It takes a lot of effort to maintain- let alone market- a website. That means some things get overlooked. Here’s a list of things you should check on your site now and then.
Are your visitors encountering broken pages?
Even the best maintained website contains broken links. When a visitor ends up on a lost page, it can be frustrating and even lessen your company’s credibility. When the Googlebot encounters a 404 page, it can be a problem too. Google only crawls a limited number of pages on your site, each time it comes for a visit. Don’t waste Google’s time by sending it 404 errors. Fix them. Pro tip: there might be more 404 errors than the ones created by internal links, in your site.
Could crawl your site with Screaming Frog to find these. Google’s Search Console will also show you 404 errors.
To what websites does your site link?
Google holds you accountable for the websites you link to. If you link to low-quality sites, it will consider your site low-quality too. If you link to high-quality sites, you might be rewarded by Google. Take time to update low-quality links to high-quality. Of course, you should be concerned about more than Google. Make sure your visitors are reaching good content, too. If you’re linking to broken or lost pages, update your links.
A tool like Screaming Frog can crawl your site can help you find these. It can tell you to which websites you are linking.
Are your website visitors passing through too many redirects?
I’m glad you cleaned-up your 404 errors with 301 redirects. I hope you actually fixed the broken links too. If not, you’re making visitors pass thorugh a redirect on their way to the page they desire. This can make your site load slowly. Slow sites frustrate visitors. From a Google perspective, this can be a problem too. You loose link equity for every redirect you pass through. If you rely on internal redirects too much, you might be losing valuable internal link equity. Fix your links, don’t just redirect them.
Screaming Frog will tell you if your site has internal redirects.
Are any other sites linking to pages that no longer exist?
If another website is linking to a 404 page, you’re not getting credit for that link. You need to install a 301 redirect to get credit for that link.
Third-party tools, like Majestic, will tell you if other sites are linking to 404 pages. If so, add a 301 redirect to get as much of the link equity as you can. Google Search Console can help find these, too.
Who has access to your analytics accounts?
You’ve worked with several providers of many different services, over the years. Some asked for access to your Analytics accounts. Do they still have access? Do they still need access? It might not be a problem but, then again, could they be feeding your data to a competitor? Could they lock you out of your account? You might remove people who don’t need access to your account.
Review the administration pannel of your analytics account to see who has access. Remove those who do not need it. Note: don’t forget Google Search Console, too.
Is Google Analytics on every page of your site?
If Google Analytics is missing from a page of your site, you will not have clear data on how you’re aquiring customers. This can lead to bad marketing decisions.
If you look in your Google Analytics account, and see referrals from your own site, you might have forgotten to put Google Analytics on a page of your site. Pro-tip: this is why I don’t take Google’s recommendation to add my own domain as a referral exclusion- I want to see these errors. You can find this, sometimes, through a Screaming Frog crawl.
Are all your goals tracking in Google Analytics?
The point of your company’s website is to make money. If you can track all your conversion-points, you can know your marketing efforts are paying off. If you’re not, you’re guessing.
Compare the number of conversions Google Analytics says you have against what you’ve actually received. Note: this might not be exactly correct, but it should be close.
Are all your conversion points working?
It’s frustrating to find out, after weeks or months, that a form isn’t working. Take time and send a test submission on all your forms. Make sure it works for the user. Make sure you receive all the data you need to act on it.
You’re going to have to go through all your forms and test them manually. It might be time-consuming, but it will be worth it.
Is your website’s content up-to-date?
As you business grows, it’s going to change. Does your website’s content reflect this? Do you mention services you no longer offer? Are you speaking to your current audience? Now’s a good time to review your content.
Are you using the right keywords in your content?
If you want traffic from Google, use the words your potential customers are actually asking about.
Can you improve your existing back links?
Good back links can be hard to get. This is because links are an important part of Google’s search algorithm. Get more out of your existing back links. For instance:
- If someone is linking to your homepage, could a link to a service-page be more relevant?
- Someone might use your company’s name in the anchor text of a link. Would it make more sense to describe what the page is about than your company’s name?
- If someone is already linking to you, could you get another link from them?
Although Google Search Console has some of this data, you’re going to need a third-party link tool to find out who is linking to you.
What do other people say about your company?
When someone wants to do business with you, they will Google you. When they do this, are they finding positive reviews? Are they getting an accurate description of your business?
Google yourself. Setup a Google Alert to keep up with what other people are saying about your company.
Don’t be overwhelmed or discouraged by these questions. Even the best maintained websites suffer from these problems at times. Of course, if you need our help diagnosing (or solving) some of these problems, don’t hesitate to contact us. An SEO audit might help you out.
There are probably more things you should check on your site, now and then. I’ll keep this list updated, as I think of more. If you can think of anything I’ve missed, please add them in the comments below.