SEO CHECKLIST

A website SEO checklist to help you rank better.

Action these simple tips and give your website a head start.

Looking for a more in-dept read? Check out How to get on Page 1 of Google and How to Rank a Website in 90 Days

Mobile Responsive and Easy to Navigate: This includes checking that your site not only works correctly on different sized devices, but also ensuring that it is simple to navigate through a touch interface and smaller screen. Google is also trying to push Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that load instantly for mobile users. It might be worth considering it for your website.

** It is worth noting that Google is looking to split its index between mobile and other devices, and will be constantly updating the mobile version as more people move to this medium. This makes it even more important to keep your site mobile and smartphone friendly! **

Meta Data and Tags: Be sure to include title and description tags in your website header, as well as tagging your images with alt descriptions to let Google know what they are. Be sure to also include Open Graph data for social media links and sharing purposes.

H1 Titles on your Pages: Search bots take notice of H1 tags on your site to help decide what your page is all about. Be sure to use your keywords in your titles and subtitles.

Wordcount: Make sure each page has a minimum of 500 words on them, and of good quality. Since the Google Panda algorithm update, there has been a focus on quality content and duplicate content issues.

Images and Video: Although too many images and videos can slow down your site, they also help to break up a lot of text content and provide social sharing oomph for the page. 3 key things to remember for all video and images on your website; 1, reduce the file size to help speed up loading and buffer times. 2, use tags including alt and image dimensions. 3, name the file appropriately and use keywords where possible.

Structured Data: Used to point out to Google various important bits of information such as NAP, it has the ability to show up on search results. There are different mark-up languages including microdata, microformat, RFDa and Schema.

URL Structure: Avoid underscores in your URL, stick to dashes, and use keywords in your URL, especially on your blog posts.

Internal Links: This is a great way to both keep users on your site, as well as search engine bots. Link between pages and resources and once again use keywords in anchor text. Use fully qualified links where possible ie. The full URL including the root domain rather than relative URLs.

Outbound Links: Just as important as internal links. Keep a balance between the two where possible. Outbound links are great for pointing to an authoritive site in your field which shows relevance and makes your site a useful hub of information for both the reader and Google.

JS and CSS Code: Although many cache and CMS applications do push CSS and Javascript code into the header, it is a good idea to externalise what you can. The less code you have above your SEO friendly body content the better.

Important Content: Include testimonials, reviews, sitemaps, privacy policies and contact information on your site. You will need a good privacy policy to justify your handling of personal information as well as for advertising needs. Testimonials, reviews and portfolios are a great way to build trust with your viewer and Google. Sitemaps are essential and should also be sent to Google and Bing.

Robots, Redirects and File Access: Be sure search engine bots can access the important stuff on your website. Check that the htaccess and robots.txt files do not block valuable content or pages. Also check for 404 errors and missing content, 301 redirect errors and anything else that may disrupt your site.

Static Homepage: As tempting as it can be to have constantly changing content on your homepage, it can play havoc with website SEO as it dilutes what your site is all about. Stick to static content well optimised with primary keywords and titles, and throw in some links to recent blog updates, new products or social media feeds.

Duplicate Content: Google frowns heavily on duplicate content on your website. Use copyscape to check for duplication across the web. This means on other sites, as well as on other pages of your website. This will cause pages to rank lower and affect your overall website SEO rank.

Use Webmaster Tools: Be sure to use Google and Bing webmaster tools to submit your site for indexing, update sitemaps, check for penalties and review crawls.

Speed and Loading Times: This is super important. Loading times of your site will affect the way you rank as well as get visited. People’s attention spans seem to be shortening every day, and waiting for your homepage to load is not an option. Make sure your code is clean, scripts are kept away from the header where possible, and you utilise caching, minification and content distribution networks.

THIS IS NOT THE END! This should get you heading in the right direction, although it is wise to read up on current SEO changes and revisions to search algorithms as they constantly evolve. Bear in mind, this covers predominantly the on-site SEO content, and you will still need to develop your off-site links and listings. Ask us about guest posts, contextual links and press release articles for news sites like Huffington Post, the Sydney Morning Herald and Google News!

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