There are many things that separate an SEO Manager from the pack. This usually comes down to experience and knowledge base. What I, Daniel Kamen have come to find is that many SEO Managers really only know on-page optimization and off-page optimization. Far and few have a technical background, know what an apache server is or make changes to code. One of the ways I prove my knowledge base to a prospect is I review with them issues I believe other agencies may not have brought to their attention because a.) they don’t want to spill the secret sauce or b.) they didn’t find the issue. I like to build up trust in the relationship right from the start. So omitting competitive analysis, on-page and off-page suggestions some of the core issues I look for are from a top-level approach starting with a server-side analysis as well as an on-page coding factor analysis.
Server Side Analysis
- Header Status: Is the page properly showing the right header status. This will instantly tell you if there is an error with the page, is their something that might be preventing your page getting the ranking it should get. Remember 200 is OK
- Redirect Issues: Are certain pages showing a weird redirect? If you notice something strange do you start trying different URL variables to see if the proper redirects are set in place? Have you checked for a canonical redirect? The last thing we want is to not getting the link juice on a page we should be receiving.
- Text Cache (Spider View): Anything hidden on the back-end? Anything look spammy like H1 Tags that are now showing or images not showing? If you are trying to be white hat come clean and clean the page of any of these types of issues. Possibly even complete a cloaking check to see if the front-end and the back-end bytes match up. This will tell us the front and back-end are the same.
- Duplicate content: Need I say more? This is why I always ask for a complete list of websites owned by the prospect to scrub for duplicate content
- HTML Validator Report: Always best to follow best web practices and good to rectify all errors brought to your attention. Not only will these probably speed up the site load time, it will make it easier for the bots (crawlers) to crawl your site
- Java Scripts & Style Sheets: Low Code to Text Ratio, bots are not smart, can’t read code and are only looking for your content so make it easy for them!
- Flash & Frames: Bots cannot understand code so if your content is baked into something that they cannot read you will not get credit for all your hard work.
- Sitemaps: Do they currently have an html sitemap and an XML sitemap?
- Robots.txt: Is it setup, or are they possibly blocking pages they shouldn’t?
Whenever I review a site I always think of KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. SEO people are boring people meaning we like static url’s, plain jane sites with html content. Keep this in the back of your mind when going forward creating your website and you will find yourself running into a lot less trouble.