The world of SEO is interesting. So much information that SEO experts use every day doesn’t even come from official sources – most of what we know about Google’s algorithm, for example, doesn’t come from official documentation released by Google. Instead, SEO experts piece together ideas of how algorithms work from leaks and simple trial and error. In this slightly murky environment, does an SEO scoring service actually work? Are they reliable, and should they be trusted?
What is an SEO Score?
An SEO score is a score that a search engine calculates to decide how to prioritize your website on their search engine results page. As mentioned in the intro, Google and other search engines keep very quiet about their actual technical processes, so there is no way of knowing for sure what your SEO score actually is unless you work for the search engine (and even then, it’s under lock and key).
As a result, companies that specialize in SEO have developed their own SEO scoring systems that essentially attempt to work out what search engines are scoring any given site. The price for such services can vary, but the best SEO service providers tend to provide free SEO score checkers.
How is an SEO Score Calculated?
An SEO score will likely use different processes to assess a site’s performance under different metrics. There are many ways of doing this, and different services use different methods. As a rule, however, there are some subcategories that all but the very worst SEO Score checkers calculate. These are:
- Content –the actual copy or media on the site
- Technical – the technical work behind the scenes, for example, code compression (needed to optimize loading speeds)
- User Experience – how the user is guided through the site and whether the site is clear and engaging
- Mobile – mobile phone users are more important than ever, so sites need to cater to them specifically
Google and other search engines no doubt have incredibly complex ways to actually judge how well a site does in these departments, but SEO score checking services can get a pretty good idea of how well your site will perform on SEO checkers.
They essentially assess these subcategories by using standardized tests. For example, assessing the user experience could look at the average time that a user spends on a site and the number of bounces. If the former is high and the latter is low, you can be assured that the site gives users value.
The Limitations of SEO Scores
Despite being generally reliable, SEO scores do have some limitations. Perhaps the most predominant limitation is one that is very difficult to fix.
That’s the direction that search engines are moving towards. Google and others are focusing less on subcategories and more on a holistic vision of a site. They want to promote sites that add the most value to a user’s day, which is why the quality of content has become so vital in recent years. Although subcategories are still a great way for a scoring system to assess the true value of a site, the holistic approach might force SEO scoring services to adapt in the future.