Understanding your self check results

This page explains the analysis results from the website self-check tool. Search engines look at over 200 factors in determining the ranking of a site.  Some factors are more significant than others. Their search algorithms are constantly being tuned and adjusted in order to give the most relevant results to the searching public (or boost advertising revenue).  The self-check tool looks at the most important factors on your site.  Search engines also take into account user behaviour and off page factors. A Web page isn’t quite as simple as it looks.   The content lives in the body of the page, but before your browser sees that, it has a look in the header where some specific things are kept, including the page/site title, the meta description and meta keywords.  Other things in the header include formatting (eg font/size/colour of headings) and layout (one column or two?) instructions.   The browser uses those instructions to display the content.   Search engines also look for certain pieces of information and use them to rank sites, including Site title:     Site titles are used by the search engines to determine what the site is about and will be displayed to users in the search engine results.  It’s important that you make the headline attractive to visitors.  If your site title / page title is not available, then you are either not using your website software correctly or you need to change your website software.    Below you can see the Search result and the corresponding Page - there is a red box around the site title showing how a commonly used search engine uses site title page elementspage v search result Meta description:  This is the other thing visible to users in the search engine results.  You get 2-3 lines to describe what the page is about to potential visitors.   The meta description is highlighted in yellow above, but isn't visible to the reader of the page.  If you don’t know how to edit the meta description your webmaster will know.    If it isn't possible to edit the meta description, then perhaps it is time to consider a new site. Meta Keywords:   Search engines used to use these tags on a page to determine the subject of the page; unfortunately this was abused.  Meta keywords are ignored by Google and used by Bing as an indicator of bad practice.  Another downside of using meta keywords is that your competitors can see which keywords you wish to rank for.   If you have any meta keywords, get rid of them.  Domain Authority:  Domain Authority is a metric which estimates the ranking power of a website.  While Facebook or YouTube have scores of 100, your website is likely to be in single figures.  Domain Authority is made up of all those 200+ factors which the search engines use to rank your site.  It isn’t something you can directly change.  To improve your DA:
  • Get all the technical SEO in place – we can help here
  • Create and post lots of great linkable content – stuff visitors will want to share
  • Develop strong internal linking (between the pages /posts on your site)
  • Remove toxic backlinks – we can help here too
  • Keep at it, search engines reward consistent high quality posts eventually – we can help you plan your content publishing schedule
We are using it to give you an indication of how well you're doing. Mobile Optimisation:    Mobile phones have smaller screens, lower resolution screens and are normally viewed in portrait, not landscape orientation.  Even though nearly 50% of web browsers are using a mobile device, many websites send them desktop pages, which are either the wrong shape, too small to read or show too small an area to be usable.  Most mobile users will simply go to another site.  Not only have you lost a potential customer, but the search engines see visitors to your site returning straight to the search engine (bouncing) for a better site and your search engine ranking is marked down.  We recommend that you look into your mobile website options Google /Bing / Yahoo Indexed Pages:    Search engines work by crawling your site regularly and deciding for which search terms to list your web pages and in what order.  When someone searches for a particular term, they will not find your site unless you are in the index.  If your pages are not indexed in the search engines this can be caused by previous domain history (has someone else misused the domain before you bought it?), misconfiguration of your website (over zealous security, sitemap or robots.txt file problems) or mistakes in your Google Webmaster Central account.  We can take a look at this kind of thing. Sitemap:   Some sites use a sitemap to tell search engine crawlers where the pages are.  They are unnecessary if you have set up your site properly, but in most cases can be added easily using an extra software module. Google Analytics:   Analytics are an essential tool to following your users and understanding their behaviour on your site.  Many people use Google Analytics.  A small piece of code is placed in the header of each page, which tells Google whenever someone visits the page.    Setting up Analytics depends on knowing what you want each visitor to do on visiting on each page and collecting the right information as visitors progress through the pipeline. Some people prefer to use a heat map analytics tool, which provides an indication of where users are looking, clicking and scrolling.  It is far more intuitive, but provides less data. WordPress version:  This result is only relevant if you are using WordPress as your Content Management System.   It is important to keep you’re your website software up to date to avoid security issues and software incompatibilities. Page Size:    This metric gives you an idea of how quickly your pages load – visitors don’t like slow websites and it can put them off.   (Search engines also prefer fast sites as it means they don’t need so long to crawl the site).   There are lots of ways of tuning a slow site, so get in touch if you think your site need to be faster. H1 tags:  The H1 tag of a page has an influence on the subject of the page as seen by the search engines; there should be no more than one per page and it should contain your main keyword for that page Alt Tags:  When uploading images you should always add the Alt(ernative) Tag.  This will be displayed if for some reason the image cannot be.  Browsers for the blind will read out the alt tag.  If the Alt Tag contains the keyword, this will help the ranking of your website.  If you want help in adding Alt Tags, we can show you how to do it Social Facebook Page:  It is a good idea to have ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ Buttons on your content so as to make it easier for users to spread your content amongst friends and colleagues.  If you would like some help in adding social engagement features to your website, we can help. Twitter Handle:   having your Twitter account name visible will allow users to follow you on Twitter.  Twitter is a surprisingly abundant potential source of traffic. Google+ Page:   Google Plus is becoming steadily more important.  It is clear that Google search results favour Google Plus Pages quite strongly. There is another factor – many people have a Google Plus account, but there is very little marketing being done and so customers are more receptive than they might be on other platforms.  Get in touch if you would like to work on this.