to your site is known as a “backlink.” The more backlinks from authoritative sites to your site, the more the authority of your website.

 

Not All Backlinks Are Equal

Now you have an idea of what the backlinks are. It is essential to know that all backlinks don’t hold equal value. There are two factors you must look at to determine the quality of your backlinks.

  1. Is the backlink to your site from an authoritative website?
  2. Is the backlink a follow link or a no-follow link?

 

Is the backlink to your site from an authoritative website?

An authoritative website is a site that is classified as highly trustworthy and popular by search engines. For example, a backlink from The New York Times or an equally popular website will hold tons more value than a link from a business directory like Yellow Pages. The higher the web authority of the website, the more the value of the backlink. Then there backlinks that come from spam sites with no value to their users. Search engines ignore these links, and in some cases, the search engines penalize the sites with too many irrelevant and spam backlinks.

 

Is the backlink a follow link or a no-follow link?

A no-follow link is an HTML tag added to a backlink in the case when the content publisher wants to inform search engines of the backlink’s purpose. There are three types of no-follow HTML tags.

  1. rel=” sponsored”: This attribute is to identify any paid advertising and sponsored content.
  2. rel=”ugc”: This attribute is to identify any user generated content. For example, any comments or reviews with a link to your website should have this attribute.
  3. rel=’no-follow’: Content publishers use this attribute to inform search engines that they are not endorsing the link.

It used to be the case that the no-follow links had no SEO value. A no-follow link was a clear directive to search engines to ignore the backlink completely. But only recently, Google announced they would no longer ignore the no-follow links. Instead, Google algorithms will use the no-follow links as hints to determine whether they have any ranking value or not.

In conclusion, to distinguish the difference between a no-follow link and a follow-link in terms of SEO, a no-follow is a long shot and may or may not hold any SEO value. Where a follow link is a clear indication to search engines that the content publisher has endorsed the link. Therefore, a follow-link has SEO value, and it does helps boost ranking on search engines if not from a spam site.

 

How to Check The Backlinks Of Your Website

There are many excellent tools available on the web that let you check your website or any website backlinks. Some of the most prominent names are Moz Link ExplorerAshref Backlinks Checker, and SEMRUSH Backlinks Analytics. All of these backlink checker tools have both a free and a paid subscription version.

These tools do more than just discovering the backlinks of the website. They provide useful information about the backlinks, like the linking website’s domain authority and page authority. You can also find out if the link is a follow or no-follow, among many other valuable features they offer to learn more about the backlinks’.

 

An XML Sitemap Of Your Website

You must have noticed the mention of “web crawlers” quite a few times in this blog post. Web crawlers, also known as spider or spider bots, are operated by search engines. They crawl the internet to discover and access web content, understand it, index it, and rank it according to its relevance. They come and crawl your website too.

A sitemap is a blueprint of your website to the web crawlers. It helps them navigate and understand your content intelligently.

Imagine moving to a mansion without having the blueprint and without the estate agent to guide you. You will have to figure out what rooms are what yourself. Some might mistake the living room for a master bedroom or even miss out on a hidden storage room. That is why sitemaps are necessary for SEO. They give information about your webpages to the web crawlers instead of them figuring everything out themselves.

How To Check You Have A Sitemap Of Your Website

The most common way to check if you have the XML sitemap for your website is by typing your website URL into the browser’s address bar and adding the following at the end of the URL:

  • /sitemap.xml

If the above doesn’t work, then you can try the following:

  • /sitemap
  • /sitemap_index.xml

Another way to look-up your website’s sitemap is by checking it in Google Search Console.

Google Search Console

Check if your website is registered with Google Search Console. Google Search Console is an excellent tool for webmasters or website owners. You can use it to monitor, maintain, and be alerted to any issues with your website, and it allows you to fix them. It is also an excellent tool for tracking your SEO efforts.

Google has made the tool very user-friendly and has created tutorial videos for each of its features if you need help.

XML Sitemap in Google Search Console

XML Sitemap in Google Search Console

Conclusion

SEO is not a one-time project that is concluded during the website design phase. Detecting issues and working to optimize your website for search engines is an ongoing process. If your website is fully optimized but still lacks rankings, implementing a strategy to earn backlinks could be an effective approach to boosting your website’s search engine ranking.

The major search engines, like Google, are so popular because they provide high-quality content to their users. Therefore, optimizing your website for search engines and improving your website’s rankings go hand in hand with providing an excellent user experience to your website visitors, leading to business growth.

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