SEO Site Analysis: Knowing the Score, Part 4

If you’ve been keeping track of this series, you’re well on your way to crafting a strategic SEO (define) plan for your Web site.

In the part one, we established benchmarks with which we can monitor SEO campaign’ success. With benchmarks and demonstrable data in place, we moved on to part two — our site-o-analysis — and set up a spreadsheet to help analyze and score a Web site’s architecture, URL structure, and linking structure.

In part three, we reviewed the site’s navigation, page templates, cascading style sheets, and secondary page structures in search of opportunities to establish keyword themes throughout the site. We assessed the site’s score for linking and navigation on a scale of 0-10 and set up rows in our spreadsheet for top navigation, left and right navigation, breadcrumbs, footers, the site map, and other linking elements, such as banner ads, tags, and related informational links.

Finally, we examined a site’s overall keyword visibility and assessed scores for the site’s title tags, headings, body text, and meta tags to grow our understanding of how these elements contribute to establishing well trafficked keyword themes.

Now What?

When you review the scores for each major SEO site element, you should see a pattern. If the site is Flash intensive, for example, you probably realized indexation levels are low and scored the site accordingly. If your site is driven by dynamic URLs, you probably realized your site had way too many pages indexed, and few rank well in the search engines.

Recognizing patterns in Web site analysis is the key for setting SEO priorities. Low scores in indexation levels, site architecture, URLs, and navigation often require immediate attention, particularly if your site goes into a code freeze during peak sales seasons.

If a September Web site lockdown is on the horizon, you have about three months to get the technical side of your site fine-tuned for the holiday sales season. Sit down immediately with the tech and design teams to devise a strategy for implementing your recommendations.

There will always be some pushback as to what can be done immediately and efficiently. Set priorities and get workarounds in place. You may need to bring extra people on board for the project’s duration. Don’t let technical challenges set your program back. Try to wrap incentives around the SEO program for the entire team to make your priorities their priorities.

If technical barriers aren’t a priority, your site must be pretty well indexed and is probably ranking for some important keywords and keyword phrases. These keyword themes are revealed by your Web analytics program and should show which search engines refer what traffic to your site for particular words and phrases.

It’s fabulous if these search engine referrals are on topic and driving revenue through your site. If the words and phrases are off topic, you’d better dive into your keyword research to determine how your site can be realigned around keyword themes. Prioritize your site’s content and route the SEO implementation plan through those elements that can heighten your search engine visibility. In other words, get those keywords on your site’s pages if you want to be found for particular themes.

You may have to complete title tag rewrites, create header tag hierarchies, or incorporate breadcrumbs in templates used throughout the site. Your team may have to rewrite, edit, or add content; automate meta description functionality; or even adjust the site’s navigation. Crafting great content takes time and money. Plan for this portion of the SEO campaign accordingly to achieve your desired results.

Imperfect Score

If you completed a thorough site analysis and only found a few nits with the structure or content, you’re ready to move on to link building. Everyone (excepting Paris Hilton) can never be too rich or too thin. The same goes for your site’s inbound links.

Get RSS feeds set up for auto-discovery. Supplement newsletters with link bait. Explore every element of your business practices and partnerships to build on established, interlinked relationships.

Go viral with your audio and video and make certain all vertical search entities are exploited. Implement a long-term link building strategy and take your site to new heights of search engine visibility, using feeds, local directories, mobile search engines, shopping engines, social sites, and press releases.

You can never have too many on-topic, keyword-rich anchor text links pointing deeply into your site. Just be careful about how you obtain these links as you continue to naturally accrue them into your site’s history.

Join us for Search Engine Watch Live on May 9 in Ohio.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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