If you want to increase your search engine rankings it can be hard to know where to start, or where you should be focusing your time.
For this reason I have put this check list together so you can quickly check off 25 of the most common SEO procedures for your website.
Follow this list and check off each item as you go, if you have any queries feel free to respond below or send me a message.
There are two versions of the list:
- A quick check list if you are more experienced
- List with additional descriptions if you need a little guidance.
Quick check list
For people who want a quick list to check over…
- Have you installed Google Analytics?
- Have you installed Google Webmasters?
- Have you checked for messages from Google Webmasters?
- Have you checked for any broken links?
- Have you installed SEO for WordPress (Only for sites using WordPress)?
- Is your website mobile friendly?
- Have you checked for websites load speed?
- Have you checked your pages for duplicate content?
- Have you checked your website for thin content/pages?
- Have you localized your website/content?
- Have you written effective page titles/descriptions?
- Have you used any H1, H2, H3, H4 etc.. tags?
- Do your web pages have any focus keywords & synonyms?
- Do your web pages have descriptive URLs?
- Have you submitted an XML sitemap to Google/Bing?
- Have you created a robots.txt document?
- Have you written alt-tags for your images?
- Is your website easy to follow?
- Does your website have an SSL Certificate/Secure HTTPS URL (eCommerce sites)
- Are there a variety of links pointing to your website?
- Have you checked your competitors’ backlinks?
- Have you claimed all relevant social profiles?
- Does your website make social sharing easy?
- Have you submitted your website to Yelp, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor etc..?
- Have you submitted/checked your Google My Business listing?
The Complete Manual
For those that want a bit more guidance & some helpful tips…
Have you installed Google Analytics & Google Webmasters?
You can’t get any better advice than from the search engines themselves; Google Webmasters scans your site for errors and reports any problems which might affect your search engine friendliness. Google Analytics will report on SEO efforts are paying off, both work in tandem and I would consider both essential to any website, especially if your site has no analytics at all.
Have you checked for any messages from Google Webmasters?
Always make sure you check for messages from Google and take action as soon as you can. Google Webmasters reports on any errors search engine robots find when browsing your website, such as HTML improvements, pages Google can’t access etc.
Check for broken links
Clean up any problem or dead links on your site in one fell swoop with Screaming Fog (It’s free)
Using WordPress? Have you installed SEO by YOAST?
If your site is built using WordPress (and I highly suggest it is) you should install this plugin as a priority. WordPress SEO is regularly updated to meet the latest SEO guidelines and is trusted by over 2 million website owners. It makes a lot of SEO tasks a breeze and gives invaluable page-by-page analysis.
Is your site mobile friendly?
Check your page load speed
Page load speed is a growing factor for search engines, leading to countless frustrations from consumers (especially mobile users), speed can also have a big impact of your bottom line..
How fast your web pages load and what might be slowing them down can be easily checked using free tools like PageSpeedInsights – The tool also gives a lot of advice to improve your load time too.
Check for duplicate content
Use Google Webmaster Tools to check that your site doesn’t have any duplicate content that may be affecting your site being indexed. It’s also good practice to chuck any articles or bulk content into a plagiarism checker.
Check for thin pages
Do all of your web pages have a reasonable amount of text? Ideally at least 100 words of content. Over the past few years Google has been culling millions of websites with “thin pages”.
Is your content localized?
By no means essential but if you want to rank well on a local town, city or neighborhood level you should spread local keywords & locally relevant content throughout your website.
Are your page titles & descriptions written correctly?
Make sure you have written a keyword focused page title & description to be shown in the search pages.
- Keep your titles under 55 characters (Google won’t show the rest)
- Keep your descriptions under 155 characters
Have you used any header (H1, H2, H3 etc..) tags?
Always include one H1 tag with your focus keyword, subsequent header tags should lead down the page in order: 2, 3, 4 etc.. – How to use heading tags
Do your web pages have focus keywords & synonyms?
High ranking pages are usually written around a very specific topic and the content is geared towards one or more surrounding keywords. – Find trending keywords in your niche
Do you have descriptive URLs?
Do your page links describe themselves and include your focus keyword?
Above anything always avoid non-descriptive URL’s such as www.example.com/17141.html
Have you submitted an XML sitemap to Google/Bing?
XML sitemaps help search engines to crawl and indefx your website more quickly, you can create a sitemap using XML Sitemaps Generator, think about how often your pages will be updated and how often search engines should re-visit.
Have you created a robots.txt?
The robots.txt document is used to control what areas of your website search engines should crawl/index. Generate a robots.txt with SEO Book.
Have you created alt-tags for your images?
Search engines don’t understand images all that well, so we use alt tags to describe what the image is about. Image alt tags can help to direct traffic from Google Image Searches and increase the relevancy of your pages. – What is an Image Alt Tag?
Is your website easy to follow?
You might have great content but don’t neglect a good user experience. Can people easily get around your website? Earn some extra brownie points with the search engines by giving a good UX.
*eCommerce* Does your website have a secure HTTPS URL (SSL Certificate)?
Google reported last year that they will now reward websites that encrypt shoppers information through secure HTTPS URLs. – SSL Certificates from Global Sign
Are there a variety of links pointing to your website?
Links that point to your website are one of the most important methods for determining popularity. What search engines really want to see is a variety of links from different types of websites:
- Social media, Trusted blogs, niche news websites, old & new websites, Directories etc..
Have you checked your competitors’ backlinks?
It is always good practice to see where your competitors are getting their backlinks, especially if they have a proven track record in the search results. You may find some new opportunities yourself or learn more about the specific key terms they are targeting. – Ahrefs Backlink Checker
Have you claimed all relevant social profiles?
I would recommend that you are active on at least one or two of the big social networks but at the very least you should claim your brand name & link your page to your website for any future use.
- Check for availability with NameChk
Does your website make social sharing easy?
Social media shares & comments all contribute towards your search ranking and are now an expectation of what search engines would call a “Good online brand”. Ensure that social share buttons are prominent across your website.
Have you submitted your website to Yelp, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor etc..?
In addition to explicit links that point to your website search engines now pay particular attention to positive online reviews (especially for local business).
Have you submitted/checked your Google My Business listing?
Make sure that your business & website can be found across all of Google’s services, including search, maps/places, Google+ and that contact information, opening hours etc.. are all correct.
Need help completing your checklist?
If you need help to improve your site’s search engine ranking give Elvin Web Marketing a call: (203)882-0171