SEO Review: Essjay Hartshorn –

I posted a few days back in our Facebook group, offering to do an SEO review on 10 websites belonging to businesses in the scalp micropigmentation industry. In response to requests that followed, this SEO review is for Essjay Hartshorn of

During this review, I examined the following:

  • On-page SEO elements of a typical page on each website
  • The overall structure of each website
  • Social proof and reviews
  • Internal linking
  • Inbound links and spam score
  • Speed and security
  • Recommendations

I won’t explain each of these in detail because I’m hoping their explanations will become clear during the assessment. So here we go!

on page seo elements of a typical page

The first thing I look for are pages specifically targeting keywords for the primary services offered. Your home page is not the place for this. Google wants your home page to act as a gateway to the information pages on your site, and it’s actually quite hard to rank a home page for a big search term.

Essjay’s primary services are scalp micropigmentation, permanent makeup and aesthetics, so she needs pages that scream relevancy for these keywords. When reviewing the website, it seems these pages are in place. For the purpose of these recommendations I’ll take the scalp micropigmentation page as an example (visit page). The SEO of this page is very good, however there are some improvements that could be made.

  • The images on the page need ALT tags to improve their relevancy.
  • The word ‘Doncaster’ is overused in the text content, in the main navigation menu, and in the page URL’s. This elevates the risk of a Google penalty for keyword stuffing. The word ‘Doncaster’ can appear once in the text content, but the other instances are unnecessary.
  • Please note if the URL’s are changed, then proper 301 redirects must be implemented to ensure Google attributes the value of the old URL’s to the new URL’s.

overall website structure

This website adopts a flat hierarchical structure, but for the purpose of what this website is trying to do, that’s fine. 

A blog section is a dated concept and adds little SEO value. The blog should be shut down, and the content converted into child pages of the relevant service pages. Then the child pages should be interlinked using in-content links to the parent page, and to any other child pages with the same parent. This will create a silo structure which is much more powerful.

There is an About link in the navigation that doesn’t lead anywhere.

social proof and reviews

The website links to three social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All three accounts are fairly active, which sends a signal to Google that this website represents an active business.

What surprised me however is that I can’t find any connection from the website to Essjay’s excellent Google Business profile (visit page), where she has a ton of reviews. Google reviews are a powerful SEO signal, so although the Google Business profile does link to the website, the website should have a fourth social link to the Google Business profile.

I recommend Essjay also looks for a way to feed her reviews to her website, like we do for our advertisers (example here). This way, they can read reviews without leaving the website.

internal linking

An internal link is where you link from one page of your website to another page of your website. These are in-content links and do not include links within menus or the footer. Internal links are critical for SEO because they help Google to understand what your website is about, and which are your most important pages.

Essjay is making good use of internal links, so no suggestions to add.

inbound links and spam score

Aside from your website content, inbound links, sometimes called ‘backlinks’, are by far the most important part of your SEO strategy. An inbound link is where another website links to your website, and Google views this as a vote of confidence. Generally speaking, websites do not link to spammy or illegitimate websites, so if someone is linking to you, it reinforces the message that your website is the real deal.

All inbound links are not created equal, in fact, too many poor quality links can actually hurt your site. You should be aiming for links from authoritative websites (local news websites, big blog sites, local business associations etc), or from websites that are highly relevant to our industry (like Team Micro, What Clinic etc). The best links are both authoritative and relevant.

We use Moz to measure your inbound link power. They produce a metric called Domain Authority (DA) which is a score from 1-100. Higher scores are granted to websites with a good number of authoritative links, and a low number of poor quality links from spammy websites.

It is important to note that the scale is not linear…. getting from DA1 to DA10 is relatively easy, but jumping to DA20 is MUCH harder. Most sites never make it past DA15. Team Micro is a DA32 website, but its taken years of diligent SEO to get there.

Your spam score represents the % of websites with similar inbound link profiles that have been penalized or banned by Google. For obvious reasons, you want to keep this low, like less than 2%. has a DA12 score and a spam rating of 1% which is fairly low. This should be enough to rank in Doncaster but if Essjay wants to rank for something competitive, perhaps for training on a national level, this needs to be increased significantly to at least DA20.

You need a paid Moz subscription to see all the data, but you can see the top line stats here, and I’ve included screenshots taken from our Moz account below.

moz overview for

moz spam score for

speed and security

Your website speed is a huge ranking factor now, as Google now uses mobile-first indexing. This is understandable, especially in the SMP and PMU industry where around 80% of your website visitors are using mobile devices to access your content.

Security is also important, and directly influences rankings. Your website should be on https:// not http:// and this is mandatory if you are processing customer data online.

We use GT Metrix, the industry standard, to measure speed. Essjay’s website is getting a speed rating of 54% and takes 7.5 seconds to load, which is quite slow (verify here).

A score of 54% is low enough to have an impact on Essjay’s rankings.

Essjay’s website is fully https:// secure with no security-based warnings.


The following actions should be undertaken as soon as possible to strengthen the SEO of this website:

  • Make better use of image ALT tags. 
  • Reduce the use of the word ‘Doncaster’ as detailed above to remove the risk of a Google penalty.
  • Remove the blog and convert the content into a silo structure.
  • The website should be connected to the Google Business account and if possible, Google reviews should be dynamically fed into the site. Copy and paste is no good, it needs to be a dynamic generation.
  • A small number of quality inbound links are needed to improve the DA score and authority of the site. Maybe reach out to local news websites, but this will need to be a sustained effort over time.
  • The speed of this website is a real problem. The photos on the site need to be optimized and a suitable caching system should be implemented to prevent the website from loading from scratch every time the site is requested by a visitors device.

additional checklist

These are additional steps that every website owner should take. We didn’t verify these, or were unable to, for this specific website, but make sure you have these covered:

  • Register and verify your website in Google Search Console.
  • Create an XML sitemap and register it with GSC (above).
  • If you have a .com domain, register your target country with GSC (above).
  • Make sure you have at least 10 citations. These are mentions of your business online including name, address and phone number data (NAP), and may or may not include a link to your website. Good sources are Yelp, Yellow Pages, local business directories etc.
  • Disavow any spammy links coming into your website using the Google Disavow Tool.
  • Make sure you have at least a few reviews on the most important review sites – Google Business, Facebook and Yelp.
  • Ensure your website links to all your social media accounts including (if you have them) Facebook, Instagram, Google Business, Pinterest, YouTube etc.
  • You need dedicated pages for each of your key services.
  • Your address and contact information needs to be included in full on your contact page, matching the format shown on your Google Business listing.