We’ve said it before: Bad SEO can cost you a lot of money. And Google’s standards for good SEO changes as user behavior changes . A recent report by Moz states that Google changes its search algorithm 500-600 times a year. With change that frequent, your SEO shouldn’t remain still. And the only way you can continue to improve your SEO is to make sure you have everything in its right place.
Is your website properly optimized to bring in web users who will interact with your website and learn about your business? Are you tracking how well your website is performing and how it is growing your revenue? Use this SEO checklist to see how prepared your site is to rank well in search engines.
Is Google Analytics set up?
Without Google Analytics, you can’t measure the performance of your website. Google Analytics lets you track how much value you’re getting out of your website. A few of these include:
- Traffic to your website
- Your website visitor demographics
- Your most popular content
- Your least popular content
- Through which channels people are finding your website
- Which of your marketing campaigns are performing the best
- Your website’s bounce rate
Is Google Search Console set up?
With Google Search Console, you can see how Google displays your site in search results and the different kinds of queries that are bringing your pages up.
Is your site mobile-friendly?
Google prefers websites that are optimized for mobile browsing. StatCounter found that mobile usage surpassed desktop usage worldwide for the first time in 2016, and those mobile numbers keep growing. The majority of your visitors are browsing your site on their phones, and they must be able to navigate quickly, or they’ll bounce. Check the mobile-friendliness of your site with this tool from Google.
Is your page speed optimized?
A 2016 study by DoubleClick revealed that 53 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Make sure your website’s page speed is less than that. You can test your site’s page speed with this tool from Google.
Are your pages optimized with keywords?
You (hopefully) already know that stuffing your content with keywords won’t help the quality of your webpages or their rankings in search. Keywords need to be strategically chosen and placed throughout your pages in a way that enhances visitors’ understanding of the page they’re reading and tells search engines what your content is about. Make sure your keywords are placed in the following sections of your webpages:
- Title tag: Place the keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
- Body text: Place the keyword in a part of the body text that makes the most sense. Make sure not to use the keyword so much that it reads as unnatural or forced.
- Meta description: Placing the keyword in the meta description gives people a better understanding of a search result and increases the likelihood that they will click through.
- URL: Putting the keyword phrase into the URL helps Google understand the relevance of the page and improves user understanding of what the link is about.
- Headline: The exact keyword doesn’t always have to be placed in the headline, but the headline should be relevant to the topic of the page. Place the keyword in the headline if it makes sense.
- Alt tags: When you place keywords into the alt tags of images on your pages, you’re telling Google what the images are about and allowing it to crawl them.
Do you have a sitemap for your website?
A sitemap is a list of the pages on your website. By submitting a sitemap to Google, you help Google understand your content and begin to crawl your website.
Do you have a robots.txt file set up?
Setting up a robots.txt file directs Google on which of your webpages to crawl and which of your webpages to leave alone. You don’t want Google to crawl the pages of your site that are for internal use only.
Do you have 301 redirects and 302 redirects set up?
When you move a webpage to a new location with a new URL, a 301 redirect sends users to that new location when they click on the outdated URL. A 302 redirect is useful when you want to redirect users to a temporary page that will be taken down later, such as in a case of A/B testing.
Website optimization is an involved process with a lot of steps, but this checklist should send you on your way to having a website that looks good to Google and gets lots of traffic.
If you want to learn more about which optimization tactics help you get the most value out of your website, our Digital Summit conferences feature workshops and keynote speakers who cover the latest and greatest trends in SEO and other facets of digital marketing. Join the definitive digital marketing community and register today.