I was reminded this past week about when I first started learning SEO. Right away, I was curious about its tactical parts but because I was not in the middle of applying it, I never felt I had a clear understanding of exactly what to look for when reviewing a website for SEO. In fact, this was one of the first questions I asked of teammates when I entered the field as a full time employee. Below is the answer I would provide, if I got the same question from someone today.
On SEO Page Elements:
- Title tags and meta descriptions for various items (relevant keywords, rich CTAs & correct pixel width/character count)
- Landing pages for amount of content on page and keyword stuffing
- Area of website for fresh content like a blog or resource section
- “About” page for a sense of brand (getting familiar with the brand’s story is pivotal for executing a link building campaign)
Crawlability & Site Structure Elements:
- URL structure & site navigation
- Number of pages indexed in Google (site:example.com)
- The CMS of the website (use the Chrome Extension Wappalyzer to see other software programs that the site may being running such as Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, etc.)
Link and Social Media Elements:
Saving the best for last, I tend to enjoy the off page elements of SEO the best.
- Review backlink profile using Moz or Ahrefs tools (primarily I look at referring domains, anchor text distribution and recently attained links)
- Social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and SlideShare). I review follower count, post engagement and frequency of each channel. If they are active on a certain platform, you can likely leverage its existing followers for the start of a link building campaign.
- I check Domain Authority to get a high level sense of the site’s authority. I compare it to the top competitors to get a sense of how difficult it would be to rank for more competitive keywords.