With all of the SEO resources on the internet focusing on nearly every individual ranking factor and minor tweaks being made on a seemingly weekly basis by Google, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the details. Sometimes a big picture perspective is what’s needed when looking at your SEO efforts as well as those of competitors.
This guide gives marketers an easy, free way to get a quick snapshot of your SEO score or the SEO score of your competitors. This is an invaluable skill for marketers and business owners because you can get a quick idea of how well your site is doing from an SEO perspective and where improvements need to be made. This knowledge is especially important for business owners meeting with SEO companies because you will already have an idea of what services are needed to improve your SEO score.
While there are already free tools online to check a websites’ seo score, you can get a basic idea by performing a few steps yourself and learn about the SEO process at the same time. The only tools that are require are:
Using these three tools you can gain an idea of how your website or competitors’ websites score from an SEO perspective: quickly, easily, and most importantly for free.
Domain authority is arguably the most important metric in an SEO professional’s arsenal. It’s a metric based on three main factors: age, popularity, and size.
The SEO geniuses at Moz can be credited with designing the algorithm to determine a site’s domain authority, and they define it as how likely a given domain is to rank highly on Google. It takes various factors into account (just like Google’s search algorithm) such as how long the domain has been around, backlink quality, and backlink diversity to name a few.
To check your site’s domain authority simply visit Moz’s Open Site Explorer and enter your domain name. In a few seconds, you are given a variety of metrics the first of which is domain authority. While a new website with little to no SEO will probably be in the 0-30/100 range, and a solid e-commerce site may be hovering in the 40-50/100 range, the most respected domains are generally 70+/100. While your site will likely start at the bottom of the barrel a good place to aim for is between 50-60/100.
Domain Authority is measured logarithmically, meaning it’s easier to get your website up from 20 to 30 or 30 to 40 than it is to go from 60 to 70 or 70 to 80. This check can be performed for your website or a competitor’s website and used comparatively.
Since DA is a metric made up of multiple different factors, the only way to really improve it is through time and paying diligent attention to SEO efforts. This includes producing content and getting backlinks from other sites with large, respected backlink portfolios.
Don’t expect this to be a quick process, it will take time to build domain authority, but you can use the Moz Open Site Explorer consistently to check the progress of your overall SEO efforts.
Site load time is not only a Google ranking factor, but it also is a conversion factor when it comes to people visiting your site. Rather than breaking out a stopwatch and typing in your URL, simply go to tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ and type in your desired site’s URL. Loading time is a huge factor for your overall SEO score.
After running a quick check this tool will give you the time in seconds it takes to load your page, the page size, as well as how fast your site is compared with other tested sites. For example, this might say “Your site is faster than 90% of all tested websites.” This is a good comparative metric to figure out how your site stacks up to others around the web.
A great site load time is generally under 2 seconds and a site that needs improvement is usually 4+ seconds. If you fall in between these two numbers it doesn’t indicate a big problem, but it means that your site could use some improvement.
If your site has a load time above 3 or 4 seconds, you should consider switching to a faster host, eliminating long load time elements (which pingdom breaks down for you in an easy to read chart), or optimizing image sizes to name a few options.
Even if you are checking your own SEO score, you may not know whether or not you have a sitemap. Having a sitemap is another one of Google’s ranking factors affecting SEO recommending that all sites should include a sitemap to assist the search engine bots in crawling and indexing all of the important pages in a website. Without a well organized sitemap, certain pages of your site may be missed by crawlers and not indexed into Google, leaving them effectively invisible within search engines.
To check if your site or a competitor’s site includes a site map you can simply do a Google search containing “your website name.com + sitemap.xml.” While there are tools online to check for a sitemap, this method is simple and effective. Note: you can also use this same method to check if a site has robots.txt (generally included in well ranked SEO sites) set up by replacing sitemap.xml with robots.txt.
Wordpress has a highly rated sitemap generator plug-in, which can be found at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/
This makes creating a sitemap easy and is a surefire way to improve your SEO score.
Meta content and H tags can both be found in the source code of your site. An easy way to get to the source code is simply hitting F12 in Google Chrome for Windows PCs and Command + Option + U in Google Chrome for Macs.
Meta Content and H tags are both considered to be Google ranking factors and your web developer will know whether or not they are included in the source code. A quick way of finding out, however, is simply to Control + F to search for these elements.
The two pieces of meta cotent you should search for can be found by simply searching the source code for <title> and then searching for meta name=”description” using Control + F. If your site contains both of these you are in good shape.
In order to find the H tags the same process of using Control + F to search the source code can be used, except you enter H1, H2, H3, and H4 separately to find these tags.
If you have all of these elements your site is in good shape, and if not, you should probably contact your web developer to alleviate the problem in turn improving your SEO score.
Quality content is the holy grail of SEO, without it your site can’t possibly accumulate backlinks as you have nothing to offer in turn lowering: your SEO score and ultimately your ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
While a blog should be easily accessible on your site’s navigation or menu, if it isn’t a quick Google search can uncover whether the site you are scoring has written content. Simply enter: in:url + the URL of the site, followed by the word “blog” or “articles” While this isn’t a surefire way to find a site’s content it will uncover blogs that are not directly linked to within a site’s homepage.
Of course, it isn’t enough to just dabble in content marketing. A full strategy has to be designed taking certain best seo practices into account. In order to improve upon your content marketing strategy make sure to stay informed on best practices as they tend to change with algorithmic changes and post frequently.
Backlinks are also extremely important when it comes to having a robust SEO strategy. Not all backlinks are created equal, however. A great (and of course, free) tool to check both the quality and number of links directed towards your site is ahref.com
By simply putting in your URL the tool will give you a list of your backlinks and a quality score next to each of them. Any good SEO guru would tell you that you would much rather have fewer high-quality backlinks (such as .gov, .edu, or established and respected .com sites) than thousands of low-quality backlinks.
In fact, Google has cracked down on low quality backlink building by actually negatively affecting ranking of sites generated untrusted, low-quality backlinks. Sadly, there is no quick fix for generating backlinks, it’s a long process like most of SEO, but it is one of the more rewarding ranking factors in terms of your SEO score and rank.
If you already have a list of keywords you are trying to rank for in your SEO score, or you are trying to gauge the competition of keywords you are attempting to rank for you can simply search them in Google and see where your site or competitors’ sites show up in the rankings. This is a somewhat basic method of determining keyword rank and competition, but it is effective nonetheless.
Simply enter your desired keyword into Google and count how far down on the results pages your site shows up. The top 5 results in Google command about 70% of all clicks with the top result taking about half of this.
If your site falls into this top 5 you are in fantastic shape for that keyword. Even if you land on the first page this is still a great sign, albeit leaving some room for improvement. Past the first page means that your SEO needs some work, either in terms of content, backlink building, or any of the factors listed in this guide.
SEO score can be a confusing topic for those who are just beginning and experts alike because of its constantly changing nature. Google is always tweaking its algorithms and its up to SEO professionals to keep track of these changes. At bidpin, we don’t want people to be left in the dark when it comes to SEO, and by using this guide you can arm yourself with the knowledge of how your site is doing from an SEO score perspective and go into your next meeting feeling confident and ready to offer solutions.