Awhile back, we hinted that we’d be starting a new series on the blog with free micro-SEO audits. Despite having a low level of technological proficiency, we managed to get through one! Don’t worry, we’ll eventually compile the outtakes (they’re amazing) and in time, production quality and graphics will get sexified. For now, get ready for some SEO knowledge bombs!
We’re starting with WaldowSocial.com, which is owned by DJ Waldow, a familiar face to the Outspoken community having guest posted in the past. We’ve also made no secret of the fact that DJ connected us to InfusionSoft, who is helping us set up better lead management processes and a newsletter. We trimmed our feedback to the most actionable recommendations for a non-technical e-mail marketer. I’m sure we missed things, so feel free to add your two cents or ask questions in the comments below.
And, we want to give away something to a
bored lucky viewer! For fun, Emily suggested our viewers count up the number of “y’knows” in the video. It’ll shame us into better public speaking, and you might win a prize for the accurate count. We’ll randomly draw a name from those who submit the correct number, and the winner will receive a $20 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Without further ado, here is our first micro-SEO audit:
You can submit your site for a free micro-SEO audit here.
Transcript of WaldowSocial.com Micro-SEO audit
Hi guys! I’m Rhea Drysdale with Outspoken Media, and I’m joined today by Emily Cote who many of you have seen on the blog. Both of us are going to be at SMX Advanced coming up soon in Seattle. If you can’t make it, check out the blog. Michelle Lowery will be doing live blog coverage. We’re here today to kick off the Micro-SEO Audits that we’ve been talking about for a while. More than 30 of you submitted your sites. We’ve selected a number that we’ll be covering over the next few months. If you would like to have your site reviewed, go ahead and click on the link below and we’d be happy to take a look at your site if it is something we feel will add value to the rest of our community.
We’re starting today with Waldow Social. WaldowSocial.com is owned by DJ Waldow, who is an excellent email marketer. He’s helping us out in a number of ways, so we wanted to go ahead and impart some outstanding SEO advice with him, hopefully. So, the tools that we used were Screaming Frog, which is free up to a certain number of pages, and then at that point it becomes paid. And Screaming Frog allows you to crawl your site, see all of your page titles, your meta descriptions, technical things like that. And we have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Central reminders up there. We did not have access to those but we recommend that every webmaster gets access because you can get so much robust data.
So what did we see with Screaming Frog? I know that the first thing that we noticed was keywords and what he was targeting. We also used SpyFu, by the way. And SpyFu allowed us to see that DJ was ranking for certain terms like “best holiday emails” and “funny email addresses.” But, Emily, how do we feel about those two keyword phrases?
Well, I think in terms of keywords, what you want to always remember is, at the end of the day, you want keywords that are going to convert. So you want to make sure that you look at your Google Webmaster Tools, at your Analytics. See what’s bringing people on to the site. See what’s actually driving conversions. “Best holiday emails” – that could be tied to a campaign, so something like that might convert. But “funny email addresses” might be something that’s fun to pass around the office, but how many people are going to convert when arriving to your site through a term like that? So I think it’s important to balance what keywords you’re targeting and make sure you always bring it back to conversions, conversions, conversions.
Absolutely! So, do keyword research, use these tools, identify what you want to talk about, and let that inform your topic selection for your site. Keyword research, topic selection – check! DJ, we noticed that you have some great categories over in the sidebar of your blog. Unfortunately, your blog is not structured in a way that those categories really shine. So we want you to go into your permalink structure and edit them so that the category appears in the URL of the post because right now all the posts appear in the root of the domain. That might get a little technical, but the reason for that is that if, at any time, you want to do something with your structure – you want to noindex it or disallow it – it’s very difficult to do that if all the pages are in the root. You’re also missing the keyword opportunity if, for instance, you have a category that’s all about e-mail reviews. It might be difficult to see that those posts belong to a particular category.
Categories also are not really optimized. And so we like to look at categories not just as a haven for duplicate content. There’s a lot of duplicate content in categories, especially with WordPress, because it’s just kind of duplicating a lot of the posts in the snippets. So, we want the category intros to always have at least 300 to 500 words of unique text about that category. So go ahead and write that. Put that at the very top. Make sure that you really optimize those categories and then you’re going to get a lot more use out of them. You might actually see traffic coming in from search results.
We do like that you’re using the “read more” tag. For everyone out there, “read more” is outstanding because, again, we talked about duplicate content and the last thing that you want is a full post from WordPress appearing on the homepage, in your archives, on your categories, and in your topics. So use the “read more” tag like DJ is doing.
So, other areas that we saw – on page optimization. Titles – DJ, you have good titles that are optimized. However, a lot of them are really long and they’re not being managed on an individual level. So we want to see you override WordPress’s default settings in the SEO title tag area and not say that you’re going to put in the actual blog title, because it’s causing duplication. And so with your titles, always make sure that those are customized on a page level and on a post level. That’s really really important. Also, try to get them below 70 characters. After 70 characters, everything is truncated in Google. What else are we seeing?
One of the things that we noticed is that a lot of the pages don’t have custom meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are a great way to draw people in when you see them on the search results pages. You want to make sure that they are targeted for keywords that you’re looking for. No keyword stuffing, but just making sure that they’re relevant. You also want to make sure that there’s some kind of call to action. You want to draw people in. Tell people about what that post or that page is about so that people will want to click on it. You’ll also want to make sure, just as titles have a limit, meta descriptions have a limit of 156 characters, so you’ll want to make sure when you’re writing those that you keep them short and sweet and to the point.
H1′s – we did notice that on DJ’s site and sometimes WordPress themes do this. They’ll make the H1 element the image of your site like the logo or the URL and that’s happening in this case and we actually want to see the H1 be unique to each page. So that’s really important. We’d recommend that you work with a developer to get that changed in the code so that each post has the H1 tag appearing unique to the page. It’s just like back in school when you were writing the outline. You want your title to always be unique.
Last thing I would say – indexed content. You’ve got a lot of indexed content, so last thing on the technical side. There’s a lot of content in the index. The HTTPS, which is the secure version of the site, is indexed. And so we would like to see that removed from the index. You can do that with your .htaccess file. There’s also a lot of .swf files and other kind of extraneous things so I would work to try to clean those up and make sure that Google’s really only seeing – all the search engines, I apologize, I know that Google’s not the only one – but make sure that Google and Bing and the others aren’t seeing everything on the site. I like to control that. I want them to only see the content that really matters.
Lastly, we’ve got some links. What did you say, you noticed that there’s almost as many outbound links as there are incoming links?
Inbound and Outbound Linking
Yeah, you want to make sure, in terms of building a good site, you want a lot of value being passed to your site from the inbound links coming in. You also want to make sure that you’re not sending a lot of that value to other sites. Yes, it’s great to link out to some because you might get some pingbacks, some people looking at your site because of it, but if you have too many outbound links, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to funnel a lot of the value that you’re getting from your inbound links and you’re going to lose some of that. So just make sure to balance it and make sure you do a lot of link development. We saw that you’re doing some guest posts. You wrote a guest post for us and it was really great. Definitely continue to do that. You’re also doing some email audits, kind of similar to this type of audit. That’s a great way to drive some really great links.
Last, we saw that you were leaving comments on blogs. That’s a great way to interact with the community. It’s a great way to leave your signature. However, we just want to make sure – right now you’re using your name and you’re linking to the home page. So we want to make sure that if you’re using your name that you link to an author page or an about page, and if you’re linking to your home page instead, that you use a keyword that’s a little more appropriate. Like maybe “email services” or something like that. Just keep that in mind what your anchor text is in the links that you’re leaving on the blog comments. And also, just to make sure – don’t use that too heavily. You don’t want to seem kind of spammy. And make sure whatever links or comments that you’re leaving are directed to the person and they’re very informative. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about community engagement and natural organic link building.
Absolutely! One more tip – we recommend you implement rel=author because we know you’re kind of cute so we want to see your picture in the search results and that’s going to help with your click-through’s. So, that’s it from us. We hope that this was helpful. If you guys have any questions, leave those below in the comments. And we’ll be back soon with a different type of site to address a whole new set of problems. So, thank you so much and stay tuned!