How to Give Your Website an SEO Checkup in 30-Minutes
The 30-Minute SEO Checkup covers what every marketing professional should know about SEO. It teaches you how to test your website’s SEO strength with one 30-minute checkup. Start recognizing common SEO problems and fix basic issues to improve your site’s organic performance.
30 Minute SEO Checkup
The broadcasters now starting all attendees in listen only mode.
Welcome today's webinar my name is Taylor Pettis. Our presentation today is the 30-minute SEO checkup. This is a continuation in the Three Deep webinar series covering various digital marketing topics. Today we're learning about SEO from Nate Plaunt. We hope the presentation will provide you with some strategies you can immediately implement your marketing campaigns. We also hope that the presentation is interactive. Please share your comments and questions the chat area of the webinar screen. I'll also do my best to help Nate answer your questions during the presentation.
The next item, we are recording today's webinar and you will all be emailed a copy following the event. Now it's my pleasure to introduce Nate. Nate is the Senior SEO Specialist with Three Deep Marketing and a self-described optimizer of all things. Here's Nate!
Great! Thanks Taylor, I appreciate that great introduction there. So everybody else out there can put a face to face to the voice to presenters today. Taylor on the left there. He is a Senior Marketing Manager at Three Deep marketing. Follow him on Twitter at that Twitter handle. And he would love to connect with you on LinkedIn and you can get to him through that shortened link there.
On the right that's me. Like Taylor said, I'm the Senior SEO Strategist at Three Deep. Please do follow me on Twitter. And if you like what you hear today, I've got lots of great ideas on our blog at www.threedeepmarketing.com. You can access those articles by following the Bit.ly.
So Taylor mentioned, the title today is the 30-minute SEO checkup and the reason for this webinar is really to enable you at home to look at your website the way an SEO does and to be able to walk through some common issues. Or at least identify some common issues and learn how to fix those issues. In order to get more visibility in search engines and perform better organically.
So what can you expect today? Well here's the agenda.
Number one is, what to expect today.
Number two we're going to run little bit through why you should check your SEO health and why it's important to your business. I'm going to be using various tools today. Right up front I want to run through what those tools are. For you at home that like to work along with me. I'm going to leave some time allow you to go get those and even work through this as we go. We're going to go through how to steps.
There's about 8 steps to really getting that high-level SEO health view. And we're going to end up with some questions. So without further ado I'm not into it.
What can you expect why are you here? What are you going to get out of this?
Number one you're going to hopefully get a good feeling about how SEO health and how it impacts your business.
Number two is really the the meat of this presentation. It's a 30-minute process to inspect your common SEO issues and identify some problems through the use of SEO tools. Finally learn how to build a workflow and a checklist to repair these common issues.
Before I move along with a little bit of background what exactly is SEO. If any viewer on my last webinar SEO 101 I talked through this a little bit. I still want to just ground everybody as to my viewpoint on SEO. You can get a bunch of different answers about SEO. To me it's really two simple things. Number one it’s practice of making a website as accessible as possible to search engines. And number two is ensuring that your website is as useful and relevant as possible for your current and prospective customers.
Just to help visualize what I mean here. Think of your website like a house. You've got this great little house, okay. Ensuring your website is accessible to both humans and search Engines. It’s really like looking at the foundation and the front door of your house. You want to make sure there's a really good structure that you can build on, and that you can actually enter through the front door.
The second part of SEO is ensuring your site is relevant and useful your visitors. And that is the color you paint your house, the window treatments, flower pots, and all of the extra things… the fun things you do around your house. But without the foundation and the front door, it’s just a pretty box, right? So we want to make sure that your website is really the best house it can be. This checkup is really like a thirty-minute home inspection for your website.
Why should you care about your SEO health? That's a great question. I'm going to run through the reasons here. So, it’s a boring statistics slide. Organic traffic, it accounts for anywhere between 47 and 64 percent of all website traffic. That is staggering right there. This is a study conducted by a company called conductor back in 2014. They have access to millions and millions and millions of sessions of data through lots of websites. They found that 60 percent really is organic traffic. If you think about it from a search query perspective, there is about 52,000 search queries that happened on Google every single second. A crazy amount of search queries. Considering back on Google started there are about 10,000 that happened every day. That's a big increase. If you do the math this translates to about 4.5 billion searches every single day. I can tell you that 4.5 billion is about 1.5 million that have never been searched before so there's a lot of people searching for a lot of things. A lot of new things, so the first step is really to be present in the search results.
In order to be present you need to have a solid SEO foundation. I'm going to show you how to get that on your site. Before I run into the tools I just wanted to talk through exactly who is going to find value from this webinar. It's really people from all the way through advanced if you're a beginner, a lot of these tools are going to look new to you. Hopefully have enough information to allow you to really understand the basis and how to use them purposefully on your website.
Those in the intermediate level will probably get the most out of this they have some familiarity they understand SEO. And then those of you were advanced hopefully I have some tricks up my sleeve that you haven't seen yet.
Let's dive right into the tools that you're going to need. Number one you're going to need access to analytics platform of some sort on your website. In this example, I use Google Analytics. As a matter of fact, Three Deep marketing as a whole is it is an Google Analytic Certified Partner. We use Google Analytics almost exclusively for all of our clients here.
Number two, Google search console. This was formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. They made a switch or a rebrand in 2015. Number three is Bing Webmaster Tools. This is basically the equivalent of the Google search console, but for Bing. Number four, is using Google as a tool. A lot of people use it is just a search engine, but it is a really powerful tool that you can use to diagnose some SEO issues. Number five, my favorite Screaming Frog Spider. It's a crawler and we'll talk more about this, but it's a crawler that can go through your website and capture information about your various pages. Number six is a tool that I developed internally here at Three Deep to help us visualize website data. It basically helps to visualize the issues, the common issues identified through the Screaming Frog Spider in a way that's meaningful. Number seven is the Panguin tool. I love this tool, I didn't develop it, but I wish I did. It's developed by the agency called Barracuda Digital UK it's incredibly super helpful tool when you diagnose any algorithmic issues your site may have. Finally grab something to write your checklist on whether its a Word doc, Excel Note Pad, Google Docs, pen and paper whatever you want to use the write stuff down and make a checklist or punch list. You can go through it and fix later.
In case you want direct access to these and want to follow along at home, I've included the URLs here where you can access all these different tools.
Here we go, 30-minute SEO checkup. We're going to run through the steps. Number one, is to crawl your site with Screaming Frog. Full disclaimer, if you have a really large website like an eCommerce or site with thousands and thousands of pages - this crawl might actually last half hour. The great thing about the 30-minute SEO checkup is that you can start this crawl kind of set it and forget it and then move on to some other steps in the process. So that's why we start out with crawl first.
If you have not or do not have a copy of Screaming Frog Spider, it’s free for you to download. If you go to this URL www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/ I recommend you go there and download at the very least the free version. Little tip here, if your site has more than 500 URIs. Meaning Uniform Resource indicators these are not only pages on your website, but image files Java Script files, CSS files. If you have more than that you're going to want to buy the full version of Screaming Frog, but it's very-very inexpensive. It's about $12 a month to get the full version. I would recommend getting that because you need a lot more information. That being said, once you have your Screaming Frog Spider open, type your domain right into the box at the top and hit start.
It's pretty easy to do there. The pro tip: you have a site that operates with subdomains you're going to want to exclude the WWW to capture info for all the subdomains. If you only want to capture info on the WWW subdomain or some other subdomain make sure you enter that before the root domain there.
So anyhow, type that in, hit start and the Frog is going to start crawling. As it's crawling, you can see the image down there where it lists URL and then various pieces of information about it. While it's running you need to download the crawl data visualization worksheet I referenced earlier. You can do this by heading over to the Three Deep website. I wrote a blog that actually walks you exactly how to upload the data from Screaming Frog into it.
If you go to that blog post there, I actually have two versions of Excel version and a Google Docs version. So whatever you're more comfortable with - go ahead and download them. I recommend the Excel version because I'm a little more familiar with it, so it looks prettier. The Google Docs version is not well organized, but has the same information there, so whatever you want go grab it.
As your crawl completes make sure you save it to your computer somewhere so you can access it easily the future. Once it's saved and complete from the top drop down of the tool on the report section so let the crawl overview. It's going to ask you how you want to save the file make sure you save it as a .CSV file. Once you do open it, and then copy and paste the data tab of the crawl visualization worksheet. Once you do, you're going to see some information that looks like this. This is just kind of a high level that sheet goes down much further and has more information about the things. This is the type of visualization you can expect. Where it's going to look at first response code. Of your pages on your site, what came back as a response code. What we're looking for here is success, obviously. We want every page to load as expected.
In this particular case, there's a lot of internally re-direction on this site that was crawled. And that's something that we don't necessarily want, because we can't control it. We want to go in internally and update those land that they serve a 200 response code. What we don't want to see here is a lot of client errors or service errors. So 404 errors are broken links, broken pages, dead ends for both humans and search engines. We don't want to see those. Server errors indicate there's bigger problem back-end. You're also here going to see your URL issues, page issues, meta descriptions, all types of stuff related to the page level metadata. I'm going to show you a visualization of exactly what those things are here.
Take for example the blog post page for this webinar. I'm going to show you where these elements occur on the page and what they exactly are. Meta description this is something you're not going to see on the page. This is actually in the head section of your page. It's essentially the elevator pitch for your page that is displayed in the search result. When you type in something into Google the result that served up a little snippet of information about that page that's what's called a meta description. You want to make sure that this is purposely optimized to be that elevator pitch for the page.
Things you can see, the title tag. This is the most important on-page you can optimize. This should be descriptive and it should be unique to every single page. Ideally want you to keep it under 65 characters. I think that we may have gone a bit over that threshold on this particular title tag, but that's okay. We need to make sure that you have the target keyword phrase up at the start of it and then your brand name towards the end of it.
Next down is the URL. You want to make sure this is accurate and descriptive and it should clearly show the page taxonomy. As an example here, the /blog/ give website SEO checkup 30-minutes shows the taxonomy of where this page lives in relation to the rest of the site.
Alright, next on down the page is the H1 heading. this is again the main topic what the reader can expect to read about in the copy. There should be only one H1 headings on every page. This is the main topic and it’s a key indicator to both humans and search engines that they're on the right a page, they're in the right spot and they understand what they're going to get.
H2 are subheadings. These are other things that may be of value or relevance to humans and search engines within the content on that page. There can be many of these throughout the page as well. Alternate image text. You're going to get information about this. All your images will be crawled when you crawl with Screaming Frog. It's going to look and see how it's coded and whether or not they have an alternative text to them. This is important because search engines they can't see images like humans, so we have to tell them what they're about. It's another level or layer of optimization that should really happen across all your website pages.
And finally the page copy. You're going to get various information from the crawl about your copy. Not necessarily what exactly it is, how long pages are if they're too long and eyes of the crawler or if maybe you need to beef up the copy they're under a certain threshold, but really this copy should be unique, descriptive, and robust. Google and other search engines can crawl through your copy can understand contextually what you're talking about as long as it is in alignment with the other elements that need to be optimized. So you have all this information you visualized it with the crawl data visualization… What do you need to really take note of?
Well number one, redirection, broken links, or server errors that use you come across on your site.
Number two is URL issues. Page title issues come in a close third and then meta descriptions, and heading tags. Really the crawl data visualization spreadsheet is prioritized from top-to-bottom on what you really should pay attention to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, so if you do you see any issues here, start checklist. Mark these down and move on to Step 2. which is, head over to Google search console.
I'm a big fan of Google search console. It gives you a ton of really great information. Like I mention, these tools they have a lot of great features to them. They have a lot of capabilities that we're probably not going to talk through today. That we're for sure not today because they are so robust. We are focusing on a quick checkup of your site time is a factor so we're going to focus in on some of the most important features but if you have time I would recommend just navigating through the Google Search Console. It's going to give you a ton of great information about your site right from the horse's mouth, from Google. So if you haven't already, go to verify your site in Google search console. You can do so at that URL. Once you have it verified click on your site to access the dashboard. It's going to pop up a dashboard for you that looks very-very similar to the one you see in front of you here.
The first stop that you want to head to is the crawl errors section. This is super important. What we did before with Screaming Frog, is we crawled internally of the links we could find. And it's giving us information about it. What Google search console does... It also goes to your site via extra links.
So if there's any... Say you removed the whole bunch of pages from your site at one point you can see those internal crawl, but if Google can access the those via an external link it can tell you some additional information you’re not going to get through that crawl. To get there, you want to click on the banner. The crawl error section banner there to access the report. This is going to bring you to a different screen which looks similar to this. So this is the graph of whatever type of error you have selected and that you're accessing at that time.
In this case we're looking at 404 errors "not found" that's what that means. You can find the amount or how man times these errors have occurred over the last 90 days on your website. Below your going to have the individual URLs that are returning that 404 code. The great part of a Google search console in this area is that you can click on the URLs and it will tell you exactly where that URL is linked from and whether it's internal or external. So if it's internal you can go directly to the page that is from an update that link.
If it's external, you can either do one of two things. You can create a re-direct on your site to send that page to a new location. Or you can reach out to whatever site is linking to you and say really appreciate it, but here's some updated content that lives at a new location do you mind updating your link. You want to get as much juice possible, so it might be worth reaching out.
Alright moving on. You've checked out your crawl issues. Now let's go see what Google says you should do to improve how your site looks. From the left-hand navigation head to the dropdown. Here you’re going to find a listing of issues with various on-page elements. Again we're looking at those on-page things like meta descriptions, title tags. You're going to get some more information here that you're not necessarily see right away from the visualization spreadsheet. Things like non-indexable content. Google will call that out specifically. You want to take notes here of any issues reported and mark them in your checklist along with everything else. Finally, and most importantly here. If you've experienced a huge- huge drop in traffic and you don't know why, over the last year or two years it could be that you have a manual action taken my Google, they'll tell you about it. Head over beneath the search traffic dropdown the manual actions tab and Google say “yes” we've taken any action or no there's “no” manual spam actions found.
A little word of caution. If you see something here, it may be difficult for you guys to clean it up. I know from personal experience, its extremely time-consuming and costly to clear these things up. I would recommend consulting someone that deals with these on a daily basis.
If you choose to work through this on your own, I have a detailed walkthrough on how to recover from link based manual action. This is just a linked based manual action, so if you want to head to that URL, if you have a penalty here go over to that URL for a detailed step-by-step walkthrough exactly how you can recover from a link-based manual action.
Other than that consultant a partner consult someone who has experience. So we're done with Google search console here.
Our checklist is getting bigger. Now we're going to swing on over to Bing Webmaster Tools. Again, similar to Google search console you're going to have to verify your site. So if you head to the bing.com/webmaster it'll walk you through exactly what to do to get you site verified. Once you do, click on your site to access the dashboard. You're going to see similar types of things represented on the Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard. However, there are some additional things they might list. Their algorithm is a little bit different from Google's so you can get much more comprehensive detailed information about your site when you use the two in conjunction. With Bing Webmaster Tools, we're going to focus on one report for this check up it's called the SEO report section. From the left drop down menu select SEO reports and head on over to a page that looks similar to this. And you can find a list of SEO suggestions. This is also a really great way of prioritizing fixes on your site because Bing straight up tells you - here's the severity of what it is to Bing or to Bing's algorithm so clicking on any one of those suggestions if there are any. If you have a perfect website there won't be any here so kudos to you if you got that.
Once you click on one of those suggestions it's going to list all the URLs where that occurs. This is a great thing, a great resource to go to when you're just trying to create a punch list. Again prioritize these based on the severity and mark them down in your workflow checklists.
Now we're done with Bing for now. We're going to head over to checking your analytics. Again using Google Analytics. This is the preferred platform at Three Deep. We have a ton of experience working through it. Let me say to you as a disclaimer I'm not doing a lot of justice to Google Analytics in this quick high-level look performances. We have an entire multi-person team dedicated to only looking and sifting through analytics in Google Analytics every single day.
So there is a lot of information there so please take your time and walk through this if you have analytics you can glean a lot of really great insights. What I'm going to show you is a high-level check to say okay, my search engine optimization how does it perform.
Alright, login to your analytics tool. This is what Google looks like. Again we use it because it's super powerful and popular, and it's also free. You only pay with your data to Google so head on over to first period of time. I like to go year-over-year. If you have access to that data because it will show you the same period of time it takes into account, you know seasonality. A lot of businesses have a seasonality effect. If you just go month-over-month you may or may not get accurate results. Choose a period of time you want to analyze and compare the two, month-to-month or the default when you login to Google analytics 30 days. I like to do by the quarter and then analyzed that year-over-year and once you've got that the range selected you want to drill down into the channels are listed under the acquisition.
The next step here is to click on organic search wherever it may be in this case organic searches the river traffic. It's right there once you click into the organic search section. You're going to see the year-over-year data represented a chart form like that. The most recent data is in a blue line and the previous year's data is the orange line. The dimension is what you're looking at and you want to switch it to landing page here.
What we're looking for is dramatic differences in organic entrances to a particular page of your website year-over-year. What this is going to tell you is okay what happened with this page. Did something happen in the last year that made it inaccessible to the search engines or to humans? Or is this page still relevant? A good example of that is you know whatever your industry is that you're in maybe you create a blog post talking about the trends industry trends of 2013 although it may have been a really great blog post at one point driving a lot of traffic, it probably needs to be updated to this year or next year. This is going to tell you is where you need to focus your efforts in recapturing regaining some of that loss organic traffic. What you want to do here is mark down pages with these drastic drops that you do see on your checklist and you can go back and analyze what's going on.
Alright we're done with the analytics. That was pretty painless, right. We're going to head over to the Panguin tool. Don't logout of analytics though. The Panguin requires you to be logged in to show you why.
The Panguin tool what is it? It is a tool developed by a company called their Barracuda Digital. As mentioned, they're located over in the UK. It pulls in the organic data from your analytics and overlays it with major updates to the Google algorithm.
So that's why you have to stay logged into analytics because you need to say I give you access and all of that fun stuff. But this is super helpful to understand if you site has taken a hit during that last algorithm refresh. So head over to that URL and follow the instructions to connect your site or sites to the Site Analytics to the tool. Once you do, you're going to see something like this. It's your weekly organic traffic data and those pretty colored lines, those are all Google algorithm updates. The color-coded lines they represent the updates to the Google algorithm and you can see what colors mean what over here on the right hand side.
These toggle switches they coincide with what color it is and what type of updated is. For example, Panda related updates was related to quality of content on your site. Penguin was more focused on your backlink profile and structural… If you want more information about exactly what that update is, simply click on the little line and you're going to get a popup dialog box like this that says okay when did this occur what is it and then high-level information about it. In addition, there's also some really helpful links here that we go to other blog posts or other sites that talk about about information about that update. So there's going to be a lot of good information about the updates here that you can just from this one tool. So how are you using this? What you want to do here is mark down major correlations. If you have a giant deep in traffic and he said ok this happen exact day that Mobilegeddon happened is probably a good indicator that you need to up the quality of your mobile site. Read through the information, if you're not sure what that update is, go and read the information provided and then list out all the issues you can find. Some possible solutions after you read through all that information into your checklist again there's a lot more stuff here that we could talk about today. Obviously lots of data this is just a screenshot of the visualization but there's a lot of great data below. Take some time and then walk through it in your leisure.
Now we're done with Panguin tool. This is your last step. Google yourself. Not like that. Like this. We want to use Google as a powerful of a way as we can and a lot of people just use it as a search engine which it's it's a great search engine, but you can also use Google to diagnose issues with your site. We’ll use advanced search. Operators this site colon is an advanced search operator and what it's saying is, hey Google, send me back all the results that you have indexed of domain.com. Google looks through its index and tells me that got about a 111,000 results that live on domain.com. It tells me that these are how many pages that are, so that's what you want to do. You want you to figure out how many pages of you say are actually indexing Google and then compare that with your actual page count. So you get a 111,000 pages indexed 111,000 pages of your site two thumbs up Google is exactly indexing your site the way it should be and everybody's happy. But if it differs greatly a couple issues going on here. Say you have 111,000 pages and Google is only indexing 22,000 of them well that's a problem here. You're pretty severely under index this could be the indicator that you can access content on your site or some other similar issue again Manuel de-indexation of your website by Google hopefully it's not that. Also if you get a 111,000 pages and 222,000 are indexing, this is probably a good indicator that you've got some duplicate content to the results through the parameters to search content year your URL lock properly, or you have mixed case URLs without choosing the preferred version of this could just be some possible scenarios of what is happening.
what you want to do here, mark down what the high-level observations are. so it really under index right on indexation if there's issues put it on your checklist.
That's really the steps of the process of checking your site! Once you have all this information what do you need to do next is prioritize your Checklist. I bucketed some of the issues you could possibly find here.
Do the same thing on your checklist with a high priority issues these include things like you know internal redirection anything internally yours is being redirected using the value through every redirect internally whatever you choose associated with that you are what you want to do is not having earlier action we want every page to return it 200 status code. Since you have the ability to update your internal links, I would put this as a low-hanging fruit type of thing. We can update your internal links, broken links, and dead ends. We don't want dead ends on our site and want to have all the content available for all of the people in all of our customers so let’s remove the dead ends and replace them redirected to a similar content.
Medium priority issues some examples here user like you're heading tags. These are multiple tags or multiple H1 tags or you're missing H1 tags whatever issues may arise and again. Visualization the medium priority and then pages with their traffic last year, every year this is where your analytics will pay back dividends. Make sure that if you're experiencing this you're putting bucketing to use. And then low priority, these are things like meta description issues and all discussions are really great to have optimized but it's not factored into search algorithms. It does affect click-through rates and that's the reason for optimizing it. It's one of those things where if you if you had to prioritize, alternative image text it's important but it's super duper time-consuming images so this is something that I would maybe it's just putting up the tedious task. You can wait on the alt image text. For a little bit.
Let’s review the workflow and timeline, so that you can get this thing done in 30 minutes. Number one launch crawler from screaming frog on your site. While that is running download the crawl data visualization spreadsheet from our website. Also Google search console and start that process there. Once you're done working on the issues reported to Google search console head over to webmaster tools do the same thing there goes down it's probably a good time to go check and see if your crawl is done. If it is export that crawl and load the data into the spreadsheet and you'll have all that great visualization at your finger tips. Once you're completed don't logout and head over to the Panguin to connect that up make sure you see how your site is performing. Finally, once you got those issues marked down you want to go check your indexation in Google. Mark down the issues as you go. If you follow this time and this workflow you're going to be able to quickly and easily diagnose some high-level SEO issues with your site.
Thank you guys all for coming to the webinar today and open it up to you Taylor any questions that you may have for me.
Thank you for presenting today's webinar lots and lots of tools and people should be able to go home and put what they took away into action. We do have some questions I see some people have already raised some questions in the text field. The way this works is type your question in the chat field and I'll relay them to Nate for his response.
While we collect some questions here I do want to make a quick announcement well. I know that you just shared how everyone can test their website 30 minutes and check their effectiveness so they may not be interested in this offer, but what we want to do is offer it anyway. So you're offering free SEO scans the first 25 qualified companies. That may be for more robust sites who might want to take a little bit more thorough look please do take advantage of that opportunity we'll send a link out for you to register.
Here's some questions here, one was related to Screaming Frog are there other tools out there like Screaming Frog or is it one of its kind?
I just love screaming frog. There are a lot of the market. Not all of them cost $0 so really what you're talking about making healthy on a budget you can do it with Screaming Frog in the free version the fact that the people to to really understand what's going on in their site. By the way, I’m don’t have any incentive to endorse their product, I just really like it.
The final question I think we have time for today in a good question to end on. Right now people learned how to do the 30-minutes SEO checkup, but how often should check their Website? Is this once a week, once a year?
That's a great question. I like this checkup because it's it's easy to do it's quick to complete. I'd recommend doing it frequently. Some of the great things about this workflow this process is that you can run through your checklist fix issues then you can run the check again. And you're going to see immediate results.
Thank you again for your time today.
And thank you for having me!
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Screaming Frog Spider
- Crawl Data Visualization Spreadsheet
- Panguin Tool
- Tips on how to recover from a Manual Penalty
If you have questions about your website's performance, we would be happy to have a discussion and see if we can help. You can also request a FREE website scan to test your site's SEO health here!