When analyzing a website for search engine “friendliness” it is always best to start with some kind of deep diagnostic analysis. There are some great free SEO tools out there. In my opinion, one of the best simple SEO tools is Hubspot’s Website Grader. Hubspot has made many updates to the tool over the years and it has been interesting to see where they place the most emphasis. The idea of course is to place focus on the key elements most important to the search engines and stay current with algorithmic updates.
Hubspot has reordered the tool’s results. All a user has to do is enter the domain URL and in a few seconds they will receive a full analysis including explanations of each result. The tool provides a grade between 0 and 100 based on the criteria it analyzes. The top of the report will show the grade with a basic explanation of what it means:
So let’s look at the first piece of criteria the tool places emphasis on. Not surprisingly it is Content. The tool talks about that fact that website content should have a good balance of quality and quantity. The best way to earn high quality inbound links of course is to have compelling content that people can learn from, share, and link back to. Four out of the five grading points focus on the blog (i.e. does the site have a blog, what kind of content does it have, what are the recent posts and have they earned links, etc). The other two facors show the number of Googe indexed pages and the websites readability level. A good website should have well-written content that is simple enough so that the target demographic can easily understand what they are reading.
The next section of the tool is titled “Optimize” and focuses on many on page elements such as metadata, titles, headings, images, page analysis, and basic domain information. One interesting update is that the tool removed results showing meta keywords. The reason for this is most likely because Google has communicated that it no longer finds importance in meta keywords. The focus is on page titles and descriptions which of course are the first and most important aspect of telling the user what the web page is all about. Here is an example of the tool’s result in this section:
The rest of the results in this section of the tool show basic page analysis from three pages selected by the tool, domain information like age and time to expiration, when Google last crawled the site, number of inbound links, and important directories the site is found in. Inbound links pointing to a website is still the most important element to search engine relevance. This is a quality game more than one of quantity. The best strategy is to have a nice balance of links from varying relevant website with varying page ranks and content.
The next section of the tool is called “Promote” and focuses on social book marketing and Twitter. The tool assigns a Twitter grade based on the influence and usefulness that the Twitter account provides in the site’s marketing efforts. Here is an example:
The last two sections of the tool are called “Convert” and “Analyze”. The section titled Convert shows a brief summary about the site’s RSS feeds and conversion forms. The goal of this analysis is to show the converting factors and how well optimized the site is for turning visitors into “customers”.
The Analyze section shows an overall summary of the results shown by the tool. The tool provides a good foundation for understanding how compliant a site is with basic search engine optimization guidelines and fundamentals. It is by no means a deep diagnostic analysis with feedback related specifically to an industry, but provides a solid benchmark in a matter of seconds.