If you drive a car, you likely get it checked and serviced every year to ensure everything keeps working, and to fix issues before they become major problems.
Like your car, the SEO of your website is not a one-off exercise. You should treat your website and SEO the same way you treat your car, by doing regular SEO housekeeping.
Keep reading to learn what SEO housekeeping is, why you need it, and actionable SEO housekeeping tips you can implement today.
What is SEO housekeeping?
SEO housekeeping is the recurring maintenance of your website’s SEO, ensuring SEO best practices are in place and catching issues early.
Depending on the size, technical setup, and update frequency of your website, different types of SEO housekeeping tasks should typically be done weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
A complex e-commerce website with thousands of constantly changing product pages needs almost continuous maintenance. A typical B2B website that publishes blog posts regularly but otherwise does not have frequent major website changes requires less frequent checkups.
Why do I need SEO housekeeping?
Because just like with your car, things break or deteriorate.
There are many things out of your control that can have a negative effect on your website’s SEO performance, such as a Google algorithm update or speed issues on your hosting provider’s end.
There can also be unintended SEO consequences of changes that are happening directly on your website, such as the introduction of new functionality, publishing new content, or layout changes.
Other things deteriorate over time and need maintenance, such as written content and internal linking.
With regular SEO maintenance, you can catch potential issues early and prevent them from becoming problematic for your SEO.
Here’s 10 SEO housekeeping tasks you should do regularly to ensure SEO best practices remain in place on your website..
1) Monitor traffic trends
You should be familiar with your high-level SEO traffic trends and be able to spot trend changes and anomalies.
This gives you valuable insights into your performance and can provide clues that something is going wrong.You can use Google Search Console to get a high-level overview:
You can also use the filters to analyze data on a more granular level, such as splitting your brand keywords traffic from your non-brand keywords traffic or evaluating the SEO performance of a single page.
If you see sudden trend changes, dive into the data and find out what is going on.
2) Look at your indexed pages
Your number of indexed pages is an important metric, particularly if you have a large website.
You can use Google Search Console to see these numbers:
You can also do a quick site search in Google:
If the number of indexed pages suddenly drops significantly, it can indicate a problem.
There could be technical issues on your website that prevent Google from crawling it properly.
Also, Google could have started dropping pages from the index because they started flagging them as thin content or duplicate content.
3) Check for 404 – page not found errors
A 404 error is an error you encounter when you visit a website URL that does not exist.
This typically happens when you delete a page from your website and you don’t implement a redirect to an alternative destination.
Google Search Console provides a report that lists 404 errors:
Alternatively, you could use SEO crawling software such as Screaming Frog to identify 404 errors.
To ensure there are no dead ends for both users and search engines, you should regularly check for 404 error pages and redirect them.
4) Keep your outgoing links up to date
Your website probably links out to other websites, like this.
These links help Google understand context about your content and provide additional information to readers.
However, the destination URL you link to today may disappear in the future or have its contents changed to something irrelevant. This reflects badly on the authoritativeness of your content.
Screaming Frog has a standard report that lists your outgoing links:
The outgoing links returning 404 errors or 3xx redirects should regularly be examined for accuracy and updated if required.
You should also make this part of your regular process for content updates.
5) Monitor incoming backlinks
You should also monitor your incoming backlinks.
Google Search Console has a backlinks report at “Links -> Top linking sites”:
This should give you a good idea of your backlinks.
However, Google only provides sample backlink data.
As your site and backlink profile grows, using an SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush makes more sense.
Ahrefs lets you sort your backlinks by first discovery date:
This is an easy way to stay on top of the new backlinks you are acquiring.
6) Audit your on page SEO
If you regularly publish a lot of new pages, you may encounter on page SEO issues.
Some of your page titles may be too long, or your titles and headers may be too similar between pages.
Screaming Frog reports these issues:
Because on page SEO elements such as your title tags and header tags are so important for your overall SEO, they should be audited regularly.
7) Monitor page speed metrics
Website speed is an important Google ranking factor, so it should be included in your SEO housekeeping tasklist.
Your website speed can worsen over time, making regular checks necessary.
Google’s Core Web Vitals report can point you in the right direction.
You can also use more specialized, third-party tools such as GTmetrix for a breakdown of your site speed.
If your site speed metrics worsen, investigate why.
A technical issue related to your website’s configuration or an issue with your hosting provider are two possible culprits.
8) Look for new internal linking opportunities
For every new page or piece of content you publish, you should check if there are internal linking opportunities from other pages of your website.
When we published our article about B2B industry pages, we did the following site search:
It turned out that our ideal anchor text to refer to our new article was used in our existing article about FreshBooks’ content types.
All we had to do was add a link from the existing page to the new page.
You should also do a similar internal linking audit for older content, and continually optimize and fine-tune your SEO.
Popular CMS systems such as WordPress have third-party plugins that can automate (parts) of the internal linking process.
9) Identify pages with a downward traffic trend
You can use Google Search Console to see which pages have lost SEO traffic recently.
Sorting the pages by clicks difference shows you exactly which pages have lost the most traffic over your selected time period.
You can then investigate why this happened.
Sometimes, the traffic to a page is seasonal or the topic was hot in the news.
But it’s also possible the keyword rankings dropped. If this is the case, updating or merging the articles makes sense to potentially recover rankings.
10) Check your website’s user experience
Website UX is an important part of SEO, and a regular UX audit should be part of your SEO housekeeping to ensure your website stays modern and intuitive.
Does the website actually work when you are navigating it? How about on a mobile device?
How does it look and feel – does everything work intuitively?
Are there any buttons or links that are not working or lead to an unexpected place?
Asking other people to use your website and share their thoughts is a great way to gather objective feedback – particularly if they are your clients.
Google’s page experience report can also provide clues about potential UX issues.
How you can ensure your SEO housekeeping is taken care of
The SEO maintenance and health of your website is important, and we recommend creating a recurring weekly SEO housekeeping reminder.
Depending on the size and nature of your website, some housekeeping tasks will be more valuable than others to include in your weekly reminder.
If you could only do one thing per week, taking a quick look at Google Search Console traffic trends and reports would give you an idea of whether your SEO is still working as it should.
You can also have an SEO agency help with your SEO housekeeping.