Digital media marketing managers constantly switch gears between strategic messaging and tactical execution. It's very easy to have a brilliant, digital campaign but miss those technical details which are the difference between a high ranking page and one that, to a search engine's crawler, appears broken or even nonsensical. While far from a complete list, these are my "go to tools" to check and enhance digital media. Best of all, they are all free and easy for even the novice to use!
It’s nearly impossible to overestimate the importance of proper headings structure on every page of your site. While Google and other search engines may read the content of your page, headings put that content into context. For instance, a search engine might read that your page is about automobile transmissions, but the heading tells the search engine that it is about “Repairing Domestic Automobile Transmissions.” Even if you know all about proper heading use, this tool catches mistakes easy to miss even using a simple Content Management System.
Rather than rely on chance as to what image or images appear when sharing a page on social, set the image you choose as a meta property. You can even host it especially for your social media sharing without it appearing on the page. Using an example from my hobby website, it looks like this: <meta property="og:image" content="http://www. http://bryanberg.net/images/fl-trail002.jpg" />
Note: must be logged into Facebook
I’ve often forgotten to set an image, or I used the wrong one. Or I changed some text. Unfortunately, updating it on your web page doesn’t change what renders (or fails to render) on Facebook as it draws from a cache. The developer tool linked above, when logged in, allows you to scrub or reset the Facebook cache to pull in your replacement image and text.
You can find these with a quick Google of course, but it amazes me how many people don’t tailor their images to the respective social platforms at all. This is the guide I keep bookmarked. It’s comprehensive, up-to-date, and easy to navigate with anchors to take you to the social media you want to investigate.
Yes, we all use Google Analytics and it’s great, especially now that Search Console is integrated. What if I told you it’s not all that accurate? Yes, some of those quirks you noticed aren’t your imagination. Without going into detail, your best resource is your hosting service. I use SPRHost out of New Mexico. Yes, that’s an unpaid plug. Their hosting, speed, security, and service are amazing if you’re seeking an alternative to GoDaddy. More to the point, the analytics are far more accurate direct from your server, and you’ll find other useful tools while you’re there!
Yes, you could just search engine this. But many people don’t know to. I worked for a large company that – while fussing over SEO strategy – allowed an 8-second load time to sit on our index page for months. Talk about a ranking killer! No one on staff noticed because, of course, we’re all loading our own pages from a cache. You need to check your load times. Pingdom offers the best with great performance insights.
This is particularly necessary if you’re starting a new website or have a major restructure of your old. Don’t let the paid plan scare you off (unless you want to use it of course) as I’ve made great use of this for years, free.
Likely, your CMS has already created an XML sitemap for you. Need to check its validity? Down to every page and image? This is maybe the fastest, simplest tool out there, with no ads, and completely free from Website Planet.
A major ranking killer is broken links, and more so because broken links are a major pain for people using assistive technology. (Imagine being blind and coming to a door that leads nowhere…disconcerting, right?) This checker not only gives you the link and the page, but also the source so you can find it in the html or code if you choose. For a major college, I found over 300 broken links! I just checked my own site…and I found FOUR broken links – external sites get you every time. Guess I’ll stop here and fix those!