Candlesandsuch.com is a website run quite frugally by its two main proprietors. For a site that hasn’t had a lot of professional help with regard to search engine optimization, it possesses some positive SEO attributes. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, but some of the main facets of good SEO are observed and incorporated. Let’s take a closer look.
Home Page Content
The site features good textual content at the top of the page, including keywords that searchers are likely to use (wedding favors, bridal shower favors, bridesmaid gifts, wedding accessories, and more). The left-hand navigation is fairly keyword-rich and offers links to all the site’s major categories. This allows search engine spiders to easily find and crawl those categories through the links, and they also function as quality keywords. The home page also includes links to the internal sitemap and the site’s blog. While there are eye-catching graphics, they are surrounded by good textual content. The Alt attributes for the graphics, however, are all the same and not keyword-rich.
Inbound Links and PageRank
This is where Candlesandsuch.com suffers the most. Inbound links create PageRank, and PageRank affects how high a website appears in search engine results pages (SERPs). The site has only two inbound links according to Google. PageRank is a measly 1, which is not indicative of the potential of this site. Yahoo shows almost 500 inbound links, but links recognized by Google must be improved. A link building campaign that includes directory submissions and partner links, link baiting, and social media is in order.
The site owners estimate somewhere over 500 pages in the website. It would be advantageous for them to have a more accurate number. Google finds 1,020 pages. Yahoo sees 297 and MSN Windows Live sees 458. There is always variation between the search engines as they crawl quite differently, but these are decent numbers considering the estimated size of the site.
Internal Hierarchical Linking Structure
The structure of the site is logical and well-designed. The navigation is less deep-and-narrow and more wide-and-shallow, which makes it easier for search engines to find and crawl. Links deep into the site are textual and tend to incorporate keywords.
HTML Templates and CSS
Secondary Page Content
All the pages feature focused, textual content. This is a great attribute. That content could be further filled out to reflect more keywords and add density to existing keywords, but overall it’s a good job. Keyword Choices – The keywords chosen for the major pages of the site are focused and relative. Further honing of a keyword list could make for even better content. Try Keyword Discovery’s free service at Keyworddiscovery.com/search.html.
The site uses keywords in the title tags, and for the most part they are unique to each page. Including prices in the titles may not be good use of this SEO real estate, however, as searchers are unlikely to include price along with subject in their queries. Adding the site name at the end of titles may help with branding.
The URLs are keyword–rich and descriptive, using dashes to separate words. On occasion, the URLs get a little long, but most of the time these are very optimal addresses. The site needs to add a proper 404 error page for pages that have been removed. While there is an error page of sorts, it does not return a 404 status code letting search engine spiders know that the page doesn’t exist. The URL: Candlesandsuch.com properly has a 301 forwarding code to Candlesandsuch.com. Minus the 404 issue, excellent work here.
A good link building campaign is what this site needs most! Read Stephan’s article called “Weaving A Web Of Links” for great suggestions on getting started. With that and a few technical changes, Candles And Such will have a website that is optimized at an above-average level. Once inbound links begin to build, they should reap the benefits of their SEO.
SEO Report Card
Home Page B
Inbound Links D-
Internal Linking Structure B-
HTML Templates C+
Secondary Page Content B
Keyword Choices B
Title Tags B
OVERALL GPA B-
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