Perform technical site audit is one of the most essential processes in an SEO project, and yet it’s costly due to it requires professional SEO knowledge, experience, skills & tools. While under the pressure of SEO budget constraints, SEO specialist has to reserve big portion of dollars to support activities including link-building, blogger outreach, press release, content re-write and those technical fix & etc. Popular SEO audit software listed below with their cheapest pricing plan for your reference:
- MozPro: USD99/month
- Ahrefs: USD82/month
- WooRank: USD59.99/month
- Majestic: USD49.99/month
- Raventools: USD39/month
- ScreamingFrog: 149 Pound/Year (my favourite)
- Google Search Console: Free, that’s why it won’t tell you many useful tips.
They are powerful tools yet expensive. Working as a cheapskate SEO professional, I would like to share with you some stingy skills which you don’t have to spend a single cent to subscribe the audit tool (or you can get the cheapest one) and yet able to achieve pro-level audit result.
1. Detect not Optimized Title & Meta Description
Perform site:yourdomain.com operator on Google SERP search box, hit enter, you will find out if your entire website titles & meta descriptions are silly, truncated due to exceeded display characters limit (too long), or missing with keywords, missing unique selling points & etc. The SERP tells you exact pages that are well optimized or not.
2. The site got hacked.
Usually, SEO Specialist received website hacked notification from Google Search Console (GSC) or other monitoring tools. Without any tools, you can perform a routine weekly check > site:yourdomain.com operator on Google SERP search box, hit enter, your site will have a label [This site may be hacked]. Or, you will notice indexing spammy pages under your domain name.
3. The site is not secured with HTTPS.
Again, this super useful site:yourdomain.com operator, if you saw your website got indexed for:
- HTTP version: your site is not secure, please configure HTTPS for the entire site.
- HTTPS version: congrats. Your configuration is correct.
- Live both HTTP & HTTPS: Google treating your site like it’s twin, under the risk of Google Panda (content duplication) penalty, precious backlinks power will be diluted into both versions, slower down ranking performance. For best practice, HTTP should be performed wildcard 301 permanent redirected to HTTPS version. This is to consolidate the ranking power.
- Having HTTPS but Google indexed HTTP: this means your website having non-secure elements, usually image URLs, other pages or internal links are still live with HTTP.
4. The site is live with both www and non-www versions.
Again, this super practical site:yourdomain.com operator, if you saw your website got indexed for:
- Either www or non-www: congrats. Your configuration is correct.
- Appear both www AND non-www: you will need to perform 301 permanent redirect to one another (be it www or non-www). Similar to HTTPS case, this is to consolidate the ranking power.
5. Duplicate Pages
Again, this super simple site:yourdomain.com operator, If you found each content indexed with multiple pages, for example, one article [ABC] is indexing with 3 URLS, or indexing with 2 versions of homepage. You will need to work on canonical tag implementation or redirection for the alternate pages.
6. Your site / article is not being indexed
Again, this super powerful site:yourdomain.com/topic-abc/ operator, if you found out your URLs are not being indexed. You will need to work on URL structure optimization, and then sitemap creation & submission to push bots crawling & indexing efficiency.
7. Know the web developer F’ up.
Again, this super majestic site:yourdomain.com/ operator, you might surprisingly found out some dumb & careless web developers launched the staging / User-Acceptance-Testing site to the public which supposed to be no indexed.
8. Page blocked by robots.txt.
Again, this super marvelous site:yourdomain.com/ operator, you might surprisingly found out actually your site was blocking search engine bots due to the robots.txt file misconfigured.
9. Indexed the wrong files: customers database, internal system files, 404 error page.
Again, this super awesome site:yourdomain.com/ operator, you might unexpectedly found out omg! the internal system files, the client confidential data, 404 error page got indexed on Google! And this illegal data leak is deadly vulnerable!
10. Not implementing rich snippets.
Finally, this super amazing site:yourdomain.com/ operator can tell you if your site Title & Meta Description looks totally dull and unattractive without adopting any rich snippets such as star rating, e-commerce schema markup, AMP & many more that could make your site stand out from the competitive SERP list.
They are many more errors can be identified via SERP by using the Google Search Operators such as site:yourdomain, inurl:yourconfidentialfilekeywords. And these tricks help you to discover even more “buried deep inside screwup problems” which the common SEO auditing tools unable to detect and alert you. Happy auditing!
Laney Siew is a cheapskate SEO specialist with 8 years of experience and she constantly discovers stingy skills to achieve a professional result.
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