Let’s start things with a heart-breaking truth – any website is useless if it doesn’t rank, no matter how much hard work has gone behind it. Nearly 90% people do not go beyond page 1 and the figures become harsher when you think of page 5. So, no matter how much time (and money) it takes, you just have to give everything. Luckily, there is a hidden treasure in the widely used Google Chrome browser that you can use for your SEO audit.
No payments to SEO companies, no developers required – a few simple steps are all that you need to optimize your site. The developer options in Google Chrome, or more famously known as DevTools, come with moderately powerful features to detect and rectify coding faults in your site. Its sheer simplicity and ease of use make DevTools escape site owner’s eyes, but when applied, it stands out than most other expensive tools available.
To audit your page using DevTools, launch it in Chrome first and click on the “3 dots” on the top right corner. Go to “More tools” and select Developer Options. DevTools opens up for you in which you can SEO audit your page in the following 10 ways.
- Use “Network Conditions” to inspect page speed –
Google recently released a stat stating that the bounce rate is maximum for a page which takes more than 5 seconds to load. But, if it takes 2-3 seconds, users generally keep their patience. Hence, go to network panel and check for loading time. You can get screenshots of every stage of your page’s load and rectify all the fallacies.
- Inspect AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) implementation –
Second most pushed aspect by Google. The search engine giant is prioritizing AMP sites and its high time you set things right. In the ‘Console’ panel, you can check for AMP compatibility by adding “#development=1” behind your site’s URL.
- Technical configuration of your page –
And we all know why these are important. The ultimate motive is to make your site “crawl-able” by Google, hence detect no-indexation issues and canonical configuration. Use the ‘Search’ bar to check for tags and implement the missing ones.
- Make the main content viewable –
- Check mobile compatibility –
Just how many times have the Google guys uttered the word “mobile” in the last few years? This is your hint to optimize your page and make it mobile friendly. In DevTools, use device mode to check how your site looks on different phones. Leave ample space, display minimum content, fit to screen – do everything right here.
- Detect which JS and CSS are loading before DOM –
This slows your page down to a large extent. Visit the ‘Network’ panel again and filter out the unnecessary JS and CSS. A few simple clicks beside them are enough to make your page load within that magic 2-3 seconds.
- Eliminate hidden content –
Panda simply does not like these. The bear wants to read all, and it wants your users to read all. So, if by chance, any text got CSS hidden, identify it in the Search drawer. Remove the visibility hidden tag and display all information.
- Check your HTTP status –
If you don’t have this, Google does not rank your page. It may so happen that you possess the tag but everything is getting unnecessarily redirected. Visit the Network panel again to check for a functioning HTTP.
- Identify security issues –
Now, a secure website is supposed to enhance user experience and Google values this to a large extent. So, if you are migrating to HTTPS by any chance, DevTools comes with a ‘Security’ panel to check HTTPS validity.
- Review your pages’ images –
The best web pages around have images all over. So, if you have designed a site which conveys information via pictures, you are on the right SEO path. Hence, it is a good idea to check its ALT descriptions before finally going live. Again, it’s the ‘Elements’ section of DevTools to the rescue.
There you go! All free to use and quite simple. With these major issues checked with a few minor steps, you are ready to climb that SERP ladder. Keep your page updated, post blogs, attract backlinks and continuously use DevTools. Create that site which will serve your purpose and hit page 1 of every chapter!