I am often asked to look at websites and tell the owners what I think of it in terms of search engine optimization. Very rarely does it take more than 3 minutes to initially point out what is search engine friendly and what is not. There are several on page elements that I am able to scan and confidently give an educated opinion. So what are these elements? How can you do all of this is less than a couple minutes? I will walk you through a sample website and tell you how and what im thinking as I analyze it.
Start the timer … 3:00 minutes.
o Typing in the URL – does the URL include any obvious keywords that would refer to that sites niche?
o Looking at the title tags – is company name in the front of the title tag? Are they using any keywords? Is it less than 70 characters? Are the title tags unique to each page (checking by clicking on a few internal pages)
o Content Scanning – look at the content on the screen, are their contextual internal links being used? Are images being used to display text? Are header tags being used properly (right click, view source, and a quick "find" for H1, H2, H3)
o Images – hover the cursor over a couple of images, are image alt tags used?
o Site Maps – Going back to the URL, add sitemap.xml at the end of the URL to verify if an XML sitemap exists or not.
o Frequently updated content – Look for blogs, news sections, articles or press releases.
DING! 3:00 minutes are over!
Now that was a lot to look over in a very short 3 minutes. By looking over these elements I can make some initial suggestions on what can be done to make the site search engine friendly. This very quick site analysis by no means will tell me what it will take to rank for your keyword; however it is a fantastic starting point for your on page optimization.
On page optimization is a technique that some people do not take seriously. As you have seen it only takes roughly 3 minutes to analyze what needs to be fixed in order to have a search friendly website. Do not skip this step! It does not take long and it will benefit your search results in the future.