We understand how difficult it is to run a business and how valuable your time is. The customer always comes first and trying to understand how to improve rankings and stay current with the best web practices may not be possible. We created this page to help clear up some of the confusion surrounding how search engines rank sites. Below each area of the report is explained in greater detail with examples and further reading so you can focus on your website’s strengths and weaknesses.
How To Improve Your Rankings
Search Engines are not particularly fond of pages bigger than 2 megabytes. Search engines like pages that load quickly because every second a page takes to load increases the chance the user will leave before the content even loads.
Too many file requests – A lot of file requests decrease the speed of which a page is being opened. Individual requests can be seen in a waterfall graphic with tools such as Pingdom and a lot of them can be optimized by combining different elements of the same type.
URL is SEO friendly – Search engines can better predict the type of content a site will host with an informative name in your domain.
Exact keyword not found in this URL – When you navigate to a particular page, the URL should contain a keyword that helps the engine understand it. This error can come up when you are checking the homepage of your website – this is perfectly fine.
No underscore in URL – Underscores are worse performers than hyphens when it comes to separating words in URLs in a Search engine friendly kind of way. You can of course not use spaces between your words but this only works for shorter domains consisting of two or three words.
Page is close enough to top-level domain – The closer a page is to the root of your website the more valuable that page is to search engines. An article which can be opened via domain.com/article will score better.
Title tag should contain your target keyword – The title tag is quite important to the SEO and should contain your exact target keyword. The title tag is the text that is displayed in search engine results. You want to be descriptive about your business and your location.
Title tag should begin with the exact target keyword – this is a nice addition to the previous point. However, a target keyword placed anywhere in the title tag will inform search engines the focus of the page.
Title tag has 55 characters or less – Google only shows the first 55 characters of your title tag, so using longer title tags won’t result in any benefits whatsoever.
Description tag has 155 characters or less – the same principle from the title tag also applies to the meta tag, the amount of characters shown is typically 155. A meta tag may not have a direct affect on SEO and rankings but will affect your click through. This is the text below title tags and helps users understand in better detail the contents of the page.
Description tag includes exact keyword – As you know, when you search something on Google, when a match has been found the keyword will become bolded in the description. Use this information to increase your Click through rate and improve the SEO of the page.
All images have alt tags – When a search engine comes across an image, the engine cannot visualize what the image is about and has to rely on alternative text for help. Setting alternative text is an important part of adding images to your website and a page’s rankings. Alt tags are very important to consider for the visually impaired. Alt tags provide accurate information to allow users to accurately understand and navigate your site.
Exact keyword found in an alt tag – While filling out the alternative text for an image, make sure to incorporate your target keyword in it while avoiding keyword stuffing.
Exact keyword in an image file name – not as important as the previous point but still viable is the process of naming your image files and adding your targeted keyword in their names. However, if you use a lot of similar images and have a specific way of organizing them by name the organizational benefit may be better for your practice.
No underscore found in image file names – Again, the use of hyphens is more viable than using underscores in your image file names. This is due to the Google algorithm being written to understand hyphens better.
You should have 2000+ words on this page – having more than 2000 words will help search engines better understand the information your site holds and allows you to include information on the different product & services your business provides, but also what makes your business unique. More content allows for users to find the information they were seeking easier and navigate your website faster.
Related Blog: Why Content is King
Only use exact keyword 2-4 times – Overusing a keyword will not provide additional benefits as keyword density is not taken into account when a page has been crawled.
Exact keyword is bolded, italicized or underlined – Making a keyword more noticeable in the sea of words on your page will increase the SEO of that page. You can use bolding or underlining to achieve the desired result.
Exact keyword found in the first 100 words – Putting the target keyword at the beginning of your page shows search engines that your content is relevant to the keyword.
Exact keyword found in anchor text – Using anchors and backlinks can greatly improve your page ranking but adding your keyword to those is also important.
Link this page to a sitemap html – Sitemaps are like a catalog of your website that makes looking for specific pages much easier for crawlers and even users. Having a sitemap grows your domain’s authority.
HTML is W3C validated – The cleaner your source code is the easier search engines can crawl and index your pages. W3C validity is in direct relation with your source code structure.
No flash found – Flash was mainly used a few years back and is no longer a viable format for websites. Search engines and browsers have hard time understanding and visualizing flash pages.
Remove inline CSS – CSS should be kept as a separate file and not show as part of the source code of a web page as it will make it more difficult for crawlers to index your page.
Text to HTML ratio is too low (<25%) – You need to have more than 25% of your web pages as text content in order for search engines to understand them. If you have more than 75% of your web page as HTML that will not be possible.
Found schema markup – As search engines have a hard time understanding data without some sort of explanation of what exactly that data means, schema was invented. Schema microdata is extra code in the form of types and attributes that can be added directly to the HTML of a page and is used to explain to search engines abstract definitions like time and other specific parts of page structure and content that could result in irrelevant search results. For more information on how to add Schema to your website pages you can check the official Schema documentation.
Link to a sitemap.xml – Having a sitemap.xml will help search engines in finding all of your content which will certainly affect your SEO and domain authority.
Server Compression – This point covers the compression of data coming out of the server you are hosted on. Compression of any kind and especially Gzip will positively affect your website speed and also SEO. For more information on Gzip you can check out our tutorial on the matter.
Found heading tags: H1, H2 and H3 – By using heading tags you help search engines understand your content better.
Exact Keyword found in H1, H2 and H3 tag – Implementing the target keyword in your H1, H2 and H3 tags will increase the SEO rate of your website.
There are no duplicate heading tags – Repeated h1, h2 and h3 tags can confuse search engines, so you must avoid them.
Add a tweet button – Adding a tweet button will increase the social presence of your pages and let visitors more easily share your content.
Add a Facebook share or like button – Similar to the tweet button a share button acts only in your favor when you need to popularize your content while a big amount of likes can sway new potential customers to your products or services.
Related Webinar: Winning the Social Media Game
We found a link to a blog – Linking other good sources of information is always a plus when we talk about SEO. This increases your authority and helps your website grow.
Add a mobile sitemap – If you have a responsive website your standard sitemap will work just fine. The only case you should have a separate mobiles sitemap is when you have a feature-phone version of your site (WAP/WML, etc).
Add an Apple icon – An Apple Icon is the graphic element that will be shown when a user saves your website on their home screen in iOS. If you are missing this element, iOS will generate a compressed thumbnail of your website and display it as the icon instead. This may lead to some visually unappealing results that you will not want your users to see.
We found a viewport metatag – Viewport Meta tags send information to search engines that your web page is optimized for mobile browsers which will prioritize them over websites with no such tags.
Related Blog: Mobile Search Approaches 60%
Found X links from other sites – The amount of backlinks leading to your page.
Found X links from unique domains – The amount of back-links from unique domains leading to this page. The more backlinks you have, the more authority your domain will hold in searches.
This page has X outbound links – Links going from your page to another website that can be followed by the search engine.
MozTrust Page Score – MozTrust shows how trustworthy the links are that point to this page. Links to official sources provide the highest amount of trust.
MozRank Page Score – MozRank shows how important your page is by the quality and amount of backlinks to it.
Moz Page Authority – This will show you a prediction of how well your page will perform in search engines on the scale of 1 to 100.
Found X links from other sites – The amount of backlinks in other websites that lead to the domain of the audited page.
Found X links from unique domains – The amount of backlinks from unique websites that open the domain of the audited page.
Add a link from the DMOZ Directory – This will show a link on dmoz.org that lead to your website if such is available.
MozTrust Domain Score – Shows how trustworthy are the links that point to your domain.
MozRank Domain Score – Gives an estimate on how important your domain is by analyzing the amount and quality of pages linking to it.
Moz Domain Authority – Similar to the Moz Page Authority, this will estimate the performance in search engines (1-100 scale), but this time it will take into account your entire website instead of an individual page.
Number of pages indexed by Google – The more quality content you have on your website the more you will increase your search engine rankings.
Domain Character Length – Typically domains above 15 characters in length will look less trustworthy to search engines.
Domain Age – Domains that have been around for a longer periods of time tend to bring more trust than newer domains. This is because unpopular or irrelevant domains quickly disappear and domains providing important information are often old.
Domain Expiration – Search engines can take into consideration the time your domain has before it expires. Expired domains are more often used in untrustworthy activities. However, note that this is a very subtle marker and will not greatly affect the SEO of your domain even if you have less than a year until expiration.
Preferred domain set – Having both www and non-www versions of your domain can sometimes confuse search engines that the content is duplicated. To avoid this you must specify which domain you prefer by creating a redirection to it from its other version.
Canonicalize your IP address – Your website’s IP should be redirected to the domain name you chose in the previous point. If not Google may think that the IP and the domain are two different instances of the same website and that content is duplicated.
Robots.txt file found – In order to be sure which pages you want indexed and which you wish to keep hidden from crawlers, you must properly configure your robots.txt file.
Favicon found – Favicons are the small (16x16px) icons that appear when you open websites in your browser. It is a little detail that provides a bit of additional boost to your website’s SEO. Make sure that your favicon image is correctly named – favicon.ico
We created the website grader to give every user actionable items to improve their site. If you are happy with your current site and the aesthetics of your site, that’s great!
The next step we would recommend is to ensure you are tracking the correct metrics to ensure your SEO efforts are giving you the highest return.
If you are confident in your organic marketing efforts we encourage you to explore other marketing strategies, such as PPC, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.
Search Engine Optimization is very important to customer acquisition. Feel free to leave a specific question below and a digital marketing specialist can reach out directly to you!
To better understand other marketing channels feel free to read our blog about other marketing channels.