A search engine optimization (SEO) analysis is a report that details how a website owner can improve his or her ranking on popular search engines. The analysis commonly looks for and evaluates duplicate content, inbound links to the website, and uniform resource locator (URL) structure. This report is normally generated by a website, and there is no need to download a software program. Some SEO anaylsis websites even tell the webmaster how to fix the problems it finds. For example, if the website uses Flash® in a way that hinders search engine crawlers, an SEO analysis might detail how to best work around the problem.
An SEO analysis tool is primarily used by webmasters seeking to improve their search engine ranking. The main goal of SEO is to rank higher than the competition, so that Internet surfers are more likely to click through to the website. Causal site owners — that is, people who maintain website resumes or blogs about their pets, for example — often have little to no use for SEO. On the other hand, E-commerce websites; websites aimed to raise awareness of something; and all other websites that can benefit from increased traffic through sales, ad revenue, or donations frequently use SEO and SEO analysis tools.
Besides looking for duplicate content, counting inbound links, and evaluating the cleanliness of the URL structure, an SEO analysis tool might look for meta keywords and descriptions, malware, and robot.txt files. All of these different aspects of a website are believed to affect search results on the top search engines. While the average person does not know the exact formula search engines use to decide how to arrange websites, the creators behind an SEO analysis tool make educated guesses.
A lot of times an initial SEO anaylsis is free, but the company tries to upsell other services. For example, if a webmaster has few inbound links, the SEO analyzers might offer a link-building service. If the webmaster needs help finding the best keywords to use, the company might also help with that. These services are not free, and can become very expensive.
While there are plenty of websites dedicated to generating an SEO analysis, many people rely on SEO analysis consultants. These are people who manually evaluate a website and determine how best to improve its ranking. Some SEO consultants use software, like browser add-ons, to quickly evaluate a website’s current status. In general, professionals such as these are expensive to hire by hour, and are frequently hired by businesses that are already profitable rather than the average start-up or someone running a personal blog.