Was it worth spending all that time on your latest blog post?
You wrote it, you got some shares, and you maybe even got a couple of comments, but then nothing happens. You get no more traffic, and the post is forgotten about.
How does that feel?
Not great, eh?
SEO is not about being spammy, tricking Google or ruining your content with loads of keywords. But when you are posting content, you do need to think about how Google is going to index it. If you don’t help Google index and rank it then you may not get ongoing traffic to the post.
To find out how likely it is that the blog posts you write will have an ongoing impact, you need to find out how well your blog content is currently doing. You can do this with an SEO report.
Here are some steps for creating an SEO report to track how well your posts are performing for you:
Note: The initial idea for this post came from Kim from Rignite who suggested it on this post about measuring ROI on social media.
1. What are you ranking for within Google?
Your first starting point is to do an analysis of previous posts to see what you are ranking for. SEMRush crawls through Google search results and checks to see which keywords you are ranking for.
It shows you where you are currently ranking and shows, in brackets, where you ranked in previous weeks.
With the free version you get the first ten results, and with the paid version you get all the results.
From this list, you can see if your blog post optimization is working. In the right-hand column it shows you the estimated monthly searches for this content (note: this is number of searches for the country you are doing the analysis on, not the global searches).
If you see that you are ranking for a term that is very relevant to your business and that gets a lot of monthly searches then this is something you could work on optimizing further if you are not already in the number 1 spot!
An alternative to SEMRush is Google Webmaster Tools which is not as comprehensive but is free.
With this tool you can see a table of the search terms that were used to find your content, and it shows the average position of your content in search results. Again, this can be used for improving the optimization of your content to help push it up the search results.
Action: Find out what you are ranking for already and see if you can further optimize this content to push it further up the search results and get more traffic. We quite often focus too much on new content but don’t look after the older content we spent time on in the past!
2. What SEO problems does Google see?
Wouldn’t you like to know the SEO problems that Google finds when it crawls through your website?
Well, our friends at Google are nice enough to tell us about the problems in Google Webmaster Tools, so if you are not regularly checking this service, you should be!
Here is an example of the type of information that is returned.
In the following, Google is showing you that there are some duplicate meta descriptions, short meta descriptions, and missing and duplicate title tags (the title is a very important ranking factor).
Action: Check Google Webmaster Tools on a regular basis to see which issues are highlighted. But don’t just check it, resolve the problems, too!!
3. What about links to your, or your competitors’, sites?
Google analyzes your link profile to see the type of links you get. Are they from loads of poor quality spammy sites, or are they from high quality sites? Do you have a normal link profile with links from a large variety of sites?
Are your links just to your home page or do they point to a variety of pages within your website or blog? Just having links back to your home page is not good enough. This is why it’s so important to produce quality content: with quality content (e.g. a blog) on your website you’ll get links from many sites to many different pages on your website.
And what about your competitors? Are they getting links from high profile domains that should know about your content?
There are various tools available for analyzing links. Here are some we use:
Ahrefs provides you with a lot of detailed analysis on backlinks to your site, or those of your competitors. For example, in the following I’m looking at links over the past week. It uncovered a link from Offerpop (a Facebook app provider) and when I click on this I can see the exact page the link comes from.
In the right-hand column you’ll see ‘domain rank’. The higher the domain rank, the more valuable the website is.
b) Monitor backlinks
Monitor Backlinks, as the name suggests, keeps track of all the links to your site. One nice feature is that it will email you every week with a summary of new and old links that changed in status. It’s surprising how many times you lose old links, and if they are from high profile domains you may want to do a bit of research to find out why you lost them.
c) Open site explorer
Wouldn’t you like to know the top links that your competitor has to their site? These could be links that you could go after as well.
Open up Opensiteexplorer and put in your competitor’s web address, then apply the filter to only view external links:
With the free version you will see full details of the top five most valuable links your competitor has to their website. This is super valuable!!
The links are ranked according to domain and page authority. Read our post on domain authority if you want to understand more about it. The most important thing to be aware of is that the higher the number, the better (i.e. you want your domain authority to be higher than your competitor’s).
Action: Find out the top five backlinks to your competitor’s site and see if you can get links from those sites. Tell them about your fab content, offer to write a guest post, and build a relationship with them so they get to know you.
4. Which posts get you traffic?
If you have some posts that get a lot of relevant traffic, it’s important to look after them. You can view the pages that get the most traffic in Google Analytics.
Select the ‘Behavior’ section, then select ‘All pages’.
Now you can see your popular pages.
There are no guarantees that these posts will continue to get traffic. They get at this point because they rank well for specific terms, and to keep them ranking for these terms, you need to top them up with some new links every so often.
Action: Find your top-performing content and continue to link to it from new posts that are relevant. If you’re guest posting articles on other sites, think of a good reason to get a link to the content!
5. Monitor your own domain/page authority
Domain Page authority is a ranking system to categorize domains and the pages on domains. It was introduced by Moz and it’s a very reliable way of understanding how you rank compared to your competitors.
Domain authority – This is a number out of 100, and the higher the number the better. There are many factors involved in achieving a high domain authority, but one of the key factors is the strength of the links from relevant domains to your site.
Page Authority – This is a number of out 100 for every page on your website. It’s important to know the ranking of your pages, and in particular to be aware of the ones that have a high page authority. If you find pages that have high page authority, it is useful to link to other posts on your site from these high authority pages if you want to push them up the rankings.
As mentioned already, to find out your page/domain authority you can use Opensiteexplorer.
Action: Keep track of the domain/page authority scores for yourself and your competitors. Link to pages from your high page authority pages to give them a boost. Get links from high domain authority sites to pages with high page authority!
If you plant seeds in your garden they will grow. But if you water your garden, remove the weeds and regularly check up your plants they will thrive.
You want your website to thrive so you need to give it some attention!
Here is what you should do now:
1. Comment below and let me know what you think. This SEO report card is certainly not full so I’d love to hear what you’d add to it.
2. Share this article!
3. Take action on one of the points above!