How Does Your Website Compare? Website Grader

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Previously I had a look at different tests you can run on your website to determine the validity of the code, whether or not your website is usable, and how easy it is for people to understand. Today we are going to look at Website Grader and how it can help you figure out what might need fixing or improving on your website in order to help you to better compete in the online marketplace.

Website Grader - http://www.websitegrader.com - is a useful utility that will crawl your website and give it a grade out of 100. The aim is to be as close to 100 as possible. It will check things like your meta data, page titles, headings, image usage and more in order to determine your website grade.

This is one of the most useful utilities I have come across for assisting in search engine optimisation because it will give you a broad overview of everything. It does not look at website validation, and subsequently at usability and accessibility, but if you don't have any control over the code used in your website, then that isn't going to be a big deal at all.

1. On-Page SEO

The first section that Website Grader will give you feedback on is your on-page SEO. Here it will give you feedback on your meta data, specifically the page title, meta description and meta keywords. The feedback here can give you an excellent idea of what you might be doing wrong and can prompt you to make small changes that could result in big improvements to your overall search engine optimisation.

It is important to remember that your headings and images affect your on-page SEO as well as the content itself. That's why Website Grader then checks your page headings and images. It makes sure that your headings are all correctly nested on the page and that all your images have alt tags. This means that all your content is correctly labeled, and so are the images that go with it. If there is an incorrectly nested heading or an image without an alt tag, it shows you which heading or image so it is easy for you to locate and fix.

Next, Website Grader picks a few of your other pages to do a brief analysis of and provides you with an overview of them.

Finally, the readability level is checked to give you an idea of how complicated your website's copy is.

2. Off-Page SEO

The second section Website Grader provides feedback on is your off-page SEO. This is basically everything that you do on the internet to promote your website, outside of your website itself and the reslts of that promotion. Many of these things you cannot control directly, but they will give you ideas that you can work on over time to improve on these areas.

The first item, domain age and expiry are not something you can easily control, and are not relevant at all if there are restrictions on your domain, like there are on all .au domain names. Basically, the longer a website has existed, the more important it is likely to be, and hence the more value that could be placed on it and it's content. Similarly, the longer a domain is registered for, the more likely it is to be a stable website that is going to be around for a long time and is subsequently likely to be a fairly important website.

The next three items are all directly related to how Google see's your website. These include the Google PageRank, pages indexed on Google, and the last time Google crawled your website. Your PageRank is how important Google thinks your website is on a scale of 0 to 10. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, such as links to your website from other websites, links from other parts of your own website, domain age, content and more. The number of pages indexed on Google is important, as you want every page to be indexed. If for some reason you only have 5 pages indexed but you know you have 20 pages, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, Website Grader doesn't tell you exactly what pages are indexed, but you can get a good idea by doing a search on Google for: "site:youraddress.com youraddress.com" Yes, enter the address twice. If you just want to check if a specific page is listed, you can do something like: "site:youraddress.com youraddress.com/mypage.html" to check just that page. Finally, the last time Google crawled your website will give you an idea of what new content Google doesn't know about yet. If you update your website regularly, Google, Bing and Yahoo will crawl it and update their index more regularly.

The traffic rank as determined by Alexa is shown next. This gives you an indication of how your website is doing compared to every other website Alexa has ranked. Alexa is extremely good at assisting you in off-page SEO and it is well worth utilising it. You can get more information from Alexa on your website by searcing for it at http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo or simply going to http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/youraddress.com - for example http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/terramedia.com.au

Next up Website Grader calculates how many inbound links you have. Inbound links are very important for determining your websites importance. For more information on inbound links, have a look at our earlier article on becoming the centre of attention through link building. The more relevant the inbound links are, the better. Unfortunately, Website Grader doesn't give a list of the links, but you want to work on getting as many as possible. To get a rough idea of where links to your website are coming from, do a search in Google for "site:youraddress.com". This may not show all the links but it will give you a good idea. I will have a look at how you can see who is linking to you more in depth in the future.

The final three items in off-page SEO are directories. I recommend looking at our article on becoming the centre of attention through directories for more information on how directories are of benefit to your website. Website Grader looks at three directories, DMOZ, Yahoo Directory and ZoomInfo. These are all distinctly different directories in that DMOZ is free and semi-community moderated, Yahoo is paid and moderated by Yahoo employees and ZoomInfo is more of a social media style directory.

3. Blogosphere

You may have heard myself or someone else talk about how important it is to have a blog, or at least a regularly updated news page on a business website. Website Grader takes a brief look at how your website fits into the blogosphere in this section. It first determines if you have what appears to be a blog, and then checks how it is ranked in the Technorati blog search. These items don't tell you much, but if you are ranking low, it may encourage you to try and improve your ranking, though this can be quite difficult to do in some cases!

4. Social Mediasphere

Social media is an extremely valuable way of bringing your service or product to potential customers. Website Grader only checks two social media tools, Del.icio.us and Digg, these two are probably the two most popular and widely known though, so it can be useful to see how many bookmarks and submissions there are to each of them. The aim is to get as many bookmarks and submissions as possible, the more you get, the higher up your pages will rank and hence more people will find them.

5. Converting Qualified Visitors to Leads

Website Grader looks at two ways you can get leads through your website, RSS feeds and contact forms. In this section it basically just checks to see if people are able to subscribe to your website updates, and if they are able to easily contact you. It also provides limited information on RSS feed subscribers.

6. Competitive Intelligence

Here, in the final section of the report Website Grader looks at how your website ranks for some of it's keywords, and if you opted to enter some of your competitors websites at the start, if will show you a brief report on how they are ranking as well. This can be particularly useful if they are ahead of you to see what things you need to focus on in order to compete more effectively with them.

What Else?

Tested your website and not sure where to go from here or how to fix any errors that may have arisen? If you would like to have a chat about it, contact us today to have a chat about what we could do to help improve your existing website.

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