Guest post by Kapil Jekishan
Carrying out an SEO audit on your website allows you to analyze its current SEO state and take informed steps to maximize its future performance. Audits are also a useful way to gain an insight into the SEO strategy used by your competition.
By analyzing you website’s source code it is possible to gain free access to all the important information needed to SEO audit your site, but doing this manually can be a complicated and time consuming process. Fortunately for those looking to advance their SEO knowledge, using an SEO Toolbar can provide you with the vital information you need literally within seconds and I’ll show you exactly how.
SEO Toolbar summary
SEO audit toolbars are widely available for both Firefox and Google Chrome. Toolbars for both these browsers provide a similar level of function and can each give you all the essential SEO details you need in a few clicks.
As SEO audit toolbars can reduce the speed of your browser, I would recommend choosing one on a browser you use less frequently, which for me happens to be Firefox. So it should come as no surprise this guide looks at a Firefox toolbar from SEOBook.com which is hands down one of the most accurate and effective on the market.
To access the SEO toolbar we’ll be showcasing, head over to their site by clicking here
As you can see from the image below, all the toolbar’s important functions are easily accessible:
Now I’ll look at an overview of some of the key elements of SEOBook’s toolbar and how you can use them to your advantage.
Undoubtedly the most useful tool included on the SEOBook Toolbar is the SEO X-Ray. By clicking the X icon you get a summary of all the important optimization information, such as the keyword density of meta descriptions, page title, and meta keywords.
The Page Title is the visible piece of information which is displayed in your web browser when you’ve conducted a search on Google. I would recommend your character title be explained in 70 characters or less and include your prominent keywords to represent what your website is about.
Your Meta Description is the short section of text that follows the page title in search engine results. The word length should range between 150-160 characters which should bait the reader into clicking the link and visiting your site – but this should also be an accurate representation of what the web page is about. I often use MetaLength to verify my Page Title and Meta Description lengths. If you need a hand with writing a solid title or description, this tool also provides a few handy tips.
I will generally go beyond 160 characters and reach the 400 mark as certain websites such as Facebook or Google+ usually display more than the standard 160 characters. For SEO purposes, your benefit is capped at 160 characters.
While search engines cap the description they display at around 160 characters,
Below is an example of the Meta Description for Amazon.
I won’t go into detail with Meta Keywords as they aren’t mandatory for optimization purposes, and if you are concerned about a competitor identifying your keywords, don’t add them.
By including keywords, it helps with your own understanding of which keywords are being tracked on each page making it easier for any SEO analysis down the line. If you decide to include Meta Keywords, be sure to actually use these terms on the page and not just what you’d like to rank for (they’ll need to be included on several instances).
If you need a free tool to locate these effective keywords for your site, use the Google Keyword Tool (free) to formulate your list of keywords to target. If you require more detailed information such as the Cost Per Click (CPC) and monthly fluctuations, open an AdWords account.
Meta Keywords are an easy reference point for future SEO Analysis, so you should include every word or phrase that you are targeting. Meta Keywords aren’t essential, so if you wish to keep this insight into your strategy hidden from competitors, it is fine not to include them.
Header Tags Tool
When manually scanning source code, finding header tags can be a difficult task, but SEOBook’s Header Tags tool makes viewing them extremely easy. Headlines and sub headlines are useful to readers because they break up text into clear sections, but they also have an impact on your SEO.
Google algorithms consider H1, H2, and H3 tags more significant to your rank than any other text, so try to include your targeted keywords. Any headlines which are not keyword rich such as “Like us on Facebook” or “Please leave a comment” should ideally be changed to H4, H5, or H6 Tags or even standard text.
Inbound links Tool
Keywords are only one part of a good SEO strategy. Equally important to search engines is the authority your site provides. The easiest way to increase authority is through the development of inbound links from a broad network of relevant influential sites.
A list of your site’s external and internal links can be viewed instantly using the SEO X-ray tool and even exported to a spreadsheet for more in-depth analysis. Alternatively, you can use the tool to find out your competitors inbound links and recreate them to boost your own rank.
To increase your website’s authority, include inbound links in outside sources like your social media pages, business directory profiles, outside interviews, press releases, and any blog or social network posts.
Rank Checker Tool
It is possible to monitor your SEO success for specific keywords by using the Rank Checker tool. By pressing the icon and imputing a keyword term, you can view the search engine rank for any domain name. This is a useful way to keep up-to-date on your competitor’s progress as well as your own. But remember to always begin by selecting keywords which actually have a search volume. Ranking #1 for “Handsome SEO specialist South Sydney” might impress your parents but it won’t get you any prospective leads from the web.
Choosing the Right SEO Audit Toolbar
There are hundreds of similar toolbars to choose from for Chrome and Firefox, such as MozBar (register through SEOMoz.com), SEOQuake, and SEO Doctor.
If you are too loyal to Internet Explorer, then you could go with the old school approach by scanning through your source code by following these steps:
- Right click on any web page (CTRL + Click for Mac users)
- “View Source”
- Check thesection
So what we’ve discussed is how to conduct a basic SEO audit on your website to see how it’s optimized. Once you have a solid understanding of on-page factors and inbound link portfolio, we can then progress to the real ‘meaty’ content which is how you can separate yourself from the pack. These advanced topics will include SEO-friendly URLs, Google Authorship, optimizing videos and images, canonical URL tags and more.
Author Bio: Hey, my name is Kapil Jekishan and I’m the janitor, employee and author of Latestcrunchs, a technology blog with a slight twist of social media to help small biz owners get their website buzzing! Pop by and say Hello