Some people might be inclined to believe that as long as a website is physically functioning, all is well. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a website that can impact performance and user experience. And since both of those components are factored into how a website is ranked by search engines, you’ll need to look a little deeper if you want to compete.
Maintaining the health of your website involves consistent monitoring and adjusting. In order to make necessary changes, you’ll have to use available resources that can provide you with valuable website insights. If you’re just starting to delve into the health of your website in an effort to make improvements, here’s what you’ll want to look at first.
Analyze Your Backlink Profile
Onsite SEO is important for website health, but so is what you do off-site. Your backlink profile can provide a lot of important clues about how your website might be seen by Google. If you’ve received a number of high-quality links from reputable domains, that can be excellent news for your rankings. But if your backlink profile is littered with spammy links you never sought out, that could be hurting your ability to rank without you even realizing it.
By taking a close look at your backlink profile with help from a free web grader tool, you can determine which links should be disavowed (e.g., links to your site that you don’t feel should “count” as part of your ranking factors) and see which links you’ve already obtained that might be helping you. This information can also allow you to hone your link-building strategy, see which backlinks you might have lost over time, and assess where you might need to improve in terms of anchor text or domain authority.
Examine Your Site Speed
Site speed plays an important role in both user experience and search engine rankings. Users tend to abandon a website if it doesn’t load in a matter of a few seconds, so it’s not surprising that slow websites don’t convert and tend to have higher bounce rates. Higher bounce rate and lower time spent on-page can definitely hurt your rankings — but if you don’t visit your own website frequently, you might not even realize you’re providing a poor experience.
There are a number of tools out there you can use to check your website’s speed. These tools will typically rate your site for its loading time and may even make suggestions for how you can easily speed your site up. You might need to delete large images or compress video media, eliminate outdated code and plug-ins, or work with your web developer to get rid of unnecessary files. By making small changes, you can have a big impact on how quickly your site serves valuable content to visitors.
Search For Duplicate Content
While there’s some conjecture over whether Google will actually penalize you for having duplicate content, most people agree that it isn’t great for SEO. You should check to ensure that you don’t have the same content posted on different parts of your site or that your content has not been scraped and posted elsewhere online. In both scenarios, this could impact your rankings (depending on which page was indexed first).
Duplicate content can occur for a number of reasons. You might think it’s okay to copy and paste your own content when creating pages for multiple locations or products, for example, or you might have mistakenly duplicated an entire page. But every page of your site should be unique, so it’s important to eliminate those occurrences. A competitor might also attempt to hurt your rankings by copying a page of your site and posting it elsewhere, hoping that their page would be indexed first and that your site would be hurt in the process.
An easy way to assess whether you’re dealing with duplicate content is to plug your site’s URL into Copyscape and make any necessary changes to your site. If you find that another site has copied your content, you can report them to Google.
There are loads of other ways to check on your website health, like performing a comprehensive website audit. But by starting with these basics, you should be able to make small improvements in a short amount of time and still see positive impacts in your search rankings.