Does Your SEO Make The Grade?

When I talk with a prospective client about their website’s SEO, they often tell me their site was optimized for search engines. However, when pressed with further questions, they have no clue what that means and have never actually verified that it was done correctly.

When an SEO expert talks about search engine optimization, they are actually referring to two things: what I call a technical side and a marketing side. The technical side tells search engines what your site is about, while the marketing side tells readers what your site is about (content). Remember, customers type in what they’re looking for and it is the search engine’s job to bring back the most relevant results. Let’s quickly look at both sides.

The Technical Side 

In basic terms, optimizing your website for search engines means that all the necessary components of your site follow the guidelines the search engines have established. These components are things like page titles, Meta descriptions, what content is on the page, and perhaps the most important….whether or not it is built with responsive design. There’s a very good chance your website contains Meta Descriptions on every page already, but did you know that descriptions that are longer than 155 characters are hurting your SEO? In addition, page titles should only be 70 characters in length. These are two examples that can hurt your SEO, but are easily corrected.

The fact is Google looks for very specific things within your site that explain what your website is about and how it’s built…the more you understand what Google is looking for, the more Google likes your website!

The Marketing Side

The marketing side is different, but also very connected to the technical side. In this arena, a website not only needs to contain the information Google is looking for (technical), but the information it finds needs to be consistent in terms of explaining what the page is about (marketing), which translates to a better experience for the reader.

Your website may have good Meta Descriptions and your page titles that are appropriate in length, but if the content found in those things doesn’t match up with what you’re writing on the pages for customers to read, then your SEO is being negatively affected.

As you can see, Google is looking for a site to be good on both the technical and the marketing (content) side of things…and the more your site aligns with both of these things the higher your rankings will be within Google.

So How Do You Know If Your SEO Is Any Good?

So where does your website stack up from an SEO perspective? There are several free tools that can give you a good indication of how well the technical side of your SEO is performing. One such tool I recommend is “Website Grader” by HubSpot ( All you do is type in your website domain name, your email address, and you will get a quick report on the TECHNICAL side of your SEO within seconds.

However, I do caution you on using sites like these exclusively because it only tells you the technical side of your SEO. It doesn’t rate how well your content hits your target audience or if you’ve chosen the correct keywords to use in your content and Meta descriptions, but it is a good start. You can even type in your competitor’s websites and see how yours stacks up. Anything below a score of 75 means the site needs some work, but the report you get on your site will definitely help you from a technical standpoint.

What to do next?

If you get a low score from “Website Grader,” then your site needs work from a technical standpoint (maybe even a redesign). Even if you get a high score (which is great) it says nothing about the actual content of your website and how well it is written for your audience. So what do you do? You need to get a 3rd party analysis of your SEO from both a technical and marketing perspective, and this is where I can help. Give me a call and let’s discuss how I can provide you with a complete, 3rd party analysis of your website’s SEO.

Give me a call at 440-488-4719 or send an email to and let’s discuss what an SEO Analysis of your website looks like.

I have been fortunate to have spent my entire career in marketing, from my first job as a marketing assistant & graphic designer, to creating the strategic direction and overseeing a team of marketing professionals for a $200-Million company.

My marketing experiences, successes and failures are the foundation on which I started Ward Marketing Consulting, and it is my goal to take what I've learned and apply it to each and every one of my clients.

If you're looking for a marketing consultant to provide an objective look at your marketing efforts, need a strategy for your digital marketing plan, or simply need help executing the plan, please contact me today!

-Tim Ward