When a business develops a marketing strategy, the leaders typically have a plan in place to measure their plan’s effects on a regular basis. In too many cases, when businesses develop a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for their web sites, they often neglect the need to measure if their plans are working.
Site owners should understand not only how much traffic their sites are handling, but the source of that traffic. Since search engine queries still make up the leading source of online traffic for business web sites, the ability to measure the effectiveness of an SEO plan is crucial to the site’s success.
The Google algorithm PageRank (named after Google co-founder Larry Page) rates how Google views the site’s content on a scale of 0 to 10. PageRank measures several factors that determine where a site ranks on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Some factors that the PageRank algorithm uses to boost a site’s rank include the site’s layout, its domain extension (.com, .edu, .gov), and the quality of its backlinks.
One of the most crucial aspects of SEO comes from the speed at which the content loads in the browser. Users, especially mobile users, have little patience for content that takes too long to load. Sites that depend on beautiful high-resolution images and high-bandwidth animations may suffer from SEO penalties for their slow load times. The PageSpeed tools from Google can show site owners ways to improve their load speed, including advice for mobile-friendly sites.
The search engine experts at Moz developed an algorithm to measure how a web site will rank on SERPs based on its domain name. The “domain authority” number rates sites on a 0 to 100 scale. The scale is logarithmic, not linear, so each increase from 60 to 70 is much more difficult than a jump from 20 to 30. Domain authority is a highly useful measure when evaluating a site against its competitors, rather than as an overall measure of SEO efforts.
Broken web site links can occur for a number of reasons. Some broken links can be internal, such as when a product is changed or discontinued. Others can be external, such as when a destination link source closes down or changes its URL. When search engine crawlers encounter broken links, they view the site as out-of-date and reduce its ranking in the SERPs. A broken link checker tool can locate these troublesome links and provide a guide for correcting or deleting them.
In some cases, the search engine crawlers cannot access every portion of a site. These crawl errors may be due to connectivity failures, site structure issues, or file permissions. Each time the crawler encounters an error, the search engine rankings for the target site will decline. Google provides a free crawl errors reporting tool that helps site owners track down potential sources of crawl errors.
Source: Small Business Trends
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