What to Include in a Web Site Audit

What to include in a web site auditThe other day, I found the very first web site audit that I ever performed for a client’s site, way back in 2000. The page load times were hilarious!

But it got me thinking about how things have changed over the years and how sophisticated web site audits need to be these days. From the conversations I’ve had, there is still some confusion over what should be included in a web site audit.

This prompted me to write an article What to Include in a Web Site Audit which has been published over at SiteProNews.  Let me know what you think!

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Keyword Theme Visualization Tool: Bubble My Page

A student sent me this link today: Bubble My Page and I thought it was a fantastic little tool to share with everyone.

Bubble My PageBubble My Page is basically an interactive keyword density / tag visualisation tool. Enter your choice of URL and you’ll see a set of tag bubbles come back. The larger the bubble, the more frequently the keyword / tag is found on the page. Hover over a bubble and see the number of repetitions found on the page.

It’s also a snapshot of how search engines would view the page in terms of keyword density / search query relevance. I can already see some fantastic uses for this tool:

  • Enter new blog post pages into the tool before publishing as a quick check you have the target keyword density right for SEO purposes.
  • Enter the home pages of new SEO prospect sites for a quick on-page SEO analysis to show potential clients.
  • Run every page through the tool during the SEO requirements gathering phase to get an idea of how large a potential SEO project is going to end up.
  • Enter the URLs of potential employers to get a feel for their main products / services.
  • Run product pages through the tool to check how evenly various products are represented on the pages.

There are probably a lot more uses for the tool, but those are just what I came up with in 10 minutes. If you’ve got any more suggestions, please share them in the comments.

Hat tip to Terry for the link :-)

 

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Q and A: Are infographics a good investment for SEO purposes?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I’m the SEO for a large online employment agency well known across the US.

Our major competitor has been using a lot of infographics in their blog lately and it has paid off for them in terms of their social media presence and traffic to their site. Our company is about to hire someone who can design infographics for use on our Facebook page to see if they will also work for us.

I have two questions – firstly, the price range seems to vary widely for infographic design services. Can you recommend some good quality infographic design experts who charge reasonable rates?

Now for my second question. One of the design companies we are considering claims that infographics can contribute a lot to SEO efforts, especially since Google Panda and Penguin basically crushed any link building efforts we used to spend a lot of time on. My concern is that I don’t want my company to spend thousands of dollars on infographics only to find out later that they have no SEO benefit whatsoever. I would rather them spend the money to hire blog writers to get more content published on our site.

What is your opinion on this and do you think that having custom infographics designed would be money well spent?

Thank you
Mike

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Hi Mike

What a timely question! One of my clients is actually considering investing in infographics, after seeing the results they have had on traffic levels for one of their regional sites in Asia.

In terms of SEO benefit – yes infographics can contribute to SEO – assuming you design them with search engines in mind. By that, I mean pay close attention to the title and headings on your infographic, the keywords used in your filename, the tags you use to categorize it and the format it is saved as. As social media goes hand in hand with SEO strategy these days, it makes sense to invest in content that will increase your social media reach and therefore create more links back to your site.

If you save your infographic as an image, be sure to include a logical alt img attribute including relevant keywords to describe the content when you embed it. If you embed it in a web page, you can have more control over the optimization of that page and the way it is shared, so I would definitely recommend that. Embedding it in a page also ensures that when you share it, people are taken back to your site, rather than viewing it on another platform.

If you have a Facebook page for your company, you could consider embedding it / sharing it there, as long as that is where you want the traffic to end up – this will be of more indirect SEO benefit – the logic being that people will eventually end up on your site after spending time on your Facebook page / reading about your products and services. My recommendation would be to embed it on your site/blog and then share the post via your social networks.

Whether you share it as a static image or a blog post via social networks, remember to tag it thoughtfully (Facebook) and use a short tweet description (Twitter) to enable others to retweet it without having to edit your description. Same rules for Pinterest – use popular, related category tags to ensure you get as many re-pins as possible.

If you use one of the new Infographic creation tools online like Piktochart (see below), your infographic may have an interactive layer embedded that allows you to enter search engine indexable content such as keywords and a description. This means that search engines will be able to crawl the content of your infographic as they crawl your web page.

Now, as for the other part of your question about whether I can recommend any good quality infographic design experts, I actually I did some research for my client about Infographics recently, to see if there were any online apps that could create them easily. It turns out there are several.

Here are the best ones I’ve found:

1) Infogr.am – this is super easy to use and free. I was able to help my son create an infographic for his homework within about 20 minutes. It includes a few basic templates to choose from and straight-forward functionality to produce something very quickly. It publishes direct to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or you can simply share on the web via URL.

2) Piktochart – I like this one the best – it has high resolution graphics, hover tools, some neat interactive elements, an easy to use interface and even built in SEO. Only problem is the free version comes with just 6 themes and layers a watermark over the top, so there really is no choice but to go the Pro (paid) version to get over 100 themes/templates and remove the watermark. However at USD 29 per month or 169 per year, the price is reasonable to justify this.

3) Visual.ly – this is probably the most sophisticated of the three – it has different free/paid versions for different consumer markets and lots more templates and design styles to choose from. You can publish direct to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest or you can download your creation. You can quickly create infographics based on 2 or more competing hashtags, Twitter accounts or existing web pages as well. It also has a built-in marketplace if you want to high an Infographic designer who specialises in using Visual.ly if you need help creating your own infographics.

Hope this helps!

 

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Q and A: Do I have to learn HTML before learning SEO?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I’m looking to take your SEO starter course and your site says you can recommend tutorials for learning HTML.

From what I am reading, I think I need to learn that before I take your courses. How can I take that tutorial to prepare for your courses? What is the procedure to get to that tutorial?

Thank you
Larry

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Hi Larry

Thanks for your question and your interest in taking our Search Engine College courses.

Just to reassure you, knowledge of HTML or programming is not a pre-requisite for taking any of our courses. Having said that, if you wish to take an online tutorial in HTML before enrolling with us, you can find some here:

W3Schools HTML Tutorial

HTML Code Tutorial

Dave’s Interactive HTML Tutorial

Getting Started With HTML

Hope this helps!

 

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Q and A: Should I optimize my existing site or start over?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I have a question. I want to start optimizing my own site. Would it be better to start fresh with a new site or should I try to fix the existing site? And does it make sense to purchase a template or have a webmaster design it from scratch?

Thanks
Nelson

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Hi Nelson

Whether you optimize your existing site or start from scratch depends on a lot of factors:

  • Are you happy with the design of your current site?
  • Is the current web site designed with users in mind?
  • Does it convert well and/or attract a lot of traffic?
  • Does the current design allow for SEO to be performed easily?

If you’re able to quickly answer YES to these questions, then you may not need to start from scratch. If you hesitated even a little, you would probably be better off redesigning your site from the ground up.

In other words, if there are more ticks in the *negative* column than the *positive* one, you should absolutely not fear scrapping your existing site and starting a new one. If you are worried about losing current search rankings for existing pages, you should consider 301 redirecting those pages to their replacement pages when you create them.

In terms of a new site template, I have been recommending WordPress for SEO purposes for a long time now. I advocate keeping your own domain and installing WordPress on it, with an attractive theme that is easy to use. Google and other search engines adore web sites built with WordPress and there are a lot of SEO-related plugins that will help you. Plus it’s free! Can’t argue with that.

If you aren’t confident using WordPress, there are a lot of talented WordPress designers out there who can be of assistance, or you can teach yourself using the detailed WordPress user documentation.

As an alternative to WordPress, you could also consider Google Sites.

Hope this helps.

Kalena
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