Well if I jumped through several hoops with the SEOquake toolbar, my next SEO tool was about to make me climb Mount Everest.
Nibbler.silktide.com is a free internet tool that tests your website and looks for all the improvements that can be made to it to help you achieve a better ranking in search engine results. There is a large list of tested criteria and if you wanted to be really thorough then you could pay around £40 for a months worth of more in depth testing from sitebeam.net.
However it does a rather good job at pointing you in the right direction for free. This is the main tool in my free SEO box of tricks. The list below is a screen shot from the results page of Nibbler after it has finished testing a website.
It’s a long list and scores various parts of your website on a scale of 0-10, but it gets shorter as you correct the problems it throws your way. It was Nibbler that led me to discover apache’s .htaccess file which I will address in its own article. As you can see from the list it does a pretty good job of leaving no stone unturned.
When the test is complete, on the right hand side of the test results, is a summary of what needs to be done in order for you to achieve that “YES” 10 score. By clicking on “Extra Detail” it shows you where these problems are within the pages it has tested. And then after you have rectified these problems you can go back and test your site again to see if you have got a better score! Its actually quite fun! As I had already started with the SEOquake toolbar I got some reasonable scores, but with Nibblers guidance, yet again, I started to nibble away at the parts of my website that needed correcting.
Code quality was one of the first issues I addressed as it was a low score of around 4. Nibbler awards you badges for various achievements and non achievements, one of them awarded to my site was the Old Hat badge. It was given to me for the use of depreciated tags like <font > and <center > and it instead suggested that I used CSS styling to correct these issues and by this creating semantic HTML pages. While making these corrections I discovered that I could replace the <font > tag with a <span > tag which can be styled inline if necessary, as occasionally I like to change the colour, size and decoration of my fonts inside of a paragraph.
Nibbler also pointed out that, among other things, my website was not optimized for printing by giving me the Ink Waster badge, and in the process of discovering how to optimize my site for print I learnt and added this optimization to my website. You might think that a print CSS would not effect your listing, but apparently a websites accessibility is something search engines take into account.
Amongst so much more (and I could go on and on) Nibbler also discovers how many links there are to your website and lists in part where they are coming from. It also tells you how well connected your website is to social networks, another very important factor in SEO.
Nibbler is still constantly giving me ideas (and work) as to what I can do to advance my websites SEO, and has definitely contributed towards getting a better ranking and more visitors to my website. You can join Nibbler for free and save your website(s) in your own profile, or you can just turn up at the site and enter your URL for testing without becoming a member. Either way it gets 5 stars from me!
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