SEO Checklist

As with many things, it's often worth making a checklist and ticking each item off as you go. Here is a simple SEO Checklist to apply to your site. Tick off all these items from the SEO checklist and your website will be in much better shape.
SEO Checklist

This list is in no particular order.

  • Decide what search phrases you want to target. Use a tool such as the Digital Point suggestion tool to see what search phrases are popular, and optimise your site for these. You can optimise for any number of phrases - a bigger site can target a greater range of phrases. If you don't know how to research phrases properly, pick some phrases that you think people might search for, and optimise for these. Make sure the phrases you choose are relevant to your content.
  • Clean up your URLs. No capital letters, no spaces, no special characters. Seperate each word with a "-" dash. Make sure each URL accurately describes the page.
  • Remove Querystrings from URLs. No question marks in your URLs.
  • Redirect the non-www version of your site. When you enter into the browser, it should redirect you to using a SEO friendly 301 redirection.
  • Make sure you don't link to "index.htm" or "index.php". Instead, link to "/".
  • Remove frames from your site - unless you really, really know what you are doing.
  • Ensure the title is different on every page of the site.
  • Ensure the Meta Description and keywords are different on every page of the site, or leave them empty.
  • Ensure every page has a H1 heading. Ensure the main body content is immediately after the H1, with no breadcrumbs or navigation in between.
  • If your main navigation is flash or image based, ask yourself if it can be done using CSS. If it can, do it.
  • If using CSS styled text for navigation is unthinkable, then add text based footer navigation on every page.
  • Add a sitemap, containing a link to every page on your site.
  • Add a Google XML sitemap. Even if it's just a simple list of all the URLs on your site. Submit this to Google through the Google Sitemaps program (sign up if you have not already)
  • Is your website tables based? Consider a cleaner CSS based layout for your site.
  • Have you got a website statistics program installed? Do you know how to access it, and do you check it regularly? If not, do it.
  • Do you know where your website currently sits for your main phrases? If not, go find out. Check Google, the localized version of Google eg, Yahoo and MSN. Very few visitors will search past page 3.
  • Check the Optimisation of each page. Pick 1 search phrase that is relevant to the content on the page. Ensure the page contains the phrase in the Tilte, H1 heading, twice in the Meta Description, twice in the opening paragraph, and also in the URL if possible. The page you are reading now is optimised for "SEO Checklist".
  • Have you got good content? SEO will be much harder if you don't have plenty of original text content, so perhaps spend less time reading SEO Articles, and more time writing good content.
  • Check the source order of your page. Good source code will have the page content as clost to the top of the HTML document as possible, and the least important elements such as sidebars and footers last. If you can get the content above the main navigation, great.
  • Spider your website using a program such as Xenu. Action all recommendations that it makes, such as fixing broken links. Look carefully at the list of URLs, and make sure they look tidy (no spaces, capitals etc).
  • Optimise your images. Ensure all are named appropriately, have alt tags and are placed near text that is relevant to the image.
  • Check the search engines to see how well indexed your site is. If the search engines have indexed pages that have since been moved or deleted, setup a 301 redirect to redirect all trafic that these pages generate (or lose it).
  • If you are a local "bricks and mortar" business, make sure you use your town / city / country on every page, in the title if possible, and in close proximity to your chosen search phrase.

If you can tick off most of the items on this list, your site will be looking in reasonable shape.

Link building

Why isn't link building on the list? Because link building isn't something you "check off". Link building should be a constant task that you are always working on.

Have I missed anything?

Probably. Why not post a comment and I'll add your recommendation to the SEO Checklist.

Harvey Kane

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Tags: seo