How Does Google See My Page?
Or to put it another way, what does each page on your website look like when the Google bot comes crawling to decide where your pages should rank in their search engine. The same thing applies to all the other search engines too of course.
To understand a page, a search bot needs to strip out all the internal furniture and framework and attempt to read the relevant content. The stuff in the header tag is simple enough. We have the Title tag plus the Meta tags.
The important stuff comes between the Body tags. The body text itself is simple enough, but there is a lot of further meta information in the attributes to the images, videos, links, tables and list tags.
Just how these are weighted in the eyes of the search engines is a closely guarded secret (do read through the publicly available patent literature to get a handle on it) but if you study the results for long enough you start to notice trends.
For example, it became very obvious many years ago that the meta keyword tag was not as effective as it originally was. It was far too easy to game the engines by stuffing them with keywords. I noticed this on some of my sites and now I use a single keyword per article. But I do that for a very different reason…
Google declared war on keywords a number of years ago and now say that the keyword meta tag is no longer an indicator of the content. So why do I still use it? I use the free Yoast SEO plugin and this tests your meta tags and content for use of the keyword. Very useful.
Google let you do this direct using their Fetch as Google tool. Sign up with Google Analytics then add your site to Google Webmaster Tools so you can make use of the tool. All you then do is enter the URL of the page you want to check and you see the results.
That is great for your own sites, but to understand the competition you need to see what they are doing. The Ahrefs Opensite Explorer is a good starting point.
I have also been putting together a large resource of other online tools you may find useful over here: