Aren’t you able to find your own business’ site when you type the URL on Google? Are you wondering why your site is much better than your competitors and, even though you are not in the first result of the result page for your most important keywords? Check if your website is SEO friendly and remove any doubt.
Sometimes we invest good money in a site for our business, it is a great looking site and we think that it is enough to be in the first position in Google. I’m afraid it is not that easy. There are some standards every page should follow in order to be a good result, according to the algorithm of Google that rules the positions of the different sites in their search engines. When creating a site we should bear in mind the elements that search engines value the most, adapting them to the kind of searches from users that we wish to be the result for. There are three important things to take care of before checking if a website is SEO friendly:
1. Make clear which keywords the company’s site is targeting.
2. Check your current position in Google and the pages of the site that are already indexed. To know this number exactly use the command “site:” and the domain of the site. The number at the top of the result page is the number of pages indexed by Google. If the number is too low, there is probably a problem and Google is not reading your site and, therefore, not ranking it. If you are skillful with other tools like Google Webmaster Tool you could check more accurately if the pages indexed are correct of if there are duplications, really bad in terms of SEO.
3. Look at the competitors. It is really important to know the competition. SEO is always important and essential for the visibility of a site. But it becomes even more important if the competition is not doing it. If the other companies are not optimising their sites, getting the first result is more achievable and it is something to take into account.
Structure and code of the site
I don’t want to overwhelm you with terms and web development concepts that your are not interested in. Let’s just explain a very basic thing for understanding what Google and other search engines are able to consider as a good site or not. What is displayed in the screen is the result of combinations of elements placed in a code, like if it were written in a special language that were translated by the computer into the images and texts we see when we click into a website. The important thing to bear in mind is that search engines just can see text and code, never images.
See here how a site’s code looks like:
<title>Arnie Services, Superdeck, Boiler servicing and repairs, Oil & Gas boiler servicing, Reduce fuel usage by servicing your boiler annually. Oil tanks supplied</title>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
<meta name=”title” content=”Arnie Services, Superdeck, Boiler servicing and repairs, Oil & Gas boiler servicing, Reduce fuel usage by servicing your boiler annually. Oil tanks supplied”>
<meta name=”description” content=”Boiler servicing and repairs
Oil & Gas boiler servicing. Reduce fuel usage by servicing your boiler
annually. Our professional service includes a full combustion analysis
report. Carbon monoxide alarms supplied. Central heating power flushing-get
your heating system back to maximum efficiency. Oil tanks supplied and
installed. Agent for boilerbleed valve.
Oil boiler servicing. Central heating power flushing. SEAI registered BER
Surveyors. RGII. Oftec registered. Boilerbleed”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Oftec. RGII. SEAI. Boilerbleed. Power-flush. Boiler service.
Conveyors. Soroto. Preston. Superdeck. Kells. Meath. Heating repairs. Carbon
<meta name=”language” content=”English”>
<meta name=”Niamh Moore” content=”Dubh Design”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”INDEX, FOLLOW”>
<meta name=”document-class” content=”Living Document”>
<meta name=”document-rating” content=”General”>
<meta name=”document-state” content=”Dynamic”>
<meta http-equiv=”imagetoolbar” content=”no”>
<link href=”splash/css/mainstyle.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”>
Thus, the first thing we have to pay attention to is if our site is full of images, videos and other visual elements and we can’t read anything. If the site has been designed with programs like Adobe Flash, for example, the visibility of the website will be worse. That site will be almost invisible for search engines. It usually happens with photographers and artist’s sites that try to show their work, overlooking the rules of the Internet and wasting opportunities to reach more people through it.
Authority of the site
This is really handy at the time to check if your website is SEO friendly. With this free SEO tool designed by the most famous SEO professionals, Moz Open Site Explorer, you will be able to see if your site has or not chances of ranking well in search engines. Take note of what the marks mean:
1-10. Your site needs to grow and you should start working on SEO now!
11-20. It could be worse…but still your site needs improve.
21-30. The site has some SEO standards that has improved the visibility, but it is necessarily strengthening the techniques implemented.
31-40. The site is competitive, you are there.
41-50. The site is good. There is a good base to be in the first positions, as many of respectable e-commerce sites out there.
51-60. You are above average. The site is in good shape.
61-70. Not just the site is SEO friendly, but it has a lot of links from other sites and the authority within the niche is consolidated.
71-80. You are under control of the search criteria within your market. You understand how customers are looking for your and your site is the answer.
81-90. Your site is on the top of domain authority.
91-100. Just couple of site reach these marks, so you can breath now. Just sites like Facebook or Wikipedia can beat you and I am almost sure they are not one of your competitors, thank goodness.
This is really easy to check and is vitally important to rank well in Google. It is obvious when a site is desperately slow. Even though, you can use the Page Speed Insight . Google tool to see how you can improve. One of the most important elements to rank in Google is the user experience, how long the users spend on a site and how they interact with it. Page speed is one of the elements that can worsen dramatically the user experience.
This is a screenshot of a test run recently on a site.
Therefore, one of the first things we should do is checking if our site is SEO friendly is speeding the site up to prevent from leaking out of users in the first place.
[ctt template=”5″ link=”e6Ma8″ via=”no” ]A slow site is hated by Google. Speed up your site and it will be SEO friendly. [/ctt]
This is something that you can do yourself as well, without being an expert. The robot.txt file is really important and you will be able to check if it exists, just typing the ULR of your site plus /robot.txt. This file specifies to Google which pages of the site they should index and where to find other important resources for the site such as the sitemap. You can see an example here of a robot.txt file.
The sitemap is a file that let Google crawl the content of a site in order to be able to index it. In this way we increase the chances of ranking better in search engines.
To know if you website has sitemap or not you just have to type the URL of your site and add /sitemap.xml at the end. If you don’t get any result, you know what is next. Contact a professional and they will know what to do. If you are brave and expert enough to do it yourself, you have to create a sitemap and upload it to your server, but I won’t explain it in this post, as I understand this post is not for SEO experts and, at this point, you will need help.
A sitemap look like this: https://thewebcentre.ie/wp-content/plugins/xml-sitemap-generator/sitemap.xml
All “meta things” sound complicated. Probably, this aspect of your site is more complicated to detect. But if you count on someone with some knowledge of html they can help you to detect if next info is present and how:
- Title Tag. That title that you can see at the top of the browser, just in the tab of the page you are in when you are navigating. That element is really important to make Google understand what your site is about. The keywords you display there are essential to optimise your site.
- Metadescription. The visible part of this piece of code is the description shown in Google under the title of a result. This is not directly affecting the position of a page in Google, but can lead more traffic to a site if it is written smartly and strategically. The traffic, eventually, will push the page in search engines result pages.
- Headings. The headings and subheadings of a page are relevant for Google. They are coded under different tags within the code of the site that let search engines know which information is more important. According to this, Google and other search engines decide if the page is a good result for a particular search or not and they offer it in their result pages.
So, it is important to analyse what kind of tags are in every page of your site to know if they are SEO friendly or not. This means, if these elements are optimised for the keywords you want every page of your site is a result in Google for. Again, maybe is something you can’t do on your own, but it is good if you are aware of the things a professional has to take care of to get the best work done and thus the best results.
As Google says in their site, “You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer“. In this statement they make it clear the importance of responsiveness in their algorithm. They are giving more and more importance to the user experience and developing a site that can be fully used from a mobile phone or tablet will improve the user experience. This eventually will help the site to rank better in search engines as is one of the elements that Google values when deciding the position of every site in the rank.
When checking if your site is SEO friendly, take your phone, type the URL of your site and act just like a potential customers. Look for every information available and pay attention to the pictures and how they adapt to the screen. Try to fill forms and download documents or resources the site offers. Check the speed and evaluate if the experience is as good as it is when the user navigate from a computer. If you get a negative experience, your potential customers will have it as well and they will skip the site in the blink of an eye, the bounce rate will increase and, Google will punish your site for that. Lets see how the corporate site of Google looks in the mobile version:
And the last but not least, keywords, of course. Have you done a keyword research? It looks too obvious when talking about SEO, but many of the companies come to us asking to include some keywords in their site that they think are relevant for their business without any strategy behind. It doesn’t work like that. It is necessary to do a research and find out how exactly your potential customers are looking for your products or services.
Sometimes companies try to go for very general keywords that can’t compete with all the sites on the Internet ranking for them. In Marketing we have to open our minds and think outside the box. If you feel lack of ideas, this SEO tool will help you. Keyword Tool suggests keywords and combination of words from a keyword given. In the same way, you always can pay attention to the suggestion that Google makes at the bottom of the results page when you type a keyword in a search.
With more specific keywords you will be able to reach more qualified audience, and these kind of users have a more clear idea of what they are looking for and they have more probabilities of eventually converting to a real customer.
In this post about how to create SEO rich content for your site I gave you ideas on how to write the content of your website following SEO standards.
You don’t have to be a SEO professional to check if your site is SEO friendly or not. Maybe you will need some help to make some of the changes, but this information gives you more control on what is happening in your business’ site.
Do you think your site is SEO friendly? Do you have any other tip in terms of basic SEO? We look forward your ideas.