As anyone involved in Search Engine Optimisation will tell you, SEO is a slow and steady process. It takes the three Ps…patience, perseverance and perfection. If you keep working at it, wait for it and do it right – eventually there will be rewards. As a part of this, regular checks must be undertaken to make sure you’re not going lose months and months’ worth of SEO building due to some server error or admin mishap. Here’s a few of them:
Check Google Webmaster Tools EVERY day
Google Webmaster Tools is the eyes and ears of your website’s search engine presence. As it comes straight from Google, you know that the information on it will be pretty legit. It doesn’t need to be a deep check (we’ll come to that later), but even if you’ve just got time for a quick look to see if the site is up and running correctly then that’ll do. Webmaster Tools will tell you if there are any critical issues with your website; from problems with redirects or 404 errors; to mobile compatibility issues and server outages.
In the real world, the person who is running a website is usually different from the person who originally made it and they might even be different from the person who’s in charge of your servers; so in essence it is unlikely you have just one ‘Webmaster’. It is here you can see if there’s any non-obvious problems that you can pass on to the people who can fix it – if you don’t know how.
Perform a deep analysis every few weeks
And when I mean a ‘deep analysis’ I don’t mean just let a piece of SEO software run overnight and check it in the morning. As search engine crawling can take time, it is highly likely (after setting a website up for example) that you’ll find there’s an issue that wasn’t there at first; and you will have to look into this manually. Maybe a newly installed WordPress plugin has conflicted with your robots.txt and Google can’t scan your sitemap correctly. Or maybe you’re finding a large number of suspicious domains are suddenly linking to your site. Now is the time to fix these issues. Otherwise they WILL snowball in the future.
Fetch as Google if necessary
If you spot an error in your Webmaster Tools and you take steps to fix it, make sure you refetch as Google so that they know you’ve fixed the error too. Google will eventually find that you’ve fixed the error after a while if you don’t do this, but there’s no need in waiting for any longer than you need.
Keep on top of what Google are doing
This is absolutely critical. If Google make a major change to how they operate, then you need to know that change. The mobile compatibility update is a recent example of this, and it is astonishing how many still didn’t make the necessary changes in time. Luckily Google are generally pretty good at letting everyone know if they are making a change like this, so keep a tab on those SEO blogs and news sites.