To help build backlinks for City SEO, I'm offering prominent business blogs free site SEO reviews, and one lucky beneficiary is James Martin's Work Boxers. Take 30 seconds to subscribe to my free newsletter to follow more site SEO review case studies and learn how to perform SEO reviews, or better yet, consider fellow specialist Danny Wall's SEO seminar.
Last week, I posted about how to conduct a site SEO review. Now, following those principles, I'm going to conduct an SEO review of Work Boxers. There are five areas that any basic SEO review will cover, and they are:
backlinks and inbound links,
external links and link structure,
current SEO effectiveness.
Backlinks and Inbound links
Backlink Quantity Like I mentioned in explaining how to conduct a site review, Work Boxers (WB) has 449 incoming links, 133 of which Google counts (the others are repetition it doesn't give much weight to). Backlink Quality The first site I click on is a page 404. The next is a subdomain of some sort with PageRank of 0. I find WB in the code, but the external link doesn't show up to human eyes. The third site is a Dutch-language business blog's page with PageRank 2. It discusses WB's move from its Big Money Tips original home. #4 seems to also have changed since Google last indexed it, because it no longer has a link to Work Boxers but is rather a 9 rules network page saying "it's probably here," and mentioning that you've arrived at the equivalent of a 404 not found page. Google thought it was taking me to a page saying "Odeo" is pretty, whatever that is. #5 is James' Jamsi website/blog. Ironically, it contains links to other websites but not his own. #6 is a PageRank three website, Marlene Jaeckel, who... actually has a functioning link to WB! Hurray! #7 is a Problogger page! We're really getting somewhere here! Unfortunately, this is mitigated by the fact the link is one of 60 to Underblogs, or business blogs that deserve a wider readership than they have. The large number of links dilutes each one's value (as is also the case with #6). The next few pages are low PageRank sites with blogroll and similar links that are good for search engines but don't really get much human attention.
So generally, my assessment is that while there are a few decent links to Work Boxers, many of those that existed in the past have moved and are gone. Contacting the sites in question might help. In addition, the backlinks generally aren't prominent (except for #3) and/or are buried below the fold. The anchor text isn't great either, mainly because the site is linked to by name, and the name isn't so focused for SE keywords. On the other hand, the branding benefits of this are likely good, but as I'm a search engine specialist and not a branding specialist, I'll leave that to someone else to comment in depth.
Note: reinforcing what I've said in the past, buying links is not an effective SEO tool. The link James bought from Steve Pavlina's business related PageRank 6 website didn't come up in the first page of Google's link query results. If Google were counting it, surely it would have turned up ahead of the PageRank 2 websites!
James keyword selection isn't really apparent, other than perhaps the term "work." From this I would imagine that he can target phrases such as "work from home." When I look at the page source, however, I am proven wrong. The site's keywords, according to the meta tag, are: "SEO, web 2.0, web chat, web news, making money online, blog tips, Affiliate Marketing, [and] Affiliate Programs."
Now, given that the blog only gives some SEO advice and isn't exclusively dedicated to the topic, and that the same situation exists for web 2.0, web chat and web news, my personal recommendation on keyword selection would be to drop these. The other keywords are more focused, though their competitive nature and WB's weak backlink network suggests it might be better to target related but more specific keywords.
That said, what's keyword density like, here? Keyword Density Making money online (without meta): barely on the radar. With meta: 4 times, for 0.22% density. Either way, this is well below what SEs allow. Dense two word keyword phrases without metas (occurrence and percentage): june th 10 0.58% it s 9 0.52% home base 8 0.46% i m 8 0.46% i had 7 0.40% don t 6 0.35% personal thoughts 6 0.35% i have 6 0.35% http feeds 5 0.29% is a 5 0.29% feedburner com 5 0.29% feeds feedburner 5 0.29% i ve 5 0.29% money online 5 0.29% have a 4 0.23% adsense case 4 0.23% work boxers 4 0.23% me time 4 0.23% thoughts comments 4 0.23% ul links 4 0.23%
Obviously, keyword density is not what it's supposed to be.
Keyword Visual Presentation This is much better, because Work Boxers has its topical categories (with keywords in them) prominently displayed above the fold, and has the word advertise in its top level navigation. Having some top posts links to the right of the ads recent comments would allow for some more prominent displays.
On the other hand, the categories aren't bolded or italicized. Furthermore, they're just in internal links. Linking out to sites who have keywords in their names might be helpful too. Additionally, keywords in post titles would be a good idea to prominently display what the site's about. I get the feeling it's not about Duncan, cowboys, or generic "lessons to be learnt."
Keyword Placement Keywords were absent from introduction and conclusion paragraphs. As mentioned previously, the keyword strategy is really poor on Work Boxers meaning that there is no focus in title, heading and alt tags, or in other places.
Unfortunately, Work Boxers keyword strategy gets a failing grade. While it does have a few good points, notably the prominent keyword rich categories box, there is much more to be done. The meta tags just don't cut it as a keyword strategy nowadays, especially when a third of them aren't even relevant!
External Links and Link Strategy
The fact of the matter is, there aren't that many external links on Work Boxers, though there are a fair number of internal links (categories etc.).
External Link Functionality The first thing to test about external links is whether they are functional. This wouldn't necessarily improve a site's rankings, but it would definitely make it look unreliable and drop rankings if they were broken. So I went around WB, clicking links at random and found that James' external links are in good working order.
Anchor Text WB's anchor text is descriptive for the most part, though it could use some improvements. For example, James links to "David Krug," and Paul Scrivens, who might both better be linked to with keyword related text, such as Paul Scrivens, 9Rules Blog Network. In a recent post on a blogging dispute between Yaro Starak and Duncan Riley, James wrote: Yaro (link:)"launches a post" entitled 'How to make money with blogs + Adsense + free ebook." Uh, how about having the link's anchor text be "how to make money with blogs?"
The point here is that links are considered in the same way as bold and italicized text, that is, spiders weigh their importance to a page more heavily. Using keyword rich anchor text can improve SEO, and it's something James needs to work on for WB.
Another important point to understand here is that the anchor text needs to be descriptive. That's why click here anchor text is total nonsense, since it doesn't tell the reader what they're going to find. This also relates to spammers who might intentionally use inaccurate descriptions in anchor text to send people to view porn or to send them to casinos.
Internal Link Structure In terms of internal linking, James' categories box function well, and his category tags at the end of his blog posts also serve to enhance keyword density and provide proper internal link structure. A way to improve this area of his SEO would be for James to link - using descriptive anchor text - to related posts within the main body of his text. For instance, when I wrote about how to conduct a site SEO review, I linked to my analysis of why external links and link structure are important. Problogger Darren Rowse uses this technique very well.
Note: renaming the "online money" category "money online" might be helpful, as SEs consider the order of words, and for searches on how to make money online, well...
Here, James helps me out very much via the coding of his website, which shows how many posts he's written on any particular topic. I notice that James' "personal thoughts" posts total more than all he's written on "webmaster tools," "web tips," "web news," and "SEO" combined - yet those are all keywords of his while personal thoughts is not! Clearly, focus is a major problem here.
Content Update Frequency Work Boxers is updated regularly, though not on a fixed schedule. Generally, James averages two or three posts a week. This is good, though naturally it could be better.
Content Quality While the content isn't as focused/categorized as well as it could be, for the most part, the content is informative and helpful. Some how to guides and pillar articles would be well appreciated too, though, as it appears the site's content is mostly in the reporting, 3-5 paragraph range. Perhaps James could write some tips on writing copy for affiliate marketing would be of use, or how to evaluate an advertising program or agency that will sell your adspace inventory.
Breadth of Appeal & Link Magnetism It's obvious by his comments that James has an established readership on WB. The content is interesting, even when it's off-topic, and many business bloggers can learn a thing or two from James' site. In addition, the topic is sufficiently broad, popular, and well-covered at WB that the content scores well.
However, in order to get backlinks coming in, he'll really need to write more in-depth articles that offer some particular value to readers that can't be had elsewhere. James' article on anchor text was good, for instance, but nothing that couldn't be found elsewhere.
Overall current SEO effectiveness
On Backlinks, James' WB gets a C+. He has some good links from relevant sites, and obviously a fair number of them, but many are also gone, moved, or from sites where the link quality isn't great. On Keywords, James gets a juicy red F! Keyword density is terrible, the images and code aren't optimized, keyword prominence and placement are poor. On External links and link structure, WB earns a B. They're all functional, but much of the anchor text could be rewritten in a more descriptive way. On Content Analysis, I grade Work Boxers a C+. The frequency is decent, the content is average to slightly above average, and it's got reasonable appeal. The challenge is now to optimize it with keywords in the right places, write pillar articles, and exploit his writing skills to earn backlinks. On PageRank, James gets a resounding A- for his 6. The trick is for him to exploit that ranking now in order to rank for keywords he'll select.
Now, it's time to consider if James ranks for any of his keywords or phrases. It's possible that his PageRank, decent content and good link structure get him ranking in spite of his non-existent keyword strategy.
For 'Adsense case studies', Workboxers ranks number 9 on Google, out of a million sites. That's a start. He gets another 9, out of 10 million sites, for 'fine fools'. However, for the terms James is really competing for, such as affiliate marketing, affiliate programs and so on, WB is nowhere to be seen.
Thus overall, I give WB a D on SEO. The main problem, as I see it, is the keyword issue, and the dissapearing backlinks. Working with other affiliate marketing blogs and promoting his content will get James' WB to have much better SEO.