I don’t spend a lot of time shopping on baby-oriented gift sites, but I get a lot of requests for report card reviews from them. This will not only be the first time I’ve reviewed a baby site, but an Australian site as well. I was taken with the pleasant design, especially the cute baby picture at the top of the homepage. Design, of course, can have a profound effect on the success of any website, especially ecommerce sites, but our primary focus here will be on how Little Pixie Gifts does with the search engines. If no one finds you, it doesn’t matter how cute and cuddly a site is. Let’s take a look beyond those baby eyes:
Home Page Content
A sitemap linked to the home page is something I almost always go off about, and Littlepixiegifts.com.au not only has a link to their sitemap, but it also has an ideal sitemap design. Major categories and subcategories are listed logistically with textual links, but it doesn’t go deeper than that level, the point at which a sitemap can start to get spammy. Sitemaps help search engines find all the sections of a site, and they are an asset to customers. There is a decent amount of textual content on the homepage, including a couple of paragraphs that identify the site and associate it with relevant keywords. Links are textual in nature, which is best for search engines.
Inbound Links and PageRank
The Little Pixie Gifts home page has a PageRank of two. This is extremely low, though it may be a relatively new site (I was unable to verify the its age). An issue possibly related to this is the fact that the site does not have a single canonical URL. Search engines see two separate sites – http://www.littlepixiegifts.com.au and http://littlepixiegifts.com.au. The site needs to use a 301 Redirect from one URL to the other, most likely the non-www address pointing to the www address. Because of this issue, the search engines are registering different numbers of indexed pages for each, and the dual URL may also be splitting PageRank. Inbound links to the site are below average, with Google showing only 22 and Yahoo! 900. A link building campaign is needed here. To begin with, the site should submit itself (after having fixed the canonicalization issue) to major directories.
Google reports 256 pages for the www address and 283 pages for the non-www address, Yahoo! sees 233 pages for both URLs, MSN Live Search sees 831 for both URLs. Implementing a single, canonical URL is the primary issue here.
Internal Hierarchical Linking Structure
Internal linking for Little Pixie Gifts is quite good. It is textual in nature and flows logically down to the category level.
HTML Templates and CSS
Secondary Page Content
Secondary pages contain decent textual content, though there is room for much more. Search engines love to get their teeth into textual content, and more text offers a given page more room to reinforce keyword themes.
Keywords are generally descriptive and ample. As a general rule, three or four keywords should be the maximum focus of a given webpage. The use of brand names as keywords is fine. Some dedicated keyword research would most likely improve traffic.
As search engines see title tags as a primary descriptive attribute, they are important to get right. Little Pixie Gifts appears to have some form of automated titles that are drawn for headings or content on the page. This is a great method, but it reinforces the importance of having focused keywords in that page content. Little Pixie Gifts could hone its content further, not only to improve the content itself, but also the title tags being drawn from it.
If Little Pixie Gifts has an SEO weak point, it is in the URLs. As search engines spider the URL addresses along with title tags and page content, each URL should reflect the keyword theme of the page. Instead, Little Pixie Gifts has URLs like http://www.littlepixiegifts.com.au/cart.php?target=category&category_id=62. While such a URL doesn’t necessarily hurt things from a search engine perspective, it certainly doesn’t help. The same URL above would be better as http://www.littlepixiegifts.com.au/your-special-man, wherein the focus of the site is reflected.
With the exception of the canonicalization issue and weak URL naming conventions, Little Pixie Gifts is fairly solid from an SEO perspective. More inbound links are needed to boost the PageRank, but PageRank may be further augmented by canonicalization of the domain name URL.
SEO Report Card
Home Page A
Inbound Links D
Internal Linking Structure A
HTML Templates C
Secondary Page Content B
Keyword Choices B
Title Tags B
OVERALL GPA B-
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