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How To Conduct An Effective Website Analysis

Written on February 27, 2013 by Posted in SEO Tips, Tip of the week

Looking for increased web traffic from search engines? Wondering how to attract more customers or clients through organic search? Of course, if your website isn’t indexed, your customers won’t find you in Google, Bing, or other search engines. Below you’ll find some of the most important factors to consider in making sure your website will be found by the search engines. Take a look and see how your site stacks up by conducting your own website analysis.
Mag Glass for analysos

Title Tags
Title tags are one of the most important factors related to on-page search engine optimization. Title tags, also known as meta titles, appear on the search engine results page and make a big difference in whether or not a potential visitor will click on your listing. Be sure each web page on your site has an original title tag that represents its unique value and purpose within your overall site architecture. Also keep in mind that your title tags should be limited to approximately 65 characters (including spaces). You can identify your title tags by right clicking and choosing “View Page Source,” or you may consider downloading the Web Developer Add-On, which also comes in handy for viewing meta descriptions.

Meta Descriptions
While meta descriptions don’t have a direct bearing on your search engine rankings, they play a critical role in the split-second decision a visitor makes regarding whether or not to click on your website listing in the search engine results. Use the allotted space for meta descriptions (approximately 156 characters) to provide a succinct description of your webpage. It also doesn’t hurt to include a call to action in your meta description — this could make the difference between a click or no click. As with title tags, each page on your website should have a unique meta description.

Links
Search engines use the number of links to a website as an indicator of its importance. The more sites that link to you, the better you will rank in search engines. Keep in mind; you want to earn quality links from websites that are relevant, trustworthy, and well-ranked.

So how do you know which links are currently pointing to your website? There are a lot of tools that provide backlink data. Take a look at Google Webmaster Tools to view a list of the sites that link to your website. Other recommended tools include Open Site Explorer or ahrefs. Both Open Site Explorer and ahrefs provide you with a limited amount of information without requiring a paid membership.

It’s hard to answer the question — how many backlinks are “good?” It really depends on the size of your website and the type of business you’re running. Take a look at how many links you have right now, and then set a goal for yourself to increase the number of links per month by a certain percentage rather than a hard number. Make sure you’re not buying links, that you’re not buying social points, and that you’re not dealing with link farms. Search engines are really looking for quality of links versus quantity.

Anchor Text
Anchor text is simply the characters and words that a hyperlink is embedded in when linking to another document or location on the web. Search engines use anchor text to help them figure out what the hyperlinked page is about and who it may be relevant for. Optimize links so that rather than using “Read More” and “Learn More,” you have target keywords in the anchor text. So instead of: “Concierge Preferred is a great resource for things to do in Chicago. Read more here”; use something like “Concierge Preferred has a great article on things to do in Chicago.” Optimizing your anchor text is something you or your webmaster can do right away, and it makes a big difference. However, DO NOT try and manipulate your anchor text for the purpose of SEO. The anchor text MUST be natural and should act as a directional indictor that benefits the reader more than the search engine.

JavaScript
Take a look at your website from the point of view of a search engine. Disabling JavaScript helps you see your site the same way search engines see it, since they have a more difficult time reading JavaScript than HTML. A small amount of users may have JavaScript disabled, either for speed, security or accessibility reasons. You can download another helpful tool, the MozBar, to quickly turn JavaScript off and on.

Take a look at your website with JavaScript disabled. What changes? Do your navigation menus still work? Do your videos disappear? How about your content? If your website offers a significantly different experience with JavaScript turned off, it may be time to consider alternates to JavaScript.

Canonical URL Check
To a search engine, “mywebsite.com” and “www.mywebsite.com” are not the same thing. Enter your website into a browser with and without http:// and with and without www, and see what happens. If you don’t see that all your traffic is redirecting to a single page, you have a canonicalization issue and likely a duplicate content problem. Set up a 301 redirect to correct these issues.

It should go without saying that the items above are just a brief entry point into a comprehensive website analysis, but they all make up pieces of the bigger puzzle that is search engine optimization. Take a closer look at these important website elements, and make sure you understand how each of these items relates to your website’s search engine rankings. Stay tuned to our blog for future tips on analyzing your website.