To truly understand real-world application of SEO tactics, it is important to take a look at other businesses in order to understand what they are doing well, and where they could use a bit of work.
In an effort to demonstrate how a company can improve and where they deserve kudos for their existing SEO efforts, I’m proud to present a 1 hour SEO audit. The reasons for only utilizing the one hour are simple:
- I am a busy man.
- I believe there are many tools and methodologies out there which can help uncover a lot of SEO improvements on a website in a short period of time, and I want to show you how.
The point of this exercise is to help individual businesses understand where they can improve their own SEO tactics, as well as assist other business owners beginning to think about what they can do to improve their own SEO strategies.
In order to give a fair grade, I looked at the following criteria:
- Site Speed
- Meta Tag Issues
- Title Tag Issues
The site I’ve chosen to dive into this week is http://www.everydayhealth.com. Everyday Health’s mission is to help its users take better care of themselves and their families through powerful weight-loss tools, expert advice and health news, and general health information. From an aesthetic point of view, they have a great looking website which features a clean, image-heavy design their homepage.
- Screaming Frog
- Open Site Explorer
- Microsoft IIS
In a world without authorship, visual assets through schema mark up are extremely important for a business to have in order to make sure they are getting the most traffic out of their organic rankings. This means including relevant tags for appropriate content that a site might feature.
In the case of Everyday Health, there was a disturbing lack of schema site wide. Schema tags for site elements like logos, article body, site search and price rating should definitely be included in order for the site’s organic listings to truly shine. Unfortunately, these mark ups are not present on the site at all. A page like their magnesium lactate page should have all of these schema and regrettably they just weren’t there.
Time and time again the idea of “content is king” for SEO has been regurgitated across the internet - though with good reason. Content is one of the main cornerstones for providing a great user experience and building natural inbound links – two things that Google is stressing more than ever throughout their recent algorithm updates.
Everyday Health does a great job with their content. There are lots of images that include image alt tags, and more importantly, the content itself is clearly written with users in mind, instead of just keyword stuffing and catering to what search engines have historically wanted on a page. Even though clicking through to multiple pages can be a bit frustrating, the content itself is well presented and clear.
However, here are some drawbacks. The most frustrating is that some articles are missing related author postings. This should be something that is included to not only help SEO internal linking, but also to keep bounce rates as low as possible and while keeping users engaged with more than a single post on your website whenever possible. I also noticed a few images have missing alt text, which is critical in acquiring relevant traffic to your website from Google’s image results pages.
One of the most important parts of SEO is a website’s overall backlink profile. Ideally, it should appear natural by featuring both followed and nofollowed links, a variety of different inbound links from sources with high domain authorities, different anchor text variations, and links from relevant sources and articles that show that the website is an industry leader in its niche.
Everyday Health has a very strong backlink profile for the most part. They have a ton of inbound links from different sources with high domain authorities. They also have appropriate anchor text that is largely comprised of their brand name and natural anchor text like “read more.”
However, they do have some slight flaws. The most obvious being that the relevancy of most of their inbound links does not quite fit their focus, which should be health-related. Instead, there are a lot of links from reference and education websites as well as business websites. Topically, health does rank well in their overall backlink profile, yet it should be far and away their #1 topical relevancy from inbound links. While education is a big part of Everyday Health, links revolving around the topic shouldn't comprise more of the website's overall profile than health-related ones.
While it isn’t one of the biggest SEO factors in terms of keyword rankings, site speed does play a role in Google’s ranking algorithms – one that is quickly growing. More importantly, it leads to a much better experience for users in general and also makes for a much better experience on mobile. It is certainly something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
In the case of Everyday Health, there are actually quite a lot of problems when it comes to site speed. As you can see below, YSlow highly recommends adding expires headers, making fewer HTTP requests, and compressing components with gzip.
There are a lot of areas for improvement on the website when it comes to site speed, but it is still a functional website. Everything is technically fine when it comes to page speed for users, but making all the changes that are recommended will lead to an even better user experience and might help increase rankings.
Having appropriate meta titles and meta descriptions is important for search engines, but they also play a large role in usability for the average visitor when they see a result in the SERP. Meta titles or descriptions which are too long or missing altogether can negatively affect keyword rankings, but more importantly they can cause users to be less likely to click through to a website due to the lack of indicating text about what is on the page.
Everyday Health does a great job of making sure that meta titles are included in all of their pages. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that the entire site is only missing approximately 48 meta titles. However, they have trouble keeping their meta titles within the recommended character count – with over 62 thousand of their pages using meta titles which aren’t formatted correctly.
Where Everyday Health is fairly diligent with regards to their meta titles, they fall short with their meta descriptions. The site is missing a huge amount of meta descriptions, with more than 12,000 of their pages featuring no meta descriptions at all. Even more concerning is the fact that another 52,000 pages have meta descriptions which are too long – meaning that users aren’t getting an optimized description in Google’s organic results of what the page is talking about.
One of the most important factors in SEO is a page’s title tag. Having one that is properly optimized for search engines can be the difference between a page ranking well and not ranking at all. The perfect page title should be enticing for users, while still including relevant keywords, and without being too intrusive.
In the case of Everyday Health, about 10% of the pages are missing H1 title tags. This is a huge issue, and means the website is missing out on opportunities to have pages ranking for keywords that are better tailored to generate traffic and awareness about their brand. While there are undoubtedly a few exceptions for pages that shouldn’t have an H1 tag, the vast majority should have SEO and user-optimized tags added immediately.
Using a number of tools I was able to find a lot of SEO improvements to one of the largest health websites on the internet. Although it is possible there are a few more issues which could potentially be found, I believe I was able to accomplish my goal of finding a number of fixable issues on the site within in a short period of time.
After evaluating everydayhealth.com, I still believe it is an extremely valuable website with great information for its users. With just a few SEO enhancements, this health news website could perform even better.
Overall Grade: C
Would you like your site to be featured on our next 1 hour audit? Let me know in the comments section below.