SEO – A Real Site Review

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This is a real-life example of of what you should expect from an SEO site report. For images, please see visit Cabelas.com, the site that is being reviewed.

Positive features of the site:
o Cabelas.com uses a tagging system behind the scenes that provides relevant, search engine-friendly descriptions and keywords. These codes are called "META tags" and when carefully crafted can improve the site's ranking in search engine results.
o Includes plain-text navigational links. This allows the search engine's automated program to understand how the site is organized. These automated scripts are called "spiders" or "web crawlers" or "robots" and are the primary way that the site will be found and included in a particular search engine.
o Offers a specific META tag that allows search engine robots and automated content-gatherers permission to review and index all of the pages on the site.
o Displays a customized error message that keeps Cabela's brand on the page and helps both automated search spiders and customers know that they have not left the site while pointing them to additional pages.

Issues that may be lowering search engine rankings – the dramatic differences between what potential subscribers see versus the content that is "visible" to a web crawler:

o There is no alternate text provided for any of the images on the page. Since robots only recognize text and not images it is important to include a descriptive label for each graphic.
o Including "header" tags would help refine robots' understanding of the hierarchy of the site's products. Currently the relevance and importance of the chunks of content it contains is not available to robots (ie "Featured Departments" and "Shop by Category" versus "Men's Hunting Clothing" and "Gifts and Hobbies").
o Cabela's includes a description and a list of keywords in the hidden META tags that are available behind-the-scenes for the benefit of search engine crawlers. They even include several variations for the spelling of "Cabela's". It would be worthwhile to review this description and keywords to ensure that they are as keyword-rich as possible. This is a great place to feature unique or branded products and if the description and keywords are updated regularly they can contribute to improved search engine rankings. (Note: The META tags and page title on the home page are much more inclusive than those that appear deeper in the site.)
o The site uses JavaScript without incorporating features that would make pages available to robots. Instead of serving static and unchanging page URLs, the code assigns session IDs and request IDs. This may cause automated search engine scripts to leave the site prematurely, as their creators are wary of the robots falling into never-ending black holes as they attempt to find every version of every page.
o The use of JavaScript also creates product pages that are extremely long dynamic links and as such will be unavailable to spiders and search crawlers:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?id=0005232932214a&navCount=1&podId=0005232932214&parentId=cat601730&masterpathid=&navAction=jump&cmCat=MainCatcat470076-cat601730&catalogCode=QT&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat601730 Wow . Did you get all that?
o Providing alternative, static links to each product page means there are hundreds more pages available for the spider to index and add to the search engine. When a potential customer searches for a product they will find a link to the precise page on the Cabela's site displaying that item. This means less frustration for the customer and a dramatic conversion from "browsers" to buyers.
o A technical review of the site's JavaScript may lack unnecessary lines of code. The code may need to be cleaned up, streamlined, and organized in a way that puts keyword-intensive content near the top of pages. This will reduce both the amount of time it takes for pages to load and improve the ease with which spiders and web crawlers can index the site.
o Consider including alternative forms of commonly-searched keywords. For example, Cabela's shows in the top few results for "Men's Hunting Clothing". However, it does not appear in the first five pages of results for the commonly misspelled search term "Mens Hunting Clothing". (Note: It would be important to provide the exact search rank for this alternate spelling rather than merely pointing out it does not occur near the top. has been ignored here …)

Additional methods to improve search engine rankings:

Performing monthly or semi-monthly assessments of:
o The keyword density and updating clear descriptive text in the content of the pages.
o Ensuring that keywords are used as links throughout the site; making sure there are links to popular pages from the home page. Updating the navigational structure so that is easy for a robot to follow and takes it deep into the site.
o Paying close attention to the titles on pages.
o Click-path analysis to discover how and where customers are navigating through the site; where they are entering and leaving the site.
o Analysis of search logs to determine what keywords or phrases customers are using to find the site and particular products on it.
o Competitor analysis-knowing what keywords and phrases competitors are using and incorporating relevant ones into the site is a valuable tool for maintaining the site's freshness.
o Traffic building-getting more people to visit the site improves a site's "popularity" which is an indicator that some search engines use to rank sites.
o Link building-increasing the number of quality inbound links to the site goes a long way towards ensuring favorable search engine rankings.
o Blogs and discussion forums-providing a place where customers can get involved, give their opinions, offer suggestions and tell stories about how the products have impacted their lives gives search engines even more places to link and continuously generates new content-encouraging spiders to return frequently as the pages are updated.
o Site owners' participating in related communities and blogs-an effective way to initiate viral link building.
o Looking for links that are broken and repairing them.
o Adding links to pages that are dead-ends.
o Removal outdated or irrelevant pages.
o Social linking and tagging-ways to leverage the impact of existing customers and site visitors to increase the site's visibility.



Source by Sarah Mondol

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