SEO Report Card:

April 1st, 2006


Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

Report CardThis month we’re going to be taking a slightly different tack, as I was privy to a redesign in-the-making — of golf equipment seller — with numerous SEO and usability improvements, along with a shift in ecommerce platforms. In fact, by the time this article ends up in print, the site revamp will be live. Jason Mischel, President of explains: “We currently receive about 5,000 – 6,000 unique visitors per day to our site but much of it is of very poor quality because of the search-engine-optimization tactics employed by the previous regime. I don’t understand it fully but they used a lot of doorway pages (although they refused to call them that) using variations of common golf brand names.”

Let’s have a closer look at their current site, which at first glance isn’t in too bad of shape, with a #6 position in Google for “golf clubs” and a large number of pages indexed.

  1. Their web server responds to without doing the proper kind of redirect to, resulting in duplicate pages in the engines (e.g. 67 pages in Google).
  2. Inbound links of any real importance are in short supply. The Google PageRank score for the home page is 4 out of 10, which is quite low considering that PageRank is on a logarithmic scale.
  3. The home page needs more keyword-rich body copy that isn’t link text. Curiously, I found only 2 occurrences of the phrase “golf clubs” in the body copy, and it was near the bottom of the page. (And no, Alt attributes donâ??t count!)
  4. The HTML code is very bloated with unnecessary elements like several hundred lines of lots of inline CSS and Javascript and hundreds of repetitions of font color and face attributes.
  5. The home page contains hundreds of links, which is way more than Google’s recommended maximum of 100 per page.
  6. At the bottom of the home page is a “Products” link leading to a long page of nothing but internal text links. Such pages look designed to be spider food and as such are not as desirable to the search engines.
  7. Too much keyword repetition in “invisible” parts of the home page â?? e.g. “golf” and “clubs” 3X in the title tag, 6X in the meta description, and 12X in alt attributes (actually only 7X for “clubs” in the latter).
  8. Meta keywords tag, at 31 words, is too long. Should be half that.
  9. From the home page, the brand pages were only available through a dropdown nav (remember: spiders can’t fill out forms). The most popular brands should be text links.
  10. Target other golf terms, such as “golf gifts” and “golf glossary” and terms you’d find within a golf glossary.
  11. It’s unnecessary to include “from $14.95” in the anchor text; it dilutes the keyword focus…
  12. The names of the featured products in the middle of the page should be text, not graphics.
  13. has a blog, which is very forward-thinking from both SEO and branding perspectives. Unfortunately, there are no text links to it to pass it link gain, only JavaScript-based links to individual posts which the spiders can’t crawl.


screenshot pre-redesign


screenshot post-redesign

By Stephan Spencer. This article first appeared in Practical eCommerce magazine in April 2006.

NOTE: The above critique is of the old site which was NOT developed by Netconcepts. Just to clear up any potential confusion.


  1. […] For the rest of the findings, read the full article . Technorati Tags: search engine optimization, SEO, SEO audit, seo evaluation Posted by Stephan Spencer on 09/19/2006 | Permalink | Email This Post | Print This Post       […]

  2. benry says:

    Nice job on the deconstruct Stephan. Everytime you do one of these I get closer and closer to hiring your company…

  3. by benry — September 20, 2006 @ 4:42 pm