There is a lot you can and should do to check your website; many businesses are not aware of the general health of their website. A healthy website can improve visibility, mitigate risk and reduce costs. Most importantly, a website in good health should drive revenue for the business.
Table of contents
- How is your website seen in Google?
- How to check if google indexed your website
- How to use Google Search Console
- How to check the speed of your website
- User testing your website
- Quick SEMrush review to check your website
- TurnDigi Online Marketing Conference
For many businesses, these can be a good check on how the business is viewed externally, how does the potential customer view your business?
While many of the checks below use Google, it is important to remember there are other search engines, especially for B2B where Bing is often used. If you are finding a high number of issues, consider running a more comprehensive website audit.
A website audit is one of the very first steps before any new project and one that can see the greatest return on investment.
You should remember the best audit is not just technical understand; it needs to encompass marketing, communications, empathy and emotion.
How is your website seen in Google?
This is a really simple check, surprisingly one that is often not done very often.
Jump on to google (I would recommend using Incognito or private browsing mode for this) and type in your company or your brand name, as you type the Google Auto Suggest will try and guess what you are looking for from the most popular searches.
Straight away, you start to see how your company and brand is being viewed and what your online reputation might be like.
Complete the search of your brand name to see how you look, depending on the size of your business and how much work you have put into your online visibility the results might vary, at the very least you should see a top listing for your business.
How to check if google indexed your website
To see if your site has been indexed by Google (or other search engines such as Bing), enter the URL of your domain with “site:” before it, site:MyWebsite.com. The results show all of your site’s pages that have been indexed, and the current Meta Tags saved in the search engine’s index
Using the site operator
The Site Operator or Site Command is a great way to explore your website; these are a few examples that will help you check the health of your website.
Straightway you can see how many pages Google has already indexed and a list of those pages, consider if this number matches what you expected, if it is out by more than 15% this could be a sign of issues.
This is also a great opportunity to look at how the results appear; how does the title look? Is your Brand name showing up? Are the (meta) descriptions relevant and engaging to entice visitors to click onto the page?
Using the inurl site operator
The site: command can be expanded to give you greater insight in this case using inurl, use the minus function, as in the example below to find pages without www.
This website is https://papergecko.com, so I want to check that there are no versions in the index that use the www subdomain or are not secured with https. Any anomalies found should either be redirected (such as a 301 redirect) or considered for removal.
This command can be used to find any term in the url structure such as keywords.
Using the filetype site operator
One last useful command is to check for files that might have been uploaded such as PDFs, Word documents or Excel spreadsheets that might contain sensitive or personal information. This is especially useful for websites that might. have been around for a while.
How to use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.
Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.
This should be already set up on your website. If not, I would recommend making sure you verify your website as soon as possible. For many of my clients audits the minimum information I request is access to GSC.
The overview page in GSC
The first page on GSC if the overview page giving you a quick overview of the status of your website.
Here you can find out more about the performance of your website in Google Search, issues and errors that might be holding back your website and access to upload your sitemap file and request removals from the index.
The URL Inspection Tool in GSC
At a page level (URL Inspection) GSC will show you
- when Google last visited (crawled) the page
- if the page has been successfully submitted and indexed.
You will also find information about Mobile Usability and the use of Structured Data.
The Coverage Report in GSC
For the site level, there is the Coverage Report, here pages are grouped by status
- Error: the page isn’t indexed. such as 404
- Valid with warnings: the page is indexed but has problems.
- Valid: the page is indexed.
- Excluded: The page is not indexed. Google is following rules on the site, such as noindex tags that prevent the pages from getting indexed.
How to check the speed of your website
We have known for some time that the speed of a website is taking into consideration as a (small) ranking factor by Google, we also know that a few poor performing pages can have an impact across the whole website. But that is only part of the story, the time it takes for a website to appear has a big impact on the visitor.
To quickly view information about the speed of your website, you can view Google’s Page Insight Tool through Search Console. This will give you speed scores for your website on desktop and mobile out of 100. For desktop speeds, a score over 80 is generally good.
You will also find information related to Web Core Vitals here with the status shown in colours, red, amber & green.
As with many areas of a website audit, I like to run multiple checks using different tools, GTmetrix is another choice for checking the speed of a page. While it will depend on the individual page, a Fully Loaded Time under 2.5s is good. The most common issues I find here are with
- Un-optimised images
- Browser Caching
User testing your website
Sometimes it really helps to get a fresh set of eyes on a website to pick out the issues.
Don’t assume a visitor to your website will have the same knowledge as you. Give someone less familiar with the website a task to complete on the website and let them talk through their process with you.
This can be a great basic check of content, including grammar and accessibility for your website and a great way to discover issues you might have missed.
Quick SEMrush review to check your website
One more option for a quick and simple check of your website performance is to use this tool from SEMrush.
A sample of uptown 25 pages of your website will be taken, and you receive a report with a brief view of the health of your website.
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