Monday, April 2, 2012

Basic steps for a SEO quickscan

SEO quickscan
The following steps are just some basic guidelines for a SEO  quick scan. But following these steps will give you a basic status of your sites SEO performance.

When analyzing search results, always make sure you are logged out of your Google account and your cookies history is clean.

Always remember: Google indexes pages and not websites. Your internal link structure is very important as well as each page and the backlinks to pages.

Technical SEO

  • First of all start with installing the SEOMOZ toolbar for FireFox or Chrome. It has lot's of SEO tools integrated.
  • Check how many pages are indexed in Google. Can roughly be checked by using the command "site" in the major search engines. E.g. site:www.yoursite.com . Try it with and without www. Right under the search bar you will see the indexed pages from this domain. Also in the SEOMOZ toolbar is a possibility to check the indexed pages.
  • Is the website using frames? The usage of frames is not adviced.
  • Is the website using flash? Search engines still have difficulties indexing flash content. Also apple devices don't display flash content. Better to find an alternative solution, if you use flash.
  • Check the 404 error page. Make sure it works and is setup correctly. Here's some advice
  • Make proper use of redirects. If pages are removed, temporarily or permanently, make sure the redirect of the page is correct. More information about redirects can be found here.
  • Make sure that URL's with the www and the same URL without the "www" typed in, show the same page.
  • Make sure there is no content hidden, by the use of javascript. If you use the SEOMOZ toolbar in FireFox or chrome, you can easily disable javascript and see how the site looks. Make sure the navigation dropdowns are working.
  • Check if the website is compliant to the W3C guidelines. This can be done here. Try to avoid error messages and warnings.
  • Make sure you have "readable" URL's. So not an URL like www.yoursite.com/39493/bin/content/55.html but www.yoursite.com/category/productname.html

Content

  • Does your site has duplicate content elswhere on the web? Duplicate content is not appreciated by search engines. This tool, called http://www.copyscape.com/ can check if content from your site is available elsewhere at the web. If you're content is the original one, there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Internal duplicate content can be checked with the help of Google Webmaster Tools. For more information about duplicate content, check this article.
  • Does every page has a unique title? If not make sure that every page has a unique title and include also relevant keywords in the title. If you have a large site, you can try to automate this process, by for example the use of text from your product information system.
  • Make use of relevant keywords in the URL's
  • Try to use unique meta descriptions, like Matt Cutts from Google explains here.
  • If you have a webshop where you sell products, make sure your category pages and product pages have enough text. At every page you can think of some text, to tell what is happening at this page. This is very important for search engines. Make sure your products or services do not have the same description from the supplier, that is used everywhere with your competitors as well. Make the text unique.
  • Create a correct template with the use of the heading tags, like H1, H2, H3 and H4.

Links

  • Make sure you use "breadcrumps" at your site. Good for your visitors and search engines.
  • Make sure there is a XML sitemap at for example www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
  • Be careful when linking to external websites, you might leak pagerank from your website to others.
  • A good internal link structure is very important, also at your homepage. More about the internal link structure can be found here.
  • Backlinks (link to your pages) are very important. Every SEO quickscan should have a backlink check. If you do not have sufficient links to your pages, a high ranking is virtually impossible. You can use backlinkchecktools all over the internet, but seomoz is one of the best.
  • Check your pagerank! If you want to learn more about what pagerank is, watch this video:




Often you have to make sure you get links to certain pages of your website, that might be deeper at your site, to let them rank higher at certain keywords. Don't only focus at your homepage.

  • Take a few keywords, that you think are important, or that you have found in Google traffic estimator and that you want to rank high at. Find the URL's of your competitor's and make a short matrix with at least the following information:
    • URL competitor
      • Indexed pages
      • Backlinks to these site
      • Position of sites at certain keywords
      • Check product rankings against competitor's
Social Integration

Google nowadays integrates social data in their search results. If you are an early adopter in your branch, you can take advantage of this. But in the long term it get's increasingly important to have fans at Google+ and other social media and to gain so called "+1's", fan's etc. Google's competition with facebook will only increase the speed of these changes.
Use at least a +1 checker to check your's and your competitor's.
Social is going to have a real big influence at search engine marketing in the short term. Keep an eye at that. It is not only about followers, but it goes beyond that. 










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