Stoney and the crew at Pole Position Marketing created a fictitious site called "Galaxy Quest Airlines". Instead of just going through a checklist of things to look for, he created an interactive audience participation experience where the audience members peruse the site and find on-page SEO problems with it, and then Diana Adams made live edits to the site.

These are issues that are common on many sites, and something to look out for. Some of the problems found, included:

Homepage Issues

  • Splash Page
    • No content.
    • Extra steps for user.
  • Too many dashes in url
    • Not user friendly.
    • Hope users don't forget hyphens.
    • Competitor could buy other domains and get type in traffic.

Site Navigation

  • Drop down forms used for navigation, which is not good for search engines because they often don't read forms.
  • Inconsistency with header navigation on different pages.      

File Names

  • Underscores in some of the file names. Minor issue but for usability, helps to have hyphens instead.

Internal Linking
  •  "Click here" repeatedly used for link text. It is important to use meaningful text in the anchor text (text being linked) in order to pass value internally throughout the site.
  • Links are nofollowed. This prevents the passing of link value throughout the site.
  • Text isn't linked to key pages.
  • Broken Links throughout site. *Be careful when using capitalization because servers are often case sensitive wit file names.

Server/Spidering Issue
  • Robots.txt - disallowing access to site. Important to have proper directives in robots.txt
  • META ROBOTS tag is blocking spiders (NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW).
  •  WWW vs non-WWW version of url - Pick one to use and have the other redirect via .htaccess.

  • Duplicate content. There are large chunks of text  content repeated throughout the site.
  • Non-unique TITLE tags - creates duplicate content issues. Should be unique for each page.
  • Prominent Headlines should be in <H1> tags.

  • Text is all in images - Unreadable to search engines.
  • Image ALT tags are missing. ALT tags can help provide value to search engines and help viewers who have image turned off or are using special readers for handicapped viewers.

HEAD tags
  • Keyword stuffing in META KEYWORDS. No need for keywords tag. At very least keep it minimal.

Code bloat
  • JavaScript and CSS should be in external so spiders won't access each time, and will cache for users. Speeds up load time and makes easier for spiders.
  • Tags with no content (<H3>&nbsp;</H3>).

Code Errors
  • One example was many links that aren't closed which means rest of page is linked. Keep code clean.
  • You can validate html/xhtml if you wish.

Site Map
  • This was inconsistent with the rest of site and looked more like a list of linked keywords.  Should have been like other pages with meaningful info.

September 23, 2008

Scott is the CEO and founder of Red Sand Marketing, a San Diego SEO and web design firm. A dynamic mix of marketer, designer, and developer, he thrives on all aspects of internet marketing and web development. Having been involved in search engine optimization and web design since 1996, he and his team consistently achieve top search engine rankings for clients in competitive markets, and have won multiple web design awards along the way.


A quick and very useful (not so) shortlist that everybody should run their site through. Thanks

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Search Engine Guide > Scott Allen > On-Page SEO WorkShop - SBM Unleashed