Doing an SEO audit on the first website ever

On August 6, 1991, the world's first website was launched. Created by CERN, it was the first time you could use hyperlinks to go from one page to the other. And amazingly, this website is still online.

We thought it would be fun to crawl the site and run an SEO audit on it. Of course, back then search engines didn't exist, let alone SEO. Let's honor the people who invented the web, and help them improve their site ?

Look at this beauty

We found a total of 267 pages, and a total health score of 40%. So CERN, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you've got work to do. Some of the issues we found:

Jump to the SEO report for info.cern.ch.

Things to improve

Fix that metadata

None of the pages have meta descriptions. Some of the page titles are duplicate, and there's no Structured Data or OpenGraph tags. Apparently Rich Snippets and Facebook posts weren't a thing 30 years ago. Come on Tim Berners-Lee, you can do better.

Lots of broken links

169 pages have broken links. If hyperlinks is all you have, you'd better make sure they work. Also, internal linking could be improved.

No sitemap

Adding a sitemap really makes crawling your site a lot easier.

No SSL certificate

Cyber security was probably less of an issue back then. Still, adding an SSL certificate is a good idea today.

The good news

But it's not all bad. Here's some good stuff that today's websites can learn from:

It's fast. Really fast.

The page speed score of every page is 100. This must be the fastest website in the world. There is absolutely zero Cumulative Layout Shift, and every page loads instantly - mobile or desktop. Having no CSS, javascript, images, video's or tracking pixels really speeds up your site.

It's perfectly structured

Pages are nicely structured, most of them having one H1.

It's accessible

There are no images without alt tags. Or actually, there are no images at all. Zero.

The report is available for everyone, see the SEO report. If you want to learn more about the birth of the web, CERN also has a modern website about that.