Perform SEO in 59 Minutes

If you are given an hour to optimize a site, do you think you can achieve something? Yes you can. Even if you are not a search marketer.

Visit the site and examine the homepage. Then ask yourself the following questions:

1. Check the contents

* Are photos given appropriate alternate text?
* Are text content used appropriately?
* Is the site practicing proper use of anchor text?
* Does it have a proper internal linking method?
* Does it hide text and links? Try CTRL+SHIFT+S in Firefox or CTRL+A in Internet Explorer

2. Check the source code
* Does it contain keyword stuffing in the meta keywords section or elsewhere in the site?
* Does it have meta description?
* Does it use robots meta directive properly?
* Does it have customized page titles on its pages?
* Does it practice keyword prominence?

3. Check the displayed homepage URL
Do you notice that it is redirected from the homepage to a sub-folder?
* If yes check the redirection method and see whether it is a valid redirection or not.
* If no, then there’s no need to worry about it.

4. Look at the navigation menu located usually at the center top or left-hand side of the page.
* Is it in Flash? If you don’t know how to determine if it is Flash, right click on the menu and see whether it shows Flash on the context menu. If it is Flash, its contents cannot be accessed by most search engines, which is bad.

* Is it JavaScript? If you don’t know how to find out, check on the status bar of the browser and see if URLs show up once you move your mouse over the menu elements. If it shows up, that’s good. Otherwise, it’s same as having Flash navigation.

5. Check the URL structure
* Does it have multiple parameters?
* Does it have hints of containing session variables?
* Does it resolve to one URL whether or not you use “www” or not?

6. Check its link partners
* Use Yahoo! Search Explorer to identify which sites are linking to it. Hope that these sites are more or less related to site contents.

7. Check sitemap if it has one
* Does the sitemap contain complete list of pages?
* Are contents categorized properly?

8. Check how many pages within the site are indexed
* Does doing a “site:www.domain.com” show up list of pages? If doing so displays nothing, then the site contents have not been indexed and therefore not expected to show up on search results. That’s bad news.

9. Repeat items 1 and 2 as you transfer from one page to another.

This exercise is intended for us to find out the more obvious signs of a “sick” website. We need to have them identified before we can conclude something and prepare some medication to fix the problem.