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Google Shows SEO's the Love with Chrome Lighthouse Plugin

Despite what it may sometimes seem like, perhaps Google has a soft spot for the practice of search engine optimization after all. 

Google's Webmaster Central blog announced a new SEO Audit category to their Chrome Lighthouse developers extension, an addition that measures and evaluates 10 different (and important) SEO metrics.

The Lighthouse plugin was actually quite useful before as it helped webmasters and developers audit performance, accessibility and other well-known best practices.

The addition of a more focused SEO auditing category, however, makes the offering that much more useful to those interested in optimizing not justtheir  placement on the search results, but more importantly, their users' experience in general. 

The factors that Google Chrome's Lighthouse measures include the meta viewport element, the title element, meta description, whether the page has a successful HTTP status code, the presence of descriptive link text, that the page is not being blocked from indexing, that the document has a valid hreflang and valid rel=canonical, that it uses legible font sizes and avoids browser plugins. 

It's been called somewhat "basic" by many SEO's but there's a lot to learn in there about what Google values in terms of search engine optimization efforts. Auditing and reviewing the data surrounding the meta viewport element and font sizes, for example, is going to provide SEO's insights into their mobile friendliness, while the data on status codes, hreflang implementation and rel=canonical offers up actionable information on crawler accessibility. 

There are, of course, many other tools that search engine optimizaiton professionals can use to improve their ranking but if Google is going to provide insights of this nature, it will definitely benefit search engine optimization to take a closer look. 

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