There are many websites that now provide a grading service for your site. Some are focussed on SEO and marketing and some are strictly for web design and coding.
Many of these sites provide traffic statistics on other sites, however none of them have access to the web logs. So how accurate are they? Are some better than others, and do they all perform equally across all niches?
We will look at the follow website analysis tools:
- Alexa – www.alexa.com/siteinfo/alexa.com
- SEO Workers – www.seoworkers.com
- MarkosWeb – www.markosweb.com
Alexa is one of the older and more well known search analysis tools. It provides public details of any site in its database and allows you to claim your own site too to enhance the details.
Alexa provides demographics on your site. For example, on http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/webologist.co.uk it states:
Based on internet averages, webologist.co.uk is visited more frequently by males who are in the age range 25-34, are graduate school educated and browse this site fromwork.
Alexa also provides its own traffic rank information for the main countries that visit a site as well as most popular keyword searches that lead people to a site. This is a handy tool for quickly learning a little more about your competitors.
But is it accurate? My tests have shown that the keyword reports do match well against the real web logs, so Alexa certainly has some trustworthy data.
Alexa also lists contact information for sites (where it can be found) although in our tests this is not always accurate. In the example above it links to the “about” page and not the “contact” page.
Alexa Upstream and Downstream Sites
One of the more useful insights into a competitors site can be found using this feature which shows where people came from and where they went to before visiting a website. This appears again to be pretty accurate.
To gain all the Alexa information you need to install their Toolbar. We may give this a whirl for a future update.
Is Alexa Accurate?
Keyword information is good, as is data on navigation to and from a site. It does not attempt to provide volume of traffic, but does rank it at country level. The demographics information is useful for marketing products and also writing for your audience.
Website Grader provides a more traditional SEO approach by giving your website a score based on a combination of on page elements and off page links and mentions. It counts links to pages, social media and social bookmarking mentions as Delicious, Google Buzz and Twitter.
It provides stats on the number of pages listed in Google, but does not provide a link to the search results for you to quickly review them.
Website Grader SEO Analysis
Website Grader provides some quick stats on the page examined, such as number of headers, number of images (including a count of images missing alt tags), a brief look at interior pages, with details of META descriptions, domain age and time to expiration.
It uses the MOZ Rank (SEOMoz) for the final SEO grade. It also displays a “last crawl date” which is actually the date in the Google cache, and not necessarily the most recent crawl time. This can be misleading as in internal page may not be crawled as often as the home page, especially if a sites navigation is poor.
Finally it provides an “inbound links” statistic, but again there is no hyperlink to allow you to review this data. It seems that they use Yahoo backlinks for this information, which seems a bit odd as the SEO score comes from SEOMoz.
Website Grader Social Networking Analysis
This is a good feature but appears to be rather inaccurate, or maybe it is just not explained properly. They use their own “Twitter Grader” to give stats on Twitter. In the MotleyHealth example we are looking at, it gives figures of 93 Twitter followers and 16 following and 245 updates. The real stats are in fact 1265 followers and 909 following and 1534 updates. So this data is totally unreliable, but, all you have to do to check it is click the link for yourself.
There may be a reason for the different figures, but this is not clear. They provide a link to their TwitterGrader page, and although the statistics agree with the real figures, the grade is different. On the main page it shows a grade of 88/100, on the TwitterGrader page a grade of 97.2/100.
They also give stats on Google Buzz count. Not sure how useful this information is at this date. Maybe more useful for techy sites.
Website Grader Traffic Rank
They use Alexa information.
SEO Workers are more geared towards on page SEO factors and providing structural analysis of a site. The service provides HTTP Headers check, Meta tag analysis (less useful really), keyword relevancy, URLs on the page, keywords in anchors and headers and phrase elements.
What I like about this service is that it provides clear feedback on the results, and even provides a video from Google’s Matt Cutts explaining some of the factors in more detail. For example, on MotleyHealth.com it provides this information to start with:
Meta Title Tag:
- The title tag contains 85 characters which is good.
- The title tag relevancy to the page content is 100% which is perfect.
- The title contains stop words which are ignored by the most search engines.
- Stop Words:how ,to ,get
It goes on to explain, with the help of Matt Cutts, that the title should ideally be no more that 70 characters. So simply rewriting it to remove some of the stop words may give the page a little boost. However, “how to” are two of the stop words, and are very popular keyword search terms. So is this really good advice?
Meta Description Tag:
SEO Workers gives some simple advice on the description tag:
- The description meta tag contains 149 characters which is excellent.
- The description meta tag relevancy to the page content is 100% which is perfect.
Good news for the site. It explains that the description tag needs to be no more than 154 characters and contain useful keywords without actually just listing them all again. A good description tag is often shown in the Google search index results.
Meta Keywords Tag:
SEO Workers provide some information on keyword tags, but keywords tags are not really used to rank pages anymore. However, there is a risk that “spamming” the META keyword tag could provide a possible search penalty, so a result like this should be acting upon (cough, hint):
- The keywords meta tag contains 20 keywords / keyphrases which are too many.
- The keywords meta tag relevancy to the page content is 100.00% which is perfect.
Once again, our pal Matt Cutts chips in via video link to give some information on using keyword tags.
SEO Workers - URLs found in the page
The number of URLs on a page can apparently cause problems for the likes of Google, although in all honesty, not sure what sort of problems. The claims are that anything over 100 URLs is ignored, but I really find that exceptionally hard to believe. The report;
Warning: This web page contains 147 URLs. Some search engines e.g Google have problems with more than 100 urls on a page and ignore them.
For example, Google advises to keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).
This report does not appear to take into consideration the number of links in the “boiler plate” of the site. Some people would suggest that boiler plate links (navigation, footer, sidebar links) are all ignored, and only the main on page links are followed / counted / whatever.
SEO Workers - Heading & Phrase Elements
This provides a full list of all headings on a page. Handy tool. Does not however differentiate between boiler plate headers (above lists etc) and headers in the content. Also gives lists of keywords in a strong element.
Overall SEO Workers provide a thorough on page analysis of a website.
MarkosWeb provides a neat one page review of a website with the emphasis on SEO, but also has some data on HTML validation. The MotleyHealth listing provides a good example of how it works.
The list of related websites is useful for bloggers, it displays other sites that commonly use the same blog categories.
It also lists same sites on the IP address, handy to find out if a server is oversubscribed shared server or a dedicated one. It provides an SEO score which can indicated how well or badly your site is doing. If a low score then it is time to take a look at onpage SEO again.
What makes Markosweb special is that it shows site changes, so has copies of the homepage screenshot, lists changes to the title tag. It also has a heat map for the page. No idea how this is achieved.
Most popular pages and search terms are all shown too, most likely accumulated from other sources.
It even provides an RSS feed for displaying changes to a website, so you can keep a beady eye on the competition.
If you sign up to the site you can add more internal links too. Great!
Dinner Time / The Weekend
OK, it is dinner time and the weekend is about to start, so, more soon!
Oh – remember – these tools are all free to use, but all have premium services that they will try to sell you. We are not in a position to review the premium services, sorry! Comments from users are welcome of course.