The 5 Questions You Need to Ask to Assess Your SEO Performance
by Kathryn Brill, Social Media and Content Marketing Specialist
Back when your website was first built, you optimized it to be found in search. You followed best practices around SEO performance. But it’s been a few years—and a few Google algorithms have come and gone. How is your website’s SEO performing now?
This can be a difficult question to answer. Google is notoriously tight-lipped about what goes into its SEO algorithm, and is constantly making changes to provide better quality search experiences. And a site that was excellent the day it was built may have deteriorated over the years. So how can you check on your site’s SEO and make sure it continues to be found in search?
At Boomm, we frequently audit clients’ websites for SEO performance. Here are some of the questions we ask to get a pulse on SEO—and how to find the answers:
Is your site mobile-friendly? One of the biggest changes to the Google algorithm over the past few years is the emphasis on mobile search quality. More people than ever search on mobile, and sites that aren’t adapted to mobile users are getting downgraded more frequently.
Mobile-friendly means a site that looks great and works well on any mobile device. (Google prefers sites that are created using responsive design, rather than separate mobile and desktop sites.) Google’s Search Console has a toolthat can help you figure out if your site has responsive design. Mobile-friendly also means no distracting pop-ups or full-screen banners that are hard to click around. Google is increasingly penalizing mobile sites with full-page pop-ups because they make it difficult for mobile viewers to access content. If your site uses pop-ups or interstitials, check it on a mobile device to make sure they’re not interfering with the user experience.
How fast does your site load? Slow load times are hidden SEO killers. Web visitors have short attention spans, and when a site takes longer than a few seconds to load, they’re likely to click away. This is a problem for Google and its commitment to provide searchers with the best sites first. So sites with slow load times are frequently penalized or downgraded. You can use PageSpeed Insights to analyze the speed of your site and discover ways to make it faster.
How many pages link to your site? A good linking strategy is irreplaceable for strong SEO performance. Google uses links to and from sites as a shorthand for recognizing site quality. To Google—and to most users—sites with lots of good links are more likely to be helpful, high-quality sites.
Unfortunately, a linking strategy can be hard to maintain. Sites are deleted or changed daily, and links frequently break. Even if you set up a strong linking strategy recently, it may have been impacted by changes to other sites outside of your control. Check the number of links to your site, your domain authority, and other key components of your linking strategy with Moz’s Link Explorer tool.
Is there meta copy on all your pages? Google has made many updates to its search algorithm over the past several years. But the basics of a classic SEO strategy are unchanged—and one of them is providing metadata on all your pages. When you’re crafting copy for a site, meta copy can be easy to overlook. And if you’ve added new pages to your site, they might not have received the same attention to metadata as the original pages. It might seem tedious to check each of your pages for metadata, but it’s crucial. Ensuring that tags, meta descriptions, and headers are all in place will go a long way to keeping your page at the top of Google.
Do your keywords still reflect industry best practices and terminology?When we first built our Boomm website, business-to-business marketers abbreviated their niche as “B-to-B.” Our on- and off-page copy used “B-to-B” as a result. But a few years later, industry practice had shifted. Marketers were now abbreviating business-to-business work with the much catchier, easier to type “B2B.” We had to update our copy and keyword strategy to reflect this change—and stop our site from sinking to the bottom of search results.
Your industry may not have undergone a change quite this dramatic. But it’s worthwhile to investigate your copy and keyword strategy to see if you’re using outdated language, terms that have evolved, or references to work that your company or industry no longer does. You want to be found for the right reasons and show up when prospects search for terms in your industry, and that won’t happen if your site is operating on old assumptions.
Google’s algorithm is still largely a mystery. But by asking yourself these five questions, you’ll have a better handle on your site’s current SEO performance—and where you can go to improve from here.