“A website without SEO is like a car with no gas.” – Paul Cookson
The recent launch of SEO audits in their Lighthouse Chrome extension is more than a welcome move for SEO analysts. SEO is an inseparable part of your website and having such an audit tool at your disposal would help create an integrated and SEO compliant website.
The Lighthouse chrome extension is a free tool that audits websites on various categories such as accessibility, performance etc. Not only it scores the website on various parameters but also lists down various suggestions in order to improve the web page’s quality. It is a great tool to learn and improve your website from best practices and relevant solutions suggested by Lighthouse which would not only improve the quality of the current web page but can also be used as lessons for other web pages in future.
As Google says, it “keeps you from crashing into the rocks”, hence the name Lighthouse. Google is constantly updating Lighthouse so that the webmasters can stay up-to-date with new and relevant industry standards. Google has finally acknowledged one of the most important and relevant part of the websites that is search engine optimisation (SEO).
The new audit option would let the SEO experts and webmasters perform a basic check in to make sure the page is optimised for the SEO rankings. This tool can prove to be an effective means of SEO if done on a regular interval. The check would be run on 10 factors as of now which are as follows:
- The <title> element — This would provide the overview of each page as well as the suggestions that would help you improve its content.
- Meta description — This is very important especially when Google has now allowed the longer search snippets.
- Successful HTTP status code This would ensure the page is secure.
- Anchor text for links — This is the descriptive text that helps the search engine to understand the content.
- No indexing blocks — This would tell the crawlers how to index the content.
- A valid hreflang — What all alternate translations can be given.
- A valid rel=canonical — The canonical links would suggest the appropriate URLS for SERPs
- A viewport meta tag — This would help scale and optimise your document for mobile screens.
- Legible font sizes — This is important as there are certain font sizes that are preferred.
- Absence of plugins — Many mobile devices do not support the plugins and thus create a negative user experience. Diagnosing this in terms of number can help you find solutions and thus improve your performance.
When asked about Lighthouse, Google said “you can now do a basic SEO Health-check in Chrome (Canary) DevTools or with the Lighthouse extension.” Saying this it also clarified the SEO audit features as of now are very basic “nor does it make any SEO guarantees for Google websearch or other search engines.” There are a lot of other factors than the above 10 that might be affecting your SEO ranking so relying solely upon them can be a huge mistake but at the same time this could be an effective additional helping tool at your disposal that can help improve SEO ranking.
How to Perform a Lighthouse SEO Audit
- Install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension available at the Chrome Webstore.
- Go to the Google Chrome and open the page you want to run an audit on. There would be a lighthouse symbol next to the Chrome address bar.
- Before clicking on ‘Generate Report’, click on ‘Options’ first.
- Under the options there would be a lot of other categories which you can audit. Choose the one you want your website audited on. For SEO audit tick on the SEO option.
Running an audit would score your website overall as well as on individual factors laying down the suggestion and relevant solutions to the problems you are encountering. Although it is at a basic stage as of now but Google has already speaking on plans to extend and enhance this feature. So, it is definitely worth giving a shot.