The Royal Website: The Queen’s new website SEO review

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Yellow Belt
The British Royal Family's new official website is reviewed for Search Engine Optimisation.

I was honoured to be asked by colleagues to review the British Royal Family's and the Queen's new website and how well it would perform on Search Engines. As approximately 80pc of search traffic is through Google, I looked primarily at how the site performs in this Search Engine. I would have expected a site of this importance to feature the best practices for Search Engine Optimisation as this is a key entry point of traffic to the site. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I have highlighted what I believe to be the top six SEO points where it has failed:

* 1. An impressive 30,400 pages of the domain have been indexed by Google. That was the good news . But if you look at these in detail (using the search term in Google), approximately 22.060 of these appear to be error pages. 16,900 pages are showing with a*** and 5,160 pages are showing with*** , leaving us with an average of 2.6 error pages per genuine ones on Google.

* 2. When you do click on one of these many error pages (type "the British Monarchy†as a search into Google and look at the second link down) the number of error pages is disappointing. Worse, there is no 404 error page. This is a basic requirement for any website, let alone the Queen's.

* 3. One of the key pages of any site is the homepage and it is important that this page is clearly labelled and not duplicated. The royal webmaster appears to have failed on both accounts. You are sent to the hompage of from Google. But if you click on any of the links on the site, including the image text link on the top of every page (which does not appear to have any alt text telling us what it is about) then you are actually pointed to a different page This duplication is another fundamental crime against best SEO practice.

* 4. I then looked at the use of title tags and url structure. Again, there were inconsistencies. The url , conveys a different message from the text on the page and the title tag which says "The Queen and the Commonwealthâ€. Incidentally, I do wonder if this inconsistency is preparing us for when the monarch changes from Queen to King (so the url will not require changing). A minor point but there is an incorrect spelling of commonwealth "commonwaelth†within the page's meta description.

* 5. At least the h tags would be set up correctly, I thought. But they weren't, with no h1 or h2 tags present and unoptimised text used in the h3 tags. The key messages and words are not emphasised and there was inconsistent use of alt text on images.

* 6. Lastly I had a quick look at what the key words are that the Queen's loyal subjects would use to find her on Google. Surely these have to be correct. This can be done using the Google Insights tool. It transpires that the top searches worldwide are "Queen Elizabethâ€, so I then looked at the homepage and "the Queen†page. The phrase "Queen Elizabeth†was not present on the page, let alone the full royal title or her full name Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Also the "British Royal Family†is more popular as a search phrase than "British Monarchyâ€. I would therefore conclude that no or little keyword research was done for popular keyword terms and phrases.

These are only the top six problems with the site and there are many more. It is disappointing that as our head of state, Her Majesty has allowed the creation of a website which should have been designed to engage with her subjects as much as possible but has overlooked the basics of good Search Engine Optimisation.
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