When I get asked to look over a company’s website, to review how their site is set up for SEO, I do it in no more then 10 minutes.  In 10 minutes I can asses how much work needs to be done for the website.  This can be done sitting next to the potential client, and turned into a 10 minute education series, which helps prove your abilities and knowledge.  Here are the items I look for first, which indicate how much work I will need to do later:SEO Review Check List

  1.  Screaming Monkey – 4 Mins :  If I’m on my computer, I have Screaming Monkey SEO Spider crawl the site.  From this I look at:
    • Does it crawl easily?  If not, there are architecture issues to fix.
    • How many pages on the site?  This helps me gauge how much work is possible.
    • Missing Titles/descriptions/alt text and any duplicates? All bad, and an easy indicator of how much detail was used throughout the site.
    • Overview of folder structure and naming strategy.  Will pages need to be renamed, folders moved? Is it messy, or nice and clean?
    • 404 errors and broken links? There should be none.  Few are alright, many are an indicator no one has cared about the site for a while.
    • 301s or 302s? This easy win gets looked over way to much!
    • Meta refreshes or NoIndexs? Might make sense, depending on why the site is doing it.
    • Canonical tags?  If it is eCommerce site and no canonical tags, there will be a lot of work to do.
  2. Site Design – 3 Mins: Searching code and using browser to check:
    • Text in images? Yes/no?  If yes, will require much more time to fix site.
    • Single H1?  H2 and H3s used in balance? If no, will require more time to fix site and possible re-write CSS.
    • Navigation buttons as images? If yes, site might need major rebuild.
    • CSS code in page?  If yes, not a huge issue, but will need to be moved.
    • Frames or tables used in code? If yes, might need to have site rebuilt to reach positive results.
    • Internal linking: Something crazy like javascript? Uses NoFollows? Has links in text? Anchor text? Hidden links?
    • Google Analytics tracking code?  If they don’t track analytics already, it will be harder to show a positive ROI.
  3. Site Assets – 1 Min:might have to search a bit for these, but:
    • Robots.txt file? If missing, not a huge deal, but shows lack of prior effort.
    • Sitemap or Video-Sitemap?  XML and html?  If missing, will need to be created and indicator of lack of prior effort.
    • 404 page set up right? (actually gives 404 error, not just says ‘I’m a 404!’)
  4. Google.com – 2 Mins:  Use Google to check these things:
    • Use the search function “site:WEBSITEURL.com” to see how many pages are indexed.  Does it match the count that Screaming Monkey gave?
      • If Google has few pages, go to pages and check recent cache dates
      • If Google has way to many, skip to nearly the last page and look at URL structures.  Errors? Why?
So that’s my 10 minute review process.  In that 10 minutes, you can gather a lot of information about how things are set up, and if people have made efforts to optimize the site before you.  Also, sticking to a plan like this, keeps you on track and not dwelling over one area for to long.  Remember, your goal in a 10 minute SEO review is to a full SEO review…in just 10 minutes.
How about you?  What would you add, or not spend time looking at?

Post filed under SEO.