GUTTERBRUSH SEO AUDIT

Written By: Matej Markovic

Introduction

In this document, we are analyzing technical SEO factors that can influence website rankings directly. Some issues might be that big that the certain pages can’t be indexed by Google at all – or heavily penalized which results in low organic traffic. Recommended changes should be done as soon as possible. It is important to note that SEO is just one part of the whole Digital Marketing Strategy and it needs to be merged with other areas to work properly. Content Strategy is one such an example, Social Media presence another. As we talked on our call, I will give advice on other strategies, not strictly connected to SEO and present my arguments on why the opinion is the way it is. As a quick example, the content creation has stopped back in November and we want at least one post a week – or two posts preferably. Once you go through the document, we will discuss it over the call and when everything is clear, start optimizing the website.

Canonical URLs, Site Structure and Meta Robots

In this section, we will go more in-depth on what canonical URLs look like, what the site structure is from the technical SEO point of view and are crawlers and robots crawling the websites properly (particularly Google Bot).

Canonical URLs (Best Page Addresses)

Access to pages on a domain (www vs. non-www) – Both www and non-www versions of the website should be redirected to one version. In case of GutterBrush, it is a www version and this is fine.

Home Page linking consistency – All the links are working fine, both on the home page and other pages. There are no broken links that I could find.

Capitalization/Lower Case (capitals in domain name ok, in folders and files a potential problem) – No issues here, all the URLs are in lower case.

Print Versions (CSS Rather than crawlable duplicate PDFs/Docs) – The print versions are fine and there are no crawlable duplicate PDFs/Docs.

Canonical Link Elements – do they match up right? No canonical tags have been used on the website. We might use them in the future. Canonical tags can help solve any potential duplicate content issues site might have, no action on GutterBrush is needed at this point.

Rel Prev/Next link elements for paginated pages – Not used on GutterBrush since there are no paginated pages.

Internal Redirects (internal 301 redirects avoided) – There are multiple redirects on the website and they have been done properly.

R

No changes needed.

Robots.txt Optimization

Correctly formatted – The robots.txt file is present on the website and is written well. It is a standard format for WordPress websites.

Includes a link to XML sitemap or XML Sitemap Index – There is a link to sitemap inside the robots.txt file, no further changes are needed.

R

No changes needed.

Meta Robots noindex/nofollow

Used Appropriately – I haven’t been able to find any noindex pages on the website, that is great. There are “index” and “follow” tags on some pages and that is good.

R

No changes needed.

Category / Site Structure

Unique and User-Friendly – The whole website is very well structured with a clear hierarchy.

Use of appropriate category and sub-category link structures – Gutterbrush has a low number of products, so more complex categorization makes no sense. Dividing menu items into “Why it Works”, “Keep it Simple” and “Experts Agree” on top of “Buy Now” is a good solution to this type of website.

Uses hyphens as word separators – Hyphens are used as a word separator on all URLs (file names).

Unique – I have checked a couple of random pages and the content is unique. Further communication needed in order to make sure all the content on all the pages is 100% unique (forgot to confirm this on the call, but I presumed that it is).

Avoids Keyword Stuffing – The website is not keyword stuffed, the footer is clean and metadata will be discussed in other sections below.

If filenames are to be changed, links on site changed, and 301s set up for external visitors – No need for changes. If we agree that some URLs should be changed because of the keywords – 301s should be used. But this seems unlikely at the moment.

R

No changes needed.

Custom Error Page

Sends proper 404 code status – When writing a random, non-existing URL, there is a proper 404 error message showing up. This is fine.

Helpful to the visitor (navigation, directories, search) – The error page looks good, there is a clear message that the page doesn’t exist, clear call to action via search and newsletter/footer below. The menu is also active so a user can find their way back to the website.

R

No changes needed.

HTML / XML Sitemap

Organized into user-friendly and user-oriented categories – The XML Sitemap is organized into a user-friendly format, as it is automatically created by Shopify.

Provides links to most important pages – Properly done, as stated above.

Avoids using too many links – Only relevant pages with content will be added to sitemap.

Doesn’t include 404s or links that redirect internally – No 404 links are included in the list.

Properly formatted (XML proper encoding) – Done fine.

Sitemap items should not be blocked inside robots.txt – On the contrary, it has been added to the robots.txt so that is well done.

R

No changes needed.

Technical / Server Issues

Secure Server / HTTPS Protocol

No error messages – There are no error messages.

Using https if possible – The website is already in https and according to best practices, this is fine.

All links to be indexed reachable by text-based links or “href” and “src” – Yes, all links are well formatted and there are no issues there.

R

No changes needed.

External Links

Checked for broken links and redirects and replace where appropriate – I checked the links on multiple pages and there are no broken links that I could find.

R

No changes needed.

Duplicate Content

Internally (see canonical section above) – There are no duplicate content issues on the website that I could find.

Mirrors identified and disallowed/noindexed as appropriate – There was no need to use this as there are no mirrors on the website.

Substantially duplicated content on self-owned other sites removed/changed/blocked – As stated above, duplicate content has not been found on the website.

Substantially duplicated content on other sites removed (friendly email, AUP letter to host, DMCA) – To be done if needed.

R

No changes needed.

JavaScript

Can pages be navigated with javascript disabled? If not, are URLs for pages accessible in HTML code with “href” and “src”? – Yes the pages can all be navigated well with javascript disabled.

Avoid session IDs in URLs – There are no dynamic URLs used on the website.

Avoid excessive multiple data parameters in URLs – No issues.

Avoid excessive processor calls – No issues.

Avoid calls to multiple servers as much as possible – No issues.

Avoid keyword insertion pages (pages were the content is substantially the same except for keywords that are inserted into the pages) – This practice hasn’t been used on GutterBrush which is good.

Label page segments semantically well (the div class for those could be things such as header, footer, sidebar, advertisement, or whichever is most appropriate.) – No issues.

R

No changes needed.

Page Load Times

According to Google Page Speed Tool, the desktop version of the website is of a moderate speed. The score is 81/100 and it can be improved by solving the listed issues: Browser Caching, Enabling Compression and Minifying CSS, HTML and Javascript. Since the number is very high and in general Shopify websites are well optimized, I would change anything here.

 

 

 

Mobile version is a bit slower, but still very well optimized. I would not make any changes at all.

 

R

No changes needed.

HTML Use / Analysis

Deprecated HTML Validation

If invalid, are errors of the type that will harm SEO? There aren’t HTML errors that are affecting SEO. No changes needed. Mobile version is a bit slower, but still very well optimized. I would not make any changes at all.

CSS – If invalid, are errors the type that will harm SEO? There aren’t CSS errors that are affecting SEO. Checked all and it is fine. No changes needed.

R

No changes needed.

Title Elements

Relevant to the content of the page and be keyword-rich – All Meta Titles have to be rewritten and optimized in another document with the proper keywords in mind. All of them should be under 65 characters and have brand name inside, both factors required. This is usually a spreadsheet generated after the proper keyword research campaign.

Meaningful and able to stand on its own as a description of the page it titles – Not at the moment, some of the meta titles are duplicates and are not always properly describing the page.

Persuasive and Engaging to those who see it out of context – Not at the moment but we always keep that in mind when creating Meta Titles.

As unique as possible compared to other titles on the site – As mentioned above, not all of them are completely unique. This will be considered when creating new meta titles. If the name of the site appears in the title, it should be at the end of the title, and not at the beginning, unless it is the homepage.  Gutterbrush or product name should be added at the end of each meta title, for branding purposes.

Unique if possible compared to titles from other sites – They will stay unique compared to the other websites (competitors) after the keyword research.

Q

Rewrite meta titles completely with the proper keywords used and after the thorough keyword research.

Meta Description Elements

Descriptive of the content of the page – All meta descriptions should be unique and descriptive, keeping in mind CTR and Call to Action, rather than keywords. They are not SEO factor anymore, but can still help a lot in getting more clicks on search results. At the moment most of the meta descriptions are empty and once that is populated have duplicate content issues as seen below:

Includes the main keyword phrase the page is optimized for – This needs to be checked separately with the keyword research.

Engaging and persuasive to viewers who see it out of context (search snippets or social shares) – to be done in the process of writing them.

Around 25 words or 150 characters in length – They are all to be 150 characters or less (at the moment some of them are too long)

Well written sentences, using good punctuation – Will be taken care of when writing them.

One sentence preferable, but two alright if keywords are in the longer sentence – Will be taken care of when writing them.

Preferable to have keywords as close to the start as appropriate – This is not a priority, but if possible keywords should be at the beginning of the description.

Q

Meta descriptions can be further optimized, and should be written from scratch.

Heading Elements

The top-level heading should describe the content of the page – H1 tags are “ok” written, and even though they can be better – we won’t waste time on it since H1 tags are not an important SEO factor anymore.

Lower level headings should effectively describe the content they head – Both H1 and H2 tags have been used as relevant to the pages, I have no problems with them.

One top-level heading preferable per page – No issues.

Headings should be used like headings in an outline, in proper order – No issues.

Main and subheadings can, and should contain targeted keywords if possible and appropriate – We will avoid this, as the keywords will already be in meta title and meta description, as well as the content itself. Stuffing them into the H1 and H2 tags might result in overoptimization. If we leave it as it is, I am fine with it.

Headings for lists and sections in page navigation should use CSS to style them rather than heading elements – No issues.

R

No changes needed.

Image Optimization

Use alt text for images on a page that are meaningful – Alt texts are most likely generated automatically by Shopify and I wouldn’t change that. I think these are well optimized.

A caption for an image should be contained within the same HTML element as the image (like a div) – Done properly

Select images that are meaningful that are related to the keywords optimized for – We can use this in some cases, but I would avoid using it too much for possible overoptimization issues.

Use the chosen optimized keywords in the alt text and captions where appropriate – As explained above.

Use hyphens to separate words in image file names – already done where appropriate.

Alt text should not be a list of keywords, but can contain a keyword phrase – Alt texts are not a list of keywords, so that is fine. Alt text shouldn’t be more than 10 words or so – also well done.

Avoid keyword stuffing alt text, captions, and image file names – As mentioned above.

R

No changes needed.

Image Optimization

Use alt text for images on a page that are meaningful – Alt texts are most likely generated automatically by Shopify and I wouldn’t change that. I think these are well optimized.

A caption for an image should be contained within the same HTML element as the image (like a div) – Done properly

Select images that are meaningful that are related to the keywords optimized for – We can use this in some cases, but I would avoid using it too much for possible overoptimization issues.

Use the chosen optimized keywords in the alt text and captions where appropriate – As explained above.

Use hyphens to separate words in image file names – already done where appropriate.

Alt text should not be a list of keywords, but can contain a keyword phrase – Alt texts are not a list of keywords, so that is fine. Alt text shouldn’t be more than 10 words or so – also well done.

Avoid keyword stuffing alt text, captions, and image file names – As mentioned above.

R

No changes needed.

Interlinking

Keywords should be used in anchor text – All links inside the text have keywords, we will, however, reoptimize this with the new keywords if the old ones are not properly.

Interlinks – Website is well interlinked, most of the pages are linked to other pages in a structured way.

To be aware: If the keywords for a page being pointed to aren’t used, related terms should be. Anchor text used in navigation should be descriptive of what there is on the page linked to. Anchor text should not use generic terms such as “click here” and shouldn’t be longer than 10 words or so if possible. They also shouldn’t be stuffed with multiple keywords. GutterBrush doesn’t have these issues at the moment.

R

No changes needed.

Content Review

Amount of Text

Having some minimum amount of text on a page (200 words) gives search spiders something to index – I would really like to see more fresh content on the whole website. Either more pages with more fixed content or blog. The blog section is quite inactive (last items were written in November 2017) and content really is the base of any SEO campaign. This will be further discussed on our call.

Fresh content – As stated above, more content under Blog could be added on regular basis to ensure there is fresh content for SEO purposes. Fresh content is an important factor that Google does recognize. If there is no content added, it could be considered as a dead website that no one is maintaining. To do: Some fresh content should be added on a regular basis even if not too often. It can be really helpful. Two posts a week would be optimal.

R

No changes needed.

Spelling Errors

Possible quality signal – Looks good so far, to the best of my knowledge. I checked some chunks of texts on Grammarly and couldn’t find any issues.

Important to credibility – Obviously, some big mistakes in grammar could result in brand damage, but since you are a native speaker – the English quality is excellent.

R

No changes needed.

Keyword Use in Copy

Are keywords chosen for a page being used in page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and content – it is extremely important to double check this once the keywords are analyzed and new keywords are found. There will be a need to modify some pages possibly.

Q

At the end of the process, all the content should be double checked and keywords added where it makes sense.

Negative Practices

Hidden Text

Is there text on pages in the same font color as the background? – There is no hidden text at all.

Is there a large amount of text on pages in small iframes or CSS scrolling overflows – No issues.

Is there text in a font color that matches the font color as the page background that might be mistaken as hidden text? No issues.

R

No changes needed.

Cloaking

Does the site use cloaking to show search engines one thing and visitors something else? No issues. No changes needed.

 

R

No changes needed.

Meta Refresh

Are meta refreshes used instead of redirects, and if so might they be used in a way which might deceive search engines? No issues.

R

No changes needed.

JavaScript Redirection

Is javascript redirection being used so that search engines see one thing, and visitors see something else? No issues.

R

No changes needed.

Outward Links/Link Exchanges

Is the site using link directory pages that promise being listed in exchange for a link? I couldn’t detect any link exchanges and even if there are some (up to 10%), that is fine.

R

No changes needed.

Keyword Research, Selection and Implementation

Are relevant, competitive, appropriate and popular keywords being used on the pages of the site? This is to be done through our keyword research and then implemented on meta titles, meta descriptions, and content of the website.

Are those keywords being used effectively on those pages? N/A.

Q

To do: Keyword Research

Keyword Focusing | Mid- to Long-Tail Key Phrases

Do the main pages of the site focus on more competitive keyword phrases? To be solved with Keyword research.

Do deeper pages with less PageRank focus upon long-tail phrases? To be done, although all the pages on GutterBrush are extremely important.

Q

To do: Keyword Research

Panda,Penguin and other major Updates

There are no issues that would be triggered by these updates. Penguin will further be researched when doing the backlinks analysis of the website, but since no black hat practices were used and there was no link spamming – the website is safe from that algorithm. When it comes to Panda which targets the content – there aren’t any issues that I could find either. We can clean things up a bit by using noindex tag on pages that don’t have any relevant content, otherwise, everything looks good.

R

No changes needed.

Conclusion

On Page SEO, even though done only once at the beginning of each SEO campaign, should be monitored on ongoing basis, especially if more content is needed, and if any other website structure changes are done. There are multiple topics mentioned in this document, like Keyword Research, Content Strategy and Backlinking Strategy which aren’t covered in depth here since they are SEO campaigns of their own and they will be deeply analysed in another documents.

Thank you for your time!