Free SEO Report: Much Ado About Nothing

Free SEO Report: Much Ado About Nothing

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There has been a lot of buzz about FreeSEOReport.com lately.

It’s died down a bit since the initial excitement wore off and now I am starting to see an alarming trend: SEO “gurus” offering this report that they can get for about $10 each to their unsuspecting clients, while, of course, charging them a pretty penny for it.

But that’s not all.

I know of many bloggers who pulled up their blog report (your first one is free, hence FREESeoReport), hoping to gain some deep insights into how to outhop all their competition overnight and land themselves on the first page of Google. Just like that.

Don’t get me wrong – FreeSEOReport.com will offer you some insights into what’s going on with your website.

However, I respectfully contend that they offer the kind of information that every blogger should have on a speed dial of their brain.

You see, when you pull up your free report (and feel free to do so at FreeSEOreport.com – not an aff link), you’ll most likely notice a few things:

  1. It might be incomplete (I suppose they are still ironing out some kinks);
  2. It does offer some quick tips on this and that without going into depth on anything;
  3. The most important one: it’ll offer info for your home page only.

And what happens to all your other pages then, if you have no idea how to really optimize your website, huh?

So, you have two options here:

1.   Get my free 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Optimization report (or READ it if you already have it) and KNOW how to optimize your website from A to Z;

or

2.   Read this post and gain some great insights into what you might be doing wrong on your blogs and THEN get my free 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Optimization report (or READ it if you already have it).

Now let’s go over some of the features this free SEO report offers and what you should know about them.

1. Overall Comparison to your top 10 competitors

The first thing you’ll see is an impressive table showing 10 of your top competitors and metrics like their PR, Yahoo Linkdomains, Yahoo Links, Alexa rank, and domain age.

Impressive?

Useless, more like it.

Your current visible PageRank is a laughable number that can’t be trusted in any shape or form, Alexa ranking is still easily manipulated, and domain age? – nothing you can do about this one, can you?

So you’ll know where you stand and how you compare to your competition, but this knowledge is FYI only – and who has time for that?

None of it can be really used to improve your standing with search engines.

Allow me to show you how to really size up your competition:

2. Document Title

Who cares what your competitors do/don’t do?

Yes, they might be missing the keywords in their title tags, but lookie-loo, they are still ranked on page one!

So forget about your competitors, and make sure you cross the T’s and dot the I’s, when it comes down to your own titles.

First of all, titles are what you find between <title>….</title> tags in your HTML code.

The only place your title shows on a web page is at the very top of your browser.

free seo report title image

It’s also what search engine users see when they see your site listed in SERPs (search engine result pages).

Title is definitely the most important on-page factor you can optimize to your heart’s content – within reason, of course.

Here are some pointers:

  • Keep it short – under 70 characters.
  • Use your main keyword at the very beginning.
  • Write the title with search engines in mind; not users. However, make sure it makes sense to users as well.
  • Forget about keyword stuffing
  • Don’t use any special characters, like “-”, “&”, “/”, etc. Only use “|” to separate title “sections” if you have any.

As an example of a pretty good title, if I may say so myself, check out my blog title:

“Traffic Generation Cafe | Generate Targeted Website Blog Traffic”

Guess how many keywords I used in that title without making if feel like it’s keyword-stuffed?

3.   Headings

These are your H1, H2, H3, etc. tags.

We just talked about the importance of heading tags and what the proper structure for your website should be in this post:

You see all these heading with coffee cups next to them? These are all H3 headings, customized specifically for my Thesis theme. If you’d like to have the code, check out this post:

4.   Body Text (Keyword Density)

This section is all about how many times your keyword appears in different places on your page.

Let’s start with this statement: most SEO pros believe that keyword density DOESN’T MATTER any longer!

However, in the report you are told to pay SPECIAL attention to that factor…

I’ve been able to rank a site for a keyword that was never mentioned once in the body of the post – purely through link building and proper choice of anchor text.

Next: let’s take a look at the range of the keywords I got from Traffic Generation Cafe report.

  • Keyword count: anywhere from 1 to 67.
  • Keyword position: anywhere from 0 (not sure how it’s possible, since according to the numbers above, all websites have at least one keyword mention) to 10779.

I am sure you get the idea.

These results not only make no sense, but they are absolutely useless as far as helping YOU determine what YOU should be doing for your site to move it up Google ranks.

5.   URL

Yes, it’s advisable to have your keywords present in your domain name, as well as your URL.

What’s the difference between domain and URL, you ask?

My domain name is www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com.

The URL for this post is http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/free-seo-report/

The last part of the URL “/free-seo-report/” is called a “slug“.

Not too long ago, Matt Cutts told us that keyword-rich domains would not be his preference (paraphrase); he would go for brand-oriented domain.

Since most of us agreed that not too many of us will ever become another Twitter.com, we’ll stick with keyword-rich domains.

Going back to the FreeSEOReport, my point here is once again – whether your competitors have keyword-rich domain or not, they are still ranked on the first page.

I am still of the opinion that keyword-based domains will get you ranked for the keyword a whole lot easier though.

6.   Sitemap and Robots.txt

According to my FreesSEOReport, Sitemap was nowhere to be found on my site.

What, not even through the footer link on every single page of my blog?

What is a sitemap?

Sitemap is simply a file that contains all URLs in your site.

It’s always a good idea to link your sitemap to your Google Webmaster Tools (you’ll find directions on how to do that in GWT) and also to link it to your robot.txt file.

If you have no idea how to generate a sitemap, it’s a cinch with one of many WordPress plugins. The one I am using on my site is called Google XML Sitemaps.

To learn more about sitemaps. go to http://www.sitemaps.org/

What is Robots.txt?

Robots.txt file tells search engines how to behave on your site.

For instance, you can tell the search engines what pages to index and which ones are not important.

I run Thesis theme on my blog and it has build-in Robots.txt capabilities.

If you don’t know anything about creating and managing a Robots.txt file – you guessed it; there’s a plugin for that. I use one on my blog; it’s called Robots Meta.

To learn more about Robots.txt, visit  http://www.robotstxt.org/.

7. Meta Description

A very important part of your on-page optimization.

This is what will make your potential searchers decide whether they want to click on your site or not.

That’s right, ranking alone is not enough; once you are on the first page, you need to make sure that your description is enticing enough for the end user.

But don’t discount the SEO value of your meta description either – adding your main keyword at the beginning just might give you the push you need to rank for your keyword.

Once again, to learn more about on-page optimization grab my free SEO report – 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination.

8. Links.

Unfortunately, FreeSEOReport.com completely forgot to produce any backlinking information for my blog.

It does however give you some good quick suggestion as to how to make your one-way link building more productive and results-oriented.

  • For internal linking – put nofollow attribute on links to unimportant pages (from SEO standpoint – like “Privacy Policy”, “Contact us” and other pages)
  • Put keywords in anchor texts
  • If link anchor is an image then put anchor text in image’s “alt” attribute
  • Avoid keyword stuffing in anchor texts (one keyword is plenty enough)
  • Avoid using un-related phrases like “click here” or “more…” in anchor texts (I am actually against this one. The entire point of link building is to make it look natural to search engines and an occasional “click here” hyperlinks creates that kind of natural pattern).
  • Linking to similar external sites will help search engines to determine your site’s theme

The best way to start with link building on your site is to learn what you competition is up to and where they are linking from. Once you know that, you will know what you need to do to outrank them and can start by simply getting the same links they already have.

To learn more about this SEO competition strategy, take a look at this post (I already mentioned it once before – it’s that important):

Additional link building posts that will teach you link building A to Z (start from the first one if link building is still like foreign language to you):

  1. SEO Traffic Basics: Reciprocal Links, Backlinks, Keywords (REALLY basic basics)
  2. Link Building Mixology: Your “How To Do It The Right Way” Guide
  3. Link Building: What’s Naughty, What’s Nice?
  4. Link Building Tip: How to Get 10 High-Quality Links In 30 Minutes Or Less
  5. One Way Linking Authority Codes (yes, you’ll have to cough up about $10 for it, but trust me – the info is well worth it.)

9.   HTML Code and Page Load Time

I got an email from one of my readers, Carolyn Chebaro, yesterday that said in panic:

“I just used the Markup Validation Tool and to my utter HORROR I have one blog with 179 errors and the other with 44.

Ideally, should my blogs have NO errors??

I am not a programmer!

In the reports, I see some explanations to rectify the errors. Is this something a novice( me ) should tackle?

Here’s the deal, Carolyn: I am not a programmer either, but I have technical support for my blog 24/7 and my home page still shows errors.

Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to have a completely clean code.

What effects your code validity?

Things like:

1.   Your Theme

The most important thing here is the theme you choose. Incorrectly coded theme can cost you a pretty penny, figuratively speaking.

I am sure there are some very well coded, maybe even SEO-ready themes out there; I just never found the one I wanted to build my blog upon.

Thus, I ended up with some of the best themes on the market, Thesis theme, and love the functionality, flexibility, support, and all the features that come with it.

2.   Your Plugins

WordPress itself produces valid code (according to WordPress).

So, the next culprit are your plugins. The more plugins, the more code problems.

For instance, did you know that both Facebook and YouTube produce “invalid” HTML code? So every time you embed a video, you add a piece of code that will yield errors when you run it through http://validator.w3.org/.

My point is you will ALWAYS have some invalid code and search engine bots know it and learned to work around it.

So as long as your site is being crawled and indexed by search engines, you shouldn’t stress out about your invalid code too much.

As I said above, fewer plugins and a good theme should save you from most of it.

One great thing about clean code is the fact that it makes your website run a whole lot faster.

Which brings me to my next point: site speed.

Won’t beat around the bush on this one; just talked about it last week and here’s the recap:

Users love fast websites.

To speed up yours, here’s a helpful series of posts I wrote:

10.   Images

You’ll learn everything you need to know about optimizing your images, plus how I find great images for blog posts, here:

11.   Meta Keywords

Do they matter as a search engine ranking factor any longer? No.

Does it hurt to have them? Yes and no.

Since anyone can easily look up your meta keywords by clicking on “View” tag in your browser and going to “Page Source” from there, this is a good way for your competition to see what your keywords are and “borrow” your keyword research that you, hopefully, put a lot of work into.

So if you have an inkling to still have them there, by all means. Just add the most generic ones and never your “money” keywords.

Marketing Takeaway

And so we’ve gone through the entire Free SEO Report and actually LEARNED how to optimize each and every page of your site.

I know this is a lot of information.

My suggestions: bookmark this post and come back to it a couple of times – one bite at a time, remember?

Or better yet – you guessed it, get my free 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Optimization report. You’ll have all this and much more as a reference at all times.

And what about FreeSEOReport.com?

Sure, it’s fun to get it for free.

You might learn a thing or two about your site. And you’ll also learn to recognize the report and will never fall for any “SEO Expert” trying to charge you hundreds of dollars for their “research”.

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

34 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. There are a lot of websites/programs offering the same incomplete or incorrect information to attract n00bs with shinny things. How can those people know what is write and what is wrong? By trial and error.

    I’m checking that website right now :)

  2. Dr. Bob Clarke

    Wow, Ana.. what a great resource you’ve created!

    Your post sheds light on some of these “free reports” that are simply thinly veiled sales pitches for expensive product offers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with providing a valuable free report and then offering your reader more.

    But the key word here is “valuable”. Don’t just provide useless or incomplete information that won’t help your reader. I believe that, if you give something of much value UP FRONT at little or no charge, you’ll develop followers for life.

    Thanks for the great post, Ana!

  3. Suzy@Women Dating After 40

    Ana & Dennis,

    You guys are great!
    Right now, I’m totally focused on getting more traffic to my site. That’s where my budget of time and money is going into. I guess it’s a bit of a ‘Catch 22’, you start to get the traffic and the Host has issues dealing with it.

    Dennis thanks for the dedicated server cost info. It’s something to put into my budget for sure.

    Suzy Weiss

  4. Cathy Presland

    Hi Ana,

    yet another great post :)

    I don’t know this service but I see such a lot of so-called SEO advisers here in the UK who are offering this kind of a service for local businesses and making all sorts of mistakes. Wish they would read your blog lol!

    Cathy

  5. Suzy@Women Dating After 40

    Ana,
    Thanks for the heads up on the FreeSEOReport.com. I opted in back in February and received the F.Ree report after a day or two. Although they were trying make this report seem like it took a day of two for them to do ‘research’, it was clear that it was an automated report that had not been seen by human eyes. The dead give away was the portion that talked about my top 10 competitors and of the top 10, three of them were my site.

    Anyway, despite that obvious errors, the report did yield some light on areas of my site that could use tweeking. So it was worth a little more than I paid for it which was nothing.

    Thanks for the extensive list of things to do to optimize your site. I’m making it into a checklist.

    Question: Let’s say you do everything on your list and a couple of times per month you site takes a hit in terms of loading speed for 2-3 days. In talking with my host (hostgator) here is what they had to say:

    Me: Hello, I noticed that my website is experiencing some loading issues, and wanted to know why this is happening.

    Hostgator: Hello. Is it an overall issue or something that happens sporadically?

    Me: The site seems to be consistently slower in the last 4 days.

    Hostgator: Unfortunately most server logs, specifically those pertaining to load issues, are not maintained that long. Load issues are maintained only for 15 minutes, but let me take a look.

    Hostgator: It looks like the reboot was just services crashed, as can randomly happen, the packet loss was a router issue which was quickly restored.

    Me: I noticed that the site would not load at all(or was very slow) earlier today. Are there any server settings that need tweaking?

    Hostgator: No, at the moment everything looks stable. There may have been a load issue earlier (often caused by another customer violating our terms of service and overusing the servers resources) but these issues are hard to diagnose after the fact.

    So, my question is, is their response to my concern, ‘business as usual’ in the hosting world, or should I expect better site performance on a consistent basis?

    Thanks Ana.

    Love your blog,

    Suzy Weiss
    Dating Coach For Divorced Women

    • Hi, Suzy – it’s happened to me a few times as well.

      Sometimes, it can also be caused by social plugins, like Facebook and Twitter. If they are down or overloaded, you site wont’ load properly or quickly.

      Solution: to get a dedicated server. I haven’t done it yet, but thinking about it. That should speed things up significantly. I think you should be able to get it through Hostgator.

      Ana

      • Suzy@Women Dating After 40

        Ana,

        Thanks for the tip on social plugins, like Facebook and Twitter affecting site performance. I’ll check into that. The dedicated server is definitely something to consider, any idea of what that might cost?

        Thanks a Million!

        Suzy Weiss

  6. Hey Ana,

    Very in-depth post for on-page SEO. I also got my “FreeSEOReport” and was not very impressed by what I saw. It was free though.

    I think that your Meta Description is probably one of the most important parts of your post, after keyword research of course. I know when I look for something on a search engine, the way I decide what to choose, is by what the description says.

    Getting ranked high in the search engines is just the first step. Once you are there, you need to entice people to click on your link. Its still amazing to me how many people do not write a meta description for each post, when it is so easy to do, especially with a plugin like All In One SEO Pack, which is free.

    SEO is not rocket science. Anyone can do it and you’re tips can really help people get to the top of the SERP’s.

    Thanks for sharing Ana and have a great day!

    • Hi Ian

      You are right – the Meta description is important indeed and most people read the description just like you do.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Hey Ana!

    I just realized something–I need to print out your posts, and read them very s-l-o-l-y. There’s so much good info in here, that I can’t let my Luddite-ness get in the way of SEO improvement.

    On a positive note, I downloaded WordPressthe plug-in you recommended last week: Publish Confirmation–love that one!

    Thanks!
    ~Linda

  8. I must be living underneath a rock. Never heard of the place – but thanks to your fine review (Ana style), I don’t need to worry, sounds like. :)

    For the record, your free report was aces, still is – read it last year. It hooked me.

  9. Lou Barba

    Hi Ana,

    I feel pretty encouraged by this post. I think I have incorporated the biggest majority of these ideas into my blog. Some of them come from SEO Scribe and SEO all in one, they seem to tell me just what to do….plugging one of your affiliates, I think :) Others come from your PDF, although I have a lot of work to do there. And, some of it is over my old, gray head. Oh well, I can’t have everything. Have a great week and thanks again.

    Lou

  10. Initially I thought that this was the same as DIYSEO, another free tool to analyze a website for SEO. I have also used it once and not impressed. I prefer using other “on the fly” tools such as Website Grader, Blekko, CuteRank (for rankings), etc. Microsofts IIS2 and Ad Intelligence are both free and provide in-dept analysis, although most likely not very heard enough.

    Interesting write up though as I was thinking of using it, but after this, most likely will not. Thanks Ana for the thorough and honest opinion about freeseoreport.

  11. Hi Ana,

    I like your review about FreeSEOReport.com. That’s why I usually get suspicious about any free thing. I usually try to find out more before using any free stuff because they’re just time waste.

    • Yes, Riya. Many free things are created simply to drum up traffic and sales for premium products / services and often useless.

  12. Thomas Kristensen

    Hi Ana

    SEO scares me. I tend to run towards anything and everything that says SEO to try it out, but even in my inexperience I can see freeseoreport.com gives me nothing of real value.

    Your report on the other hand, there’s a lot of value in that and also in this post here. You almost gave all your pointers away with this :-)

    Cheers,
    Thomas

  13. Yes, this is a LOT of information, Ana. It’s very useful, though. I ran this report when it was being pushed heavily, but I was unimpressed with it. I didn’t find any new insights into my blog that I didn’t already know from reading sites like yours. Like you pointed out, if I were new to SEO and ran this report I wouldn’t have known what to do with it anyway. Of course, now they can run the report then head here to find out what to do with the data.

  14. Martin

    I found freeseoreport.com earlier today, and tried it, but it doesn’t offer great value to me. Your list of important SEO factors does, it just takes some (actually some more … ) minutes to read. Another good list on trafficgenerationcafe!

  15. I use the free seo report a lot to look up different points to sites I’m looking to do seo on..so this site is a big help and you should use it to..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Well, first of all, it’s not free after your first one. Secondly, there are many much better tools to do the same. :)

  16. So Ana, is this a book? SO much information on a blog post and that is adorable. I just can’t digest all of it now, but yes as you guessed, I am bookmarking it to check every step.

    OK I am checking out my free report now. I am sure that I too contacted you earlier about the html errors on my site lol :)

    By the way who is your 24/7 technical support guy/gal. I might be interested.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • These are the basics of SEO – in a nutshell.

      Their SEO report is a PDF; I wouldn’t call it an ebook. Mine is an ebook though.

      If you need anything done from a technical side, just let me know what; I am his gate-keeper, at his request. :)

      Ana