February 12, 2018 | Lauren Nettles

Explaining Lighthouse’s New SEO Audit

On Monday, The Google Webmaster Center Blog announced the new SEO Audit category to Lighthouse.

As you might know, Lighthouse is an open-source, automated auditing tool for improving the quality of web pages. It lets developers run audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps compatibility, and classic rock bands from Canada. 

Album cover for Lighthouse, featurning band members around a large treeGo listen to “One Fine Morning.” I’ll wait.

Okay, so this announcement doesn’t have anything to do with that Lighthouse, but I’m much perkier now after all that brass, and I wanted to share that joy with you.

This Lighthouse’s new SEO audit category lets you run a basic SEO health check for any webpage, and that check identifies potential for SEO improvement on that page. It works through the Chrome browser, so you can run the audit at any point, whether the page is live or not. It also works on public pages and those that require authentication.

Of course, it isn’t comprehensive, and it is not a replacement for a full SEO audit. This addition is designed for SEO basics that every site should have, and it doesn’t make any guarantees about how well your page will perform in searches, but it is a great starting point. 

There are plans to add more to the SEO audits and improve the existing ones in the future. Eventually, the audits will be available by default in the stable release of Chrome Developer Tools. Also, Google is asking for user feedback in the Github project and webmaster forum, so make your requests and any issues known!

According to the Google Webmaster Center's blog, there are two ways to run these audits.

Using the Lighthouse Chrome Extension

  1. Install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension
  2. Click on the Lighthouse icon in the extension bar 
  3. Select the Options menu, tick “SEO” and click OK, then Generate report


GIF showing the steps to using SEO Audits othe Lightouse Chrome ExtensionRunning SEO Audits in Lighthouse extension

 Using Chrome Developer tools on Chrome Canary

  1. Open Chrome Developer Tools 
  2. Go to Audits 
  3. Click Perform an audit 
  4. Tick the “SEO” checkbox and click Run Audit. 

 GIF showing how to use Lighthouse SEO Audits using Chrome CanaryRunning SEO Audits in Chrome Canary

So, now you're sold. You installed Lighthouse, ran this slick new SEO audit, and discovered three metric tons of errors on your pages. Now what?

GIF of man throwing computer into industrial dumpsterNo, not that.

I really don’t recommend throwing your computer in a dumpster. It's not the proper way to dispose of your electronics, and you’ll lose all your work on the next great American novel you wrote in high school creative writing. Not that I know anything about that.

Also, your website will still exist. So, instead of tossing your computer, check out some of these great resources for improving your SEO. Even if you’re a complete beginner, there are a ton of materials out there to help you understand SEO and fix any errors that pop up.

But there is a lot to master. So if you’re too busy re-writing that novel, let us help you out. We can start slow, or take on a major search marketing overhaul—whatever is best for you and your brand.

Get free help from a real SEO expert. Click to request an SEO assessment.

Lauren Nettles

Lauren Nettles

As VIEO's content marketing strategist, Lauren Nettles creates content strategy for VIEO and our clients. She works with the content team to create, document, and revise creative content strategies that help clients and customers better understand each other.

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