When it comes to promoting a website or a blog on the Internet, there are so many things to think about that it can feel a little bit overwhelming. Setting aside the entire field of SEO – even regular website owners that are not really SEO “experts” need to have a basic understanding of how and why one web page on the Internet may receive more “clicks” and more traffic than another, nearly identical page.
There are so many factors to consider, many of which we’ve covered before here at MakeUseOf. However, beyond the design and the content-creation, you also need to regularly monitor how well the pages on your site is doing. The last thing you want to deal with are complicated tools that use complicated SEO terminology that make absolutely no sense to you. We’ve covered a number of really good tools for things like keyword analysis, monitoring how well you’ve optimized, and regularly checking your SEO rank.
However, a more important factor that you should be aware if isn’t so much site rank, but how well the specific pages on your site perform in the search engine. It’s more important to really focus on individual pages to make sure that they are written and formatted in such a way as to provide the sort of level of “quality” that the search engine uses for its page listings in search results.
One of the fastest ways to get that information at a quick glance as you browse your site (or other competitor sites for that matter) is a very useful Chrome plugin called PageRank Status.
Monitoring More Than Just PageRank
Everywhere you look, you’ll see people saying that “pagerank doesn’t matter anymore”. In fact, it doesn’t matter – as much. The reality is that it still plays a part in how sites rank in the SERPs, there are so many other factors that are also taken into account these days, that PageRank is no longer the Holy Grail that it used to be.
That’s why the PageRank Status plugin is so valuable – while it does give the the PageRank at a quick glance in a small icon at the upper right corner of your browser window, it also provides so much more.
The rank bar is basically a bar-graph from 0 to 10 – with 10 being the ultimate goal. Google itself shows up as a “9″ under the tool, and MUO shows up with an impressive “7″. However, you’ll see far beyond this simple statistic when you click the icon and drop open the info page for the plugin.
Reviewing Page SEO Stats
The SEO Stats page provides you quick access to the sort of things that you’d normally have to dig for with specific web pages, like the name of the hosting company, the IP and location of the web server, and the site ranking on a variety of services other than Google, like Alexa, Compete and Quantcast. The stats even provide social activity for the page, which is very cool.
The Alexa graphs are not always 100% accurate, but it is accurate enough to give you a fairly general picture of the long-term performance of a website. You can use the chart dropdown to get a picture of other factors beyond traffic rank. You can check out traffic levels over time, what percentage of visits come from search, unique visitors and more.
Even if the numbers aren’t completely accurate with what site owners see in Google Analytics (or whatever analytics tools they use), the trend is usually pretty true. If a site is improving or not, the Compete or Alexa graphs will reflect that.
If you click on the BuiltWith on-site tool just above the robots.txt file, you’ll be able to review a long list of details about the web page that you’re currently on.
You’ll be taken to a website that performs a lookup of the domain and will tell you things like hosting and nameserver provider, what sort of CMS and framework the site uses, what sort of analytics and tracking tools the owner uses, and a bunch of other things that I never even realized was publicly accessible information. This is interesting stuff to review for your favorite sites. You can also use it to get a sense of the inner-workings of your competition.
Off to the right of the SEO Stats page, you’ll find a few more interesting stats. Here, you can check out the last time the page was archived by the WayBack Machine, the last Google cache, the number of pages for the site that are indexed by the various search engines, and the number of backlinks for the page.
Other Tabs in PageRank Status
That’s already an impressive lot of information to get from a single page in this tool, but if you click on “Page Info”, you’ll find even more.
Page Info shows you the text that the search engine crawler will recognize for the core SEO fields that matter. You’ll see what shows up in things like primary H1 and H2 headers, bold and italic text on the page, and of course the meta info. This is a useful tool to see that the text you meant to show to the crawler actually shows up the way you expect, and it’s also an effective tool to research your competition and see what they use for their primary keywords or description.
The page speed tab is also an important one, as it’ll show you how long the page takes to load – another important factor in how well a page will rank in search listings. A fast-loading page indicates a more professional and authoritative site. This tab will show you how individual pages perform.
It’s a good way to quickly spot issues on your own site that may be causing problems and need a little bit of troubleshooting. Monitoring your site with this plugin is probably the most convenient way to keep an eye on things and make sure your site is healthy and running to its full potential.
The last tab in the tool is really about convenience. This tab is filled with quick links to the typical tools that website owners use to work on their website – sites like webmaster tools, keyword research tools, link checker and IP lookup tools, and more.
What makes the PageRank Status plugin nice is that it goes beyond basic SEO stats and gives you access into information that anyone should be aware of about your own site, as well as that of your competition. Instead of going to some external website or tool to search for that data, you can get to it just by clicking a simple icon in the browser. It’s all right there at your fingertips.
Do you monitor your website SEO health and general stats on a regular basis? What stats matter the most to you, and what tools do you use to keep track of them? Share your insights in the comments section below.
Image Credit: 3D Blue Glass via Shutterstock
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