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It’s hard to write a session recap on the SEO Site Review/Clinic, because site owners submit their sites to the panel (Rae Hoffman-Dolan, Michael Gray, Kenny Hyder, and Michael Streko) and the critique is done on-the-fly with most of the content specific to the site owner. However, there are some useful tips you can get that can be applied to other sites.
The first site reviewed was RVZen.com. Because this is an aggregator site, there is a huge problem with duplicate content. When you’re pulling data from other sites, do something to it to make it unique (more on this in an upcoming post).
This site had a lead form on every page, and it was recommended the form be put in an iframe. If the content isn’t changing, and it’s something that can be cached (like a form), why not?LifeScript.com was next, and this site had plenty of opportunities for improvement. Without getting into specifics for this site, the one point I got that anyone could use is, if you’re going to buy links, point them to a sub-site, not your main site.
Zagg.com was up next, and this was an interesting example. Basically, this site had the opposite problem of all the others: all of the problems were on-site. The site had plenty of backlinks, but the on-site SEO was terrible.
If you’re running a product-driven site, and the product is unavailable, do not 404 the page. Instead, 301 (permanent) redirect it to the category the product was in.
So many of these sites had simple diagnostic problems that can be solved in less than 20 minutes. Like the XML sitemap throwing a 404 (not found), or the robots.txt returning 403 (forbidden). Don’t rush these things, and get your site in Google Webmaster Tools to verify the bots can crawl your site successfully.
BlueCotton.com was up next, with long page titles and even longer meta descriptions. Keep page titles (the title tag) less than 70 characters, and the meta description at 150 characters or less (that includes spaces).
Their blog was a mess, with permalinks set to the default ?p=## and the tag pages being indexed. A blog is a great opportunity to get another listing in the SERP, as a blog post will be indexed, but a tweet won’t. However, it’s believed by the panel that links in tweets have an indirect SEO benefit.
As you’re obtaining links, it’s better to get them on a content page, within the relevant content, versus a side-bar or footer link.
If you’d like to get more content on a page, without cluttering the page, use
Read More expanding divs.
Finally, if you buy a domain that was doing spammy things, or blackhat link building, contact Google and explain the situation, and ask them to wipe the slate clean. Just remember that they don’t just wipe out all of the bad things and keep the good, they wipe it 100%
This was the first SEO Site Review Clinic I’ve attended, although I’ve watched the videos of previous clinics. If you attended a different session during this time, or otherwise missed this session, I highly recommend watching the video once released in about a month.