What Do I Need on My Website for SEO?
That’s the million dollar question I hear almost every day. The answer takes more than a few minutes. So my clients and others I meet don’t have to hear another one of my long boring stories, I put together an SEO checklist.
What Does Google Look for When Ranking a Site?
Just for your reference, here’s a few items to check out:
Moz.com put together a nice list of items that Google is searching for when it’s indexing your site pages.
Google’s Quality Standards Guidelines is 160 exciting pages of what to do for your site for search.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines from the Google Search Console The Developer’s SEO Checklist
This list of 32 items needed for SEO will give you the proper platform for long term success. I tried keeping it to a nice round number like 30, but I didn’t want to leave anything out.
Setup: Create a new Google Account and Email address for your site. This isn't necessary, but always makes things easier. Setup: Install Google Analytics. This is a big one. Setup: Install Google Webmaster Tools. This again is a big one. Setup: Install Bing Webmaster Tools. This again is a big one. Setup: If you're using WordPress, you NEED to install these plugins. You'll see why later and thank me. Google Analytics for WordPress and Yoast SEO for WordPress. Maintenance: Check Google Webmaster Tools for 404 / 500 errors, duplicate content, missing titles and other technical errors that Google has found. Make sure to keep up with any messages Google is sending you. Maintenance: Use Browseo to find technical errors. It's a great way to see how search engines see your pages. Links: Use Xenu to find any broken links you might have. Keywords: Have you researched the right keywords for YOUR site? Check out Google's Keyword Tool. URL Structure: Is the page's keyword (or a synonym) in your page URL using this structure: "/lorem-ipsum"? Don't Use Underscores! Meta Tags: Are all of your title tags around 65 characters or less? Check out Moz's updated Title Tag Tool. Meta Tags: Are all of your meta description tags around 155 characters or less? Page Content: Have you used only one H1 tag? Is your keyword in the tag? Is it before any other header tags (H2, H3, H4…)? Page Content: How Much actual text is on your page? It should be at least 100-150 words. If it's a blog post - at least 300 words. Page Content: Did you use synonyms in your copy? Use language that's natural. Don't stuff keywords! Images: Do all of your images have alt tags related to the image and surrounding content? Images: Do your image file names have names relative to the picture and site theme? Internal Links: Are you linking your internal pages properly? Use the anchor text to describe the page your linking to. Site Content: Duplicate Content is a HUGE no no. Utilize 301 redirects, canonical tags or use Google Webmaster Tools to fix any duplicate content issues. This is huge in keeping your site from being penalized. Link Structure: Are you using absolute URLs in your code? Use absolute URLs - not relative URLs. Site Speed: If your site doesn't load fast, your bounce rate will be high. Use the Google Page Speed Checker for site speed issues. XML Sitemap: Have you created an XML sitemap and submitted it to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools? Use XML-Sitemaps.com or the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin. This is absolutely necessary! Robots.txt: Have you created a Robots.txt file and submitted it in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools? Again, this is a must. Brand Footprint: Have you claimed your business / website username on other major networks for reputation management reasons? Not only do you want to make sure no one else gets your account name, but you can often “own” all the results on the first page of a search for your brand if you’re a new website or company. Mobile: Is your site mobile friendly? Social: Have you setup properly branded social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+? Again, keep your logins in one document. Try to use the same login information for all social channels. It just makes life easier. Review: Have you reviewed all of the free SEO tools at your disposal to ensure all items have been proofed and fixed if needed? Link Building: Have you started off-page optimization and began building links? This is one of the most important aspects to long term SEO success. Link Building: Have you looked at competitor link profiles? This is the easiest way to get started with link building. You can research competitor links in these tools: Open Site Explorer, AHRefs, and Majestic SEO.
Local Business Listings: If you're a local business, are your listings up to date. Use our Free Scan to determine if you need these updated.