Are you wondering how to do an SEO analysis? Or what tools are used in the analysis? Then you have landed on the right page!
An SEO analysis means that you review a website to make sure it is search engine optimized. It is largely about analyzing how search-engine-friendly the website is structured from a technical and a content perspective. The analysis also includes Off-site SEO analysis, which is an analysis of links.
The guide below shows how you can do a free SEO analysis on your website all by yourself. You will become your search engine expert, so stay tuned!
The 28 steps that you can read about below can be divided into the following sections:
- Preparations for the SEO analysis (steps 1-2)
- Analysis of the website’s load time. (steps 3-7)
- Website structure analysis (steps 8-17)
- Analysis of landing page content and structure (steps 18-24)
- Off-site SEO Analysis – Links (Steps 24-27)
Preparations for the SEO analysis (steps 1-2)
1. Explain your primary SEO goals
Before you begin the detailed SEO analysis of your website, you should have a strategy and clear goals to know what you are optimizing for. Therefore, it is important that you know what your most important keywords are, i.e., the keywords for which your web pages (URL) should be visible.
Make sure you focus on the correct search terms. So do not optimize unambiguously based on the largest search volume, but instead focus on the relevant search terms that can drive converting traffic. You want to drive traffic with keywords that can drive valuable traffic to your site.
If you do not know how to define your most important keywords, you can start by reading the keyword analysis post before reading on.
2. Analyze how you currently rank
After you have figured out your goals, you know what keywords you need to be visible for. First of all, with the help of Google Analytics, or similar analysis tools, you can check which pages drive organic traffic to the website. You are primarily interested in knowing how your site looks for your important keywords, i.e., investigating how your organic keywords are placed on search engines.
This is a relatively simple process as there are several tools designed for just this purpose. Examples of such tools are Ahrefs (paid), Accuranker (paid), or Google Search Console (free).
By analyzing your keyword placements, you get answers to important questions such as:
- What milestones have you already reached? (i.e., keywords you already rank for)
- On which keywords do you rank poorly? (i.e., landing pages that need optimization)
The important thing here is to identify how your keywords perform in the current situation and then create a plan for increasing the visibility of the keywords.
Good! Then we start with how you can SEO-analyze your website
SEO analysis of the website’s load time. (steps 3-7)
Slow websites are undeniably something we all get annoyed at. Therefore, web page load times have become increasingly important in search engine optimization and considered by Google’s rank brain.
Below are some tips on how to analyze the website’s speed and which free tools will help you in the process.
Review the number of server requests
SEO analysis can be quite technically oriented, such as when analyzing website load times.
How many server requests does your website have?
You can easily investigate the number of server requests with free tools such as Pingdom Tools. All you have to do is paste in your URL and let the tools work for you. Below you see a screenshot of Pingdom tools.
You can also review this directly on your browser, for example, with developer tools in the Chrome browser. The advantage of this is that you can analyze all resources in more detail, which in some cases can be useful.
To see the number of requests via Chrome’s developer tools:
1. Open the Chrome browser.
2. Navigate to the web page you want to analyze.
3. Right-click anywhere on the web page and press Inspect.
4. Select Network from the top panel of developer tools.
5. Refresh the page.
6. Now, you see the number of server requests in the bottom panel of developer tools.
So it’s very simple. Once you have done this, you can go into detail and inspect each service request. If you find unnecessary elements, simply remove them.
For WordPress users, it can be smart to check if any resources from unused extensions (plugins) remain on the page. If available, be sure to delete them so that they do not load unnecessarily.
3. Do not load unnecessary fonts.
To be consistent in your design, it pays to use the same font (s) throughout the site to look uniform and neat.
However, it is not just about the visual impression. Fonts can adversely affect the loading time if multiple fonts need to be loaded by the browser.
If possible, strive to use web-safe fonts , for the following important reasons:
- Compatibility – Most browsers support these fonts.
- Charging time – They can increase performance compared to fonts loaded from your server.
4. Identify heavy image files.
This is the gold mine of SEO analysis! Especially if you have never optimized your photos.
Images are often the heaviest files on the web page. If you have not done any kind of image optimization, you probably have a lot to do. In many cases, original images can be compressed by about 80% without significantly degrading the quality.
To analyze your images, there are really good free tools from Google. To quickly get an indication of which images should be optimized, you can do a Google Page Speed Insights test.
You only need to paste the URL you want to analyze, and the tool will tell you which images should be compressed. It uses Google’s latest web analytics tool, Lighthouse, which in addition to several other factors, analyzes how images can be optimized on the page. Lighthouse can also be used via Chrome Developer Tools in the ‘Audits’ tab.
Get rid of redirect chains.
Checking your redirects is an important part of SEO analysis for many reasons. If you have been running your website for a long time, you may have had to redirect URLs when restructuring the website. If this feels familiar, it pays to check if you can identify:
- long redirect chains for specific URLs, or
- a large number of individual redirects that could be redirected with a redirect instead, a “bulk redirect.”
Each redirect creates a longer waiting time as the browser, step by step, tries to understand what the final destination should be.
5. Check if you have caching enabled.
This is an important part of SEO analysis! Caching means that the browser saves, or caches, something from the web page in the browser’s memory so as not to have to reload these resources the next time they are needed. With the help of caching, webmasters can create faster websites and better experiences.
The Google Page Speed Insights tool gives you tips on resources that you might want to cache instead of reloading each time the page loads. In particular, be sure to store all static elements that appear on multiple pages in the cache. You must also specify the time for how long they are to be kept in the cache.
If you use WordPress, you will go a long way by installing extensions that are created for this very purpose. I myself use the free version of WP Fastest Cache, which I can also recommend. There are also other tools that do the exact same thing if you want to compare some before making your final decision.
Remember that these tools must be set correctly to get the best value/effect from them.
SEO analysis of website structure (steps 8-17)
As stated above, there are many different sub-areas you can improve to achieve a fast web page that both visitors and Google value highly. However, it is only a piece of the whole optimization process. The following points give tips on how to analyze and optimize your site’s structure.
6. Are your primary keywords in focus in website architecture?
A logical categorization of webpage sections makes it easier for visitors and search engines to determine what your webpage is about. Therefore, make sure that your primary keywords are prioritized in the structure of the website. The first step is to make sure that your primary keywords have short URLs and are preferably top-level pages in the URL structure (as exemplified below).
In addition to the URL structure, keep in mind that these pages are linked to the navigation menu, footer, breadcrumbs, internal links, and so on. All of these have a major impact on the internal link structure, which makes them very essential parts of SEO analysis.
Your navigation menu should contain your primary keywords and thus also your most important keywords.
In this way, you ensure that the important pages are linked to from all pages and that your most important pages can be accessed from all sections of the website. A good navigation menu is definitely good for both search engine optimization and ease of use.
8. Availability of content
Also, make sure that all pages link to the lower level pages of the URL structure to make all relevant content available to visitors and search engine spiders (crawlers). In this way, a natural path is formed deeper into the structure, as exemplified below:
This is especially important if the navigation menu does not link to all pages on the site, as there will then be several ways for the spiders to find all the content on the site.
In addition to this, it can have a positive effect on rankings as it is clear that your site includes more in-depth information in the lower levels (/ level2, ‘/ level3’ etc.).
Breadcrumbs are often found high up on the landing side. They show where on the site you are by illustrating a link path all the way back to the first page.
The link path mainly improves user-friendliness by giving the user more control. It can also make your search results in the SERP look better as the different levels are presented instead of the entire URL.
Although the link path will probably not have a very large effect on your rankings, I strongly recommend that you implement breadcrumbs on your site. This allows you to automatically get multiple internal links to your main pages, as each page links to its parent pages.
10. Link to your trust-building pages
Google’s “EAT” algorithm update (Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness), which was launched in 2018, places more emphasis on credibility and authority. In short, the update seeks to promote websites with higher expertise, authority, and credibility. You can read more about this in Google’s updated guidelines.
11. Your URL should only be used in one format.
Now I mean, for example, that you do not have both an HTTP: // and HTTPS: // version available. The same applies when writing the URL with or without www. . For example, when you type SEO-tips.se in the URL field, the page should always be visible without www. and with HTTPS: //, like this:
Not like this:
All the other variants above should have a 301 redirect to the primary page.
12. Make sure your pages are indexed by Google.
This is super relevant to include in your SEO analysis. Of course, if Google does not index your pages, you will not be able to rank with the content.
You can do this easily and for free with the help of Google Search Console. There you can see how many pages you have indexed.
You can also do it manually on Google by searching all pages of the domain. Examples of how to do this can be seen below.
If you can see that pages are missing from Google’s index, make sure these pages do not block search engines with x-robots tags.
13. Check that you do not have duplicate content on the website.
Something that can lead to serious consequences is if you have the same content on several pages (apart from navigation, sidebar, footer, etc.). Therefore, make sure that you have not copied content from one of your pages to another. You can check if you have duplicate content with tools such as Siteliner.
Webshops are a good example of websites that can have landing pages that have more or less the same content, which is because the pages market the same product. The difference between the pages may be that they sell the same product in different colors. If you are aware of this, be sure to use a canonical tag to specify which version is the primary version. This way, you avoid being penalized for duplicate content by Google.
14. Review even if other websites have copied your content
Also, check that no one has copied your content or vice versa. Google does not like material being copied from other sites. For example, you can use the Copyscape tool to identify other pages that copy your content.
Depending on the case and its severity, you may want to take one of the following actions:
- Contact the administrator of the other website and ask them to change the content.
- Modify your own content (unless it is clear that others have copied your content).
- Contact relevant authorities (if it is serious and violates laws).
Analyze the links on your site and make sure there are no broken links. By broken links, I mean links that lead nowhere (or to a 404 page).
Broken links can be created if you, e.g., have changed the URL of a page and no redirect has been made from the old address to the new address. From an SEO point of view, this is important because both internal and inbound links transfer link value, which disappears if the link is broken.
SEO analysis of landing page content and structure (steps 18-24)
Now you have analyzed elements that are important for the entire site, not just individual posts. Now it’s time to go into more detail and analyze your specific posts and pages. Start by prioritizing your pages, and then you will begin to systematically analyze and optimize them.
16. Make sure the page has a clear title structure.
This is one of the basic points of SEO analysis. Website content should be easy to understand for search engines. This means, among other things, that all pages must have a title (H1) so that Googlebot will understand what that particular page is about. Also, make sure you only have one H1, and the other headings are h2, h3, and so on.
17. Headings should contain relevant keywords.
Your H1 should contain the post’s primary keywords. In addition to this, you should strive to mention the keyword in other headings as well.
Tip! When doing keyword analysis, look for long tails that include your keyword (long-tail keywords). These are also called latent semantic keywords (LSI keywords) and often appear as suggestions in the Google search field when you start typing something in the search field. Then use these in your headlines. These can satisfy users’ search intent and, at the same time be seen as relevant content by search engines.
18. Keyword density
What is the primary keyword for the post you are analyzing? Make sure the keyword appears frequently enough in the content. Deciding what a useful keyword density varies from industry to industry, but to get started, you can strive to have a keyword density between 1-3%.
Tip! Examine the landing pages that top the search results with your keywords and calculate what the keyword density is. This gives an indication of which keyword density applies in your industry.
19. Check that images are described in the alt tag.
Optimizing images to load faster is only one step in image optimization. You should also make sure that your images are described in the HTML code so that search engines understand what they are illustrating. You do this in the alt tag (alternative text), where you simply describe what the image illustrates.
Also, make sure you have relevant keywords in the alt tag. The alt tag is the primary source Google uses to determine the relevance of images in search results.
Always strive to include links from your pages to your other posts when relevant. It is not only good for SEO because internal links can also create great experiences on the web. So read through your posts and include internal links to relevant pages.
From an SEO point of view, it pays to prioritize some important pages that are linked to more often than to the other pages. The Google Search Console lets you see which of your pages have the most internal links. In the optimal position, it is your most important pages that top the list.
Remember that internal links should preferably include the primary keywords of the linked page.
21. Check that the meta title and description are specified.
Make sure all your pages have a meta title and meta description. These are also called SEO titles and SEO descriptions. It is important that you include the primary keyword, as well as some of the most important secondary keywords in the meta texts. In addition to this, they should be attractive to get as many clicks as possible!
Off-site SEO Analysis – Links (Steps 24-27)
This article has focused on the analysis of on-site elements, but we must not forget the links! Link building is an important part of search engine optimization, and therefore you should review and see how you are doing with your link building in relation to your competitors. By competitors, I mean those who compete for the same keywords as you. So it does not have to be your direct competitors. In the analysis, you should look at the following things:
If your competitors have more links than you, you should strive to catch up with them, especially if they rank better than you. Determine how many links you need by analyzing the highest-ranked competitors. How many links are enough is very industry- and keyword-specific.
To analyze how many links websites have, I recommend Ahrefs, as it provides a good overview of domains’ links. The bad sides are that the tool is not free and that it does not find all the links in the Swedish market, in my experience.
23. Do the same analysis again, but now for your most important landing pages.
If you want to take SEO analysis to the next level, you can continue with this. Deeplinks can be an effective way to boost SEO performance for specific landing pages. They are links directly to your important landing pages instead of the website.
Do you find it difficult to reach the top positions even though you have search engine optimized more or less everything? Then maybe you should try to get deep links!
PS! Also, strive to get the landing page’s primary keyword in the anchor text (anchor text = the word or phrase that links to your page).
If you have received links that have the “rel = nofollow” tag in the link, you should try to contact the link provider and try to convert it to a follow link. This is because No-follow links do not transfer link value in the same way as normal follow links do. Nofollow links are quickly identified with tools such as Ahrefs, but you can also do this manually by examining the link’s HTML code using Developer Tools.
In recent years, Google has become stricter with link quality. This means that not only the number of links determines but also the quality of the links.
This good initiative from Google led to Negative SEO becoming a big thing. Negative SEO means that some players strategically create spam websites that look suspicious to both users and search engines. These pages are then used to link to other websites and thus “dirty” competitors’ link trees.
Therefore, include a review of Negative SEO links in your SEO analysis. Using the Google Disavow Tool, you can report links that are not relevant to you.
I hope you find this SEO analysis guide useful. Read more search engine optimization tips here. See you on Google!