6. Site Autopsy–A few final on-site issues

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In this post, I want to highlight a few more on-site issues I found on the cayenne pepper site.

Since this site was hit by Penguin, it  is more than likely an over-optimization issue, and backlinks are a major culprit in Penguin penalties.  However, it’s no good trying to fix a bad backlink profile if there are issues on your site that are also causing you problems. These issues are just a few minor ones that I wanted to mention before we have a look at backlinks to the site. 

Again, to help me find issues, I used the Internal Link Analysis tool that I developed for my own use.

Since changes have already been made on the site since I started this autopsy, I have run a new analysis on the site with my software.

Issue #1 – Pages linking to themselves

Every page links to itself:


OK, this isn’t a major issue, and if you are using breadcrumb navigation, this type of self-link is quite natural, however, I wanted to mention it, simply because it is a symptom of a problem we have already looked at – the sidebar navigation.  I should also mention that it appears each page only links to itself ONCE, so that makes it even less of an issue.

As we have already seen, the site uses a single sidebar menu on every page, meaning every page links to every other page, and itself, using identical anchor text.  The solution I suggested earlier in this series is to use context-sensitive menus on different sections of the site, so we’ve covered this issue previously and I won’t dwell on it here.

Issue #2 – Page with bad code

I found this issue when I was looking for pages that contains links without anchor text.  This technique can be used to hide links in a page, but also to show you where images are linked.  On this page:


I found this code:


It appears right under an Adsense ad on the page, and I guess the AdSense was added later, but this code was not fully removed.  As you can see, there is no anchor text with this link, so Google see the link, and it might appear as a hidden link.  I’d delete this code.

Issue #3 – Linking to different pages with the same anchor text

There might be good reasons to do this, but I cannot think of one right now.  Why would you use the exact same anchor text to link to two or more different pages?  The anchor text should accurately describe the page it links to, so identical anchor text should mean they are linking to pages that contain the same content?

I see this on a lot of sites, but on this one, the problem is a minor one.

The first case is one where generic text is used to link to pages:


This is fine and does not need to be changed.   However, what about this one:


Although both of those URLs resolve to the same page of content, Google sees those two URLs as different URLs, so link juice is being spread between two pages.  These are the URLs where those links can be found:


The same problem can be found here:


In the top example, the homepage is being linked to using two different URLs (in Google’s eyes).

The second example shows an internal page with the same problem. 

What to do?  Choose ONE format, with the WWW. or without the WWW. and stick to it.

I won’t highlight the URLs that use the different URL format.  For the webmaster of this site, since your site is built in HTML, just do a search and replace to make sure all links use your desired format.

Here are two anchor texts that are a little more of a problem:


These two anchor texts are identical, yet link to different books (with different titles) on Amazon.  The anchor texts should be changed to accurately reflect the title of each book.

These links are found on two separate pages on the site:


There is another one like this:


Clearly the product ID of these two are different, so I would make sure the link text differentiates between the two links.  These links are found on:

They are product links created by the merchant, and merchants don’t always take the time to make these link different, but I would manually change them.

Issue #4 – Dodgy Homepage Links

I found an issue that I think is more serious than those mentioned above.  I found it by looking into link text to the homepage:


There are a LOT of pages that link to the homepage using CayennePepper.info as the link text.  I found this a little odd, since I had not seen that link text used in the sidebar menu, so where is this link?

On investigating, I found it appears on a lot of pages like this:


It’s in a “signature” for each article. 

Why is there a live link to the homepage on all of these pages?  Is it really to help the visitor?  They are already on this site, so does it make sense to link to the homepage?  I would suggest not, and that this link is only there to pass more link juice back to the homepage.  With this link, and the one in the sidebar to the “Home” page:


.. it means a lot of pages have two links back to the homepage.

The thing is, these two links also link to a DIFFERENT URL.  The sidebar link points to http://www.cayennepepper.info/, whereas the signature link points to “index.html”.  Remember, Google sees these as different, so not only is this a little bit of link spamming, it is also passing link juice to two different URLs in the eyes of Google.

What would I do about the signature link?

I would remove the signature link, and instead, put my own name, possibly with a mugshot showing who I am.  Visitors love to know who they are dealing with when they visit a site, and making yourself a real person can only improve the quality of your site, build trust, and encourage feedback and interaction.

OK, those are the last of the on-site issues I found.  If I find any more, I’ll add them to this page, but in the next post in this autopsy, I’ll look at backlinks to the site.

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1 thought on “6. Site Autopsy–A few final on-site issues”

  1. Great info Andy. I’ve managed to correct all these errors with the exception of adding a small photo at the end of the articles with my name. I will do that soon, though. Thanks again for such a comprehensive review.

    I think the real problems with the site lie with its backlink profile. These on-page problems, however, are important to isolate and correct.

    Glenn Reschke

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