This is where tools like Google’s Webmaster Tools and Pro Rank Tracker come in handy. When you’re looking at the keywords there are a few main places to focus:
- What keywords are generating most of your traffic (current wins)
- What keywords are you aiming for but failing at, and can you realistically rank for them?
- What keywords can you find that could act as “easy victories” to boost traffic right now?
Most keywords should be able to break down into one of these categories. Often times when you find the keywords that are generating most of your traffic you’ll not only see ones you were aiming for but others that maybe were completely unexpected or are bringing in traffic because of a single blog post that wasn’t heavily marketed. These are keywords you want to push to get more traffic.
Aside from unexpected wins, look for those longtail keywords that might have a lot less traffic, but also much less competition. 100 people might not seem like much traffic, but if you rank for 100 easy keywords that each bring that in, you have 10,000 more website visitors a month. Not too shabby. You want more of these.
Finally, if you were aiming for keywords that you’re just not making progress with, it’s time to take a realistic look at if you can rank for them or not, and whether they are worth the effort or if it is time to pour those resources into more likely wins.
Between Moz and Ahrefs tools you will be able to see what keywords your competition is ranking for, who they are getting links from, and how they are beating you. Analyzing those you’re competing with is crucial. This can help you see what keywords are realistically out of reach, what keywords your competitors are feasting on (and these could easily be attainable ones that you missed), and who you might be able to get links from, helping you get past your competition.
This analyzing the competition should affect every single decision you make moving forward with your campaigns because this information is absolute gold.
Technical analysis is extremely important because the user experience of a website makes a major difference when it comes to SEO. Is your website mobile friendly? Is the SSL correctly installed? Are there missing pages or re-direct issues? These just scratch the surface of technical based questions that are really important.
Test your website’s loading speed (it should be under 2 seconds), check to see that Google is getting your site’s XML Sitemap and watch out for duplicate content (this includes meta tags!). Technical issues might seem small in comparison to the books being written on on-site and off-site SEO, but it is a part of the program that you do not want to screw up!
Page Level Analysis
This analysis is all about making sure everything is properly optimized. Great content is important, but it still needs to be optimized the right way to be effective for SEO. This means the keyword being in the title, in the meta description, in the first few sentences, and in the last sentence.
In addition to this, the URL needs to be clean and optimized, and the photos must have alt tags. Finally, take advantage of internal linking but make sure it is done properly (see the linking section for more on this).
Content Quality Analysis
First cover the basics: your content should be original, written at a native level of proficiency, and be useful & informative. Figuring out what makes content quality can be difficult, and if you’re not a professional writer or editor, consider hiring one for an honest audit. Judging your own writing can be extremely difficult, and this is why in the publishing world writers have editors at every level. While this can seem like an excessive expense, it is a great way to make sure that some fresh eyes check out the content, compare it to the competition’s, and can give you an honest answer on whether it is really high quality or if it doesn’t hold up as much as you think it does.
On top of this nebulous idea of quality, the posts should be easy to read, entertaining in style, and longer is better. These should all be parts of your content analysis.
User Experience Analysis
You need to rely on Google Analytics to know this for sure. Two main stats you want to look at bounce rate and average time on site. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who leave the website after visiting just one page. Ideally, you want this to be lower, though it doesn’t have to be overly low – if you’re at 98% then that’s a problem.
Average time on site is a big one. This is exactly what it sounds like, and more engaged visitors are obviously going to stay longer. This is seen as a particularly important stat for SEO and is an obvious way to measure the experience that users are having with your website. The better the experience, the better your overall situation when it comes to SEO.
Full Link Profile Analysis
There’s no question that links are one of the most important factors when it comes to search engine optimization. The tools you use should look at backlink type, the number of links, their relevance to your website’s niche, keyword anchors used, and more. Backlinks from other websites are important, but there is no denying that some are much more important than others.
Some main points you want to look at:
- How many backlinks come from relevant websites in similar niches?
- How many authority websites link to your website?
- What is the % breakdown of keyword anchors? (You generally want 80% URL or brand/website name, 10% keywords, and 10% other)
- Diversity of link types
- Trust flow
Note on internal links: This is the one time when all links should be direct anchor keywords. Don’t get fancy, don’t mix it up. If you’re linking internally to a post about Keyword A, an internal link from another post should be labeled Keyword A.