Findability: SEO Insight


A Closer Look at the Website Grader Results

by: | September 26, 2011

In my previous post about evaluating your SEO, I recommended using HubSpot’s Website Grader as a starting point for your SEO efforts. Now, let’s take a closer look at the information you can get from that report and review some of the ways you can use that data to better optimize your professional site. I’ll use my own business website, Marlannah Digital Marketing, as an example and walk through step by step how to maximize the feedback you get in the next few posts.

The first thing I see on the report is my Website Grade, which is a relatively weak 65 out of 100. (That’s a little embarrassing, frankly, but you know what they say about the cobbler’s kids having no shoes . . . .)

On the plus side, though, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement. Let’s dig a little deeper and see exactly what we can do.

The content section includes information about your recent blog posts, how many pages search engines have indexed from your site, and the readability level of your content. In my case, my blog posts are at a graduate school reading level, which is probably a little too high, and they’re not being re-Tweeted enough, so I should work on that.

Because HubSpot is a big proponent of content marketing, they also determine whether you have a blog and then assign a separate grade to that, using data from their Blog Grader tool. If you have a blog, you should take a look at this, too, but for now let’s keep going with the Website Grader.

The second section of the Website Grader report is about optimizing your content, focusing on what is typically referred to as on-page optimization. That term refers to things you do TO your site to ensure that it’s structured in a way that is friendly to the search engines. The Optimize section is broken down into the following sub-sections:

Metadata is data about data. It is used to describe the various information on your web pages. Some metadata may not be visible to human visitors to your site, but can be used by search engines to help them understand what’s on your page. Depending on how your website was built, you may need professional help to modify the metadata. If your site was built using an SEO-friendly content management system, though, you will likely be able to make changes yourself.

Website Grader looks at two metadata elements. The Page Title on your home page is the first and is the most important for SEO. You should use a keyword-rich (but not stuffed) Title Tag to let the search engine know the main topic of your page. Each page should have a unique Title Tag that relates to the specific content.

The second element is the meta description. This doesn’t directly impact your rankings, but can affect whether your link in the search results gets clicked. That’s because search engines often (but not always) will use your meta description as the text in the link.

You want to include a meta description so that your listing doesn’t inadvertently look like this:

In the next post, I’ll explore more of the information from Website Grader results.Marketing Zeus

Posted in: B2B, B2C, Content, E-Commerce, Findability: SEO Insight, IT, Lead Generation, Local Search, Optimization, Professional Services, Rich Media

About the Writer:

Rob Croll is Program Director for the Internet Marketing Bachelor and Master degrees at Full Sail University. He also owns a consulting firm that works with small businesses and nonprofits. Rob has been included on Social Media Marketing Magazine's list of Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter and has had numerous articles published both online and in print. He has a BS in Finance and an MFA in Media Design. Follow Rob on Twitter @rcroll.

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