Step 1 is to “sign up” for the optimizer service by filling out the required information. Interestingly enough, your score is affected by the words you choose in this step. I’m not sure why, because they should be grabbing the title and description from the HTML, but you will see shortly how your words here will affect your score. In order to maximize your score, your title and META description must contain 8 of the suggested 10 keywords for your site. You will see in a moment how we do this.
The Optimizer will now spit out an initial evaluation with how well you have done on an Executive Summary. The overall score is presented, as well as a link to drill down on the 8 different criteria used to judge the SEO effectiveness of your site. Remember, for a small fee they can give you suggestions on how to bring that score up, but we will attempt to figure out how they score these different pieces of the search engine puzzle.
Now comes the meat and potatoes — how exactly do we turn our score into something better? Let’s take a look at each criterion and surmise what must be done to bring that component up to 100.
The SEO Optimization portion judges the SEO efficacy of your site on 7 criterion: keyword density coverage, keywords in title, keywords in META data, keywords in headings, heading tag effectiveness, image optimization and user conversion. Here’s how to pass all of these tests:
- Keyword Density Coverage – Remember how I said the sign up page would affect your score? Passing this test means having a title and description with a high number of keywords in your answers to the sign up sheet. What keywords, you might ask? Not your META keywords, but the ones that BuiltWith has calculated based on word counts on your home page, shown below:Unfortunately, this makes this initial test pretty useless. They claim that this test represents the density of keywords on your page compared to your page’s target audience, but if you can pass or fail the test based on what you use for sign up, it doesn’t necessarily weigh your page keyword density all that much. What can you take away from this test? Listen to the experts and maintain 3-10% of your word count as keywords from your META keyword list.
- Page Title Coverage – This one is pretty simple, make sure whatever is inside your title tags has more than 50% of your keywords from their Master List.
- META Data Coverage – Another simple one, your META keywords and descriptions must use more than 50% of your keywords from their Master List.
- Heading Coverage – Same as the others, just make sure your H1 tag follows the same format.
- Multi Heading Coverage – To pass this test, simply use at most 1 H1 tag per page, and use h2-h6 as needed for the rest of the page.
- Image Optimization – All images must have accompanying ALT and TITLE attributes to pass this test.
- Conversions – This is also another vague test that we are going to dismiss. Why? First, because a program is not smart enough to determine what a conversion is. You have to leave that to something like Google’s Website Optimizer. For bloggers, it will be email or RSS subscriptions. For businesses, it’s clicking “add x item to shopping cart.” How could a program possibly discern the difference? Besides, some sites such as SmashingMagazine pass this test with only 1 subscription link on a page, where others such as ILoveTypography fail the same test, with 2 subscription links on a page. If these blogs primary goal is PPC and email/RSS subscriptions, both with similar designs for maximizing conversions, how is it possible that one fails and the other doesn’t? Indeed, we can dismiss this one and simply recommend that your conversion mechanism (be it a Subscribe link or a Buy It Now button) be above the fold.
Homepage Keyword Density
This section has given you free access to the 10 most searched top keyword density usage compared to your keywords for this page. This gives you a huge advantage by helping you find the 10 most important keywords for your page. This will help you use them to re-formulate everything from title tags to META information and keyword density in your content.
Many items they score are based off of these keywords, so choose them wisely. The downside is that some of these keywords are total garbage. For example, one of our keywords should be 187. I have no idea how that one came up, that number doesn’t show up ONCE on the entire homepage. And some of them occur because they are boilerplate for our posts (comments, 2008, October)…sounds like a pretty shady algorithm based solely on word count.
Also, the score is not only based on your on-page usage of these words, but the usage in the form you used to sign up for the service! Without having to change your site, you can change your score simply by changing the title and description you supply to BuiltWith on sign up! This is pretty bogus on their part, which is why they really should just grab this information from the META tags.
Nonetheless, if you want to score 100 on this portion, use all 10 of these keywords throughout your site, including the Title and META tags. Not totally recommended, particularly because some of the keywords are bogus, but it will certainly provide insight as to what your keywords are based on whichever keeps popping up the most on your pages.
Homepage Image Optimization
This one is really easy to score a 100 on, and once again is redundant because we already covered this in SEO. Nonetheless, it bears repeating that all images must have accompanying ALT and TITLE tags to maximize their SEO performance. Easy 100, and a smart move to always remember when adding images to a page.
Here’s one that’s easy to do, but hard to perfect. Why? Once again, their algorithm is fuzzy and some sites will pass for different reasons. Regardless, based on our research, you can optimize your money-making score by following 3 rules:
- Use an advertising channel (like Google AdSense).
- Successfully display your ads on your page from that channel.
- Use more than one ad above the fold, and at least 3 different ad banner styles.
This one should be a no-brainer. Go here, and make sure all of your pages and CSS files validate to AT LEAST HTML 4.01 transitional and CSS 2.0, though preferably XHTML 1.0 Strict for markup to maximize cross-browser performance.
Though this doesn’t really affect SEO, BuiltWith (and others) encourage you to get in the habit of analyzing your site so you can tweak it to maximize effectiveness. So to get a 100 on this portion, use at least 3 different analytics tools for your site. Three great (and free) options would be Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, and MyBlogLog.
Another easy 100 is to use FeedBurner to control your syndication for you. We won’t go into the details of setting up an account there or options to tweak, but as long as you create and publish your FeedBurner account to your site, and make a serious effort to utilize all of FeedBurner’s various syndication options, then you should have no trouble getting a perfect score in this department. If your site has nothing to syndicate, consider starting a blog to reach out to potential customers.
CDN stands for Content Delivery Networks and they are a valuable resource to have if you own a large website. Oddly enough, we don’t use one and yet we still received a 100 for our site. Some larger sites do not score well on this front, and we think the way to score is a 100 is simply to have all of your media hosted on another site. This means:
- Host audio and videos and YouTube, and not your own domain
- Get a Flickr account to host your pictures
- Use a podcasting service to feed your audio and video podcasts
As long as your domain is not shouldering the burden of bandwidth, you should have no problem getting a 100.
The last piece BuiltWith uses to score your site is your use of media such as audio and video. It is certainly a good idea to make your site more interesting than just text, but their algorithm is far too simple: as long as you have one audio or video link, such as a YouTube posting, you will score a 100 in this category.
That’s it folks! If you followed these steps in this article, you should have a very SEO-friendly website. And as mentioned before, BuiltWith’s optimizer is not the end-all-be-all of SEO tools, but getting a perfect score with their optimizer will certainly translate to a search engine friendly website, which will do no harm and certainly some good. Remember, use these suggestions with caution, because the number one rule is to design for humans, not for search engines, so don’t forget that!
Do you think BuiltWith is missing something, or have we me an error? Send us a comment and let us know what you think about this article!