One site review request really stood out in this month’s batch. Kyle Kano is the owner and operator of The Honey Jar, and he is just 17 years old. Kyle got the idea for his online business when, on a family trip to Colorado, he noticed a shop selling Honeyville Honey — a product made locally in his hometown.
Hats off to Kyle for showing such initiative. Now let’s have a look at his creation.
One of the bigger opportunities I see here is the fact that there are no product pages. Category pages show a collection of products, each with a several-sentence description. Unfortunately, none of these product names clicks through to a product description page containing product-focused title tag, H1 tag and page copy (including ingredients, food that the product complements, relevant recipes, etc.).
For example, it is unlikely The Honey Jar will rank for “apricot whipped honey” because that product does not have a page dedicated to it. It’s only mentioned on the “Whipped” category page, two-thirds of the way down the page. The words “apricot whipped honey” are not even present on the page because the product names are all presented as graphics (no alt tags either).
- The title tags (which are about 12 words too long) are all the same across most of the site. This severely hampers the pages from “singing” to the search engines. The “whipped” category page should be singing “whipped honey.”
- The URLs are all quite good. They are all short, devoid of “stop characters” and include keywords.
- Although not an SEO issue, the page elements don’t line up quite right on a Mac.
- Much of the “text” is trapped within images — including product names and sometimes even the descriptions. For example, on the “Candles” page, most of the product-related copy is within images. All that definitely should be converted to text so the spiders can read it.
- The “recipes,” “definitions” and “FAQs” pages are all “coming soon.” Neither shoppers nor spiders think much of pages still under construction.
- As it stands, the site has very few inbound links. Yahoo! Site Explorer (Siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com) shows a mere six. Thus it’s not surprising the home page’s PageRank is a painfully low 2. Link building should be Kyle’s first order of business. You can have the best content in the world, but with that poor PageRank it won’t do you any good.
Start by examining competitor sites that rank well (e.g., Honey.com, Honeyassociation.com) and see where they get their “link juice.” Then contact those sites to request a link. Kyle has a great story to tell as a 17-year-old ecommerce entrepreneur, and cleverly-worded link requests will be a great place to start telling it.
- A blog would be a perfect adjunct to this ecommerce site. Kyle could blog about honey, about small-town America, about wholesome food, about being a young entrepreneur. A blog would be a great way to develop loyal readers/customers as well as generate links.
- Google has very few pages of Thehoneyjarhome.com indexed, only 16, and most of those are in the Supplemental Index. Upon closer examination it appears that Kyle has redesigned the site and many of these supplemental pages no longer exist. Rather than leading searchers to a 404 error page, searchers and bots should be redirected via a 301 (permanent-style) redirect to the corresponding page at its new URL.
- The home page is pretty light on content. All the product category names appear as images and there is no intro copy to speak of. There are a few sentences of “our story” preamble and a sentence under the “featured product,” but that’s about it for non-navigational copy.
The home page is given the most weight by the search engines, so make the most of the opportunity and reinforce the keyword theme of “honey” with lots of honey-related text content — and don’t forget to have an H1 tag, too!
SEO Report Card
Home Page D+
Inbound Links F
Internal Linking Structure B-
HTML Templates D
Secondary Page Content D
Keyword Choices B-
Title Tags D
OVERALL GPA C-
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