The blog post was originally published here: 5 tools for DIY SEO Health Check
SEO Analysis can appear to be quite difficult, especially if you are from a technical background and don’t have a lot of knowledge of marketing techniques. However, there are many aspects of SEO that ultimately boils down to a technical health check of your website. In this blog post, I want to cover 5 free tools & methods to get you started with some basic SEO health check.
1. Search Engine Check
As a first step, the first thing to check is find out if your site is even being indexed by search engines and if so, which are the pages it considers as most relevant. On google, this involves using the site: keyword.
For Google search, I also like to de-personalize the query to get more general result. [Moz has a blog)[https://moz.com/blog/face-off-4-ways-to-de-personalize-google] on different methods to do this. I just use the query string method since it is simple and gets the work done. To use the method, simply append the parameter pws=0 at the end of the URL after initiating the search.
Here’s the final search query I have for different search engines:
Why use it?
When you perform the search, look at the search results. Sometimes, pages that may not be so important as per your business goals may inadvertantly rank high. It would be a good idea to re-examine the reason for such a ranking and fix the link structure so that the right pages are ranked.
2. WooRank SEO recommendations
WooRank provides a free report for SEO analysis. This report can’t be easily exported but, it is till worth a check. It gives you details around:
- Use of meta tags and current recommended length
- Use of title tag and its effectiveness
- Keyword cloud based on the page being analyzed
- Errors if any
- Social media interactions
- Presence of robots.txt and sitemap.xml
- Cleanliness of URLs (overuse of query parameters is considered unclean)
- Mobile compatibility
Why use it?
This is a very good starting point for anlyzing the home page. This report can give you questions to ask and enough data to start building a baseline of your website and the context of your webistes traffic sources and keywords.
3. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is an SEO spidering tool. It can look through the website and report on a number of actors. The free version of the tool can spider 500 URLs and report on a number of factors:
- Page Title
- List of <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags
- HTTP response codes, hreflang and more
Why use it?
The tool is very useful to find pages that don’t have good SEO tags like <title>, <meta-description< and misconfigured redirects. I use this as a good starting point to quickly look at a site setup and how easily it is setup to be crawled. If there is an important page and it is not discovered within the first 500 URLs then maybe it is worth checking the site setup.
SimilarWeb gives a very neat report on the traffic details especially around the different sources of traffic. I like the Traffic Sources report. It an give a pointer on where people are coming from and more importantly where they are not. This can lead to some good questions on assumptions being made about ideal user base vs the real users coming to the website.
The comparison of similar sites too gives an idea on what’s being considered as competition and it could also be a good learning to emulate the best competitors.
Why use it?
Use this tool for:
- Identifying traffic sources
- Referral traffic - this can be a very good avenue to create more back links.
- Search report for top performing keywords
5. Moz Free tools
Moz is the go-to resource for my learning materials on SEO. They also have some of the most robust tools for planning campaigns, building the right keywords and a lot more. However, many of the tools are paid and generally require a good understanding of marketing campaigns, content creation and other core aspects of SEO.
However, Moz does offer a set of free tools. I like the Moz Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer.
Why use it?
- Keyword Explorer: This tool is useful when creating content. It can give some very nice ideas on the right kind of titles and keywords to target. It can give you information on keyword complexity, the opportunity for the keyword and potential traffic for the it.
- Open Site Explorer: This tool provides details from the indexed data about a website. It can provide data that is similar to SimilarWeb. The only issue I have seen is that this tool has data for more popular sites. Small blogs may never be scanned by this tool.
In the end, it comes down to your use case. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, a combination of these tools can help you get started on the path to SEO. When combined with the power of Analytics, you will be well on your way to derive some good corelations. Once you have them, you can start to test and improve the website traffic!
In an upcoming part, I’ll explore the use of Analytics packages from an SEO perspective.