Want to know more? Our website audit explained:
1. Meta Descriptions
The site check scans all the meta descriptions on your site to check if they are present and correct. It also looks for common errors like duplicate meta descriptions and missing ones.
Descriptions that are too long can also be problematic, so this is also checked.
Why is this important?
Correct meta descriptions are important for SEO. If every page of your site has the same description or they are missing altogether it can hinder your rankings.
2. 404 errors
Whilst not overly problematic from Google’s point-of-view, 404 errors aren’t great for users and can show you if deleted content or old URLs are not being properly redirected.
404s are important because:
They will show you if your site has broken links, poor structure (especially if you’ve launched a new site) or is missing 301 redirects.
What’s more, this check can also help you to reveal if you’ve previously ranking content that no-longer exists. Ranking content for a keyword that lands on a 404 page will quickly drop out of the search results (something you definitely want to avoid).
3. Broken links
The website checker also looks for broken links between text and image content. It can be quite easy on a large site to lose track of broken image URLs and text links.
Why this is needed:
Broken links can be both internal and external, it’s not good practice to have many of these as it sends strong signals to Google that the site is not curated properly.
4. AMP Pages
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is a relatively new addition to ‘must haves’ on your website.
Basically, an AMP page is used in the search results to show a stripped-down version of your page directly within Google (the visitor does not visit your site).
Is this required?
The jury is still somewhat ‘out’ on this one at the moment and there are not currently any WP plugins that seem to do the job properly.
However, if you run a news or article-heavy site, we’d recommend AMP – just take a look at your competitors in the search results – if they are all using AMP, then it could be time for you to do so.
5. 5XX Errors – Server Issues
When your site is tested, the bot also checks for 5XX errors. These are different from 404 errors insofar as they highlight errors on the code of the page that are causing the server problems.
Why do you need to know this?
Plugins conflicts and themes can cause 5XX errors. You might not even know they are there, so this part of the site checker highlights if you have any of these issues on your site.
6. Non-crawlable pages
Occasionally, pages or posts accidentally get changed to no-index – meaning you’re asking Google’s bots to NOT include the page in its index of your site. You don’t want this!
Why you should avoid this type of error.
Google has stated that it prefers to be able to index all your files, irrespective of whether it plans to include them in the search. Allowing bots to follow and visit all your content is making your site as transparent and accessible as it can possibly be.
A good thing in the eyes of Google.
7. Title Tags
Crucial in terms of Search Engine Optimisation, the title tags of your website should be checked to make sure they are the right length, not duplicated and are present.
Checking these is important because…
Title tags are a key indicator to search engines (and people) of what your page or post is about. Duplicates and missing title tags are a big no-no, so this website report checks them all.
8. Broken image links
No one likes seeing a web page with missing images. This simple check makes sure that images referenced in your pages and posts are still available in the media library within WordPress.
9. Sitemap issues
Sitemaps are usually linked to from your site footer and can also be submitted to Google via the Google Search Console.
This is an XML file that tells Google what pages and post you have on your site, errors in this sitemap can send the wrong information to Google.
Why this is important
Your sitemap helps Google understand your site and informs it of what content is available to crawl. Errors send the wrong information to Google which can cause your content to be flagged.
10. Robots.txt issues
This is a small text file that tells bots what they can and can’t index.
This is really important because:
An error here can prevent Google (or other search engines) from crawling your site and ultimately including it in the search results.
11. SSL issues
If you have an SSL certificate, so your site is on HTTPS (secure) rather than HTTP (not secure), it’s important that it’s working properly.
This is checked because:
An incorrectly installed certificate can cause errors and cause warning messages to be displayed when visitors go to your site. Chrome users will be shown a warning when browsing to your web pages warning them of problems – a sure fire way to turn visitors away!
12. Mixed HTTP and HTTPS content
This is a common error on sites that are moved over to HTTPS, but links in the site still reference the non-secure HTTP address.
A crucial fix because:
Your HTTPS will fail and make your site appear insecure, this sends the wrong message to visitors and warnings may be shown.
13. Site speed
An important ranking factor. Google penalises slow sites in the search results (also remember that it does not reward fast ones).
It’s worth checking your site speed because:
You don’t what to spend time and money on a new site and put hours into writing content to get no traction in the search because your site is slow. A slow site will hinder everything to do on your site to improve it.
14. Duplicate content
A big issue on a lot of sites – too many pages that have the same content (or content that is too similar) can look spammy to Google. This part of the site audit scans your pages and posts to make sure your content is unique (within your own site).
Avoid duplicate content because…
Google will think you are trying to create pages to all rank for the same keyword – spammy sites tend to have lots of pages with only slight differences in the text. This site test will help you identify if you need to take action on any posts or pages.
15. Text to HTML ratios
This is a bit of a techy one, but what this site check does is look at what is ‘text’ – content on your site aimed at the visitor, and what is ‘HTML’ – code for the browser to render your page.
You need a higher text-to-HTML ratio because:
This tells Google that you’ve bothered to write a good amount of content for the page and that the page is well built.
Too much HTML and not enough text is a sign of a badly built site.
Not a good ranking factor.
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