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by Arslan Yaqub
There’s nothing quite like a sudden Google algorithm update to leave internet marketers feeling equal parts confused and concerned. It’s like they wait for you to get all of your ducks in a row and then unleash an update that changes everything.
Surely, they’re pretty open about that fact that they’re doing this for everyone’s own good -_- each algorithm tweak brings us one step closer to more relevant search results, after all.
However, there is still some secrecy behind exactly how Google evaluates a website and ultimately determines which sites to show for which search queries.
These tools are critical to your organic search strategy because they allow you to focus on the elements of your site that Google deems important.
Perhaps the best way to understand the way Google sees your site is to ask Google. Google’s Webmaster Tools are novice-friendly resources that explain the fundamentals of Google search.
For example, Google’s Fetch as Google tool allows you to see a particular URL as Google sees it, which is critical when troubleshooting for poor SEO performance. The information returned can help you modify the page in question for better results, and can even help you isolate problematic code when you believe your site’s been hacked.
Each week users are allotted 500 fetches. If you come close to hitting your limit, you’ll see a notification on the report.
Another great feature of Google Webmaster Tools is PageSpeed Insights. This tool measures the performance of both your desktop and mobile site in terms of speed. With mobile search queries surpassing desktop searches, page speed is becoming increasingly important to businesses that want to hold on to their visitors.
“The PageSpeed Score ranges from 0 to 100 points. A higher score is better and a score of 85 or above indicates that the page is performing well.
Please note that PageSpeed Insights is being continually improved and so the score will change as we add new rules or improve our analysis,” according to Google Developers.
To ensure that your links on a webpage – whether external or internal – actually work, check out Check My Links.
This broken link checker makes it easy for a publisher or editor to make corrections before a page is live. Think about a site like Wikipedia, for example. The Wikipedia page for the term “marketing” contains a whopping 711 links.
Not only was Check My Links able to detect this number in a matter of seconds, but it also found (and highlighted) seven broken links.
The tool highlights all the good links in green, and those that are broken in red, making it easy to spot the ones that don’t work or are no longer active.
Cost: Free 30-day trial, then paid plans from $99/mo – $599/mo
The Moz Pro subscription serves as an all-in-one tool for increasing your business’ search ranking. Moz’s collection of research tools provides subscribers with the resources they need to identify SEO opportunities, track growth, build reports, and optimize their overall efforts.
For example, the Crawl Test tool employ’s Moz’s own web crawler, RogerBot, to analyze up to 3,000 links on a given URL. Once completed, users then receive an email report that details the data for each page the site links to.
This is super helpful if you’re looking to identify crawlability factors such as duplicate content and redirects that could be influencing your SEO performance.
SEO Report Card by UpCity lets you analyze your website to determine how it stacks up against your competitors.
In exchange for a bit of your contact information, SEO Report Card will serve up a report that covers the following:
Back in 2007, HubSpot released a tool called Website Grader that helped businesses uncover search engine optimization opportunities. Since a lot has changed since then, they recently released a new and improved version of the tool.
Website Grader is an online tool that generates personalized reports based on the following key metrics:
All you need is your website URL and an email address to get started. Simply plug in your information and you can expect a score (1-100) as well as a detailed report in just a matter of seconds.
While you’ll never get a look behind the Google curtain to learn everything they know (or don’t know) about your site, by leveraging SEO best practices and getting the most out of tools like those listed here, you can greatly increase the chances that your website will show up in response to the right search queries.