A Simple DIY Website Audit

Recently, a friend of my wife’s was wondering if I would take a look at a her small business website and give her some insights about what she could focus on to improve. The catch is that she didn’t have the budget to hire me or any other SEO professional. I also have run into several IT managers and marketing people in the past couple months who know their company site is not working right and would love to be able to fix it, but don’t know where to start to gather the information needed to get the beaurocracy to approve those fixes.

That’s why I’ve decided to make a great a DIY site audit template for similar small businesses or in-house IT managers who’ve been handed the “role of SEO” and other who need to know where to start when you’re doing a site audit.

You've got to break it all down in an audit

Breaking down a site into all of it’s pieces can help you understand what’s broken and how it should be fixed.

First of all, you should know that there is a lot of information you need to know about technical SEO and the implementation of best practices. There are real professionals in the SEO field who specialize in this specific part of the optimization process.

There are dozens of insights and opportunities they would spot in this process that you won’t if you follow this DIY process. So hire someone if possible.

That being said, if you’re in over your head, have no budget and have a website with problems that even you can see then I think I can help you.

Helpful Site Audit Templates

Chances are good that if you’re doing this kind of audit then you’re going to want to have it in a more permanent form than an email. You may even need to present it to the “powers that be” to get some of the potential issues resolved that will be revealed in an audit. That’s why I’ve created a template for you in three different mediums so you can update it with your own site audit:

What You’ll Need To Do This DIY Audit

Look closely

Here are some tools to help you take a closer look.

  • Access to Google Analytics
  • Access to Google Webmaster Tools
  • Copyscape
  • A lot of patience and a web browser
  • A victory dance for when you’re finished. Shot of Whiskey, a fine hard apple cider or glass of wine.
  • A good site crawler.

Before Your Run, You Gotta Crawl

When you start your audit you’re going to need some data that will be easier to access with additional programs instead of just a browser. The first thing being a “crawl” program that visits the site, accesses all of the pages and behaves like a search engine spider to uncover some flaws in your site design or architecture.

I personally love Beam Us Up’s free SEO crawler, mostly because it will give you an excel export of the “crawl” data with tabs showing filtered results for the most common issues and it has no crawl limit on it’s free version (just be sure to update to the most recent Java). You can use other crawlers like these as well that have other limits or require licenses.

Let’s Get This Site Audit Started!

High Five! Let's do this audit!

High Five! Let’s do this audit!

Domain Expiration

Fail: Letting your domain expire.

Seriously. If you let your domain expire underneath you, that’s a serious fail.

Letting your domain expire is the most preventable of SEO catastrophes. There’s a whole industry based on ransoming expired domains back to owners who allowed them to lapse. Unfortunately, I let my own domain footinmouthdisease.net lapse and now there’s a medical article site spamming up the interwebs.

Domain Name Redirection

The very first thing I always look at is whether or not they have properly setup their domain name.

  • Does the site show up at BOTH www and non-www without redirecting to one or the other? (
  • Does the site resolve at /site.aspx, /default.aspx or /home/ instead of the bare root domain?
  • I almost always prefer to use non-www for my domains, partly because the internet is larger than the “world wide web” but also I hate having to say “double-you,double-you,double-you”.

Server setup – SSL

If you have heard that a SSL certificate and securing your site to send traffic through HTTPS protocols can possibly impact ranking, then you should know that you can easily make errors in this process, here’s something to check and it’s related to redirects. If you have got a certificate for the root domain, but not a “wildcard” certificate, then you may end up getting some scary messages going to your visitors when they click a link that goes to the WWW version of your site (even if there’s a redirect).

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file is located in the primary directory of your website. This file tells the search engines what pages they can and cannot crawl on your website. It also helps them know what sections of the site to spend their time in. Here’s what to check for:

  • Does it exist? If it doesn’t then make one. (Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress includes it.)
  • Does it block URLs that exist in the sitemap? Then either remove them from the sitemap or the robots file.
  • Are you disallowing crawling of your entire site? Yes. This happens WAY too often.
  • Do you have a ridiculous amount of crawl rules?

XML Sitemap

The xml sitemap is also a file that should be located in the primary directory of your website. This file serves as a map for the search engine to quickly understand how the pages of your site work together. While the search engine will likely find all pages on your site eventually through it’s crawling, it’s important to make that process easier for them by uploading this file and directing the crawler to the pages you would have them see as most important.

  • Does an XML sitemap exist?
  • Is it formatted correctly?
  • Has it been submitted to Google Webmaster Tools?
  • Does the sitemap contain pages excluded in Robots.txt?
  • Does the sitemap include improperly formatted URLs?
  • Do the pages included in the sitemap deserve to be included? Don’t add empty eCommerce listings or stub pages.

Malware

I've got a Hunch Hunch You've Got Malware

Hunch Hunch, What What?

If your site has been compromised by a php inject or has hijacked your comments or forums then you’re in for a bad time. Check periodically for warnings in Google webmaster tools, and also beware sudden spikes in traffic to the user generated portions of your site. I’ve helped several people recently who had to disavow a ton of links pointed to forum pages that were generated with links to pills, pron and gambling sites.

Site Load Speed – Page Timings

The page load speed of a site can often influence the way search engines look at a page or site. If it takes too long to load, they will assume that provides a worse user experience than if it were to load faster and they most certainly take that into consideration when ranking websites.

“Amazon finds a 100ms slowdown – one tenth of a second! – can mean a 1% decrease in revenue.”

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.

Site: Search

One of the best ways to understand how Google has indexed your site is to do what is called a “site search.” This involves using a search modifier for google along with the domain of your website. The search query would look like this: “site:basecampleasing.com.” This search will return all pages that Google has indexed for your site.

  • Does the # of indexed pages match the real # of pages?
  • Are there duplicate pages being indexed?
  • Are there thin or stub pages being indexed?
  • Has your site been indexed at www, non-www or with /index.php or any other URL string?

URLs

Page URLs should be structured in a way that makes sense with the content on the site and that makes sense to the user if they were to simply read it. This usually involves including a topical category level in the URL if applicable and using targeted keywords in the URL where possible.

Below is an example of the way a very solid URL for SEO would be structured:

http://www.example.com/category-keyword/subcategory-keyword/primary-keyword

vs.

http://www.example.com/prod/cat/unit1234

You will need to carefully plan out any URL re-writing with proper redirects in your HTAccess file to fix these structural URL issues. Don’t make any sudden changes that could cause pages that are indexed to suddenly return error messages.

Meta Titles

Meta titles are supposed to be coded into the head of the HTML on every page on your website. This element generates the title that you probably see in the top tab of your web browser as well, and more importantly, the title snippet seen on the SERP for pages on your website is pulled from that title tag. It is also one of the most important elements that Google looks at when trying to understand what a page on your site is about and it’s relevance.

Meta titles also should generally include targeted keywords that are relevant to the content on that specific page. The title should be unique to each page on the site to signify the difference in content across the site. They should include both a strong keyword phrase and the name of the company in order to maintain consistency across the site. A big issue is title length, with far to many people making them too long, which will cause Google to make some changes to it’s SERP.

Meta Descriptions

Taking control and writing an effective meta description allows you to draw more searchers through to the site increasing your click through rate which makes your organic reach more effective even if you’re not changing your rankings directly.

Meta Keywords

We could exchange reciprocal links! Oh, i know..want to be part of my link wheel?

Created with due respect to Ryan North of Dino Comics from his template

Seriously? Sigh. Come on people. Just kill these tags if they exist.

OG tags, Twitter Cards and Rich Pins

These tags from facebook help populate the correct image, title and description for when your page is shared, and leads to increased click through from that social media channel. Adding Twitter card markup has a similar effect but also gives you relevant analytics data at analytics.twitter.com to show you your tweet’s performance. Verifying your site with Pinterest allows you to post rich pins from your site which improve click through.

Headings

Don’t think you’re going to suddenly jump to the top of the rankings when you use header tags but don’t forget them either. You should naturally be using h1s for things like the blog post title, and h2s for sub-topics. It’s helpful to remember that using headers also is a usability issue. I always use these headers as “tabs” to grab skimming page visitors looking for the piece of content they need.

Duplicate Content

What Out For Duplicates!

What out for duplicates of your original content!

There are actually two ways to look at this issue. The first way is looking for content that’s been duplicated on the site itself. This can happen really easily in big eCommerce site where there are a lot of entries. It’s also a common side effect of many CMS platforms. This should be detected in your crawl. Remove the duplicate, any links to the duplicate page and add a 301 redirect. If you can’t because your CMS has it’s limits, then add a rel=canonical tag to the one you’d prefer to be indexed.

The send thing you need to watch out for is off-site content duplication. Use a 3rd party tool like Copyscape to check to see if your content is duplicated on other sites. This could be your own site copying from others or a problem with scraping by 3rd party sites. If your site shares content with other sites, it could be stemming from use of a manufactures description for your eCommerce products, laziness or plagarism and should be hunted down and stopped immediately.

Duplicate Content

What Out For Duplicates!

There are actually two ways to look at this issue. The first way is looking for content that’s been duplicated on the site itself. This can happen really easily in big eCommerce site where there are a lot of entries. It’s also a common side effect of many CMS platforms. This should be detected in your crawl. Remove the duplicate, any links to the duplicate page and add a 301 redirect. If you can’t because your CMS has it’s limits, then add a rel=canonical tag to the one you’d prefer to be indexed.

The send thing you need to watch out for is off-site content duplication. Use a 3rd party tool like Copyscape to check to see if your content is duplicated on other sites. This could be your own site copying from others or a problem with scraping by 3rd party sites. If your site shares content with other sites, it could be stemming from use of a manufactures description for your eCommerce products, laziness or plagarism and should be hunted down and stopped immediately.

[See what I did there?]

Image Optimization

There’s a lot of things you could be doing wrong with your images. Here’s the two most important ones:

  • All images should have non-spammy but relevant descriptions added as alt text and optionally in the title element as well.
  • All images should have a filename that is relevant to the product, and not just a string of numbers or slider1432, because that also is a signal to search engines about the relevance of the image.

Favicon

This small image in a .ico format is displayed in the browser and becomes the icon when the site is bookmarked. It’s the cherry-on-top. Don’t forget about it.

Broken Pages – 404 & 500

There are a lot of reasons why you could end up with a 404 that go beyond the page simply not existing. It’s key to map out how many pages are actually broken through your crawl, where those errors are linked from, how they are broken, and get them fixed.

The 500 error is a server error message and tends to be a programming or CMS caused issue but still should be fixed with the same following process.

When check your crawl to see how many of these errors have been created don’t just fix the problem that created them on the page. Be sure to add 301 redirects via your HTaccess file for those broken URLs to a relevant resource page. Once you’ve done that check in Google Webmaster Tools to see if their crawl errors has that page listed and mark it as fixed.

404 Page

It’s going to happen eventually. Someone is going to type in the wrong address, click on a mal-formed link and end up on your 40 page. But that doesn’t mean you should lose the value of that visitor. Make your 404 more than an apology, guide those visitors to your highest value pages and offerings or at least entertain them with clever error messages.

Gathering All Of The Data

Now don't get too frustrated.

Now don’t get too frustrated. This is going to help make it all better in the end.

Okay. This is where the rubber meets the road. I’ve provided the template of your choice in Google Documents, Spreadsheets and Slides for you, now go and see just how many of these mistakes your site has made.

Presenting Your Audit Findings

You don't have to dance, but you are certainly entitled to.

You don’t have to dance, but you are certainly entitled to do so.

While there are even more parts to check for every area I listed and tons more beyond that you really should be feeling good when you complete this audit. It may take some time to actually get these things fixed, if they ever are, but you will know you’ve done everything you can to improve the situation. Good job!

Do You Know How To Be Effective At Online Marketing?

blank-brain

It’s the biggest impediment to your success. It’s what just about every business struggles with most. It’s likely the No. 1 thing holding back your business. It’s so simple a 5-year-old could solve it, but so easy to miss teams of people with advanced degrees spend countless sums struggling to get over the hurdle.

That “it” is the inability to ask the right questions, the tough “must-be-answered-before-we-do-anything-else” questions.

  • Why are we doing this?
  • How will we measure the impact?
  • What comes next?
  • How will we define success?
  • Who should be involved?

The list goes on and on and on.

One of the biggest holes in content marketing is “do-it-a-lot-before-learning-to-do-it-well” syndrome. Everyone jumps right into content creation without ever defining why they are doing so or who it’s designed to help. Then, when the results they’d hoped for never materialize, everyone sits around looking dumbfounded, or worse yet, they denounce content marketing for being a failure.

The real culprit is marketers love to jump right into tactics without ever clearly defining our objectives.

The Only Place To Start With Online Marketing

My indoctrination with this line of thinking happened more than a decade ago, when I applied for a business writing job at a newspaper. I’d just aced the interview with the executive editor and the lifestyle section editor, when the metro editor comes in and starts peppering me with questions.

Instead of staying the course and highlighting what I brought to table over a traditional journalism grad, I played to the crowd, starting in about knowing AP style, being an avid reader and studying the reporting style of well-known writers.

When the metro editor left the room, the lifestyle editor gave me the business.

“We don’t need better journalists,” she said. “We need someone who’s willing to ask the tough questions.”

That three-minute conversation made me a better writer, researcher and reporter.

There appears to be a lot of confusion on the web about where to start with online marketing. Is it SEO? Technical SEO? User experience? Content? Information architecture? Personas?

It has to be one of these, right? After all, these are the buzzwords that set hearts aflutter online.

Maybe I’m biased, but this is why I love content strategy, which I have come to call the great clarifier. As Kristina Halvorson has said, content strategy brings to the table the “right questions way before any work actually kicks in or gets done.”

We can agree or disagree on just what those questions should be, but this plotting of the right path cannot be overstated in its importance.

It also ensures that what’s important remains a priority throughout the process, no matter what the overall objectives are for the business.

Never Stop Asking ‘Why Are We Doing This?’

now what?If every meeting began with someone asking “Why are we doing this?” a lot of the heartache associated with online marketing would be alleviated.

That’s just want I want you to start doing, however.

Before any content is created, any websites are designed or any social media platforms are chosen, get to the bottom of why you’re doing it in the first place. It could very well be that the answer you get saves time, money and a huge investment in resources your team does not have.

To see this plan at work, we’ll use a conversation I had recently with an executive coaching client looking to rebrand himself as a thought leader outside the confines of his current company.

His goal is to grow his presence outside of corporate America with hopes of being hired as a consultant by some of the brands who are now vendors to his current company.

His idea was to post weekly content on LinkedIn, daily content on Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram, and blog at least once per week.

By asking “Why are we doing this?” I find out he’s looking to exit his current job within the next 12 months, so moving quickly is seen as the only option.

However, he lacks the time for such a full-on rebranding assault.

With his overall goal laid bare, we see where he is trying to go, yet we also recognize the flaws in how he is trying to get there. Now we can plot a workable plan of action that should be no less effective, but places the emphasis where it should be: On the desired results, not the process, which can become a quagmire that’s impossible to extricate yourself from.

That’s the beauty of asking “Why are we doing this?” It strips away process, forcing you to focus on what matters most—and only what matters most at a given point and time.

There is no room for distraction.

Making “Why are we doing this?” work for your business is easy and necessary.

Here’s a simple example:

Your team is planning for a big new product launch in the spring. The goal is to generate significant momentum leading up the launch, then have the pieces in place to sustain the momentum as the sales channels continue to materialize.

By asking “Why are we doing this?” you get a very clear, finite answer: to goose sales.

See what happened there? Your team doesn’t get bogged down in the details. You don’t create silos, since the content, web development and SEO teams aren’t pitted against one another for resources initially and, most important, the work becomes about the over-arching goal, not the process of getting there (e.g., web redesign, hiring sales team members, content marketing, etc.).

I’m convinced online marketers would all do well to start asking themselves the same question.

The results could be astounding.

Give this approach a try in your business and let us know what you think.

9 Things You Might Be Getting Wrong With Your Blog Images

When you construct a blog post it’s important to have the right visual content. I believe it can actually be as important as the writing in most cases. In the name of corny awesome Buzzfeed style listicles I’ve outlined some of the most common errors I see professionals and non-professionals make with their blog image choices. Here we go!

1. Not Using Images At All

While the United States may rank 27th for broadband internet the reality is that the average internet connection speed is 31.02 MBPS, which is far more than enough to load reasonably sized images. If you’re not using images, you’re missing out on the social sharing potential for your posts. Because without a specific image with Twitter-cards or OG markup then you’ll either get a random logo or design element pulled onto those social posts or worse, none at all.

2. Using Small 100-300px Images and Right Aligning Them

The Rubiks Cube Of GoogleWhat is this 2004? You don’t need to offset small images set on left and right alignment for each paragraph. The era of big, beautiful images is here (hooray!). You should embrace the quality of your images and allow them to take up the full width of your blog post.
If you’re not prepared to go big, then you’ve chosen the wrong image. The second issue with using these tiny images is that they are below the minimum size to be eligible for them to trigger those beautiful image powered posts on social, just as if they didn’t exist. Boo.

3. You Never Named Your Image File

 Untitled Images - We all have our folders of unlabled shame.
It’s a pain, but a necessary step. You’ve got to take the time to rename the file before you upload it. Google has included the file name into the list of elements that it considers when it determines the relevance of an image. We’re definitely going for relevance here.

4. You Didn’t Minify Your Image

Small Mario can be useful!

This GIF originally was 4.5 MB. I cropped, scaled and optimized it in GIMP down to 1.8 MB. Small Mario has some advantages!

You can minify your JPGs and your PNGs to help decrease your load time and still retain the high quality image you selected. There are of course also a range of WordPress plugins that can minify images automatically as you upload them so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are shrinking a GIF you can try some tools like this one, scale down the size of the image in Gimp/Photoshop or remove parts of the layers that don’t change from frame to frame.

5. You Let WordPress Create A Title & Alt Based On That File Name

 Oh Silly Krang
FVB122.ico.tmz is super helpful to both the disabled users that visit your site & to  Googlebot to understand the image (said no one ever).

6. You Chose A Generic Stock Image Graphic

SEO and hands with lens flares by J.J Abrams

I need an image of the letters SEO with random hands that also has lens flares by J.J Abrams. Yes! Thank you Mjohns2839 just what I needed!

Stock photos are seen as a cure for a marketing image needed by many businesses who don’t, can’t or won’t put more resources into their websites and online marketing efforts (sorry about the run-on). Stock photos are actually like one of those prescription drugs where the list of “side” effects are truly horrific.

Yea, it’s actually better not to use any images instead of going with true with a selection of obvious stock images. Recently there has been a rise in “non-stock photos” which sounds great, but they have their own issues.

7. You Didn’t Add A Much Needed Caption

Who knows why you chose this image from Unsplash.com taken by Ryan Tauss

It’s tempting to just grab a big image from one of the many non-stock photo sites that have cropped up to provide an alternative to WTFstock photos. But you had a deadline and kinda just picked something that maybe sorta possibly related to your topic. Sorta.

I don’t blame you. It’s pretty tedious to scroll through all those sites hoping to find something related to the post you’re writing about the “super exciting” world of binary load lifters or moisture ‘vaporators. But if you can’t get quality images that you take yourself or have professionally photographed then at least add a caption to tie that image securely to the topic being discussed. (It doesn’t have to be in Bocce).

8. You Set Yourself Up To Get Fined By Getty Images

If you’re blindly picking images you find in Google’s image search then you’re just begging for problems. If you so happen to choose a Getty Image they will use reverse image software to hunt you down, send a “violation letter” and demand a multi-hundred dollar fee. Per image.

Even though the actual  image license itself costs just a few pesos, they will claim that “damages” were done. As disreputable as this may sound, you can take some steps to protect yourself and your client from this headache by carefully sourcing your images.

9. You Didn’t Just Take It Yourself

When you are the creator of an image or you pay someone to create an image for your blog post you’re putting something new out there. Take out that lonely SLR, your 45 megapixel Nokia Lumia or hire a talented photographer. It’s much easier to rank for new content you’ve contributed over something that already existed that you just tweaked (if that) and appropriated for yourself.

Carrots

See? I took this photo of my designer friend drawing carrots for a logo and it looks awesome right?

What Have You Done Wrong With Your Images?

Feel free to share any mistakes you feel you’ve made in the past with your images. C’mon, we’ve all done it.

If You’re Doing Social Media For SEO, You’re Doing It Wrong

Confused

My dad used to say, “If you tell the same lie long enough, eventually it catches up to you and you have to account for it.” You’d think my dad was a content marketer, since many of the “white lies” we’ve been telling brands for years are finally coming home to roost. The biggest among those untruths is overstating the value of social media to brands who are neither prepared to take advantage of those benefits nor discerning enough to parse the information we were sharing.

It went something like this.

Marketer: “You have a good website, strong SEO, your main keywords are where we need them to be, and your content is great since the redesign. But you need social media to really take your business to the next level. When people visit your blogs, then share them in social media, the social signals will help your site rank better.”

Client: “So social signals are like links? They are links, basically? Is that what you’re saying?”

You see where this is going right. The marketer, realizing the opportunity to close the deal, chooses to tell one little white lie, which will come back to bite her in the backside months later.

Marketer: “Yes, exactly. Social signals are basically links.”

(I was privy to conversations that proceeded like this on numerous occasions.)

It’s the lie that slices like a knife but hurts mainly because it doesn’t have to be told.

Do Social Media For The Right Reasons

Search signals are not links, and they never will be links. But you know what? That doesn’t matter. You should do social because it’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways to conduct online PR, branding and customer service for your brand. Of all the things you can do online to help your business, social media has the ability to give your brand the reach, visibility and a lasting presence few mediums can provide.

The search benefits, which are real and can substantial, are a bonus.

Now that you know why you should do social media, let’s discuss how to smartly deploy social media for your business.

Define your target audience, then discern where they are congregating online.

Don’t assume it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram just because they have the number. You need to know where the people are who would be interested your content and who could be classified as a qualified lead.

Determine the content they are interesting in by looking at the content they share, converse about and link to.

To do this, create a list of some of the most active participants in your vertical online, then pay attention to what they are sharing and linking to. (To get a simple look at what they are linking to, visit their website and read their content or use a program like Open Site Explorer or Screaming Frog to peek at backlink.)

Create the content you’ll ultimately want to promote.

Strive to make it as in-depth and actionable as possible, in addition to adding several meaningful graphics. Be sure to include clear, compelling calls-to-action, which should aid commenting, sharing and linking.

Publish the content and get busy promoting it online.

Tag or tweet to members of the audience who are key in sharing the content. Elicit discourse on social media by asking questions, tagging others and inviting public discussion.

Repeat.

As you can imagine, if your business is creating stellar content consistently, then sharing it with the right audience members, links will follow. And those links will help your SEO.

However, content is not synonymous with links, so don’t make the mistake of assuming there is a 1:1 relationship between the two, as in more shares equals more links.

If you’re doing content and social media wisely, your business will see the benefits, by way of shares, links and enhanced organic search reach, as the topics you’re blogging about slowly begin to show up higher in the SERPS. This is typically a slower process than most business owners would like for it to be, though, which explains why the little white lie becomes a big lie that ultimately loses content marketers clients.

You should use social media because it’s an effective medium for establishing your brand’s online presence and maintaining top-of-mind awareness. The links and social signals that should follow are gifts.

(Hat tip to Eric Enge for his recent post on social media and SEO, which served as the impetus for me to share my personal experience.)

What are your thoughts?

Why Our Now Provided Report is Essential For Your SEO Toolset [Podcast]

Last week Dan Kaplan, who is a long-time, valued client and also the CoFounder of periscopeUP, interviewed our CEO Chase Granberry about our Now Provided Reports. Below is the Podcast and in this video you can see all the benefits of our report. You can see screenshots, see how easy the set-up is, understand how the process works and then see the resulting data. Chase also goes over some other tool options you may not have been aware that AuthorityLabs provides.
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Analyzing Page Titles with Screaming Frog [VIDEO]

I’m sure many of you have read Brian LaFrance’s latest post on how Google looks at your page titles. If you haven’t checked it out yet. Do ett!

In this tutorial, I will show you how to take your page titles and give them a make over! Screaming Frog is an incredible tool to do that with. I’ve released two other tutorials on how to use Screaming Frog, and how to pair Screaming Frog with Google Analytics. Check out the full video tutorial below. Or scroll down for the picture-book-walkthrough.

Step 1 – Page Title Length

Brian and I collected and analyzes thousands of site’s page titles. We found that Google most commonly changes your page titles to be within the 50-59 character range. Fun fact: the optimal pixel width for a title tag is 512 characters.

step1

Step 2 – Filter Options

Feel free to scroll over and filter by Title Length or Title Pixel Width. Simply click on the column title.  

step2

Step 3 – Lower Window Magic

Many Screaming Frog explores seldom use the lower window. I touched on this window in earlier tutorials. But, we’re really going to dive in and take full advantage of these features.

URL Info: This tab contains a snapshot of the following elements:

  • Address
  • Status Code
  • Content Size
  • Title
  • Meta Description
  • H1
  • Canonical Link
  • Word Count
  • Level
  • Inlinks
  • Outlinks
step3

Step 4 – #AllTheLinks

In the next tab over you can view which links are linking to the page you have selected, and are linking away. You can even check on your Anchor Text and Alt Text for each of the links.

step4

Step 5 – Images

This info is helpful to check if your images have the proper Alt Text and what they’re linking to.

step5

Step 6 – Bread Winner! – SERP Snippet

Pro Tip: To bask in the full glory of the SERP Snippet window, resize it be clicking and dragging the dotted lines. 

SERP Snippet: This tab gives you an overview of how your landing page looks in Google.

step6

Step 7 – Check yo’self

If you look to the right of your SERP preview, you can see a character counter and pixel width counter. Screaming Frog highlights the title metrics in red if they are greater than what would be viewable in Google. So helpful!

step7

Step 8 – A New View

This view also allows you to view your SERP Snippet as if you were viewing them on desktop, mobile, or tablet.

step8 - different views

Step 9 – Try, try, again

One really cool tool in Screaming Frog is that you can edit your page titles and meta descriptions. You can use this to edit multiple landing pages and then export those edits and then ad them to your site.

Pro Tip: There is a little bug. If you want to reset the Title & Description to the original version make sure you don’t navigate away from this selected landing page. 

step9- edit or reset

Step 10 – Tips ‘n Tricks

Scroll over different parts of the SERP Snippet to get tips on each other the aspects.

 step10- scroll

Step 11 – Export

Change the titles/meta/keywords/etc to the correct lengths, then export them!

step11- protip-export

Step 12 – Pretty Time!

Check out the conditional formatting section of my tutorial for a detailed walk-through. Or, if you’re most confident in your Excel skills then you can reference these cheat sheets on how to format your results.

step13- formatting step14- formatting

Thank you! 

yougotit

And happy exporting!