Just over a month ago (on February 5th), Google launched a new audit category called SEO Audits for their Lighthouse Chrome Extension. The tool allows you to audit websites and offers suggestions to help improve your web page’s quality. The audit scores pages in several categories, including topics like performance and accessibility. It also tells you some best practices and solutions that are relevant to your issues that will help improve the quality of your web page.
The extension is updated regularly so that webmasters are able to stay up-to-date with the newest and most relevant industry standards. This now includes Search Engine Optimization. This update will help you perform a “health-check” that will make sure your pages are optimized for search engine ranking.
Now although this new extension will help with your SEO audits, this is in no way meant to replace a thorough SEO audit (contact us for that!). The tool provides you with feedback on the basic SEO best practices and gives you a report that checks for the following:
- The Title Element – Page overview
- Successful HTTP Status Code – Makes sure the page is secure
- A Viewport Meta Tag – Optimizes and scales your document for mobile screens
- Appropriate Anchor Text for Links – Explanatory text that will help search engines understand the content
- Meta Description – Summarize page content
- The absence of Plugins – A lot of mobile devices don’t support plugins, so they can create a negative user experience
- No Indexing Blocks – Inform crawlers how to index your content
- A Valid Hreflang – Different translations
- A Valid rel=canonical – Recognized links suggest appropriate URLs for SERPs
- Legible Font Sizes – Prefers font sizes equal or greater to 16 px
It’s worth noting that the current list of SEO audits is not an exhaustive list and does not make any SEO guarantees. Instead, the current list of audits was designed to cater to SEO basics that each and every website should get right and teach developers at all skill levels SEO best practices.
How to Use it
There are 2 ways you can run these audits, one using Lighthouse Chrome Extension and the other using Google Chrome developer tools on Chrome Canary.
To use the Lighthouse Chrome Extension you need to install it, which you can do here. Once it’s installed, you can click on the Lighthouse icon in the extension bar. When this pops up you want to select the “Options” menu and tick off “SEO” then hit ok. Once that is complete, click “generate report”.
To use the Chrome Developer Tools on Chrome Canary you first open “Chrome Developer Tools”. Once you have that open go to “Audits”, then click “perform an audit”. Once that is done tick the “SEO” box and click “Run Audit”.
Remember, because this is just a basic tool, you won’t necessarily get all the information you are looking for to improve your website. Marwick Marketing can help you with that and all your other SEO needs. Check us out today and see why we are a Certified Google Partner!