Everyday I’m asked by individuals and businesses to review their website and tell them if it’s been properly optimized for the search engines. Believe me, this is no simple task – however there are a few signs to look for to expedite the review process.
This always makes me think back to Van Halen concerts. You may remember hearing rumors about eighties hair bands back in the day, and this one rumor has been repeated over and over again. The rumor was that unless all the brown M&M’s were removed from the candy bowl in their dressing room, Van Halen would not play and they would still receive their fee. Funny thing is, this rumor wasn’t a rumor, it was true!
Van Halen & SEO
Back when David Lee Roth was touring, no one had ever done enormous shows in small towns. Their concerts were so big that the power supplies needed to meet certain equipment requirements and the stages would need to be reinforced to support the additional weight of their sets. Some doorways had to be expanded just to fit the equipment! All of this information was relayed to the venues in the contract, but many smaller venues didn’t bother to read the technical requirements. The band would often pull up to a venue that was ill-equipped to handle all the equipment they brought.
Van Halen then came up with the idea of putting, “No brown M&M’s” in their contracts to see if someone actually read the terms. When the band would walk into the dressing room upon arrival, they would immediately look for the M&M candy bowl. If the brown M&M’s were still in the bowl, they knew the technical aspects of the contract had not been read and they would be in for a rough few days.
So, what does this have to do with search engine optimization? Well, when someone asks me to look at their website and SEO, sometimes they don’t realize how in-depth the review process really is. Website audits can sometimes take a professional a day or two to review. I find it easier to look for the brown M&M’s first.
Look For the Brown M&M’s
Here’s how you should look for the brown M&M’s:
- Do a quick search for obvious terms relating to your business.
- Look for copyright date at the bottom of the site and make sure the year is current.
- Are alt tags being utilized properly for photos?
- Is there a decent amount of text on multiple pages?
- Are H1 tags being utilized? And are they descriptive?
- Are the URL’s descriptive?
Just like a mechanic looking at a truck and seeing that the tire treads are worn or that the engine is leaking oil, this does not give him a full assessment of the maintenance of the vehicle. It does indicate some warning signs and help the mechanic when investigating further.
And on the flip side, if there are a few warning indicators this doesn’t necessarily mean that your website isn’t properly optimized. It’s just means a few details have been overlooked and that there is room for improvement.