How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights to Judge Your Website Speed (Video)

Google is Increasingly Pushing Website Speed

Now those speedy people at Google have even made website speed a ranking factor. In other words, how fast your website loads could affect where you rank in search results.

Additionally, speed is a factor in how much people like (or don’t like) your website, so even if we leave Google out of the equation, speed is important.

To help website developers to this end, Google offers a free tool called PageSpeed Insights (here’s a link to it) to help you test how fast your site is. Recently Google has enhanced this tool with a new feature to make its results more realistic.

This video will

  • Walk you through using the tool
  • Explain the new feature it offers
  • Tell you some of the limitations and how best to interpret the data it gives you
  • Link you up with some other complementary link tools

Below the video we’ve also provided a transcript for you skimmers.

Audio Transcript

I hope you’re ready for a Google speed test, that’s what we’re going to be doing today and so stick around, I’ll be back in a minute.

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. Now you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been paying attention that Google is a pusher. You know you could say they push many things but I’m talking about how they push speed. Not the drug speed. They’re pushing website load time speed. In other words, they want your webpage to go faster and the way they’re trying to encourage you to do this is by saying that speed is a ranking factor. Let me tell you what a ranking factor is. A ranking factor is simply something that might affect how high or low you show on Google’s search results page. So if you’ve got a website, if you’re in business, if you depend on the internet, you want to show up in search results, you have to take into account anything that’s called a ranking factor and we have to take into account speed.

Take a look at this quote from Google’s latest Webmaster Central blog post. Now this just came out day before yesterday. It says, “Using page speed in mobile search ranking.” And you’ll notice this quote just in the first paragraph, they say that they’ve been using speed in ranking for some time but the signal was focused on desktop searches. Well, now they’re saying that they’re making that a more important factor not just on desktop searches but on mobile searches as well. Now Google recognizes that it’s kind of hard for somebody who owns a website to know exactly how fast their website is for everybody and so they’ve made available some tools to help you out.

One of those tools is something called PageSpeed Insights and that’s the tool we’ll be digging into just a little bit today. Now this is really relevant to us particularly since we’ve recently released a resource called our SEO audit checklist. One of the first items that we have for you to check is site speed and then we break that down into both desktop and mobile site speed. This is kind of gets into a touchy area and so I thought it was helpful or would be helpful if we had a video that explained site speed just a little bit more.

The way I’m doing this and the way I’ve framed this particular video is I started with a search using a pretty competitive, pretty commercial search phrase called best hotel sheets and this is probably top of mind for me because in our consulting business we do have a client who operates within this space and so we’re always looking at their competitors. Let’s take a look at how our client fares when we subject them to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tools.

This is how it lays out. You type in a website address, you can do it for the homepage of your domain or any of your internal pages. And then they’ll give you some results and they’ll be broken down into mobile and desktop results and it’s a tab interface so I’ve got mobile right here, I can click on desktop and I can go back and forth and compare these. The part that’s new, as a matter of fact just within the last month, they’ve introduced a new metric here called speed. In the past we’ve always had this metric that I’m pointing to on the right which I optimization. Now optimization, I’m going to cover that first because it’s a relative scale. It’s from one to a 100 where one would be the worst and 100 would be the best. And so naturally everybody wants to chase a 100 on that scale ’cause that means they’re the best.

And this is a technical measurement. In other words, Google can take any page and just look at the code and say, “Is this page theoretically built for speed or not?” Now in this case, our client scores kind of middle of the road, medium, 77 out of a 100. And the reason Google has added this speed metric on the left is because they realize that there are theoretical measurements and then there are real world measurements. Speed is tied to something called the Chrome User Experience report and this is basically where Google has their analytical stuff installed in their Chrome browser and millions of users either wittingly or unwittingly are sending information back to Google about their browsing experience including how fast webpages load for them. Google is basing this number here, the speed number, on data they’re getting back from people who are actually visiting this site and you can see these numbers line up pretty well. Speed is average, optimization is medium.

screenshot of pagespeed insights using sah

If I take a look at the desktop version I do have an optimization number which is still in the medium range but the speed is unavailable. Well why is that? It’s simply because not enough people have visited this particular website, this particular webpage for Google to be able to get any sort of a realistic measurement. At times, particularly if you’re looking at a lightly traveled website, you’ll see this unavailable showing up. Now I don’t really know whether these numbers will become more robust as Google gathers more data but for right now there’s a number of pages out there and yours might be one of them where those numbers are unavailable.

But what to do they mean? Okay, it says optimization medium. If I go back to this, speed average. Well how’s that really affecting me? Let’s first of all start by taking look at a few of our competitors to see some of the limitations that I run into doing SEO for clients when it comes to Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Here’s another one of their primary competitors for that search term that I showed you a moment ago and in this case it’s a publisher, nymag.com. They’re showing numbers that are pretty good particularly on the mobile they show an optimization of 81 out of a 100, now that’s just about four points above our client. Their speed is showing very fast. Let’s take a look at the desktop version and here you see where we’re starting to get a little bit of a discrepancy because notice their optimization on the desktop is showing as 66 out of a 100, now that’s even below our client’s website but Google does have some data show here and they’re showing that their speed is very, very fast.

screen capture of travelandleisure.com in pagespeed insightsLet’s take another one, this is Travel and Leisure, a major, major website. Here, they show that they really have some developers working on their website that are very focused on speed because in the optimization category on the right, and remember this is kind of a technical assessment of how the site is built. On paper, this site looks really good, 84 out of a 100 is pretty high number. But the speed is only average. Let’s take a look at the desktop version of this. Now we get something that’s really starting to look a little goofy. The optimization for their desktop version of their site is 43 out of a 100, now that’s really low. So in other words, their desktop website was not really built for speed. It was more like built like a delivery truck lumbering down the road. But at the same time, take a look at the speed, it’s showing as fast. So obviously right here we’re seeing that real world data does not always line up with theoretical data.

screen capture of macys.com in pagespeed insights

I’m going to take a look at one more and this is a really big website because the discrepancy here is really great. This is macys.com, not exactly an unknown site, not exactly a small budget operation. But notice their optimization is good, 83. I mean, again, that’s one of the highest numbers out there but take a look at the speed. 3.1 seconds. Now that FCP stands for first content full paint and that’s pretty much geek speak but it means it takes a long time for the visual experience of the customer who is looking at the site. Now Google has said that page speed is a factor, ranking factor in search but I know from looking at Macy’s they are very, very strong in search. So there’s other stuff going on here not just page speed when it comes to search. Going to take a quick look, their desktop we don’t see that kind of discrepancy.

All right, so now if we go back to the real world implementation of this best hotel sheets, I’m not going to scan down here and show you all the results but I will tell you this, if you go back to our customer’s website, we were getting average numbers remember, so middle of the road. Not horrible, not great but we rank number one for most searches on that page whereas a lot of these much faster sites are ranking further down the page. Why is that? Part of this is going back to Google’s blog post if I can find it here. If I go back to that Webmaster Central blog post, let’s take a look at what they say also in this page.

Notice down here in paragraph two, the last sentence. It says, “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal.” What do they mean by that? The intent of the search query. What they mean is what the person wants is still the important thing to them. What that person is looking for. So a slow page may still rank highly if it has “great relevant content.”

quote highlight from Google Webmaster Central blog post

Now I don’t have some magical window into Google but I can tell you what this tells me and from what I see in working with other clients as well, I would never tell you don’t worry about speed. Speed is a factor. It’s important to build your website to load as quickly as possible, it’s important for good user experience, right? But it is obviously not something you should slave over.

For example, we would not advise our client if we go back to our numbers here, we wouldn’t advise our client that thousands of dollars be poured into trying to get this medium number up to a 90 or a 100. But I see that some people do. I see comments online and I’ll see guys that are basically have devoted dozens of hours if not hundreds of hours to trying to move this number up and I’m going to tell you my suggestion would be, don’t worry about it. Now if you on the other hand, go to this tool, and by the way, a link to anything I’m talking about to a lot of this stuff and a few other resources I’m going to show you are all going to be in the show notes down here in the description. That’s just a digression there to let you know about that.

Let me go back to Macy’s for example. If I had these numbers, I have to tell you, I’d be taking a look at why my mobile site was loading so slowly. I wouldn’t be ignoring that. But if your numbers are middle of the road, here’s what I suggest you do. First of all, check for the search queries where you want to rank or where you are ranking and take a look at your competitors. You can plug anybody’s webpage into PageSpeed Insights. Take a look at how they’re doing. If you’re more or less in a reasonable range, move onto something else. That’s why going back to our audit tool here, you notice how we phrase the question, “Site speed acceptable?” We don’t say, “Site speed a 100. Site speed really terrific. Site speed better than every other competitor.” That’s not what we’re going for here. Site speed acceptable. Now if you see some numbers that really give you some concern, then I’d also double check those numbers. Google doesn’t make perfect tools any more or less than anybody else out there.

Here’s one that we use all the time. It’s called Pingdom. They have a website speed test and they rank Macy’s pretty good on their speed test. Then I go to, if you’re really have somebody who likes to geek this stuff out, I love this tool, it’s called webpagetest.org is the address. And it has page after page, after page of highly let’s say, extremely geek content. This is the page if you’ve got a developer that wants to dig into this stuff, by all means, send them to webpagetest.org and say, “Have at it. Go through it.” You can often get really good suggestions for improving page performance.

Well that pretty much all I wanted to cover for now. Bottom line, the takeaway from this is pay attention to site speed but once you have it in an acceptable range for your industry and compared to the people that you’re competing with, move onto to something else. It would be much better if you put your time into creating great content and convincing other people to link to your site.

Again, my name is Ross Barefoot here at the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. We like to publish videos that will help business people understand SEO and make the most for their website. So definitely if you’re interested in that, if you want to do better, as good as you can in search, hit that red subscribe button down below. If you’d like to see us cover stuff that we haven’t on our channel, leave us a comment. Give us a suggestion. Offer your own experience. It is a discussion. So that’s it for now and I hope to see you back here next time around.

Video thumbnail How to Set the Preferred Domain in Google Search Console

How to Set the Preferred Domain in Google Search Console

SEO How-to Video: Make Sure to Set the Right Version of Your Website in Search Console

There are at least two versions of your website, and it’s important you tell Google which version of your site is the “preferred” one. In this video I will walk you through the “why it’s important” and also “how to get it right.”

(If you prefer reading to watching, the text version of the video is below)

Audio Transcript

Did you know that Google sees different versions of your website? That’s the case even if you never intended to create different versions of your website. Did you also know that it’s extremely important to know which version of your website you’re looking at or working with when you’re using Google’s search console.

Well, that’s the subject of our video today in business basic SEO, so stick with us and I’ll be right back.

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy where we help business people understand SEO. Now today we’re going to be talking more about the search console, this is a free tool that Google offers to web masters, business owners, anyone who’s working in digital marketing or SEO and who wants to do better with Google.

Now, search consoles are a very valuable tool as a matter of fact in our consulting business, we work with it all the time. In our training academy we teach about using it all the time. Let me explain a little bit what I’m talking about when I say that there are different versions of your website. I’m going to jump over to a website that’s sort of an under developed website. It’s very plain looking, but it will serve the purpose for us.

Now, this website is called artisansofcolorado.com, and you’ll notice up in the address bar, up here for search. Notice the details of how that’s represented, h-t-t-p-s www.artisansofcolorado.com. Now that website also could be reached if I typed in, for example just artisansofcolorado.com. If I type that in it’s actually going to go to the same website, but Google actually views those as two different variations of the same website. As a matter of fact, it’s technically possible for you to have completely different content on the www version of your website, than you have on the non www version of your website.

It goes beyond that, this particular website is running over what we call a secure protocol, and Google has been pushing most site owners to run over a secure protocol. That’s always shown with http and then an S, after the http. So, in essence for any website that’s running securely, there are four different ways to reach that website. Http://artisansofcolorado.com, http://www.artisansofcolorado.com. Https://artisansofcolorado, and https://www

Screen capture of the various versions of artisansofcolorado.com that can appear in Google Search Console

Now, the interesting thing about this is when you’re working with your website, and Google search console each of those variations really should be setup as if you had four different websites. We’re going to switch over now to Google search console, and I’m going to just show you a little bit about how you do this, and how you indicate to Google which one is what we call your preferred domain when it comes to working with Google search console.

Now first of all, adding a website to Google search console and getting setup with Google search console is a little bit more involved and we do have a video that walks you through that process. So, if you have never added your site to Google search console before, I’m going to put a link on screen. I’m also going to put a link down in the notes for this particular video and you’ll be able to link over to that. I’d recommend you stop at this point, go over, learn how you add and verify a website in Google search console. Then come back and conclude with this.

So, what I’m going to do right now is I’m going to use this red button up in the top right, add a property and I’m going to use https//artisansofcolorado.com, and what Google will do is it will add this, it will ask me to verify it.

screenshot of Add a Property button in Search Console

Now, because I don’t want to bog down this video, I’m going to go ahead and complete these steps and then I’ll come back into the video when I’m done, and then we’ll move forward from there. So, here we are back at the search console and I’ve taken a moment and added and verified four different websites, but you and I both know this is really one website.

To Google however they’re going to treat it as four. I have the http version of artisans of Colorado without the www, and I have it with the www, and then I have the same thing for the https version. Both different variants of the site. Google does recognize that these sites are probably supposed to be tied together, but they still recommend that you set which one of these in the settings of search console is your preferred domain. Which one should be dominant? So, how do we determine which of those is which? I’m going to suggest that the easiest way to do it particularly if you’re non technical is to let the internet make the decision for you.

So, go to a browser, and then notice how I’ve typed in just the domain name, now the domain name is whatever word is to the left, followed by whatever is to the right of the period. So, in this case it’s just straight out artisansofcolorado.com and I don’t add in www. I don’t put in http, I just put in the domain name and I hit enter. Notice how the address bar in the top has changed, https and www have been added. So, this indicates to me that this website is setup in such a way that it should default to that particular variant. Let’s return to search console and here’s how we tell Google that, that should be our preferred domain.

screenshot of the settings gear icon in Search ConsoleWe’ll click on this one here, the www version, and then we’ll click on the gear at the top right, and we’ll select site settings. Often when you first set this up, Google will choose one of those as the default. In this case, if it comes up set as don’t set a preferred domain, you’re going to now change that setting and we will here. We’re going to select the radio button. Remember we want to be with the www, we’ll click save. Now, I’m going to show you something interesting about this. Google of course tells us that it views these as four different websites in effect, but once I’ve made this change if I go to any of these other variants. Let me take this one here, and I click on settings.

screenshot of the site settings in GSCNo, it’s changed it for this one as well. So, in other words this does indicate that Google recognizes, as I said earlier that these are supposed to be part of a matched group. Basically we have done what we need to do. Now, the last thing that I need to tell you is, when you come back to search console as data has started to accumulate here, you will not see the same data in each of these various websites. So, the account that you go to for your most consistent, most complete information is going to be the one that you set here and proceeded by your default protocol in the http versus https. That defines what we call protocol.

So, typically when we come back and we want to manage this site, submit site maps to Google search console or see things like for example crawl errors and so forth. We want to focus on that particular property. Now, there is a way where we can further tie all of these websites together and it’s something called the set, but I’m going to leave that for another video. So, for now I’m going to just let you go and set your preferred domain if you haven’t already done so. Of course if you haven’t added your websites to Google search console, then go and look at the other video that I’ve referenced in the description. Then go and add those sites to Google search console. That’s one of the first steps that you do when you’re optimizing a site for search.

I hope this bit of business basic SEO has been helpful to you. If you like tips like this, and they are useful to you, make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel down below. Also, go ahead and leave us a comment if you’d like to see videos that we don’t have within our channel. In the mean time, thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.

How to Check if Your Website is Mobile Friendly – A Non-Techy Approach (C-Suite SEO Tip #3)

You Don’t Need a Web Developer to Tell if Your Website Is NOT Mobile Friendly

This video is targeted at business managers and owners to give you a couple of easy methods to check out your company website to see if it’s mobile friendly. I’ve also done a video and blog post describing more why this is a big deal, too big a deal to simply delegate it away. (If you’re more of a “written word” type, an audio transcript follows.)

Audio Transcript

Is your website crucial to your business success? Well, then it has to look right on mobile, and you really need to check it out for yourself. If you haven’t done so, I’m going to show you three quick, easy, non-technical, and free ways to check out your website on mobile, coming right up.

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. In our consulting work at Horizon Web Marketing we find that for most of our customers the website traffic they’re getting, often much more than half is coming from mobile devices. We can see this trend around us just culturally can’t we? Go into a restaurant or a coffee shop you see people sitting at a table, and they may be sitting with other people, but their eyes are always on their phones.

This is driving a lot of website traffic now, so what that means is if your website is not easy to use on mobile, doesn’t look right on mobile, you can pretty much write off half of your visitors, and I don’t think any of us wants to just throw away half of our visitors. Here’s the thing, if you’re a manager, if you’re a business owner, if you’re a C-Suite executive you may have delegated this to somebody else. Maybe they’ve come back and said to you, “Oh yeah, sure, our website is mobile friendly.” But really, you owe it to yourself to check out your website for yourself, and ask, “Is it really okay on mobile for people on their phones?”

Then, sometimes there’s a little bit of a barrier. How do you do that, especially if you’re non-technical yet you’re really interested and invested in the success of your website? I’m going to give you three methods, like I said at the outset.

Method Number One: Check it Out on Your Phone

Here’s method number one. This is the easiest method, and that is, take out your phone and go and check it out. Now, I hate this method personally and that’s because I’m pretty old school. When I can have a choice between visiting a website on my computer — my real computer, and not my phone — I’ll always go to my computer. So, if I have to do much in the way of browsing I won’t be doing it on my phone.

What that means is, if I check out my own website on my phone I’m going to be overly harsh on my website. The reason for that is, because I’m not very skilled browsing websites on my phone (I’m not my 13-year-old daughter), it may be my website is good enough for people who are spending all their time on phones but it’s not really good enough for me because I’m phone phobic. So, that’s not my preferred method but it is a real quick way, and unless you’re one of those few people (like my brother, who doesn’t even own a cellphone), then it works pretty well.

Method Number Tool: Use the Google Mobile Friendly Web Page Test

[click here to use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test]

Now, if you want to do it the official Google way, this is way number two, and this is also free, and it’s also easy for you to at least check out your site in a non-technical manner. Let’s take a look at my screen. If you just go and “google” mobile friendly website test Google will actually give you a way to start the check right here within the search results, and when you click on that it goes to this page here that says enter a URL to test. Now, it doesn’t have to be your home page, it can be any page within your site, and as a matter of fact you need to test more than just your home page to make sure your site is mobile friendly.

I just went and randomly chose a website, I just did a search on a town near where I live in Western Colorado called Montrose, and I just looked for the best restaurant and chose their website. It was the first one I chose, it’s this one here, real nice restaurant south of me, it’s called The Stone House. It’s a little bit too nice, I’ve never been to it. Anyway, here’s their home page. It’s not bad, this is a small business, looks okay. What I did is I took the URL, so I just copied the URL and I pasted into Google’s mobile friendly test.

Screenshot of Google mobile friendly check showing a page is not mobile friendly

Now, here’s the negative for using Google’s mobile friendly test. You didn’t see it here cause I already had it loaded in a tab, but it takes a while to process. So, every page you check you’ve got to put it in, wait for Google to process. Now, Google comes back and it tells me the page is not mobile friendly. The text is too small to read, clickable elements too close together, view port not set, if you’re non technical this won’t mean anything to you. But I’ve seen enough, I see that the page is not mobile friendly. So again, what I pointed out beforehand is really the downside to this, and that is, that this is very time consuming. Every page you want to check out, you plug it in, you sit there, you wait for Google to do its full analysis.

My Favorite Method: Use Google Chrome Developer Tools

So, I’m going to give you my favorite quick, easy, free, non technical way to do it. Let’s go to that website in a different tab. Here we are. Now this particular test I’m going to show you, what I’m going to show you here is going to work if you’re using Google’s Chrome browser. With Google’s Chrome browser they have built into it a set of what they call developer tools. Now, these tools are really geeky. Typically, you’re not going to be using them, usually it’s going to be a web developer, but there’s something really easy to use that’s built into these developer tools.

Here’s what I want you to do, look at the website you want to test and then hit the F12 key on your keyboard. Now, when I hit F12 notice how a panel has opened up on the right. These are Google developer tools and they’re very, very technical. You really don’t want to do anything with them, okay. As a matter of fact if it opens up you can resize it like this, and like that. What I do is I just resize it as narrow as I can get, and the only part I want you to pay attention to here is right up at the top. You see this little icon, and then it gives you a tool tip that says toggle device toolbar, all I want to do is click on that, and what it will do is it will show me the mobile version of this website.

screenshot of page with Chrome developer tools

Now, when I go over here notice how my cursor turns into a round circle, well this is to simulate the typical persons finger rather than a mouse. I can see just without having had to go into Google’s mobile friendly test, I can see just looking at it that the font is way too small. But here’s something else I can do that I could not do either looking on my phone or looking at Google’s mobile friendly test, and that is I can switch between a variety of popular phones. For example, this one here is Galaxy S5. Let’s take a look at this on iPhone X. I did the iPhone X. Now, notice up here it’s got a zoom, 67%, that changed, if you noticed it from last time if I go back to Galaxy S5 you see it’s 85%, well that’s because Google is trying to cram the whole thing.

It’ll shrink it down to show you if you were looking at the phone itself this is how much you could see. Let me go back to the iPhone X, you see it’s got a form factor that’s taller and thinner, and you can also see if somebody is trying to navigate around this it’s going to be really tough on a mobile device. I just tried it there, I clicked on about us, I’m going to click on the lunch menu, here’s the lunch menu. I can scroll up and down, see none of this I can really do with the other two methods, at least not easily. I can go back and forth, I can switch between different ones. If I want to see what the screen would look like at 100% it won’t fit within the browser window but I can still switch to 100%. If I actually had physically the phone it would be a little bit better but still it’s just obvious to me that it’s unacceptable.

And so, I can even, up here at the top I can rotate it. See what it would look like if I rotated the phone, rotate it back. This is extremely handy, very fast, totally free, and it’s all you need to know, is, F12, click on the icon, jump around, and then if you find that your website is not mobile friendly, well, you need to take action. Get somebody who knows what they’re doing, and get them to start making some changes because you really don’t want to leave half of your audience out of your website experience.

I hope this has been useful. At Horizon Web Marketing and Horizon Web Marketing Academy we’re all about helping businesses be able to succeed and make more money online, whether it’s through training at our academy or consulting. Subscribe for more video tips. There’s a big red button down there. It’s also going to be a way for you to get a free SEO checklist for an SEO audit as soon as I stop talking, and so I’m going to stop talking right now.

Again, my name is Ross Barefoot and I’m with the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, until next time.

Website Checker Review: SEOptimer

A Website Checker from Down Under

This video review is part of our ongoing series covering website SEO checkers, tools that will check the search engine optimization of a page or pages on your website to see how well they measure up against SEO best practices.

In previous video reviews, I’ve covered Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer and SEO Centro’s SEO Analyzer.  This time around we’ll take a look at an Australian SEO Checker that’s been around since 2012, SEOptimer.

[Note: Check out the other SEO Checker reviews we’ve posted on our blog or on our YouTube channel]

And if you, like me, would prefer to skim text, a verbatim transcript appears below the video.

Do you use any of these tools? Leave us a comment. Do you want us to review your favorite tool? Leave us a comment about that too.

And if you’d like to download our SEO Audit Essentials checklist (which you’ll see in the video), you can get a copy by visiting this page.

Transcript of SEOptimer Video Review

With a sleek, modern interface, SEOptimerclaims to have the “grade to rule all” grades, and that’s a pretty ambitious claim for a free tool that does an SEO check on your website. Now, I don’t really know this company and I don’t even know whether to call it S-E-O optimer or S-E optimer, but any case, we’ll answer the question about the grade to rule all grades in just a minute.

Hi. I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy and we’ve been going through some of the free online tools that are available that will help you to do an SEO check on your website. So, the next one that we’re going to take a look at is SEOptimer and we’re going to just take a quick walk through it and see if it does what it purports to do, which is to give you that grade that rules all grades.

So, when you arrive at the homepage for Seoptimer, you’ll see that it’s a very modern website. It looks like a fair amount of budget has gone into developing it and if you poke around in their website a bit, you’ll see that this tool’s been up and online since 2012, according to the site. The company is in Australia and they have a number of free tools available on their website and they also do SEO consulting services. I’m not really familiar with them as a provider. I don’t really make a recommendation or a criticism, but in my other tab here, we’re going to take a look at a project that I’ve plugged in to see what it looks like when we do an SEO check on that site.

In this case, it’s a site we’ve been using with other similar checkers. It’s called Artisans of Colorado. Right at the top it gives me a letter grade, which is fairly typical for these types of tools. It tells me that I’m ranking a C+, that my page could be better, which of course, is something you could say just about any website that’s out there. Let’s just scroll down a little bit and you can see how they’ve broken this down into a number of different categories. SEO, usability, performance, social and security. Kind of ironic social and security are next to each other, at least for the U.S. market. Now, we’ll drop down, we’ll see the overall grade and then we’ll see that they examined a number of the basic things that should be given attention to. In the header of the website, they’ll take a look at the title tag. They’ll give me a printout of what it contains. Recommendation on its length. Meta description tag. It’ll give me a notification if there’s no title tag or no meta description tag.

screen capture of seoptimer seo letter grade

Drop down a little bit farther here, and it’ll tell me whether there’s a good distribution of text in the header tags for the website. Now, one of the things that I did pick out is it’ll tell me that I have multiple H1 tags. It won’t necessarily give any sort of warning with regard to those, and one of the things that I’d like to see here that it doesn’t have would be, a better inventory right at the front side of these header tags. But, it does have it buried, just a little bit deeper, so in this interface, if I click where it says show more details, there I will see the inventory of contents of those various header tags.

screen capture of seoptimer header tags review

Definitely nice the way they have that. You just have to know to click on the blue button to show more details. The keyword, consistency, will show me some distribution of words and which ones are most common on the page. That’s a good thing. It would be nice if they had two and three keyword phrases as well, but the single keywords are better than nothing, definitely. It’ll also give me a warning on the low content on this page and certainly this page does have minimal, textual content, so that’s a valid warning.

On the image alt attributes, it’s a similar situation to the header tags. You’ve got to click to show them. The one thing here that I’d prefer to see is I’d like to see what the alt attribute says. In this case it’ll tell me which image on the page, this one right here, does not have any text in the alt attribute, but it won’t really give me anything in terms of a recommendation. It also has a section that tells me about the number of backlinks. It gives me a nice overview, here, of Moz’s domain authority, which is one of the industry’s standard numbers, measuring how high quality the backlink structure is. Dropdown here for the link structure. It’ll tell me, and I like this, that it gives me all the various links on the page, along with whether they’re flagged as follow or no-follow. Now, if you’re a beginner with SEO, a lot of this stuff that I’ve been rolling through here, you’re probably going to need to do some research and know how to analyze some of theses elements.

Screen capture of seoptimer analysis of backlink structure

This tool’s a little bit lean on recommendations for absolute beginners, but it does, if you’ve got something else that’s giving you some guidance, it’ll show you some reportage here of what’s going on in your site, that is very useful. I’m going to dropdown here. It’ll show the presence of a robots.txt, XML site map. It takes a look as to whether the site is going to render correctly on mobile, versus tablet, versus desktop. It’ll check a few of the various elements that could be a problem if crawlers need to access your site, which of course, they do. So, it’s good that it checks those things. On the speed check, it’s actually a pretty good test of the page speed info, because it doesn’t just give you a overall low time. It’ll show you the response time of the server. It’ll give you an all-page content loaded and then all-page scripts complete. Now, here again, if you’re not familiar with some of these terms, it’s going to be of limited usefulness to you, but if you know a little bit more, it does give you some useful information and then it will give you a little bit more in terms of the various components of your page that are being used. For example, the number of JavaScript files that are going on.

screen capture of seoptimer page load analysis for seo

And if you’re a programmer, you can use this as kind of a heads up, if you’ve got over usage of some of these elements. Dropdown a little bit here and it will take a look at your social profiles. In the case of this site, we don’t have anything going on, so it’s giving me a red flag on all of these various elements. Then it does have a good check of security. It’ll tell me whether I’m using secure protocol, the SSL right here. It’ll tell me whether HTTPS has been set up correctly and it’ll also tell me whether I’m being reported as having malware embedded on my site. I think that’s very useful. Most of the checkers don’t give us this type of feedback, so I think in that case, it was superior to some of the other tools we’ve taken a look at.

screen capture of seoptimer review of site security

Then, it will give me an overview of some of the various technological components used to build the page. Some of the various, sort of, techy details that are related to it. Then it’ll give me a number of recommendations. In this case, they’re good recommendations. Again, they’re pretty minimal, in the sense that they’ll tell me to execute a link building strategy, but they don’t really tell me how to do that. And to be fair, it’s really hard to teach someone how to, for example, do a link building strategy on a tool that’s a free one-page checker. So, a number of these things here are very good to take a look at. Not going to try to explain each of them. What I am going to do is, I’m going to see how does this stack up, and this is kind of a new thing I’m doing on some of these checkers, in that I’m going to go to our SEO audit checklist.

screen capture of seoptimer seo recommendations

Now, this checklist is a free resource, that we make available to anyone, and as a matter of fact, you can download a copy of this for yourself, and what I’ve started doing is taking a look at our checklist, which has 91 different items on it, and seeing is SEO, and I put here, this is an incorrect statement here, by the way. I need to stop myself right now. See where it says SEO Optimer up here? I kept calling it, in my mind, SEO Optimer, and then, if you go to Seoptimer, you’ll actually go to a site that downloads malware, so please, let me do a verbal correction here that this site, as a matter of fact, I think I’ll do it even though I’ve got the video running, I’m going to change this right here, right now. It’s SE Optimer.com, so make sure you get it right. Don’t make the mistake that I did.

On our 91 checklist, basically, I’ve got two different components that this audit checklist is broken into. The whole thing and then also the technical side of things. So, for technical SEO factors, and most of these checkers are focused on the technical factors, I have 30 different points that we check when we do an SEO audit on the site and they hit nine of these where SE Optimer can actually help you, and you’ll see some of them here. For example, the presence of an XML sitemap. Whether the site speed is acceptable or not. Is the site using HTTPS? Is the domain clean of malicious code, and again, most tools won’t do that. Dangerously invalid HTML, broken links. Is the site mobile friendly? And these things over here, you’ll see them flagged, yes, and yes means that SE Optimer, if you’re using it, could actually help you to clear those items if you’re doing your own audit checklist.

You can see, however, that it’s not going to really hit everything that a professional SEO audit would hit. I can just scroll down here and kind of give you a general overview of all the items that you still need to pay attention to, even if you’re running it. So, although I really like a lot of aspects of this tool and I like the fact that it’s modern, well maintained and so forth, I probably would not agree that it will give you the grade to rule all grades. On our comprehensive SEO audit checklist, it hit 16 out of 91 points. On our technical checklist, it hit 9 out of 30 points. So, good tool, but you will have to do more if you’re going to do a thorough SEO audit on your site. By the way, if you want a professional to do an SEO audit for you, definitely come to Horizon Web Marketing. That’s the type of thing we really love digging our teeth into. And, if you want to learn how to do one for yourself, take a look at the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, that’s the training arm of Horizon Web Marketing, where we teach business people and web masters and basically anyone who has an interest, how they can master a lot of these issues with regard to search engine optimization and perform them on their own or with their own team.

Again, my name is Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and Horizon Web Marketing Academy. I appreciate you taking the time and subscribe, down at the bottom, so that you can get the next review, that we do have a website grader and you can stay on top of the best tools that are out there at the lowest cost. Thanks again for watching.

seal like rubber stamp with word audit

Video – How to Use Our SEO Audit Essentials Checklist (7 minutes)

Graphic indicating the free download for the SEO audit checklistHave You Downloaded Our Free SEO Audit Checklist Yet?

(If you haven’t, you can find it here.)

If you have, maybe you’d like a bit of a guided tour. In this brief video I’ll give you an overview and a few insights as to how you might want to use this resource in your own web development and digital marketing.

 

When you watch the video, feel free to post questions in the comments for either this blog post or the video itself. We want to make sure you can get the most out the SEO Audit checklist.

Why should you care about SEO? SEO is Search Engine Optimization to rank higher in search results. Here is a great reference to learn about the value of first page Google results.