Search Engine Optimization Thoughts
By Steph Skardal
February 25, 2009
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing cover a wide range of opportunities to improve a website’s search engine traffic. When performining a search engine site review, here are several questions that I would investigate. Note that the questions are biased towards technical search engine optimization efforts. Some of the questions provide links to help define common search engine optimization terms. Although this is not typical End Point blog fashion, the answers to these questions can potentially lead to search engine optimization improvements.
- Do the pages indexed by major search engines accurately represent the site’s content?
- Are there duplicate index pages indexed?
- Are there old index pages or domains that aren’t redirected?
- Are there pages missing from major search engine indexes?
- Are there too many pages in major search engine indexes?
- Are 301 redirects used permanently on the site?
- Can rel=“canonical” or the use of 301s be applied as a temporary solution to fix duplicate content issues?
- Is there low hanging fruit to fix duplicate content issues?
- Is there low hanging fruit to fix duplicate content generated by external links?
- Are there on site duplicate content issues that can be remedied with ‘#’ (relative link)?
- Can external affiliate link structures be modified to use ‘#’ (relative link) instead of query strings?
- Is there a trend that pages deep in a site’s structure don’t get indexed?
- Is there a trend that a certain group of pages don’t get indexed?
- Are there any pages indexed that don’t need to be indexed?
- Is there a robots.txt file?
- Can the use of rel=“nofollow” on site help direct link juice?
- Do url structures follow standard guidelines?
- Is there pagination on site that produces an ever-increasing crawl depth?
- Can navigation be modified to reduce on site pagination?
- Is there a sitemap?
- Would a sitemap provide an alternate way to index pages on a site?
- Is there a mechanism that causes creation of new urls and deletion of old urls (example: items going out of stock)?
- Is there a mechanism that causes urls to fluctuate in and out of navigation (example: items going in and out of stock)?
- Does the website owner have a way to monitor bot crawl data and trends?
- Are there google webmaster tool errors that need to be addressed (examples: duplicate page title, meta data)?
- Are there any problems with server response (examples: frequent server down time)?
- Are there frequent 404 responses?
- Can relevant, helpful content that can be added to the 404 page?
- Are 302 (temporary redirects) ever served when 301s should be served?
- Does any page content have excessive content that isn’t indexed by major search engines?
- Can pages with excessive content be divided into different pages target different keywords?
- How does the YSlow score compare to competitor sites?
- Are there low hanging performance improvements that can be made?
- Does the website owner have a set of defined target keywords?
- Is the site architecture built around the target keywords?
- Are on page elements appropriately targeting keywords?
- Do images have alt text that targets relevant keywords?
- Are page titles targetting keywords appropriately (example: Keyword — Category — Website Name)?
- Is there a mechanism that allows for page titles, headers, and content to be refreshed frequently?
- Does the site target short tail and long tail content?
- Does the website owner have a separate site that generates relevant content and produces inbound links?
- Does the website owner have a tool to measure search engine traffic over time?
- Does the website owner have a tool to measure incoming links?
- Does the website owner have a tool to measure incoming link anchor text trends?
User Generated Content Topics
- Does the site have user generated content?
- Would building content around user generated content lead to an increase of long tail search engine traffic?
- Is there a way to rank user generated content by quality?
- Does the site have a social community that encourages production of user generated content?
I hope to address some of these topics in depth in the future.