Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Simple SEO Health Check

Simple Five point SEO Health Check
SEO is not easy – however there are some simple checks that you can perform yourself which will give you an indication of some of the areas that can be improved on your site to help increase its ranking in search in engine results.

Check your Metadata
Check your Keywords
Check your URLs
Check your HTML
Check your Spelling

1. Check your Metadata.

Metadata, is data about data. It allows you to describe your website - largely for the benefit of search engines. There are three main metadata tags which you can check for on your site which are considered by search engines when determining your site’s position in search engine rankings. These are ‘Title’, ‘Description’ and ‘Keywords’.

Specifically you should check for:

the existence of these tags in your HTML source code,
that your title tag is descriptive,
the description tag gives a good summary of your page/site and helps draw users into your site (as it is often what is displayed by the search engines); and
that your keywords are relevant and meet your objectives.

Once you’ve found the source code look for:


If your site doesn’t have this information, or if it doesn’t reflect your site’s content and purpose then search engines may not rank your site as highly.

2. Check your keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that help search engines identify what search queries are relevant to your site. Keywords are contained both within your page/site metadata (see step 1 above) and within the content of your site.

Search engines often look at the frequency (often called density) in which words appear within your site to determine what searches are relevant to your site. It is therefore important that keywords appear more frequently within your sites content.

Have a think about how visitors to your site might describe what they’re looking for and write down the key words. For example if you were running a plumbing business in Melbourne, you might identify ‘plumber’, ‘plumber in Melbourne’, and ‘plumbing service’, but also things like ‘blocked drain’, ‘leaking taps’, ‘greywater system’, ‘water saving’ etc. Now, review your site’s content and count how many times these words/phrases appear. If they don’t appear, or only appear once or twice throughout your site, you should review your content and identify how you might be able to modify or add to your content to include these keywords.

3. Check your URLs

Website URLs (which stands for Uniform Resource Locators – basically this is the website ‘address’ i.e. http://findingsimple.com/blog) should be meaningful and descriptive and where possible use keywords within the URLs themselves.

Keeping with the plumbing example, abbreviations within existing URLs such as “watsav” can be expanded to “water-saving”.

Content management tools like WordPress usually have built in functionality which you can enable to create more meaningful urls (or permalinks) which use the page or post titles within the sites urls.
An example of an optimised url is the url of this post as it contains the title of the post itself – which has also been expanded to include the keywords “search engine optimisation”.

While it is good to include meaningful keywords within URLs, it is important not to go overboard because the longer the URL the more difficult it will be for users to remember the address.

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