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Does Your Website Have Good SEO?

If you have invested time in a search engine optimization strategy, you may assume it’s performing the way you want it to, but the truth is that you need to make consistent adjustments to drive traffic to your website. To further complicate matters, Google and other search engines frequently change their algorithms, which results in different tactics needed to maintain your rankings.

If you haven’t invested in a high-quality SEO strategy, you’ll struggle even more to gain a consistent level of relevant traffic. Regardless of whether you have an SEO strategy or not, you may benefit from a free SEO website grader that can help identify areas requiring improvement.

What Comprises a Good SEO Grade?

What Comprises a Good SEO Grade?

While we don’t know exactly what algorithms Google and other search engines use, with constant changes, marketers can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Google evaluates hundreds of different elements of a website to determine relevancy to users and its ease of use.

Ultimately, the formula needed to get first-page rankings on search engines is complex, but there are certain factors that can help marketers get their website on top. Here are some of the main areas that determine page rank.

Links

Many people with a fundamental knowledge of SEO tactics already understand the importance of links and the roles they place. However, it’s a lot more than simply having a lot of links that direct to your website, with a higher emphasis on quality in today’s SEO environment.

  • Link quality: Link quality is likely the main ranking signal Google relies on for rankings. High-quality links are regarded as positive to search engines, but low-quality links can actually harm your website’s rankings. Poor links can even result in penalization or get your website dropped from search engine results altogether.
  • Number of links: While quality is more important than quantity when it comes to links, link count is still important as long as the links are of consistently high quality. As long as your links are on legitimate and reputable websites, they can result in a higher score in larger numbers.
  • Link relevance and diversity: Links should typically come from pages with topics that are relevant to what you want to optimize for. Google rates this based on the backlinks anchor text, along with the title of the backlink page. Not only do your links need to be relevant, but they also can’t come from the same site. Even too-similar anchor texts can harm your website.

Domain Factors

If your business has undergone changes over time, your domain name is likely different from your company’s. Domain factors have a bigger role in SEO than you may initially believe.

  • Domain age and history:The amount of time a domain has been around matters, but not quite as much as the website’s history. Because you can buy domains that have previously hosted other websites, switching hands frequently can cause Google to reset your website’s history, resulting in cancelled out backlinks.
  • Keywords as the first name in the domain: This can give a website an advantage over domains that don’t have a keyword. Keywords in subdomains can also boost rankings.
  • Country Code Top Level Domain: A TLD extension for the website can help the site rank nationally for a specific country, but keep in mind that this can hinder your global ranking capabilities.

On-Page Factors

Basic SEO knowledge is centered around finding and using plenty of keywords, but this isn’t necessarily the best approach. Knowing where to place them and which ones to use can mean all of the difference in your overall rankings. When grading SEO, this is what you should look for:

  • Keywords in title and meta description: Title tags are one of the strongest relevancy indicators to Google. You should include keywords or search terms that are relevant in the title. The closer to the beginning, the more you’re likely to rank for that keyword. Meta descriptions don’t send a strong ranking signal today, but they can still help encourage visitors to click through to your site, further improving CTR.
  • Duplicate titles and descriptions: Duplicate titles and meta descriptions on multiple pages of your website can result in only the best page of the group appearing in search rankings. This essentially causes your pages to compete with each other, making it important to use unique meta titles and descriptions for each page. Keyword stuffing is also a bad idea.
  • Image optimization: Images send relevancy signals via file names, alt text, titles, descriptions, and captions.
  • URL length: Excessively long URLs can potentially harm search visibility. However, you can also benefit from having certain keywords in the URL.
  • Direct traffic: When people type the URL in to go directly to the website, it typically indicates it’s a high-quality website. Repeat traffic can also affect rankings, while sites with little direct traffic can hurt rankings.

Content

At this point, you should realize that content can greatly affect SEO results, but length and keywords are the factors that matter the most. Content needs to be long and useful, engaging readers who stay on the page.

Keyword density used to matter more, but now it’s necessary for content to flow and for keywords to make sense within the context of the content. And while duplicate content may not harm websites the way people once thought, it’s still a good idea to write fresh and unique content that’s of even better quality than what’s already written. You should also avoid keyword stuffing, as this is also known to harm websites.

Other factors such as proper spelling and grammar can also make a big difference. Bullet points and numbered lists can also help, breaking up content for readers.

Recent updates are also important for rankings. Many searches are time-sensitive, so Google will show the date of the page’s most recent update. Edits and changes can also have an impact. Adding or removing sections is more effective than simply switching words around. Historical page updates also serve as a ranking signal.

Technical Site Factors

Website functionality matters a lot more than it used to. Even if you have top-quality content, you need to make sure you have a user-friendly experience to accompany it, or else visitors are likely to leave sooner. There are many things that Google takes into account, including:

  • Page Speed: As the internet continues to reign, people’s patience has simultaneously decreased. Google has officially stated that page speed actually factors into rankings, which means you need to make sure your website’s loading speed is optimal—no longer than two seconds. Slower pages have higher bounce rates for this reason, which can also indirectly impact SEO because it will make it more challenging for the search engine to crawl.
  • Sitemap: This isn’t technically a real ranking factor, but it does make it easier for Google to crawl your site.
  • Mobile Friendliness: Over the past few years, mobile friendliness has become a significant ranking signal because of its impact on user experience. A large number of internet users browse via their smartphones, making mobile-responsive websites necessary. Not being optimized for mobile devices can cause the site to be eliminated from mobile search results entirely. Responsive Web design is Google’s recommendation because a separate mobile site entails a redirect, costing you valuable seconds of page loading speed.
  • Pop ups: Pop up ads are no longer useful for online marketing, serving mainly as an annoyance for users and nothing more.
  • Broken links: A large amount of broken links can indicate an outdated or abandoned website. This is one of the ways Google measures a homepage’s quality. Excessive 301 redirects can also cause some harm to rankings.
  • Number of pages: While this signal is weaker compared to the many others that Google takes into account, a large number of pages can potentially help boost rankings.
  • Social media signals: The stronger your social media presence, the more likely you are to rank higher as a reputable source.

User Experience

While some of the technical factors influence user experience, there are other actions that send strong signals to Google. The number of people who click on links to your website can have a huge impact. The click-through rate is the ratio of the amount of times a certain search listing received a click compared to the number of times it appeared in search results. The page is more likely to appear repeatedly if more people are clicking through to the page.

The bounce rate is related, though it doesn’t necessarily matter, but it can indicate that users are immediately leaving the website upon arriving, whether it’s because of difficult navigation or a lack of information. Google does take time into account when ranking, and people who spend more time on a page are likely to have found something useful.

Page layout can impact user-friendliness, but a complicated layout can make it harder for visitors to digest the content. If you don’t make your content readable, people are less likely to stay on the page. Navigation should also be consistently clear, making it easy for users to visit various pages.

Local SEO

Local SEO

Some businesses have very specific local target audiences, which makes local SEO a priority. Google actually estimates as many as 73 percent of overall online activity pertains to local searches.

At the same time, you need to make sure your business shows up for these searches. You can do this buy claiming local listings and providing as much information about your business as possible. Location-based keywords are also important to include to improve your efforts, and customer reviews offer additional legitimacy.

Why Does an SEO Grader Matter?

Your website is often the very first step that potential customers take toward making a purchase of any kind, and you need to ensure your site is good. If visitors don’t have a positive experience when browsing your website, they aren’t likely to return.

When it comes to SEO, Google sets the rules, and not playing by them can have consequences. Trying to go around best practices in SEO can eventually lead to penalties or even completely lost search engine results, rendering your website virtually invisible. Creating a high-quality website with great content is the best way to make sure your website succeeds.

There may be many issues with your website that you’re unaware of, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes, but an SEO grader can help you determine which areas need improvement. Our grader can analyze your website’s strengths and weaknesses, telling you what you need to work on.