Metric: SEO

Skill Level: 
Appropriate for all

The SEO (search engine optimization) metric scans your site and identifies potential problems that might negatively affect your page rankings. It will also identify ways you could potentially improve your SEO. The word potentially is key here because there is no sure-fire way to improve your SEO. Search engines such as Google are continually updating their scoring algorithms, and can even detect if you are trying to artificially improve your rankings. The best things you can do to improve your SEO is to write well-thought-out content that your audience is looking for.

What is checked

The following describes what the SEO metric checks. All violations will result in a notice unless otherwise noted.

  • [error] Title element must exist.
  • The title element should not exceed 60 characters.
  • The meta description should exist.
  • The meta description should not exceed 160 characters.
  • [error] Heading elements must exist (at least one of h1-h6).
  • Meta keywords should not exist.
  • A sitemap should exist (at /sitemap.xml).

A title element should exist

<head>
  <title>A unique title that describes this page</title>
</head>

A title element must exist in the head of the page and must uniquely describe the current page. Search engines will often show this title to users. It is a best practice to limit the title to 60 characters because some search engines will truncate longer titles.

The meta description should exist.

<head>
  <meta name="description" content="Unique content that describes this page">
</head>

A meta description should exist that uniquely describes the page and should contain well structured english sentences (not a list of words). Search engines will often show this description to users under the page title, so it is vital in informing the user of what the page contains. It is a best practice to limit the description to 160 characters because some search engines will truncate anything longer.

[error] Heading elements must exist

Heading elements must exist on the page (at least one of h1-h6). Search engines will often use your heading structure as an outline for the content on your page. Avoid skipping heading levels. Always start from <h1>, next use <h2> and so on. This information is also vital for accessibility.

Meta keywords should not exist

The meta keywords (<meta name="keywords" content="list of keywords">) should be avoided. Search engines will not use this, so there is little point to implement it. While there is no evidence that search engines will decrease your score if you use this, it is possible that they might do so in the future.

A sitemap should exist

A sitemap.xml file should be defined that lists all of the pages in your site. The sitemap can be used by search engines to improve the discovery of pages on your site. Some search engines might automatically find this, but it is best to manually submit it to the search engine.

Contributed By: 
IIM