NFL.com Needs SEO Help

Search Engine Optimization has been an integral part of online marketing since the mid ’90’s, and due to its constantly shifting nature, there is never a shortage of sites that we think could use a little help. So we’ve decided to start an understated, fun weekly SEO audit series here on the Highly Relevant blog.

Every Thursday, we’ll publish a post about a specific, high-profile website and identify five opportunities where that particular website can improve its SEO. (If you
have any websites that you’d like for us to assess, please e-mail us at info@highlyrelevant.com.)

Not only will we point out five specific challenges that the website is having from an SEO perspective, but we’ll also make recommendations on how these issues can be corrected. We’re solutions-oriented at Highly Relevant :)

Being big football fans, and since we’re right in the middle of football season, the first website that we’ll be “tackling” is NFL.com.

Here are five SEO problems that NFL.com currently faces along with recommended solutions:

Penalty 1:
Many of the URLs are dynamic or contain non-SEO-friendly characters (e.g. question marks and equal signs). Here is an example: http://www.nfl.com/teams/pittsburghsteelers/profile?team=PIT

How to fix Problem 1: Re-write the URLs and ensure that all of the URLs have SEO-friendly characters.  This is what the above URL should look like: http://www.nfl.com/teams/pittsburghsteelers/PIT.

Notice that this new URL doesn’t have any non SEO-friendly characters in it.

Penalty 2: Many of the home page links to inner pages have unnecessary characters (for click-tracking purposes). Here is an example: http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8237f2f9&module=HP11_cp

How to fix Problem 2: Link to the base URLs to pass link juice and page strength to the correct URL.  This is what the above URL should look like: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8237f2f9/article/cowher-to-dolphins-both-parties-should-tread-carefully

Penalty 3:
NFL.com has multiple H1 tags.

How to fix Problem 3: Only have one H1 tag on a given page; change the other H1 tags to H2 tags.

Penalty 4: Not using rel=”canonical” tags.

How to fix Problem 4: Certain pages are tagged for clicks, and they should have the rel=”canonical” tag to the correct URL. The URL should look like this: http://www.nfl.com/players/search?category=team&filter=0610&playerType=current&clickid=topnav

Penalty 5: There is no alt text on the logo and no title on the logo URL.

How to fix Problem 5: Add alt text to logo. Here is what it should look like:
alt=”National Football League”
title=”NFL”

That concludes the first installment of our SEO audit series.  Feel free to comment with any questions that you may have about these particular problems of general SEO issues. We’ll see you next week when we take a look at DicksSportingGoods.com!

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