While Google is preparing to roll-out the new mobile first index ranking system, the tech giant released a new SEO Audit tool for website owners to have in their arsenal and to evaluate the performance of their websites.
The new SEO automated audit tool will be implemented in the Lighthouse extension and, if used right, it will allow marketers to increase the quality of their web-pages.
The Lighthouse extension allows developers to run audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps compatibility and more, hence the name, since it “keeps you from crashing into the rocks”.
“The SEO audit category within Lighthouse enables developers and webmasters to run a basic SEO health-check for any web page that identifies potential areas for improvement. Lighthouse runs locally in your Chrome browser, enabling you to run the SEO audits on pages in a staging environment as well as on live pages, public pages, and pages that require authentication.”
However, do not solely rely on this new extension to evaluate your website. Google warns developers that the current list of SEO audits is not exhaustive and does not make any SEO guarantees. Basically, it was designed as a checklist for basic SEO practices that every site should get right, alongside some recommendations and guidance.
Google is asking the community to contribute to this new resource to make it better, so feel free to send any improvements you think the extension should get.
How to use the new Lighthouse Chrome Extension
Step 1: Install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension
Step 2. Click on the Lighthouse icon in the extension bar
Step 3. Select the Options menu, tick “SEO” and click OK, then Generate report
You can also do this by using Chrome Developer tools on Chrome Canary:
Step 1. Open Chrome Developer Tools
Step 2. Go to Audits
Step 3. Click Perform an audit
Step 4. Tick the “SEO” checkbox and click Run Audit.
After using the new tool for a few projects, it is clear that it’s not for SEO-experts, but rather an easy way to get a glimpse of how your website is performing. When combined with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool it gives developers and marketers a well rounded starting place to polish their websites and begin optimizing their platforms.
However, it has great potential, and Google repeatedly showed that it’s listening to the community. That being said, it’s more than likely to see a big improvement in the coming months, as more and more capabilities will be added to the new tool.