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Page Indexable

Page indexable is a crucial check and it will tell you if the viewed page is indexable in Google. Pages that are not indexable will not appear in the search engine results, and this is the first thing to check if you have a problem ranking a certain page.

SEO Doctor will run the most comprehensive test you can find in any tool online to determine if the page is indexable including looking for:

  • meta noindex tag in the HTML code of the page
  • x-robots-noindex directive returned in the HTTP headers for the page
  • deep analysis of robots.txt directives
  • looking for rel="canonical" tag indicating the page is actually anchored at a different location

Rel canonical can be especially dangerous when not used properly.

Good practices for robots.txt

Use more secure methods for sensitive content - You shouldn't feel comfortable using robots.txt to block sensitive or confidential material. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs).

Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen. Encrypting the content or password-protecting it with .htaccess are more secure alternatives.

• allowing search result-like pages to be crawled (users dislike leaving one search result page and landing on another search result page that doesn't add significant value for them)
• allowing a large number of auto-generated pages with the same or only slightly different content to be crawled: "Should these 100,000 near-duplicate pages really be in a search engine's index?"
• allowing URLs created as a result of proxy services to be crawled

Meta Description

Meta description tag is used for a brief description of the page. Although not a significant search engine ranking factor anymore, it is still used by all popular search engines when displaying search engine results. Having a good meta description can improve your chances of the visitor clicking on your result in the search engine.

Recommendations for meta descriptions include:

  • Write a sensible description and avoid automated tools for generating meta description
  • You can include your popular keywords n the meta description as they will be bold when displayed in search engine results
  • Keep it up to around 70 words (350 characters). Search engines display variable length but they will pick the best bit to display based on user search

Accurately summarize the page's content - Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.

• writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page
• using generic descriptions like "This is a webpage" or "Page about baseball cards"
• filling the description with only keywords
• copy and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag

Use unique descriptions for each page - Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches here users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn't feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page's content.

• using a single description meta tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages

H1 and H2 tags

The H1 heading tag is the most important of the heading tags and helps search engines understand the main focus of the page. Also, text in the H1 tag is usually larger than normal text and helps users quickly learn what the page is about.

  • Use H1 and H2 tags to highlight important keywords
  • H1 tag should be used once on the page
  • H2 tag can be used as many times, after the H1 tag

Imagine you're writing an outline - Similar to writing an outline for a large paper, put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately.

• placing text in heading tags that wouldn't be helpful in defining the structure of the page
• using heading tags where other tags like em and strong may be more appropriate
• erratically moving from one heading tag size to another

Use headings sparingly across the page - Use heading tags where it makes sense. Too many heading tags on a page can make it hard for users to scan the content and determine where one topic ends and another begins.

• excessively using heading tags throughout the page
• putting all of the page's text into a heading tag
• using heading tags only for styling text and not presenting structure

ALT Image Tag

ALT image tag has became particularly important with the increase in demand for image searches which can significantly contribute to your search engine traffic if used properly. The best practices for image search optimizations are:

  • Use alt and title tags in your images to describe the context of the image with relevant keywords
  • Images are best ranked when surrounded with a description text and a heading. HTML structure <h><img><p> (meaning first a heading like <h2> then the image and then normal text in <p>) seems to work particularly well

Use brief, but descriptive filenames and alt text - Like many of the other parts of the page targeted for optimization, filenames and alt text (for ASCII languages) are best when they're short, but descriptive.

• using generic filenames like "image1.jpg", "pic.gif", "1.jpg" when possible (some sites with thousands of images might consider automating the naming of images)
• writing extremely lengthy filenames
• stuffing keywords into alt text or copying and pasting entire sentences

Supply alt text when using images as links - If you do decide to use an image as a link, filling out its alt text helps Google understand more about the page you're linking to. Imagine that you're writing anchor text for a text link.

• writing excessively long alt text that would be considered spammy
• using only image links for your site's navigation

Store images in a directory of their own - Instead of having image files spread out in numerous directories and subdirectories across your domain, consider consolidating your images into a single directory (e.g. This simplifies the path to your images.

Use commonly supported filetypes - Most browsers support JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP image formats. It's also a good idea to have the extension of your filename match with the filetype.

Inbound links

SEO Doctor uses Yahoo API to get backlinks information for your current page. You need to register for Yahoo API key and enter it in the options to get Inbound links information in the SEO Score.

If there are no links to your page an error will appear, and it is advisable to link to your page form at least one location. Notice that several days can pass until the Yahoo bot finds your new link.

SEO Friendly URLs

SEO Friendly URLs or so called static URLs represent an URL structure where links on the site appear to have a static structure like "/category/subcategory/page" in contrast to dynamic structure like "index.php?cat=3&subcat=4&page=11".

The value of SEO friendly urls is that it can provide more information to search engines about the intended structure of the site (category, subcategory and page hierarchy) and for the fact that keywords can be used in the links. Also these keywords will be presented in bold in search engine results, drawing more user attention and improving click through rates.

Use words in URLs - URLs with words that are relevant to your site's content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Visitors remember them better and might be more willing to link to them.

• using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs
• choosing generic page names like "page1.html"
• using excessive keywords like "baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseball-cards.htm"

Create a simple directory structure - Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and is easy for visitors to know where they're at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL.

• having deep nesting of subdirectories like ".../dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html"
• using directory names that have no relation to the content in them

Provide one version of a URL to reach a document - To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a 301 redirect from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this.

• having pages from subdomains and the root directory (e.g. "" and "") access the same content
• mixing www. and non-www. versions of URLs in your internal linking structure
• using odd capitalization of URLs (many users expect lower-case URLs and remember them better)

Title Tag

Browser title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. Recommendations include:

  • Always include a title tag on your pages
  • Keep the title length up to 11 words or 70 characters
  • Use relevant keywords in your title tags
  • Do not duplicate title tags throughout the site. Every page should have it's own title.

Accurately describe the page's content - Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page's content.

• choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page
• using default or vague titles like "Untitled" or "New Page 1"

Create unique title tags for each page - Each of your pages should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site.

• using a single title tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages

Use brief, but descriptive titles - Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.

• using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users
• stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags

Number of links represents number of links found on the page. It is generally accepted that search engines consider only a certain number of links on a page and would ignore others for purposes of page rank calculation.

SEO Doctor will warn you if your page contains more than 100 links.

Page Rank Flow

Page rank flow is a number expressed in percentage of the links on the page going out of your domain, versus the total number of links. A page where all links are internal (going to the same domain) will have Page rank flow of 100% while the page where all links go to external sites will have page rank flow of 0%.

In a nutshell this number represents how much of the incoming Page rank is kept on your site.


This feature is still in beta. SEO Doctor will try to detect if a sitemap file is present on the site by looking up sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz files. This is a simple test and if the location of your sitemap is different SEO doctor might not be able to find it.

An XML Sitemap (upper-case) file, which you can submit through Google's Webmaster Tools, makes it easier for Google to discover the pages on your site. Using a Sitemap file is also one way (though not guaranteed) to tell Google which version of a URL you'd prefer as the canonical one.

Put an HTML sitemap page on your site, and use an XML Sitemap file - A simple sitemap page with links to all of the pages or the most important pages (if you have hundreds or thousands) on your site can be useful. Creating an XML Sitemap file for your site helps ensure that search engines discover the pages on your site.
• letting your HTML sitemap page become out of date with broken links
• creating an HTML sitemap that simply lists pages without organizing them, for example by subject

Loading time

Loading time is most commonly associated with user experience. Fast sites are more likely to attract visitors and convert sales. And since Google announced that page loading speed is becoming a ranking factor, SEO Doctor features page loading timer.

To improve page loading time use tools like YSlow or sites like WebPagetest test.

Web analytics

SEO Doctor will try to detect major web analytics codes on the page and inform you if they exist. You want to use Web analytics to better understand sources of your traffic, user behavior on the site and insights on conversions. Practically speaking web analytics allows you to have a measurable insight for your SEO efforts.

You can use Google Analytics which is still a free service, or real time web analytics services like Cleveritics.

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