Artem Okhrei, seo-specialist, web-developer

02.11.2018 at 15:59

Case study: a detailed SEO audit of the service site for equipment of medical institutions

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A deep SEO audit of the site helps to identify many problems, from minor to very serious, that impede promotion, as well as to understand the relationship between these problems. We can see it by the example of our audit that we made in September 2018. We analyzed the site of the Ukrainian office of Lab & Pharma Engineering.

The company's website is rather small, although it has three language versions. Only general information about the services is presented online, since the services themselves are very individual, depend on a specific project and are discussed separately with each client. Therefore, on a small number of pages we were able to track all the optimization errors.

Technical audit

First, we started with a technical analysis by launching Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Checking the site in this application immediately revealed a number of issues.

1. The absence of <link rel = "canonical"> tags

Canonical links for the site pages were not specified. It could potentially lead to the appearance of duplicate content. In particular, the main page was accessible at two addresses: https://www.labpharma.org/ and https://www.labpharma.org/ru/.

2. Unconfigured or misconfigured redirects

This issue is related to the previous one, since some problems can be solved by introducing either a canonical link or a correct redirection. For example, there were both versions of the pages on the site: https://www.labpharma.org/ and http://www.labpharma.org/ (different protocol); https://www.labpharma.org/ and https://www.labpharma.org (with and without a slash).

In addition, the site was configured to redirect from the version without www to the version with www, but redirection contained a number of errors. In some cases it led to pages with the http:// protocol instead of https://, in others – to the duplicate of main page http://www.labpharma.org/index.php/, and sometimes to www.site.com (apparently left by mistake as a template).

3. Missing robots.txt and sitemap.xml files

For a site of such small size, this problem is probably not critical; however, these files are still very important for correct indexing, so we recommended to add them.

4. Low value pages

The main page of the site contained links to certificate pages that did not contain any useful content, except for the certificate photos themselves. These pages also had the same <title> and <description>. We recommended closing them from indexing or moving these photos as pop-ups directly to the main page.

5. Absence of <link rel = "alternate"> meta tags with hreflang attribute

On the pages of all three language versions of the site (Russian, Ukrainian and English) there were no links in the meta tags to other language versions. We recommended adding these links in order to make it easier for the search engines to "understand" which version to serve to certain users.

6. Problems with header structure

On most pages of the site there was no first level heading (<h1> tag). Where it was present, this heading was below the second level heading <h2>. As where were no HTML5 semantic elements, such as <section> or <article>, on the pages, this was a violation of the hierarchical sequence of headings, and we recommended to correct it.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider report for missing first level headers

7. Absence of alt and title attributes for images

Most of the photos on the site did not contain these attributes. They help search engines to understand what is in the image, as well as give information to users if the photo was not uploaded.

Content Analysis

Thanks to a small number of texts on the site, we were able to verify their uniqueness quickly using Advego Plagiatus. In general, the checking showed acceptable uniqueness, however, some fragments of the text were found on third-party sites. Therefore, we recommended monitoring the uniqueness of the added content in the future.

No significant problems were found in the structure and internal linking of the site, as well as in the use of URLs.

An example of checking the uniqueness of the text from the site in Advego Plagiatus

Link profile checking

The link profile was analyzed using Serpstat. 214 resources that link to the Lab & Pharma Engineering website were found. The overall quality of the link profile showed an acceptable value: both high-quality and lower-quality donor sites were present, but there were almost no resources spammed by external links. The list of donors consisted mainly of directories of companies, as well as sites of other companies in the industry, so it was quite natural.

The anchor list of the site presented various kinds of anchors: commercial anchors and non-anchor links in the approximately same ratio, and less – branded and neutral. Since there were many commercial anchors, we recommended prefer to non-anchor links, neutral anchors or company names in the text of the link.

List of donor domains for www.labpharma.org

Analysis of commercial factors

Issues with commercial factors found on the site were rather minor and included:

  • lack of search function on the site (this element was not so important because of the small number of pages);
  • lack of feedback from customers both on the site itself and on third-party sites (most likely due to the specifics of the business);
  • lack of photographs of staff and offices of the company on the site;
  • lack of references to the company's social network pages (this can also be explained by the specifics of the company – perhaps such pages are not needed for this business).

Conclusions

Thus, we first recommended Lab & Pharma Engineering to correct technical issues on the site related to indexing: add meta tags <link rel = "canonical"> and <link rel = "alternate">, set up correct redirects, get rid of low value pages, etc. Other recommendations referred to improving the uniqueness of texts and to further link promotion of the site.

For the future, we also recommended owners to expand the semantic core for the site. At the time of the audit, the list of all services was gathered on one page; in the future, it may be useful to create separate pages for those services that have a sufficient demand in search engines.

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