You might be wondering how to determine if a website, maybe your own, has been treated for proper search engine optimization. As part of your requirements gathering, you’ll need to check what has and hasn’t been done on the existing site, so that you can make an appropriate recommendation.
It’s not enough to ask the developer; he or she might not know the specifics of the SEO work that has been done, or may not have been around when the site was originally designed. Better to dig into the site on your own and familiarize yourself, so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Here are some easy SEO checks and techniques for determining how much (or how little) work has been done on a particular site – none of which requires site access.
1. Check the URL as you click through the pages. If you click from page to page and the site URL does not change for each page, then the search engines do not see these as separate pages. This denies the site the opportunity to optimize each of these pages for a unique set of keywords related to the content displayed on them, and does not allow inbound links to be directed to any of their content individually. Needless to say, if an entire site is constructed in this way, it’s a bit of an SEO disaster.
2. On pages that do have unique URLs, check to see if they contain content that the search engines can read. You can do this by:
- Going to a page with a unique URL.
- Highlighting a paragraph on the page, and copying it.
- Viewing the page source for that particular page.
- Using the “Find” feature to see if your copied text can be found in the source code of the page. If it can’t be found in the source code, the search engines cannot read the content displayed on the page.
3. Check to see if onsite SEO work has been done. The easiest way to do this: As you flip from page to page (for those that have unique URLs), do the title tags have unique, targeted, actively searched keywords embedded in them? For SEO purposes, each page should be used to target a different set of actively searched keywords.
4. Check the meta descriptions and meta keywords. If, when you pull up the source code on a page, you see the following:
<meta name="description" content="" /> <meta name="keywords" content="" />
… You know that whomever built the site embedded these fields in the code so that it could potentially be optimized as a follow-up step, but that it has not been treated with onsite SEO.
Incidentally, this assessment is supported by inputting the site into SEM Rush, and looking at the keywords that deliver traffic to the site. Sites that are not treated with onsite SEO will most likely return brand-related terms (i.e., phrases that include the company’s name). If the site were optimized for SEO, this list would also include non-brand-specific terms, as an indication that qualified customers who may not have been previously familiar with that particular company are being driven to it, where they can learn more about it and potentially be converted into customers.
6. Open the site in Moz’s Open Site Explorer, to check the strength of its inbound links, based on the Domain Authority, Linking Root Domains, and Total Links recorded there.
7. Open the site in Yext, to check on its local listings, and the consistency of information loaded into them — which has significant influence on its Local SEO placement (i.e., its rankings within the map-based section of search engine results).
As gather this information, you’ll have a fairly quick understanding whether your website has been treated properly for search engine optimization. If it hasn’t, fear not. The process for optimizing a website for SEO is not a complicated one, but it does require following specific rules to ensure that Google or any other major search engine is indexing your website for the terms that you intend for your business. Of course, if you don’t have time, expertise, or needed support to go through this process, Digiboost can help you. Contact us and we’ll educate you on the process of proper SEO and ensure that your website is indexing effectively for your business.