Google today offered more SEO tips to webmasters, web developers and SEOs by adding a new audit category called “SEO Audits” to the widely used website auditing tool Lighthouse, so they can now run basic SEo health-check against their sites’ pages in a staging environment.
Lighthouse, a Chrome extension is an open-source, automated auditing tool for improving the quality of web pages. It runs locally in the Chrome browser, and is accessible via the “Options” button in the extension.
The SEO audit category witin Lighthouse can also be use on live pages, public pages and pages that require authentication and it allow developers to run audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps compatibility and more. Basically, it “keeps you from crashing into the rocks”, hence the name Lighthouse.
Google notes though the current SEO audits list isn’t exhaustive nor does it make SEO for Google websearch or other search engines, “it helps validate and reflects SEO basics that every site should get right” along with detailed guidance. That said, Google plans to add more in-depth audits and guidance in the future updates.
More specifically, the new feature returns a report with following checks included:
- Meta Viewport Element
- Title Element
- Meta Description
- Page has successful HTTP status code
- Links have descriptive text
- Page isn’t blocked from indexing
- Document has a valid hreflang
- Document has a valid rel=canonical
- Document uses legible font sizes
- Document avoids browser plugins
… and makes recommendations for additional reports.
Currently, the SEO audit can be use by any of the following ways, but Google hopes to make it available by default in the stable release of Chrome Developers Tools, once “they’re confident of its functionality.”
Here is how to use SEO audit tool:
1. Using Lighthouse Chrome Extension:
- First, install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension
- Then, click on the Lighthouse icon in the extension bar
- And, select the Options menu, tick “SEO” and click OK, then Generate report
In this GIF animation you can see SEO Audits running in Lighthouse extension:
2. Using Chrome Developer tools on Chrome Canary:
- Open Chrome Developer Tools
- Go to Audits
- Click Perform an audit
- Tick the “SEO” checkbox and click Run Audit, explains google.
The following GIF screen shows SEO Audits running in Chrome Canary: