In this article, we will take a point-by-point look at the elements to be analysed in order to conduct a good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) job.
But first let us answer a few questions to better understand the context in which we are moving.
Seo Questions & Answers
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is the process of analysing and optimising a website in terms of structure and content.
It aims to improve the indexing and position of the site within the SERP, the search engine results page.
What is the purpose of SEO?
As written above, SEO works to improve the indexing and ranking of a site. Let this be clear: many times the words indexing and positioning are used indifferently, even among insiders. And this is wrong.
Indexing a website -that is, getting it to appear in search engine results- is a fairly simple activity. Improving its ranking - that is, getting the website on the first page or in the first search results for the keywords of interest - is, on the other hand, a very long and complex activity.
How does a search engine, e.g. Google, decide which websites 'deserve' to be on the first page?
Search engines such as Google use crawling programmes called spiders that go and analyse every single page of a website.
The tasks of SEO are to make the spiders 'like' the content they find and to help them in their crawling work.
Remember that search engines serve the needs of real live users. That is precisely why there is no difference between what the end user likes and what Google, Yahoo or Bing likes.
SEO works on improving the appeal of the site for the search engine and at the same time to improve the appeal of the site for users.
How to do an SEO analysis?
Good SEO analysis requires technical knowledge and tools.
Technical knowledge is acquired by studying in books, online, taking courses and with experience in the field. There are so many analysis tools at one's disposal. A couple of examples:
- Screaming Frog, possibly the best known tool for analysing a website from a structural point of view
- SEMrush, the tool par excellence, a complete and easy-to-use SEO platform
If you are interested in a professional SEO analysis of your website but do not know how to do it, we have the SEO service for you!
Now that we have answered these important questions, let us take a point by point look at what things to check and optimise when doing an SEO analysis for the Google search engine.
Point-by-point SEO analysis
Here are the main points to address:
- Eliminate scanning errors
- Improve web page loading speed
- Create Sitemap and Robots.txt
- Use HTTPS protocol
- Generating talking URLs
- Metadata and textual content optimisation
- Image optimisation
- Internal Link and Backlink Analysis
Eliminate scanning errors
Essential SEO activity for both indexing and site ranking. Here are some actions that can be taken to eliminate errors and improve the quality of scanning by spiders:
- Correcting or removing links from the website to pages that no longer exist on other sites
- If the contents of a page have been permanently removed, the url should return an error code: 404 (temporary removal) or 410 (permanent removal)
- Redirect backlinks leading to a page no longer present on the site to a similar page by means of redirect 301 (permanent redirection)
- Avoid scanning two different versions of the same page url (e.g. with and without a final /) by redirecting to the page you want to index via 301 redirect as seen above or using the rel="canonical" tag
- For multilingual sites: use the 'hreflang' tag, thus preventing the search engine from believing there are two or more identical versions of the same website
Improve web page loading speed
The speed of a site is one of the main ranking factors (i.e. it directly affects its ranking) so it is very important!
Reducing server response times, compressing page resources and exploiting browser caching are all best practices that help a site gain speed and thus attractiveness to users and search engines.
Create Sitemap and Robots.txt
The sitemap and the robot.txt are two files that are essential for the website to be correctly indexed on Google.
- Sitemap.xml file: the sitemap.xml is a file that provides information about the pages and content on the website. Google uses it to effectively crawl sites.
- Robot.txt file: the robot.txt is a file stored in the root directory of the website that indicates which parts of the website should not be accessible to search engine crawlers.
These two files must always be updated and compiled correctly.
Use HTTPS protocol
An HTTPS protocol increases the level of security compared to the older HTTP protocol. If this has not yet been done, a migration of the website from HTTP to HTTPS must be implemented.
A site with the old protocol is much less reliable and, especially if data is requested from users - as in the case of an ecommerce site -, the HTTP protocol will not help it rank well in the SERPs.
Optimising the URLs of a website requires that they become 'talking'. A URL becomes talking when it is:
- Free of parameters and symbols
The correct generation of URLs is very important: a talking URL improves user navigation within the website and helps page scanning by Google spiders.
Metadata and textual content optimisation
Meta tags affect both the user experience and the correct communication of information between the search engine and the website.
This is why it is important that title tags and meta descriptions (the two fundamental metadata appearing in SERPs) are optimised on all pages.
Optimising text content for a website has to do with:
- The choice of keywords and their synonyms
- Link building strategy
- Optimising title tags and meta descriptions
- Correct text formatting: text spacing, paragraphing, bulleted and numbered lists, boldface, h1,h2,h3,h4 tags
- Number of words on a page (not less than 300 where possible)
- Use of structured data
Image optimisation is important to optimise the speed of the site, improve the user experience on the website and facilitate content crawling by Google.
The weight of the images (no more than 100kb) and the presence in the image attributes of:
- File name
- Image tag
- Alt tag
Internal Link and Backlink Analysis
Do link and backlink analysis to fix broken links and check the quality of linked pages and domains. Specifically, the following must be analysed:
- Links on the website that refer to content external to the website
- Links from external sites referring to the website
- Links within the website
We have seen the main points that are touched upon by an SEO analysis. As you can imagine, the SEO universe is very broad and certainly does not end with this article.
Are you interested in our SEO Analysis service for websites and Ecommerce? Contact us, we will get back to you as soon as possible!