SEO Audit – HomeFocus

Legacy SEO Assessment For HomeFocus

Vital Statistics

  • Domain: http://www.homefocus.co.uk/
  • Platform: Custom CMS
  • Indexed Pages: 3,540 pages (ok)
  • Google Pagerank: 0/10 (very poor)
  • External Backlinks (Majestic SEO): 342 (low)
  • Referring Domains (Majestic SEO): 5 (very poor)
  • Social Shares: Very Low

Observations

Improve Page Rank & Authority

This area is to be considered an absolute imperative. High authority sites typically get ranked significantly higher than lower authority sites.  With a PR of 0/10 the homefocus domain is currently on the lowest rung of the ladder in terms of authority. The domain should be aiming to be at least PR3-4. To achieve this an extensive digital marketing strategy needs to be developed based on using top quality content to acquire links from a wide range of industry relevant high authority sites. Ideal sources for links (and if possible) would be from related Governmental sites.

Improve Social Media Presence.

The current social media presence of the site is also negligible. This should be considered as an integral part of the broader link building and digital marketing strategy. A recommendation would be make adjustments to the site so blog posts/new posts are automatically distributed to Facebook/Twitter etc. immediately upon publication. This is easily achieved through the WordPress CMS. Other areas of social engagement should also be considered; passing ideas could include; competitions; interesting articles maybe pertaining facts directly related to home ownership; infographics etc.

URL Structure

The URL structure is poor in a number of instances. Recommended actions include the removal of any instances of _ in URL as well as migration to a lower case URL structure. A strong recommendation is to rename pages so the associated URLs are more keyword specific… For example http://www.homefocus.co.uk/Solicitors to become http://www.homefocus.co.uk/ conveyancing-solicitors and http://www.homefocus.co.uk/LCHO_schemes may be more appropriate as http://www.homefocus.co.uk/low-cost-housing-option-schemes.

Amendments to Meta Titles.

Some of the meta titles onsite are meaningless and should be expanded upon in order to appear more natural and to improve the user experience.

Update XML Sitemap

In order to help ensure that all news URLs (including landing pages) are indexed, the XML Sitemap should be updated. It’s currently significantly out of date and lists only a small fraction of the pages on the site.

Addition of Descriptive Title attributes for menu items.

In order to boost keyword density, and enhance the user experience, title attributes may be added to the main menu navigation.

Implement HTML Compression

There is a significant amount of unnecessary whitespace and noise, within the html documentations of the site. As such, this will be increasing the size of the files read by the browser and slowing down the site loading speed. The benefits of resolving this is that it will improve site usability and Google has stipulated on a number of occasions that it favours sites with quicker loading speeds. It ultimately will also benefit the text-to-html ratio.

Mobile Optimisation

The site is currently not mobile optimised

Minimise Use of external CSS Stylesheets

Whilst fairly tricky to implement (time-wise), due to the overriding nature of CSS, the existing style sheets could be combined into less style sheets. This reduces the amount of calls on external documents, improves html ratio, however if this exercise is not approached particularly carefully, it could have the knock on effect of increasing loading times for the site, as a particularly large CSS file would take longer to load.

CSS Compression

In order to improve site loading times the CSS should be minified.

Removal of Excess Coding

For example the meta content

<meta name=”author” content=”copyright ©2009 : fat media : http://www.fatmedia.co.uk : info@fatmedia.co.uk” />

is not appropriate and only adds value for fat media. It also has a negative impact on the text-to-html ratio.

Image Alt Tags

A number of images are missing alt tags. These should be added where appropriate. These should be keyword rich and specific to the relevant page.

Removal of Meta Keywords.

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.html. Meta keywords should be removed site wide, and implemented as a meaningful part of the meta description and/or title meta data.

Removal of Comments from HTML

In order to boost html/text ration and clear out excess noise, comments should be removed from the HTML document where appropriate.

W3C Validation

W3C Validation shows 20+ errors on the homepage. A number of this can be resolved fairly easily.

http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homefocus.co.uk%2F&charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline&group=0

Migration From A Table Based Structure To CSS3

The site currently relies on tables to implement a notable amount of the sites main style aspects. This is a legacy approach to coding that is currently considered obsolete. The use of obsolete coding is highly likely to be having a negative impact on the site’s rankings.

Leverage Browser Caching

In order to speed up site loading times, leverage browser caching may be enabled. This means that file types from the first visited pages on the site are cached, and reloaded for additional visits and upon further navigation around the site.

## EXPIRES CACHING ##

<IfModule mod_expires.c>

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”

ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”

ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”

</IfModule>

## EXPIRES CACHING ##

Gzip Compression

In order to enable Gzip Compression add the following coding to the top of the .htaccess file:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Markup Abbreviations

Similar to a link title attribute this enables a mini highlight to pop up revealing associated text.

In order to both enhance the user experience and also improve  keyword density of the site, It would be appropriate to add abbreviation mark-up for instances where it’s appropriate. This means that clientele who have no prior understanding of LCHO, etc. are provided with the full length definition. This definition is also recognised by spiders crawling the site and thus helps boost keyword density/relevancy.

An example of the coding is:

<abbr title=Low Costing House Options”>LCHO</abbr>

NoFollow Attributes

I recommend the addition of rel=”nofollow” attributes to external links specifically in relation to neutral assets where PageRank is not intended to be passed on. This is most notable for the social media links in the site wide footer.

Tel Mark-up

In order to enhance the user experience for mobile users and therefore help enhance conversion rates, tel mark-up may be added to all instances of the phone number. This mark-up will enable users to phone the number listed directly from their phone by simply clicking on the phone number. This is predominately a usability feature that helps enhance the user experience somewhat.

Reorder Javascript

Javascript should be moved to the bottom of each html document. It’s best practice and helps improve site loading speeds, and to a certain extent helps reduce the amount of errors.

Rich Snippets

The implementation of onsite reviews specifically those aligned with Google Reviews micro data (which allows gold star ratings to appear next to Google Search Listings) has shown in many instances to improve both click through and conversion rates of e-commerce sites by approximately 20%.  The fundamental ideology behind these is that the reviews add social proof to consumers buying habits, and the Gold Stars which occur as a result of the implementation of the Rich Snippets data, enables URLs to stand amongst competitors on the Search Engine Results Page.

Address Mark-up

The company address ought to be marked up with <address> micro data in order to help improve prevalence on Google Maps, and associated mapping applications.  This concept could potentially be rolled out on internal Search Result pages so that Google is given the relevant micro data to consider each search result relevant to a local area.

Inclusion in Google News

As a means of capturing additional targeted visitors. This requires that meaningful news worthy content is frequently added to the site, which of course requires a frequent investment of time and resources. Technically, however you could use the content from home focus magazine, as it’s not currently syndicated elsewhere on the web.

http://www.wikihow.com/Add-Your-Site-to-Google-News

Summary

In all there a lot of significant and notable issues affecting the performance of the site, primarily however not solely concerning the lack of visibility pertaining the site both from both a link perspective as well as a social perspective. There are also a large amount of critical technical issues which need to be resolved in order to ensure from a coding/content perspective that Google considers the site as relevant and “high quality” as possible.

All in all, and whilst this might be quite difficult to hear, my opinion is that the site is grossly underperforming and could be performing significantly better than it does.



3 Comments
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    Abigail Roswell
    March 17th, 2016

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      Rick Vogel
      March 17th, 2016

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    Lisa Wright
    March 15th, 2016

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