Has your site been Optimised for Google?

If you’re a business website owner rather than a webmaster you’ve probably no idea on how to tell if your site has been optimised for Google.

I’ve tried to put together a few simple tests and indicators that any website owner can run to gauge if their site looks like it has an SEO friendly structure and to what extent it’s been promoted in the search engines.

1. Is your site indexed in Google?

First of all do a search based on your domain name and check if your site shows up in Google’s results. Go to Google and type in www.yourdomainname.com or yourdomainname.com. If your site shows it’s indexed and that’s a good start, if it isn’t then your site hasn’t been optimised for Google at all or is possibly banned.

2. What do Google and search engines actually see, is your site easily crawlable?

For instance search for ‘investni.com‘ on Google, when you see the results click on the ‘Cached’ link and then click on the ‘Text-only version‘ link. The text is what Google will see and associate with your site, so if the text and links are non-existent or unrelated to your target market then chances are that Google is not going to bring relevant traffic to your site. Google doesn’t see pretty images and flash, so if there’s very little text then you’re telling Google very little about your site.

In contrast let’s take a random site e.g. ‘blush boutique’ on Belfast’s Lisburn road. If you search for ‘blushboutique.co.uk‘ and click on the ‘cached’ link and ‘text-only version‘ you’ll notice that the page is blank! That’s exactly what Google sees i.e. nothing.

Alternatively you could use a tool such http://www.seo-browser.com/, type in your URL and see what a search engines sees.

Search engines care very little about the cost and expense of your site. Search engine crawlers can’t grade sites on the professionalism or quality of the design and the budget that you have invested. Sites that tend to rank well on the search engines are text heavy, with plenty of content and avoid some of the design techniques such as flash that Google warms about in it’s technical guidelines.

3. Test your site’s link popularity.

Go to Yahoo SiteExplorer , type in your domain (ie. www.yoursite.com) and click on ‘Explore Links’. Next click on (Inlinks), and select Show Inlinks ‘Except from this domain’.

If you’ve a very small number of inlinks or the links are only from a handful of sites then it looks like your site hasn’t been promoted. With Google being a links driven search engine the more the better, and the higher quality links from important sites and sites related to your industry the better.

Alternatively go to http://www.zetaimpact.com/ and use the tools to analyse the popularity of a particular webpage, how well your site is indexed in search engines and how well you rank for particular keywords. You can also run tests against your competitors.

4. Look at your stats.

There’s no reason not to be monitoring your stats these days, Google Analytics is a free package that is available to every site.

Look at the search engine traffic, referrals and other metrics such as unique visitors, time spent on the page and page views. Are you getting any traffic, are the search terms what you would expect people to be searching for your site, are the search terms only for your company name?

5. Manual Search

Do a manual search for your keywords? Start with your general terms, and drill down into more specific searches. If you don’t appear for the terms you want then that’s not a good sign, especially longer more specific terms that are almost unique to your business. Might be an idea to use a regional qualifier, e.g. ‘criminal lawyer in belfast’.

6. Page Titles

Look at the page title, it’s at the top left on the browser. So for this page it’s ‘Has your site been Optimised for Google | Michael Wall – Internet Marketing Belfast’. Every page on your site shouldn’t have exactly the same title. Are the page titles descriptive and the terms that you think tell Google what your pages are about?

7. If your web developer set up a Google Webmaster Tools account log in and look at the ‘Top Search Queries’. Are these the keyword terms that you want people coming to your site for?

8. Look for relevant keywords in your page titles, in the page heading or in the body of your text, or in the URL? Chances are if they aren’t there you’re missing a trick.

9. Page saturation:

Check pages have been listed, use the site: operator. Go to Google and type in site:yourdomainname.com

Are all your pages listed. If the pages aren’t listed then Google won’t be able to drive traffic to them. The more unique, relevant content the better.

10. Do the non-navigational links on your site use ‘click here’, ‘read more’ text or other non-descriptive text.

Links with descriptive anchor text are very important; they describe the content of the page for Google and associate particular keywords with the linked page.

11. Are there links within the body text of your pages linking to other important pages. Using Internal linking you can increase the importance that Google attaches to pages on your site and use keyword rich anchor text to associate that page with those terms as well as drive user to those pages.

12. Do you get leads, sales from the net?

These are fairly rough tests but will give you some indication of how SEO friendly your site is and how well it has been promoted. Promotion costs time and money so if it wasn’t in your budget and you simply wanted a website with no marketing strategy or budget then don’t expect to rank well in Google unless it’s a very uncompetitive market, or the content is that good that it’s attracted links from other sites.



3 Responses to “Has your site been Optimised for Google?”

  1. SteveNo Gravatar Says:

    Also add a description to the meta “description” tag, make it direct and dont waffle, use you keywords, but dont stuff them.
    Use the heading tags H1 to H3 in the correct order to promote certain keywords, again dont overuse them
    As Michael has said, ensure your links are viewable for the bots to see, We have worked on so many sites that use lovely java scripts or flash and the bot simply does not see them, although recently the googlebot has started taking notice. We prefer using the text based browser and seeing them in the flesh, after all if you cant see them, how the hell do you expect Googlebot to see them. Most optimisation is just common sense, don’t over do it as alot of users probably do. The bots like natural things.

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Steve,
    thanks for dropping by. Yeap there’s definitely plenty of other ways to optimise your site, I was trying to keep it as simple as possible for website owners that might not know what a Header was.

  3. Over 30 ways to promote your Northern Ireland Business Online | Internet Marketing Belfast - Michael Wall Says:

    […] of on-site Search Engine Optimisation, either that or pay heavily later. If your site hasn’t been optimised for Google then get it […]

Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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