Friends shopping shoes online

The 5 minute DIY web site audit

Businesses large and small have the challenge of building web site strategy that will help them build their business. The challenge is that many of these sites simply don’t generate any traffic. Unfortunately, that may be because Google, Bing, Yahoo and the other key search engines have no idea what your site is about.

Search engines don’t look at sites the way people do. They are computer programs and they don’t care if your site is beautiful, with nice photography and information that describes every aspect of what you do.

Below is a quick audit you can do for yourself in less than 5 minutes that can help you determine if your site passes the search engine test.

Step 1 (under 1 minute): Assuring Google has indexed your pages

Go to Google.com and type “site: yoursite.com” into the search bar. At this point you should see every page of your site in Google’s index. Are all of your pages listed and in the order you want them to be? If not, then Google may not be finding all of your pages. Duplicate content can trigger a penalty in Google’s “eyes”.

Step 2 (2 minutes): Checking Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions

These are the title and two lines of text that show up in search results. A good title and description influences whether the search engine places your content at the top of the results cue.

To check this, go to the same page results in Google that you just did above and simply read through the Meta Titles and descriptions. The text should be unique for every page, contain as many keywords as you possibly squeeze into that space, and be relevant to the specific page.

Step 3 (2 minutes): Making sense of your URL structure

Now let’s go to your site. Type into the browser ‘www.yourwebsite.com’ and your site should come up. Browse through your pages and keep note of the URL’s. You want to see orderly URL extensions that make sense. An example of this would be a product’s pages that look like “www.yourwebsite.com/products” rather than “www.yourwebsite.com/testpages/v1”.

Step 4 (1 minute): Do you have a 301 redirect?

In your browser, type your web site address without the “www”. It should direct you to your web page.  If it does not go to your preferred URL, with or without the www, then you have a problem.

Step 5 (1 minute): Title and Header Tags

Browse through your pages again looking at the page titles and sub-headings. These are called Title and Header tags. They help to tell users what your page is about and appears in browsers and snippets This is different then meta titles mentioned above, which are meant for bots and search engines and provides additional information about your website.

That’s it?

Of course not. Search engine optimization is not just about prepping your site for being found. It is also about what people find when they get there, and we have not even touched on keywords, site performance, page speed, and content updates or back linking…but that’s whole other article. Need help? Let us know and we’ll be glad to assist you in addressing these issues or any other challenges you have.

Time for comments and suggestions. If you had 5 minutes to spend on your site, where would you spend it?

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