Let's talk

Call us: +44 (0)1603 878240

5 Non-Technical SEO Checks

16:23 on Tue, 11 May 2010 | SEO | 0 Comments

Detail can make the difference between success and failure when it comes to SEO. Generally speaking, the importance of on-site SEO increases in relation to the total number of pages on your website. What might seem like a small thing, may not be so when it's repeated 100,000 within your site template.

That said, what about much smaller sites? There's a lot of basic SEO checks you can do with very little technical knowledge. Here's our top 5.

1. The 3 second page content check

 

Stopwatch
You're smarter than a machine!

 

Load a random page on your website and ask someone not familiar with it to tell you what that page is about after a 3 second look.

Humans are actually really great at scan reading and picking up subtle hints on content: If a human can't clearly grasp the content of a page within a few seconds, a machine (like a search engine robot) is really going to struggle. Not to mention, you may have a usability issue on your hands.

What you are actually checking for:
In terms of search engine optimisation, page titles should be optimised to reflect the individual content of that page. You can also optimise the layout of content to make the depth of content clearer for users and search engines.

 

2. The blind link check

 

Blindfolded
Do you know where you're going?


Load a random page on your website. Ignore everything except links to other pages. From reading these links, can you tell roughly where you're about to go and what the next page is? If you've got a lot of "click here" links and image navigation, you may have a hard time ranking.

What you are actually checking for:
Search engines uses the "words" (it's called anchor text) in links to try and determine the content of the linked-to page and tag it with those words. Having pages links to consistently with "anchor text rich" keywords will increase the chances of that page ranking well within the SERPs. You should always take the time to optimise your internal links.

 
 

3. The URL memory game

 

The Shell Game
Which cup is the URL under?


Choose 3 pages that you think are important on your website and you'd like your visitor or customer to see. Give yourself 30 seconds a URL and see if you can memorise them. If you can't, you may need to simplify your URLs.

What you are actually checking for:
Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs are addresses that contain keywords, rather than query strings.

So a search engine friendly URL might be:

> http://www.yourwebsite.com/running-shoes/nike-air-max/

A non-search engine friendly URL might be:

> http://www.yourwebsite.com/shop.php?categoryid=24&productid=992&browser=ie8

If I'm totally honest, Google is actually really good at crawling and indexing dynamic "unfriendly" URLs now, however research has shown that "friendly" URLs are more likely to be shared/e-mailed/instant messaged and linked to. They generally cause less problems as they are being copied & pasted around the web.

There also appears to still be a slight ranking benefit from optimising your URLs match the targeted keywords.

 

4. Do important things come first?

 

The Shell Game
Search robots get tired before mouse clicking fingers


Hopefully you've still got your "important 3 pages" list we made in our last check. Go to your homepage and now navigate to these pages from there while counting how many clicks it takes to get there.

Ideally, your most important pages should only be 1 or 2 clicks away from your homepage.

What you are actually checking for:
Good information architecture and link structure. Generally how Google and other search engines pass trust and importance via links has to do with the "distance" between pages. Pages "further down" the navigational tree are assumed (well, mathematically calculated) to be less important. There is a decay factor in the amount of link equity passed down in each link level.
 

5. The double-vision check

 

Twin cats
Which one do you want to take home?

 

As you navigate up and down your website, is it possible to access the same content twice on a different URL?

Example:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/trainers/black/nike-air <- Our Nike Air product page

http://www.yourwebsite.com/trainers/mens/nike-air <- The same Nike Air product page

In this example, we have found we can access the same product page, by navigating through our "black shoes" category and our "mens trainers" category. While this doesn't present a huge problem for users, it can prove a big hurdle for search engines.

What you are actually checking for:
Duplicate content. It's worth mentioning that Google has a duplicate content filter, not a duplicate content penalty (unless you're being really excessive). This means that Google will choose one or the other of your pages to display in the search results.

While not a penalty, it's criminally wasteful. The result will be that you are wasting link equity on pages that won't rank and detracting value from the one that does pop-up in the results. Essentially, you'll still only have one page show up in the results, it will just show up lower.

Don't worry though, there are some simple solutions to duplicate content that don't involve rebuilding your site!

We're of course, only scratching the surface with these suggestions - why not find out how much a full SEO site audit is worth or talk to us about getting one.

 

Comments & Discussion

(0 Comments)

Post a comment, your email will not be published, nor will it be harvested.