I understand. It’s complicated. Lots of things going on in lots of different places and if digital marketing isn’t your sole responsibility or area of expertise, it is simple to enough to presume you may be struggling to keep your head above water. Here however are a few tools, free or paid – with a lovely free trial to get you started, that should help clear the water and have you giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back in no time.
This first segment is a more of a tip of ‘how to google’. Advanced operators will help you understand how your website, and those of competitors, are fairing in googles search results. The operator “site:searchterm” will help you see the pages of your site that are live and functioning well. It is also a great FREE way to work out whether the results give a fair description of your business and its services. It could show if the wrong pages are appearing for specific searches or if you are showing for irrelevant searches. From this you are able to spot poor SEO practices such as if you have duplicate pages.
Talking of duplicate content, a great tool for finding this is Screaming Frog SEO. For most small business the free version, offering 500 URLs to be crawled, will be enough for you to get a good solid footing for your website. As described by the company themselves, “Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler, that allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key onsite elements to analyse onsite SEO”. Catchy isn’t it! Jokes aside, this ability to discover duplicate content and exact duplicate URLs will help you fix these very negatively impacting problems.
If you have been spending time building your websites strength over several years, it is safe to say you will have spent many hours sharing content and links with other sites. This will mean you should have a rather large backlink profile. The ‘health’ of this profile however needs to be kept up to date. With ‘unhealthy’ irrelevant links from poorly ranked sites known lovingly as ‘The 3 Ps’ – Porn, Pills and Poker. Finding sites that have been recognised as having links to these areas will negatively impact your own ratings, as will broken links (404s) and server errors. Screaming Frog allows you to bulk export the errors and source URLs to fix yourself or better still, send to a developer. To help keep your link profile clean in future link building objectives, Majestic is the key tool for informing link building strategies.
Majestic provides information on the strength of the ‘juice’ you’ll receive from a link to your site being placed on said website including the relevance to a particular industry, such as Business/Computing/News. Providing a measurement, Trust Flow (TF), that is similar to Domain Authority (DA) but perceived to be less susceptible to ‘score-editing’. This will allow you to better place your attempts at sharing content and enable you to track how your website improves in a clear way. A detailed breakdown of the relationship between DA and TF can be found in this blog from an organic marketing company.
If a lot of this is going over your head, that I would suggest that you get to grips with Varvy, a great tool that teaches you what is going on behind the often confusing language. It teaches you by phrasing things in a more user-friendly way such as “making pages for users, not bots”. It also allows you to test your webpage URL and provides an easy to follow colour coded list of how your website is performing.
It is never easy keeping track of all these factors; hence why full time jobs and multi-billion pound companies have made their speciality in this area. While these giants of industry may not quite suit ‘Sarah’s Sweet Shack’ there are plenty of small and helpful individuals and agencies out there to help push your online business to the next level.