Unfortunately, you can’t just build it, walk away and go about your business. Websites change over time: new trends and new technologies come on the scene, keywords change, your rankings shift, links get broken, and plugins need updates. If you really do walk away from your website, by the time you return, it probably isn’t functioning as well as it could. We recommend giving your website a thorough health checkup at least once a year with a Search Engine Optimization “physicals.”
Here are a few of the items we access when we do a website health check:
1. SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Analysis
When you type a query into a search engine, the search engine provides a list, often a long list of websites that may provide the answer to the query. Search engines populate websites based on how closely the website matches the query. A few things factor into how Google or other search engines determine which websites to populate. When we review a website’s “health” we look at how a website compares to competing websites in the SERP results.
It has been said… the best place to bury a body is the second page of Google. If your website is not populating on the first page, it is unlikely to result in clicks over to your website. Reviewing your SERP results for the keywords that matter to you most is critical to maintaining optimum website health.
2. Broken Links
Google will knock you lower on the SERP for a poor user experience. One factor that makes it challenging for users to navigate through your site can be broken links. Internal broken links prohibit users from being able to navigate from page to page on your website. External broken links are content you have pulled from another source that is no longer functioning. In either case, your site visitor is frustrated, and a frustrated user is seldom a returning user. Through our site scan, we can run details on every link you have on your website revealing which ones are broken so you or your developer can resolve the problem quickly.
3. Alt Tags
When you add photos to your website, there is also the option to add Alt Tags or Alternative Text. These image attributes define the image on your website and serve a few different functions. Alt tags help contribute to the Google bots scanning your site in response to a search query. Providing content here is another way to help your website’s Search Engine Optimization.
Another benefit to alt tags and proper image attribution is to assist people with disabilities who use a site reader to vocalize the content on your site. When a site reader encounters an image, it uses the alt tag information to generate the vocalization. If the alt tag isn’t set up correctly the vocalization could read “one zero nine eight underscore B seven G two three dot jay peg.” Or it could say “woman sitting at computer.” The lack of alt tags will significantly impact the users’ ability to navigate through your site.
A simple site scan will populate the list of images without alt tags so you can correct the mistake.
There are additional factors which contribute to website health (another is word count – too few can knock you on Google but so can too many and this blog is already dangerously long… so stay tuned for more information later). We recommend running a thorough site scan at least once a year, but assessing your SERP should be done at least quarterly. Fortunately, we can track your SERP results weekly, comparing to your website to your competitors on the keywords that matter to you most, providing consistent measurement and results.
All you need to do is ask – we’d be happy to help. If you’re interested in learning more about running a site scan, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s a big nerd who loves data… and charts.