An SEO health check is typically offered by SEO companies as the first step in their SEO long run processes. Basically it means that the site will be scanned, checked and analyzed for basis SEO and other health check issues, that will help the SEO to get an understanding about how to frame an SEO strategy around the website, and how to progress forward. A good SEO health check will cover a through study of the sites advantages and disadvantages.
Here are ten of the most important SEO metrics that I’d suggest during an SEO health check.
1. Canonical URL Mismatches
One of the most common mistake overlooked even in authority websites is the use of one or more instances of the same URL, without setting preference for domain indexing. Ex:- Existence of www and Non www versions of the same domain.
2. Site Index health check
Normally SEOs would just look for the number of URLs indexed on Google and get away with it. In my opinion a much more thorough check on the number of similar page titles used, number of dynamic URLs, number of duplicate meta tags are all worth checking as they will help you plan a detailed SEO strategy goind ahead and avoid surprises later.
3. Robots.txt protocol checks
Another factor often overlooked is the existence of the Robots.txt file. Sometimes it is completely ignored, otherwise the rules ignored so as to leverage maximum on it. With a proper content strategy in place, the first thing you want to do is to tweak the Robots.txt to control content indexation.
4. URL Health checks
URL health checks is not about just finding the number of URLs listed or the keyword relevancy on them. It should also be about content-URL matches and duplicate issues. URLs are the basic foundations of any site structure and these if screwed up can ruin all other SEO efforts.
5. Language Duplication Issues
In many of the sites I’ve worked on, one major issue that detriments the site’s growth is the existence of the content in more than on language. When the same content is to be presented in more than one language, usually webmasters take the easy way out and do some work arounds that will churn out the same content in more than one instance on different URLs. Ex: site.com/en/content.html and site.com/it/content.html
Even though a lot depends on the backend CMS, special care has to be taken to make sure duplication issues don’t arise which might hold the site from making any traction on the search engines.
6. SERPs Meta health checks
Actually SERPs health check is like the ECG of SEO health checks. Many problems can be figured out by scanning the search index. The meta descriptions, URLs, page titles all signify the robustness of the actual content on the website. The idea is to dig deep in to them and figure out what’s better than what is out there, not just what’s wrong.
7. Backlink Pattern Checks
Another gem in SEO health checks are backlink analysis. Usually if there are problems beyond the on site optimization factors, they reflect on the backlink patterns. Many websites that complain about “we don’t know what we did, but we’re not ranking well” can see patterns of spam links on their backlinks. Analyzing them will reveal a goldmine of data.
8. Hacked content checks
Always perform checks for infiltrated content on your site. Most of the time, hacked/infiltrated content doesn’t show up anywhere on the site and you wouldn’t even know if it exists. But using Google Webmasters Tool and SERPs checks, one can easily figure out if hacked content is available on your site. Alternatively, if you search for obvious hack terms with the site operator search on Google, most of the popular hacks shows up.
End of the day, the idea is to lay the perfect foundation for an SEO strategy in place by figuring out what’s weak and strong links on the site. If you skip this step, then things can get out of hand giving you surprises later on – which you might want to avoid.