How does Microsoft’s SEO Toolkit fare on their own blogging site?
Microsoft have recently released a useful tool called the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Toolkit; it is a tool that you install on your computer and is used to test how well your website is structured in order that it can appear as high as possible up search engine results pages.
I have mentioned in the past my disappointment with how my Live Spaces blog appears on certain search engines when I wrote Does Live Search index Live Spaces? so I figured it would be interesting to fire up the SEO Toolkit against Microsoft’s own blogging engine and see how it fared.
Here is the overall summary of how http://jamiethomson.spaces.live.com (i.e. the website from which the blog post that you are reading right now originates):
Now, I have no idea whether 13008 violations or a items to violations ratio of (approx) 2:3 is anything to worry about or not but it does seem rather high; I look forward to comparing this with results that other people may get (please feel free to post your own findings in the comments below).
Of more interest is the breakdown of these violations:
Some of these are genuinely useful. For example I can see that 809 images on the site do not have ALT attributes defined; that doesn’t surprise me at all because I’m notoriously bad at adding ALT tags even though my blog authoring tool, Live Writer, provides a UI that makes it very easy to add them (you can bet that I’ll be adding them to this post). I can also see that I have 155 blog posts where the title is longer than the recommended maximum of 65 characters. The best advice though is where I am told that I have 1311 cases where the link text is not relevant; if I take a look at those it tells me that I have hyperlinked the word “here” rather than providing some meaningful text, well I won’t be doing that again!
Not all those things are my fault though. For example:
- 176 unnecessary redirects? Again, not my doing.
- 64 URLs with too many query parameters? Is it any wonder with URLs as ugly as this: http://jamiethomson.spaces.live.com/?_c11_BlogPart_pagedir=Next&_c11_BlogPart_handle=cns!550F681DAD532637!7136&_c11_BlogPart_BlogPart=blogview&_c=BlogPart&partqs=amonth%3d11%26ayear%3d2008
I’ll save the worst sin for last though – and this one is pretty unforgivable if you ask me. Search engines use a web site hosted file called robots.txt to discern important information about that website and one of those vital pieces of information is the link to the sitemap. Take a look at this broken hyperlink violation:
Yep, the link to Live Spaces sitemap IS A BROKEN LINK!!! You can confirm this for yourself, head to http://jamiethomson.spaces.live.com/robots.txt and then try and go to the link that you see there; you won’t be able to – it doesn’t exist! That means the robots.txt file for every single Live Space in the world is invalid.
Putting aside my many issues with Live Spaces I am genuinely very impressed by the SEO Toolkit and highly recommend it to any website owner.
While using the SEO Toolkit one thing did occur to me. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be told about these issues BEFORE we post our blogs? Or, to put it another way, wouldn’t it be great if Live Writer could carry out similar SEO analyses on our blog drafts? That would be a killer feature to add to what is already the world’s best blog authoring tool.