DIY SEO Healthcheck

by Jessica Ramesh Yard Digital

mark-nunney_230Mark Nunney

Yard Digital has put together their own DIY SEO health check, written by Mark Nunney. Try these simple tests to check your SEO can help your site achieve its potential and download the full report here.

Search engines have changed. Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates and hundreds of other changes have made old SEO tactics obsolete. Is your site New SEO friendly?

1) Is your SEO failing to target most of your potential customers?

For any market you might be targeting, those glory phrases you want to be no.1 on Google for, e.g. home insurance or office furniture are called thehead terms. Their long tails are all the other phrases that contain them, e.g. home insurance flat roof house and home office furniture ideas. The long tail is so long, the head is insignificant.

How many different keywords (search phrases) does your SEO target?

If your answer is less than thousands then you are missing out on the long tail of search.
The long tail is the many thousands of different keywords searched with every day for any product or service.

For example, you might sell donuts and target the keyword donuts. The long tail of search includes thousands of keywords containing donuts, e.g. chocolate donuts, round chocolate donuts.

The vast majority of searches are made with long tail keywords rather than the trophy ‘head’ keywords most SEO campaigns target. The long tail of search is where most of the money is.

Here’s how to get New SEO friendly:

• Don’t just target exact match keywords, e.g. chocolate donuts. Target groups of keywords (keyword niches), e.g. all keywords containing chocolate donuts.

• Use keyword research tools like Google’s and Wordtracker Strategizer to get insights into the different keywords your SEO might be targeting and how much of your target market is in the long tail.

• Choose your target keyword niches by finding those you currently get the most response and the best response rates from (and consider their potential, i.e. their size).

2) Is your site performing for the long tail of search?

Once you are targeting the long tail of search you need to know how you are performing. Is your site achieving its potential?

The long tail of search, would stretch off this page for a few thousand miles.

Find your site’s position (rank) on Google search results for 100 target keywords for each of your major products, product categories or services.

These reports will give a small window into your site’s performance for the long tail of search.

If you aren’t already in the top 10 for more 50% of those keywords then you aren’t yet competing for most of your customers.

Now count the number of non-brand organic (non-paid) keywords bringing results to your site in one month. If it’s less than 50% of the number of visits for the same period (again from non-brand organic searches) then you are probably not exploiting the long tail as much as you could.

Here’s how to get New SEO friendly:

• Ensure you have a content plan for each of your target markets and matching keyword niches.

• Optimise the internal links on your site so that target markets’ pages are linked to from the home page, other powerful pages and pages related to each target link to each other.

• Plan link building campaigns for each target market’s pages from quality sites that you’d want links from if you paid no regard to search engines (this is ‘seo irony’).

3) Do visitors like your content?

Google wants its searchers to like what they find so it wants quality content at the top of its search results. Google can’t directly measure quality content so it looks for clues like how many people quickly ‘bounce’ back to its search results after clicking through from them.

Find your site’s ‘bounce rate’ for search engine visitors. Bounce rate is the % of visitors that leave after seeing just one page.

Bounce rates give you an indication of how popular your pages are with those that find them.

Look at bounce rates for different types of pages on your site.

You can find it with your site visitor analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics, WebTrends, Adobe sitecatalyst).

If bounce rates are higher than 70% then you might have a problem. Google wants it searchers to be happy with what they find so they carry on using Google. If searchers only view one page or quickly returning to search results then Google might deduce your pages are ‘low quality’.

Here’s how to get New SEO friendly:

• Find the groups of pages with high bounce rates.

• Improve them so that visitors want to stay.

• If there’s nothing you can do to improve the bouncy pages and they are also really dull with little to distinguish them from each other then consider asking search engines not to index them.

4) Does your content get shared on social media?

If your pages are mentioned and linked to on social media sites then they will appear higher on Google results pages for both personalised results (influenced by a searcher and their friends like) and non-personalised result.

Use a simple tool like SEO for Chrome to see how often your site is mentioned on G+, Facebook and Twitter.

You can also use your site analytics software (like Google Analytics, WebTrends and Omniture) to see how many visits are referred to your site from social sites.

Also use Link Builder to compare your site’s number and proportion of inbound links from ‘social’ sites with your competitors’.

If you’re not appearing on social sites and your competitors’ are then you are at best missing out on an opportunity and at worst sending Google negative signals that visitors don’t like your site. This might lead to worse results from search engines.

Here’s how to get New SEO friendly:

• Find the groups of pages with high bounce rates.

• Improve them so that visitors want to stay.

• If there’s nothing you can do to improve the bouncy pages and they are also really dull with little to distinguish them from each other then consider asking search engines not to index them.

Download the full report here.

Topics

SEO