I am always amazed how many times I hear that website quality is a job of the web master. Not the person in charge of SEO. You may have heard that as well.
Nothing is further from the truth. Site quality and search engine optimization go hand in hand. In fact, I would go on to say that any SEO campaign that does not start with site quality analysis is doomed to fail. Even you might be thinking that it is the job of whoever built the web site to provide an error free site.
The SEO job is to optimize, build links, etc. This is true, but the best SEO campaign on the planet will not improve rankings if the search engines can't find all your pages. And who do you think is going to be blamed if there is no traffic? Or whose business is going to suffer?
Do you want to leave your career or internet business in the hands of the web master or site author alone?
I didn't think so.
The first task that any SEO campaign needs is a thorough quality analysis. You need to check for broken links, missing Meta tags, pages that are too slow to load, spelling mistakes, spam, and more.
Each of these has its own weight in search engine optimization work. Broken links are especially important. Remember the sinking feeling in your chest when Google webmaster tools told you there was a problem finding a page?
Now you are waiting a few more days to get that great, keyword-optimized page found. Or, maybe even longer. Guess what? That sinking feeling is deserved; there is no reason for that to ever happen.
You already know there are a large number of free link-testing tools available on the web. Not to mention, if you are serious about SEO, you must have link checkers in your toolset. Webmasters are infamous for forgetting Meta tags. I know it seems strange, but the Meta tags are invisible to many of them. The surfers can't see them, so they don't matter. Of course, you know better, but you must verify!
Slow pages and spelling mistakes speak for themselves. Spelling mistakes may not be a big deal for SEO. That is unless there are spelling mistakes in the keywords! Yes, I have seen that happen.
Slow pages have 2 negative effects, besides the obvious client complaints.
- If a search engine robot times out, it will move on. Without ever indexing the page.
- Many engines only read a certain number of bytes. If important keywords are on the page after those bytes, those will never be read.
I left spam for last because it is not as obvious. Remember the webmaster above who didn't care about Meta tags? This webmaster is the opposite. This site developer knows that SEO is important. And he wants to help. So he “helps” by stuffing the keyword tag with repetitive keywords. Or maybe he stuffs in keyword text that is the same color as the background.
You know, all those really spammy techniques that are going to get you or your client banned on the search engines.
Your most important concern is traffic to you and/or your client’s site. This makes SEO, or even more important than web design.
Although I am sure, site designers will disagree.
Customers may not notice a misspelled keyword, but the search engines will. Clients don't see the keyword-stuffed background, but engines will ban you for it. That’s not to say that web design is not important. And web designers are very good at what they do.
But mistakes happen.
This is your chance to fix them.
And no one will see the great web design if it can’t be found. You or your webmaster may have made quality errors when creating your site. SEO is a different phase in your site plan, but it needs to be built on a solid foundation.
Before your next SEO campaign, perform a quality analysis of your site. Several tools are available to help, but much of the analysis can be done by hand. You are building your SEO efforts on sinking sand without a solid foundation of superb site quality.
A strong base will enhance your SEO work and get you the most traffic possible.