SEO analysis is more of an art than a technique because it involves a thorough understanding of the interplay between the factors Google uses to rank a website and how a user generally interacts with a website. While these two aspects of SEO analysis are often connected, they do not always compliment each other. Ultimately, the user experience is what matters to Google, and it is possible to have a high-ranking web page that doesn’t exploit every SEO factor Google uses to judge a web page if the page receives a high amount of traffic and interaction from search engine users. So, how do you analyze SEO for your website? Focus on two key components:
- Compare and contrast your web pages against the SEO factors Google has made public
- Implement techniques that are centered around enhancing the overall user experience
Which are the Best SEO Tools for Beginners?
Why do you hire an expert like a doctor, lawyer, or accountant to analyze a problem or perform a service? You hire them because they have often invested a lot of time and resources in educating themselves on a particular topic or subject area. The same principle applies to SEO experts, but since you are analyzing your website’s SEO factors on your own, the best place for you to start gathering information is from what is regarded to be the best source of SEO information in the world, Google! Google’s SEO Starter Guide is one of the best resources available for beginners. It explains some of the key factors Google uses to rank web pages and explains how to create content that is optimized for SEO. Other helpful sources of SEO information published by Google include:
- Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: This blog is dedicated to announcing new changes Google is making to its platform and search algorithm.
- Think With Google: Google uses this website to publish new research on consumer behavior, marketing trends, and new insights into how users interact with websites online.
- Google Web Fundamentals: Web fundamentals gives you in-depth information on the best practices for certain aspects of SEO such as optimizing images, creating websites that enhance the user experience, and more!
We know what your thinking “Do I have to read all of this to analyze SEO for my website?” No, this information gives you a guide and resources to refer to when you have questions about a specific aspect of your SEO analysis, and you should consider reading most, if not all, of the SEO Starter Guide in order to establish a solid foundation for your SEO knowledge.
Other SEO Tools You can use for Free!
Luckily, there are some free SEO tools that can help you get started with your SEO analysis, and they all focus on either how Google interacts with your website or how users interact with your website.
Google Analytics: Google analytics allows you to see how users interact with your website by generating key performance data such as the number of views a page has received over a certain period of time, the source of your website’s traffic, and user demographic information.
Google Search Console: Google search console is a free service offered by Google that allows you to analyze and monitor how Google analyzes your website. Tools such as indexing and spam alerts, backlink reports, and search traffic data are just a few of the features that will allow you to properly analyze your website’s performance and interactions with Google
Google Pagespeed Insights: How fast do your website’s pages load? After the release of the “Speed Update,” most website owners came to realize that page-load times are a big ranking factor. Consequently, you should not only test your website’s pages to see what their load-score is but also, analyze some of the website-improvement recommendations this tool yields.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: Have you heard of Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing? If you haven’t, you should probably research the topic a little and use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how your website loads on mobile devices. Moreover, the mobile-friendly test also gives you recommendations on changes you can make to your website and its features to make them more mobile-friendly.
Analyzing SEO for Your Website
Now that you have all of the SEO information you need from Google, it’s time for you to analyze the pages on your website to see how well you have exploited each SEO factor Google uses to rank a website. Remember, the user experience is the most important aspect of SEO analysis. According to the Google SEO Starter Guide, “Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors.” So, start with the external characteristics of each web page first, because these are the webpage characteristics that your website’s visitors will interact and engage with. Focus on the answers to fundamental questions:
- Does each web page provide the user with links to reputable, authoritative sources for additional information?
- Is every image optimized to load easily and quickly for the user?
- Does each web page use proper headers to create what the SEO Starter Guide refers to as a “hierarchical structure” that users can easily scan and read?
- Have you incorporated targeted keywords naturally into each web page’s content, meta description, title tags, and headers, so the user and Google can easily understand what the web page is about?
Once you have analyzed and contrasted each web page against each of Google’s published SEO factors and best practices, then you can analyze the technical aspects of your website using the free tools Google offers. The data these tools produce such as the number of backlinks your website has acquired according to Google Search Console, the average amount of time each user stays on each webpage according to Google Analytics, how fast your website’s pages load according to Google Page Speed Insights, and the overall mobile-friendliness of each web page according to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can all be used to make your website more appealing and accessible to both users and Google.
Do You Need Help Analyzing Your Website?
The SEO experts at On the Map Marketing are ready to help! Even Google recognizes that hiring an SEO expert who can help you optimize your website and maximize its performance in Google’s search rankings is a valuable investment that can yield long-term benefits for your business. So, call our office today to speak with an SEO specialist who will help you analyze your existing website and explain how our team can improve its performance.