SEO Report Card:

This time around we’re going to be taking a slightly different tack, as I was privy to a redesign in-the-making–of golf equipment seller – with numerous SEO and usability improvements, along with a shift in ecommerce platforms. In fact, by the time this article ends up in print, the site revamp will be live. Jason Mischel, President of explains: “We currently receive about 5,000 – 6,000 unique visitors per day to our site but much of it is of very poor quality because of the search-engine-optimization tactics employed by the previous regime. I don’t understand it fully but they used a lot of doorway pages (although they refused to call them that) using variations of common golf brand names.”

SEO report card for

Let’s have a closer look at their current site, which at first glance isn’t in too bad of shape, with a No. 6 position in Google for “golf clubs” and a large number of pages indexed.

  • Their web server responds to without doing the proper kind of redirect to, resulting in duplicate pages in the engines (e.g. 67 pages in Google).
  • Inbound links of any real importance are in short supply. The Google PageRank score for the home page is 4 out of 10, which is quite low considering that PageRank is on a logarithmic scale.
  • The home page needs more keyword-rich body copy that isn’t link text. Curiously, I found only 2 occurrences of the phrase “golf clubs” in the body copy, and it was near the bottom of the page. (And no, Alt attributes don’t count!)
  • The HTML code is very bloated with unnecessary elements like several hundred lines of lots of inline CSS and Javascript and hundreds of repetitions of font color and face attributes.
  • The home page contains hundreds of links, which is way more than Google’s recommended maximum of 100 per page.
  • At the bottom of the home page is a “Products” link leading to a long page of nothing but internal text links. Such pages look designed to be spider food and as such are not as desirable to the search engines.
  • Too much keyword repetition in “invisible” parts of the home page – e.g. “golf” and “clubs” 3X in the title tag, 6X in the meta description, and 12X in alt attributes (actually only 7X for “clubs” in the latter).
  • Meta keywords tag, at 31 words, is too long. Should be half that.
  • From the home page, the brand pages were only available through a dropdown nav (remember: spiders can’t fill out forms). The most popular brands should be text links.
  • Target other golf terms, such as “golf gifts” and “golf glossary” and terms you’d find within a golf glossary.
  • It’s unnecessary to include “from $14.95” in the anchor text; it dilutes the keyword focus…
  • The names of the featured products in the middle of the page should be text, not graphics.
  • has a blog, which is very forward-thinking from both SEO and branding perspectives. Unfortunately, there are no text links to it to pass it link gain, only JavaScript-based links to individual posts which the spiders can’t crawl.

SEO Report Card

Home Page C
Inbound Links C-
Indexation B+
Internal Linking Structure D
HTML Templates D
Secondary Page Content B-
Keyword Choices A-
Title Tags A-


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Stephan Spencer
Stephan Spencer
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