Now that you have gathered all the data you can about how the given website exists on the Internet, it is time to see what the search engines have done with this information. As an SEO, all of your work is completely useless if the search engines don’t react to it. To a lesser degree this is true for webmasters as well. These action items can help you identify how the search engines react to the given website. Choose your favorite search engine (you might need to Google it) and do the following:
Search for the given domain to make sure it isn’t penalized.
The first action item is simple to do but can have dire effects. Simply go to a search engine and search for the name of your domain (Ex. Example.com). Assuming it is not brand new, it should appear as the first result. If it doesn’t and it is an established site, it means it has major issues and was probably thrown out of the search engine indices. If this is the case, you need to identify this clearly and as early as possible.
See roughly how many pages are indexed of the given website.
The second action item is also very easy to do. Go to either of the major search engines and use the site command to find roughly all of the pages of a domain that are indexed in the engine.
For example, this may look like site:www.example.com. This action is important because the difference between the number that gets returned and the number of pages that actually exist on a site says a lot about how healthy a domain is in a search engine. If you find more pages in the index than exist on the page, you are facing a duplicate content problem.
If you find more pages on the actual site than you find in the index, you are facing an indexation problem. Both are bad.
Search three of the most competitive keywords for which this domain likely ranks.
The next action item is a quick exercise to see how well the given website is optimized. To get an idea of this, simply search for three of the most competitive terms that you think the given website would reasonably rank for. You can speed up this process by using one of the third-party rank trackers that are available.
Choose a random content page and search the engines for duplicate content.
The final action item is to do a quick search for duplicate content. You can do this by going to a random content page on the given website and searching for either the title tag (in quotes) or the first sentence of the page (also in quotes). If there are more than two results from the given domain, then there are duplicate content problems. This situation is bad
because the website is forced to compete against itself for ranking. In doing so it forces the search engine to decide which page is more valuable. This decision-making process is something that is best avoided because it is difficult to predict the outcome.