What is the SEO Score?
By Sean Needham
The SEO Score is a measure of how well the user-facing and technical aspects of your site contribute to search engine optimization, and ultimately, higher rankings and organic traffic.
Your site's final SEO Score is determined by its performance in four subcategories: Technical, Content, User Experience, and Mobile. Individual checks with different weightings are aggregated to provide a score for each of the subcategories. Some checks are scored solely on whether an element is absent or present (e.g. whether a site has a sitemap), while other checks are scored on percentage completed (e.g. the percentage of pages with no 404 error).
In the below table you will find detailed explanations on each subcategory, and what's needed to attain a high SEO Score. The SEO Score contributes to the overall Digital Certainty Index® (DCI®)
|Subcategory||What is it?||What's needed for a high score||Weighting Priority|
How well the technical elements of a site enable it to be accessed, crawled, and indexed by search engine bots. If a site isn't properly indexed, it will not be ranked by search engines and no amount of on-page content or links will bring visitors to the site. Hence technical SEO is a key driver of organic traffic.
Technical SEO is often an afterthought once a site has gone live, but most of the issues that get flagged in a technical SEO audit can be avoided if they are considered in the early stages of the web development process.
Search-engine (and user-) friendly URLs: URLs are meaningful to users, don't link to duplicate content, and use hyphens rather than underscores where possible.
|Content||The quality of a site's visitor-facing content with respect to how it engages users and how well the meta-content aligns with the site content. Accurate, descriptive meta-content sets visitor expectations, and together with high-quality site content, ensures visitors don't bounce back to the search engine. Good visitor engagement levels, in turn, mean that a site's content is relevant and will be ranked higher by Google.||User content quality: Content is current, concise, easy to read, is free of misspellings, with few broken links.
Indexable meta-content: Meta-titles and short descriptions are present for all pages. This helps search engines understand the context better and sets visitor expectations.
|User Experience||How effectively embedded information like links and visuals is used to enhance the user experience. A well-organized link hierarchy and properly defined images boost a site's usability and indexability.||
User-friendly visuals: Images are retrievable, accessible and don't slow down page loading time. Good visuals increase traffic from image searches.
User-friendly navigation: The most important pages are readily accessed two or three clicks from homepage and user is not overwhelmed with an abundance of links.
|Mobile||How responsive or adaptable a site is to being used and displayed on a mobile device. As mobiles increasingly become the primary device for accessing websites, having a mobile-ready site is critical for user retention and conversions.||
Responsiveness: Content is dynamic and optimized for the mobile operating system.
Touchscreen readiness: Site is optimized for touchscreen functionalities, e.g. tapping and scrolling.
Speed: Site loads quickly on mobile platform.
Note: The Digital Certainty Index® (DCI®) has a patent pending.