What are some of the questions you should be asking yourself, if you want to keep score on your website’s SEO and online marketing strategy? Before taking a look at some of the specific tools we use here at Everspark Interactive, you might want to gain a better understanding of the way Google actually works and check out a few secrets behind their patented algorithm!
Please take 7 minutes to watch our video, “How Does Google Search Work?”
1. How old is my domain and when does it expire?
The date on which you first registered your domain is one of the only variables that Google (and all major search engines) can use to determine trust, credibility and business longevity. To find out when you first registered your domain and when it expires, we use https://who.is/
Simply enter your URL in the open field and push the magnifying glass:
You will then be shown the same details that Google is provided when calling this data. Below I’ve highlighted a few of the most important variables, which include the date in which your domain was first registered (in our case that was 6/15/2009), the expiration date of your URL as well as your IP Address. While most may not realize that the expiration date is important, when your domain is set to expire, you’re sending a message to Google that you may not be in business much longer; therefore giving your competitors preferential treatment in the search engine result pages (SERPS). We recommended renewing your domain for at least 5 years.
2. How many of my site’s pages are indexed on Google?
Adding content to your site on a regular basis is one of the most essential things that you can do to improve your online visibility and Google rankings. The more frequently your site gets updated with fresh content, the more often Google sends out their spiders to crawl and index your site. Each time that they crawl your site, they are looking at your page count to see if it went up, down or remained the same. Google, generally speaking, rewards sites that continue to grow in size. To see how many pages you currently have indexed on Google, you can use the the following search query:
In this example, you can see that eversparkinteractive.com has 431 pages indexed on Google. When doing this exercise, please be sure not to include www. before entering your URL in the search box. You simply want to enter:
3. How fast does my site load? Can I make it faster?
When someone does a search, Google has two duties to fulfill: 1) to create a great user experience, and 2) to help locate/find what the user is looking for. The more often Google gets these results correct, the more frequently the user will continue to come back and do further searches (increasing Google’s market share, profits and stock price).
Slow sites create a very BAD user experience by delaying the user from finding the results they seek. Therefore, Google monitors page load times very closely and pushes slow sites further back from their prime real estate (i.e. page one). In fact, they even created a FREE TOOL which measures your page speed and also provides you with very specific instructions on what you can do to better optimize your load times.
This tool is called Google Pages Speed Insights. All you have to do is enter your web page URL and push Analyze. You are then provided with two scores, one for your mobile load time and the other for your desktop – along with their recommendations to increase your page speed.
4. Do I have any duplicate content problems?
One of the worst things that you can do to your site is copy and paste content from another site. Often this occurs without your knowledge. You hire a content writer to blog for you, and – low and behold – you find that they have been plagiarizing another person’s blog and invoicing you for ‘their work.’ While this doesn’t occur all that often, it does happen. One of the only ways to really verify that you have original content is by using a tool called Copyscape.
After you submit your URL, Copyscape will quickly return any and all pages that appear to be plagiarized. While you may see a few results returned, you should only be concerned with sites that have plagiarized more than 30% of the content you are investigating.
5. How many backlinks do I have pointing back to my site?
As I mentioned in the How Does Google Search Work? video above, backlinks continue to be the online currency. The more relevant, trusted and popular web pages that link back to your site, the more reliable and credible your web pages are perceived to be by Google. I can’t stress the importance of links enough – they are 70% of the reason why pages rank at the top of Google for targeted search terms.
There are a few advanced subscription-based backlink tools that we recommend which include https://ahrefs.com/ and http://www.majesticseo.com/, however for a quick snapshot you can use http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/. By entering your URL and simply pressing the search button, you will be able to see how many “Total Links” that your site has; but more importantly, how many unique “Linking Root Domains” they came from.
What is the difference? Well, if a colleague includes a link back to your site from the footer of his site (on every single page) and his site has 100 pages – then while using this tool, you will see 100 Total Links from 1 Linking Root Domain. Therefore, it is much more important to increase your total unique Root Domains than your Total Links. Please note that you can also use this tool to reverse-engineer your competitors and get transparency into their online back accounts.
6. What does my anchor text profile look like? Is it Natural or Unnatural?
7. What are some of the keywords that my site currently ranks for? What is the monetary value of my site, based upon those rankings?
8. Do any of my pages cannibalize each other?
9. How can I check to see if my site has a penalty?
Here at Everspark Interactive, we pride ourselves on taking the initiative to stay ahead of the curve, while grounding ourselves in the steady best practices our clients have come to expect from our team. We appreciate your taking the time to come along with us on this journey, and hope this post is one you will find helpful in the days to come.
I would like to retain this as a living document by continuing to respond to more of your requests. Please leave your questions below and each week I will take the time to answer and publish them for all to see.
Thanks so much,