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SEO Action Plan

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Mini technical SEO audit

We're now on the SEO action plan section. So what we're going to do now is we're going to look at some of the stuff that I've talked about in this module, and we're going to review some of the key things that you should be thinking about.

&Let's start off with a mini technical SEO audit. I'd like you to have a website in mind and I want you to make note of the home page URL, and also a page of something that's relatively new. It could be a blog post or maybe a new product page that you've created, and we're going to do a little audit on these pages.

Check if a URL has been indexed

The first thing that we're going to do is we're going to check if the URL has been indexed. And previously I showed you one way of doing this, and this was where you typed in a keyword or URL into a search engine.

But there is another way that you can do this and that's what we're going to look at now. And the way that you do this is you copy that URL. So it would be the home page or that new page that's been recently created and you type into the address bar of a browser. So, in Google Chrome, you would type in the URL and before it, you would type in cache and colon.

So no spaces, cache, colon, the URL, and when you press return, if the page has been indexed, you'll see the page and you'll see the date and time it got indexed. If it hasn't been indexed, you'll see a 404 page not found. So, for those two pages, check to see whether they're indexed.

It's very likely that the home page will be indexed if it's an established site. Now, if it's a new blog post, it might not have had time to get indexed yet, so you'd be able to check that out. And one bonus tip is if your page isn't indexed, what you can do is you can go into Google Search Console and you can actually submit that URL through Fetch as Google, which is part of Google Search Console.

Check if a URL passes the Google Mobile-Friendly Test

The next thing we're going to do, again, for both of those URLs, we're going to go to the Mobile-Friendly Test, which is a tool provided by Google, and we're going to test each of those URLs to see if they're mobile friendly. Hopefully, they will be but remember, you can also have a lurking Google Search Console and it will tell you whether your whole website is mobile friendly or not. But if you haven't got access to that, then obviously, just use this tool.

Check if a URL passes the two-second page load test

You'll remember we looked at Pingdom, which is a really good tool to check how fast your website is, and remember we're trying to look for pages that load under two seconds. So, if you're under two seconds, like Digital Marketing Institute is, then great, you've got a speedy web site.

If you're not, first of all, make sure the test location that you've put in is close to where you're searching from. And if you're not, what you can do is you can actually drill down and find out what's going wrong. Pingdom will give you an idea of some of the areas that you can improve on.  You might need to get a web developer to help you and give you a hand if some of the things look a little bit technical.

Review site and URL errors in Google Search Console

The next thing that I want you to do, again, if you do have access to Google Search Console, is to go in there, and under Crawl, you'll find a report called Crawl Errors.

And we just want to make sure that we haven't got many crawl errors, and for the crawl errors that do exist, we want to make sure that they're not for important landing pages. And again, for those two URLs that you're checking, the home page and the new page, they shouldn't be showing as errors here.

On-page optimization planner

This now brings us on to the on-page aspects of the action plan. And what I want you to do is you can see in front I've just created a spreadsheet. So let's just start off by thinking about 10 pages that need to be optimized on your site.

In this example, we've got the snowboard sizing page, which we've talked about a few times today, and in the second column, we've got the targeted keywords. So we've done that by the one P1 keyword, the two P2 keywords, and there is several P3 keywords. And for that URL, I've put in what the title tag is and what the Meta description tag is.

And I probably would have used the Portent SERP Preview Tool to help me get the sizing for that. And what I could do is I could actually add some more columns, so I could add in what the H1 tag is, the main heading, I could add in some secondary headings, and I could add in, you know, what I'm going to do to optimize images and content and that type of thing.

And the reason that this is quite important is it just kind of gives you a framework of working systematically page by page. And what you'll find is that it's a really good way of making sure that what needs to get done actually does get done, and it's something that you could share with your boss or your colleague.

So if they want to have any input or just see what you're up to, you can share this document. And the idea is that when you complete one of these rows, you can then go and make the changes on the actual live website. But I'd recommend, you know, drafting them out in a similar way to what you see here first. The next thing we're going to do for the action plan is that we want to do a little bit of a backlink audit, or really actually it's a reputation audit.

Off-page optimization and competitor research

I want you to get your website's home page and I want you to come up with three competitors. And what you're going to do is, using the Moz Open Site Explorer tool, you're going to look to see what your home page authority is, what your domain authority is, and what your root domain links are. And we'll look at what root domain links are in a moment, but essentially, what we're looking for here is comparatively, how well are you doing compared to competitors?

So, in this case, the top one highlighted in blue, let's imagine that's your site, and comparatively, you're doing slightly better than competitor one, slightly worse than competitor two, and quite a way behind competitor three. And in terms of page authority and domain authority, it's actually much harder to jump from, say 45% to 50%compared to 40% to 45%.

Like, if we were to look at the graph, it's kind of like one of those exponential graphs, so it's very easy to climb from 10% to 20%, and 20% to 30% is sort of harder. But it gets more and more difficult as the number

So, when we come back to Open Site Explorer, this will help you gather some of the metrics we looked at earlier. You can get domain authority, page authority, and established links.

We've got root domains and we've got total links. So the root domains are the number of unique domains that are actually linking to your site, and the total links is the total number of links linking to your site, which might mean that some domains are linking more often than just once. And we tend to pay more attention to the root domains because each time you get a link from one domain, it's more significant than the multiple times after you may get links.

The other thing to bear in mind is when you use Open Site Explorer, what I tend to do is under inbound links, I change the target to be root domain. So that means that you're looking at backlinks, not just to the home page, but the overall domain, the root domain. I change the link source to be only external, so it's not talking about internal links, it's just external links, which essentially means backlinks, and I quite often change the link type to be only follow.

By being only follow, it's showing me links that are actually passing reputation, which is what we need for SEO.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Joe Williams
Skills Expert

This module begins with the fundamentals of SEO and how search engines work. It explains why it is vital to align SEO objectives with overarching business objectives and how to use keyword and competitor research to build an SEO content plan that brings the right kind of visitors to a website. It also covers how to boost online conversions to help stand out in today’s fiercely competitive online marketplace and ensure the best possible ROI.