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by Oliver Ewbank on 28th August 2012
No day in the SEO industry is the same. There are new challenges and you never know when Google is going to move the goalposts. We all know search engine optimisation changes frequently, but there are still a number of processes that you can go through to ensure your campaign is ahead of the game.
If you work in a competitive industry, or only work on one campaign, you will need to make sure your SEO work is proactive (not reactive). Below I have put together a list of daily SEO checks to make sure your campaign is both current and profitable.
Google Webmaster Tools
First thing’s first, I would always login to your Google Webmaster Tools account at the beginning of the day. Here you can quickly spot if the site has any crawling errors. The tool will immediately report if the domain has any severe health issues. In this current ‘Penguin’ climate you can also review if any unnatural links that have been reported.
Check your sitemaps have no errors and review how many of your sites pages have been indexed. If any pages are missing it would be worth submitting a fresh sitemap.xml document. This can also lead to checking your ‘on page’ sitemap is up to date.
We all know site speed is a ranking factor so it is worth reviewing how the site performed the previous day.
Here you can quickly spot if any new pages have gone against the Google guidelines. This section reports on both short and duplicate Meta data. If you spot any duplication I would suggest fixing this straightaway.
In the Google Webmaster ‘Search Queries’ you can monitor the ‘Click through Rate’ on particular keywords. I would review your top performing keywords. If you spot any major drops it will be worth reviewing the Meta title and description to ‘sell the click’.
Links to Your Site
Considering the recent Penguin update its imperative that you review the links pointing to your domain. Google Webmaster Tools has a section called ‘’Links to Your Site’. Here you can see the top 1,000 domains that have links to pages on your domain. If any look unnatural (or are from a bad neighbourhood) I would consider removing the links immediately.
Google Analytics is probably your 2nd check point in your daily routine. Here you can review yesterday’s traffic and plan how to spend your day.
One of the first things to check in Google Analytics is yesterday’s top referring sites. This indicator will help spot any activity on the net that has concerned your site. Here you can spot all sorts of sources to give you a steer on what to work on. For example:
Here you can review the most popular landing pages. You may spot if a category has lost a huge amount of traffic by dropping out of the index or you may notice that a new product has started to attract multiple visits by climbing up the rankings. Remember to segment by ‘non paid’ only.
Reviewing the bounce rate as a whole and also by top landing pages will help you see if your‘re targeting the right keywords and to spot if there are any ‘on page’ issues that could be upsetting the user.
It’s worth comparing traffic data by month and year so you can benchmark your progress. Ultimately this will help you see if you are reaching your forecast. By reviewing Ecommerce figures you can also see exactly how much money the site has made. This will help you make budget decisions moving forward.
It is definitely worth reviewing your top non-paid search keywords on a daily basis. Keep a close eye on new entrants to the top 10. This will help you spot new keywords to optimise with additional long tail phrases. I would compare with the same day the previous week.
As mentioned earlier, it’s extremely important to review the links that are pointing to your website. Unnatural link patterns can have a negative impact on your rankings so it’s worth carrying out a number of checks. As well as reviewing links in Google Webmaster Tools I would run your domain through Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO. These tools will help you analyse links by IP address and link strength to spot any superficial patterns.
Some sites have hundreds and thousands of backlinks pointing towards their domain so it can take time to go through the data. However, a daily check will ensure you are proactive when any new links sources appear (good or bad).
If you haven’t already checked Smartphone while brushing your teeth then a rankings check will need to be done. You can run automatic rankings reports or do a manual check of your top performing keywords. Remember to be logged out of your email account and try to use a separate IP to make sure the results are not personalised.
It’s worth running a quick scan to make sure your site has no ‘untidy’ code. This can be done with a range of tools including http://validator.w3.org/. It is always important to ensure your CSS and XHTML are valid without any issues.
We all know good unique content is king, but it’s important to check there is no duplication across the web. I would suggest running a duplicate content check on tools like Copyscape. This will ensure you there is no republishing that could harm your performance in the SERPs. Another option is to copy chunks of your most important content into Google and see if there is any duplication in the results.
Page One Domination
In this day and age being a dominant online brand is extremely important. I would run some manual searches on all your brand related terms. Reviewing the top 40 results will give you a steer on what web properties you need to work on (build links to) to ensure they stay on page one of the listings.
Another important check to carry out each day is for brand mentions. You can do this by setting up Google Alerts on your brand name or by using a range of different tools. To review the last 24 hours simply search for your brand in quotes and change the time period.
This is an excellent way to spot new link building opportunities. For example an influential blogger may review your service or product but not include a link. By monitoring your brand mentions you can follow up with a polite email asking them to include a link. Not only can you spot new link sources but you can also network with a range of powerful blog writers and journalists.
For more information on brand monitoring please download our free Whitepaper.
Or view our other digital marketing guides.
It’s worth scanning the days trending topics related to your industry. This can help you seek out new PR opportunities and piggy back on current topics with appropriate blog posts. If there are no trending topics then review your industry news sites.
A review of trending topics and industry blogs should lead to a well-researched title. If you have the resources it’s worth publishing a blog post at least once a day. This will help you harbour new traffic and show search engines your domain is current and deserves its place in the SERPs.
Promote on Social Media
Once you have published your blog post it’s time to get it posted on social media. I would suggest publishing on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ . LinkedIn would also be beneficial if you operate in a B2B sector. Pushing your blog posts to social networks will encourage users to share the content which in turn will give off important social signals.
If you have time it’s worth growing your social following by connecting with appropriate companies and individuals in your sector. Publishing daily content will naturally grow your social following but you can also be proactive by following influential people in your industry.
Carrying out a daily competitor analysis is important to help you find new link sources. It will also help you benchmark your ‘off page’ activity against other competing sites in your industry. A competitor analysis can be as simple as reviewing how may links your top 10 competitors have. Alternatively you can use tools like Linkdex to drill down into different web sources.
If you still have time a brief stint of social bookmarking can help you give blog post and product pages additional authority. There is no need to overkill, but submitting fresh content to sites like StumbleUpon, and Reddit will help your pages get indexed as well as providing additional link strength.
Guest Blogging Opportunities
If you still have time to kill its always worth researching new guest blogging opportunities. This can be done by making a list of places you would like to get links from and researching contacts to speak to. This process can be on-going, but adding one or two contacts a day will help you build a valuable list of guest blogging opportunites. If you still have time then start networking with the bloggers and journalist to get your content live.
Does what it says on the tin. A daily spell check on various pages or platforms can put your mind at ease and avoid any embarrassing typos.
Not necessarily essential for SEO, but there is no harm in checking your site’s content on tablet, desktop and mobile devices. To run a quick scan of how mobile friendly your site is go to www.howtogomo.com
Additional Link Building
Good ethical link building is still core to a successful SEO campaign. If you fancy working overtime there is always more link building to be done. As well as guest blogging you may discover local profiles or business profiles relevant to your industry.
No search specialist works the same and each SEO campaign is different from the next – that’s what makes it interesting after all. However, going through the processes above will help you sustain the foundations of a successful SEO project.
If you work on the same website day in day out the checklist above will help ensure you review the main influencing factors. SEO is often about experiences and opinion. Do you have any routines you would add to the checklist? Are some of the checks more important than others? If you have anything you would like to include please comment in the fields below.