SEO Gap Analysis: How Does YOUR Site Rate? (Part 2 of 2)

Following from the post On Page SEO – SEO Gap Analysis factors. Welcome to Part 2!

I estimate that off-page SEO counts for roughly 70-80% of total rankings score for web pages.

1. What is the age of your domain?
Over 2 years is OK. Over 5 years is better. Over 7 years is great! Obviously if you are a new site this sucks a bit. Stick with it, apply best practice SEO from the outset, and build relevant quality backlinks and you’ll soon be a ‘higher authority’ regarding relevance than another new start which does not do so.

2. Inbound site links.
OK, so number is nice, quality is important. By quality we mean the number of authority, relevant links according to your industry and the search engines themselves. The age of the backlinking site and the age of the backlinks themselves are also matters of consideration.

3. Inbound social links.
These are usually great as they are encapsulated in a blog post or article or other text rich environment which adds to their veracity as far as the engines are concerned. BLOG, people! Make it easy to  digg, stumbleupon, reddit, sphinn, sk*rt according to your market. Check out the social networks relevant to your site and get integrated on your site. Again, be sensible. Don’t spam the social networks. If you have something of relevance, it will be picked up. If you really think something is relevant and interesting, add it yourself.

Do some research on the audience, interests and behavior of the social networks before you do that. SMM is not SEO. SIM (social influence marketing) is also very important. People are interested in reviews, opinions and the input of others on the web. Get into the game, harness your evangelizers, create buzz, give stuff away and request online feedback, create relevant gadgets… this is the internet age of involvement. It’s the old adage all over again, ‘do it or be square’, or in this case lose interest, exposure, traffic and potential sales.

4. The keyword theme or subject matter of any link page is important.

5. Check out your backlink anchor text.
Your backlink text is the text the spiders and human read when they see the link to your page. Is it relevant to the page it’s pointing at? Try Jim Boykin’s (Webuildpages.com) backlink text tool.

6. Do you have a DMOZ or YahooDIR listing?
What about established second tier directories? Niche directories? How many? You need more than those listed in this SEOmoz tool, but it’s a great start! Why? Great, authority directories the engines approve of, which means quality backlinks for you.

7. The longer the domain registration length, the better.
Check www.who.is. You’re not a fly-by-night business. You’re here to stay. Let the engines know it by registering your domain for at least 2 years – preferably more.

So the next big question is:

How Do You Rate Your Site?

That’s pretty subjective, but it can be made a smidge more meaningful if you can compare yourself to a site you perceive to be ‘well optimized’ as well as to one you feel is ‘poorly optimized’. Focus on your core competition. At all costs, avoid measuring yourself only against a site that is worse off than you are or against a major golden brand or well performing competitor.

What benchmarks are you looking for?

  • Start with the rankings of your prime keywords in the major engines. As Google is likely to provide more than 50-60% of your traffic, start there.
  • Follow with a check on the keywords in title tags and META descriptions of the sites you are comparing.
  • Then check your web analytics data for the keywords driving the most traffic. While you don’t want to lose those keywords, they might not be the ones you should really be targeting. You don’t need to lose the current driving traffic when optimizing for new keywords.
  • If necessary, create new pages as you revise your navigation and URL structure.
  • Remember, SEO is about search engine exposure and click-throughs. It is not about post click marketing. It is not about conversions. Not on its own.
  • Conversions are part of the remit of the design, copy and other marketing elements of a web site. Your job is to get the traffic without negating the efficacy of existing design. If the design sucks – make recommendations. Pretty is not your job, and SEO should be included from the information architecture stage, which would negate these issues. [Note: We get a bit ticked off that some SEOs can be so focused on optimizing that they forget the user experience.]
  • Without the users, you got nothing.
  • Without a decent ranking, you at least have your brand. Word of mouth and other offline media are very important to both validate your brand and send traffic to your site online.
  • Combine these two mediums and crank up your online exposure and ROI doing it right.

As always, comments are invaluable and appreciated!


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