Most SEO experts out there have come to recognize how humbling the field of search engine optimization can be. Just when you put together a series of rules or techniques that work well, Google up and turns the world upside down. The nice thing about optimizing a site however is that most of the really important core issues still matter, even after Google makes any change – whether it’s big or small.
How well your site will do really still depends on a wide variety of factors, but most importantly your keyword usage, the quality of your site – including number of broken links and well-written content, and also toward the top of the list are backlinks from other high quality sites.
So you believe that you’re doing all of this, but you’re really not sure. Sure, some of your pages rank toward the top of Google listings, but how do you know how well your site is optimized as a whole? Obviously, one way to do it is to create a checklist and go through your site one page at a time. Of course, if you’re like me and hate that kind of grunt work, then you’ll be as pleased as I was to discover SEO Panel.
Installing SEO Panel
What’s SEO Panel? It’s a high-quality, free PHP-based app that you can use to audit your entire website, or even your competitor’s websites, for the leading SEO issues that most experts agree really matter. This is somewhat similar to Traffic Travis, another SEO tool that I’ve reviewed.
Before you can start using the app, you’re going to need a web server where you can install it. On my case, I installed it on my locally installed Xampp web server, but you can download and copy the files to the public area of any web server that has PHP and MySQL installed and enabled.
Make sure that the config/sp-config.php file and the tmp directory is writable by everyone. Then, just open up a browser and go to the /seopanel/install/ directory. In my case it would be http://localhost/seopanel/install/
When you run the installation, it will check your server to make sure everything it needs is installed and enabled. Odds are that you may receive the “CURL Support” error above, especially if you’ve set up your own web server. CURL is usually easy enough to enable just by going to the php.ini file on your web server’s PHP installation and removing the “;” from the .dll file extension.
Now when you launch the install script, you should see the following screen.
Don’t forget to change permissions on /config/sp-config.php so that not everybody has write permission. In the next step, you’ll be in the admin panel. The default login is spadmin/spadmin.
The first step, once you’re in the SEO Panel is to set up the websites that you want to monitor. Just click to add a new website and fill in the details.
Once you’re done, you’ll see all of your configured and activated websites in the Website Manager area. You can see just from the picture above how many features this application has, including reports, SEO analysis tools, keyword reports and more.
When you click on the reports manager, you’ll have the opportunity to request a full analysis of your system based on criteria like current search engine rank, search engine saturization, and number of quality backlinks to your website.
You’ll get a really good overview of the websites you want to follow when you click on the “SEO Panel” link on the main menu bar. The account summary that shows up will provide current search engine ranks, backlinks, and indexed pages.
Next, click on “Keyword Position Checker” and you’ll discover a list of tools that make it a lot easier to determine whether your keyword efforts are currently good enough. One of my favorite tools is the keyword “position” checker. Just choose the search engine you want to use, type in a keyword or phrase that you’d like your site to rank highly for, and click Proceed.
Just scroll down the listings, and if you see any highlighted entries, then that’s a page from the site that you’re currently monitoring with the SEO tool. This is a fast and easy way to see if you rank at all well for the topics you are trying to focus on with your site.
Another invaluable tool in this PHP program is the “Auditing” area. This section lets you run audits against any website, and will reveal statistics about any site. Just choose the audit types you want to perform and let the system do the work for you.
When you do a full audit, be prepared to wait a long time as SEO Panel actually crawls through the entire site to analyze and report back with the relevant data. Each page gets its own line of statistics, and you’ll be able to clearly see which pages on your site have the lowest scores and need the most work.
A lot of people get pretty frustrated when it comes to SEO. It seems inconceivable that certain techniques will actually increase your ranking, but it’s true. The SEO Panel app gives you a place to turn when you just don’t know where your site stands. Looking closely at the reports and audits will show you where your site is really bleeding, and how to go about giving it SEO first aid.
So give SEO Panel a try and see if it gives you any new insight into how you can improve your website. Share your experiences with it in the comments section below.