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Our Favorite SEO Diagnostic Tools - Part 1
May 18, 2014
A very handy list of tools that every webmaster in Dubai must have This is not just another SEO toolkit – that would be rather boring. What I want to mention here is the process we use at Cactimedia to diagnose websites from an SEO perspective and what the Cactimedia SEO team does to spot penalties etc.
Imagine if you walk into the office and notice that your search rankings have dropped significantly. So first things first – do not panic. You are better off sticking to the basics and working your way from the most basic reasons of what could have gone wrong to the more complicated ones.
So here is what Cactimedia does when providing SEO services in Dubai:
1. Check whether your tracking is broken. That’s the most obvious thing to do, right? Before assuming that your rankings have actually tanked, its common sense to check if you’re tracking is broken.
2. Next, fire up your Google Analytics and check what content on your site is being hit. The best way to do that is to look at your landing pages report and start with the top layer of pages and move into the deeper pages. This should give you a pretty good idea of what portion of your website has been hit by a Google penalty (if at all). One thing to make sure of is to set the medium “organic” and the source to “Google”. Always remember to compare with the previous year as well. Because more often than not a drop in traffic is because of seasonal cycles.
3. The next thing you should do when checking if you have been hit by a penalty is to check your Google Webmaster Tools. Check for messages from Google.
4. Now move onto your robots.txt file. You will be surprised how often clients come to us and they have made recent development changes etc. and then forgot to block or unblock the site or certain pages within the site after the changes have been rolled out. Mostly someone would block the whole site and forget to unblock it – or they would change the URLs etc. and then not reflect it in the robots.txt file.
5. If the robots.txt file is fine then the next thing you should check is the response code of the page(s) in question. Check for 404s and other issues where the page is returning the wrong response to Google.
6. The next thing that could cause problems is the metadata. More precisely you want to be able to check if the page you are on has a nofollow or noIndex tag on it.
7. Next, you want to check the canonical tags as well – as this could take your page(s) out of Google’s index too. There is a Chrome plugin for that too and it works just like the previous tool.
Now to recap:
You have done all the basics. You have checked your Google Webmaster Tools, you have checked your robots.txt file and you have checked for pages returning the wrong response codes, NoIndex, and NoFollow tags and canonicals tags.
8. Assuming you have done all this and you still haven’t been able to figure out what the issue is, your next step should be to check for any latest Google updates. Has there been a new Panda or Penguin update? Ideally, you should be going to www.moz.com and check their algorithm update page which is pretty helpful.
Ok, we will stop here for now. In the next post of this series, we will assume that you have been hit by a Google update and what you should do and what tools we recommend in order to clean up your site and your backlinks and hopefully get back on the top of Google rankings.
Stay tuned and happy Ranking!
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