Whenever we take on a new client, one of the first steps we perform is a SEO site review. This is important for several reasons. But most importantly, you can’t know what needs to be done to a site until you know what you’re working with. It’s that simple.
Like most search marketing agencies, we have a master checklist for site reviews. From that list, I’ve created a brief breakdown of seven questions to ask yourself about your SEO Site Review before you begin any SEO campaign.
What do I need to consider when evaluating my site?
Performing a website review needs time to work, and also the seven questions such as the following will help you cover all of the bases.
- Look at structure Is your Information Architecture structured in such a way as to put relevant informational pages within the same category/bucket? This is most commonly called theme-based structure. Do you have enough pages of relevant copy within the site? I’ve mentioned it before, but a 20 page Web site in a competitive vertical is going to be difficult to be successful with, so you should consider adding a blog or otherwise develop good content within the site.
- Look at URL propagation: Are your URLs optimized? www.domain.com/page-name is the best way to structure your pages. (But before you go and change all your URLs, speak with a professional first.) If you are rewriting your URLs, be sure that you are putting into place the proper redirects (probably best to put 301 redirects into place). Some search engines do better than others at following redirects, so as mentioned, consult with a professional before you do anything drastic.
- Design and functionality: Is your site user-friendly? While this isn’t strictly SEO-related, it is absolutely necessary for customer conversion, brand reputation, and customer retention. Are your callouts located above the fold? Are they easily discernible? Is your contact form or shopping cart easy to use?
- Code: Is your site W3C compliant? Is it Section 508 compliant? W3C compliance entails clean code without errors. Section 508 compliance involves enabling your site to be readable and usable by users with various disabilities.
- Meta tags: Do each page’s Meta tags accurately reflect the content of the page? Are the keywords employed popularly searched for what you offer? Remember, the Meta keywords tag is not the all-powerful “optimization” platform that it might have been in the year 2000. Title tag, then Description, and then Meta keywords is the proper way to think of these, in terms of valuation and importance.
- Content: Do your H1 and other headers reflect each page’s keywords? Do you even have H1 headers? You should. Headers, Content, and Meta tags should all adhere to a keyword theme on each page.
- Internal Linking: Are you using keyword-rich anchor text to link to pages devoted to the keywords used in your links? Are your most important pages receiving link love from the rest of the site?