SEO Checker is the new package available for Umbraco written by Richard Soeteman.  Always keen to test the latest SEO tools, I was curious to see how helpful this one would prove to be for everyday activities. I should start by explaining I've never been a huge fan of too much automation in checking on-page SEO - mainly because each site is unique and SEO itself is a very human and fuzzy activity, it's difficult to build a one-size-fits-all programmatic solution to check your SEO that will work in all cases.  However, with this particular tool, I was pleasantly surprised!

Validation

The validation looks at all kinds of important on-page SEO considerations such as ensuring you have a single decent H1 heading, that the meta tags are set correctly, that Google Analytics is installed properly and so on.  But what was impressive how well this worked with Umbraco's native publishing flow.  Each time you publish a page, the SEO will automatically be re-validated and checked (you can also manually queue any pages you want to be validated).  Each issue raised also includes links that take you directly to that pages content or template to put the issue right - making most snags easy to fix without moving between tabs, or keeping checklists yourself.

Inbound Link Errors

Problems with inbound links are important to fix! Chances are that any links that give 404 on your site will eventually be removed from the linking site by the owner.  So tracking down and resolving these can make a big difference to your SEO efforts!
But actually identifying the broken links is the challenge! For every link you are aware of, there could be many more you don't see!  Even Google Webmaster Tools can only give you the one.  However, if you're running SEO Checker, every error page Umbraco has served out will be shown.  From within this same control panel, you can then use a content picker to simply choose a page and a 301 redirect is automatically put in place.  Problem solved!  I have to admit, this is one of the features I liked most.

Configuration

This section will alert you to any of the more general site-wide issues, such as ensuring you have a non-www to www redirect, that your robots.txt file is present and correct and so on.

Conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed - not only by what this package can do, but also by it's usability.  It will actively help you troubleshoot even the smallest, often overlooked issue.  Even a seasoned SEO veteran will benefit from this tool, as it offers a neat checklist of considerations which can be marked off once complete.

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