Website SEO Checklist
As the name suggests,website SEO checklist details paying attention to site wide SEO factors that may affect website ranking. Site-wide SEO is a bit technical mainly because it focuses on eliminating any hindrances Google and users may encounter when navigating your site.
It does so by focusing on, and fixing issues such as; structural coding issues, usability, reducing bounce rates (through creating compelling content), fixing indexing issues, and a wide range of issues we shall look at shortly.
As the title of this section clearly states, this section is short and precise; this is because most of the elements we shall touch on here require some hands on approach where you have to analyze different aspects of your website and optimize accordingly.
When addressing site wide optimization, below are the areas you want to pay attention to:
1: Optimize Your Site Map and Robot.txt File
A site map, normally in XML format, is the treasure map search engines use to index your website. Without an XML sitemap, Google spiders have to crawl (read) pages individually, something they don’t like. A site map makes crawling your pages lightning fast.
A robot.txt file, on the other hand, is simply a file that lets Google spiders know not to index specific pages on your site. While it may seem contrary to the aim of search engine optimization, a robot.txt comes in very handy when you do not want Google to index specific information that may affect your website rank.
2: Clean Code and Easy Navigation
As we have consistently seen, Google is very user driven. In an earlier section, we stated the following: 40-47% of internet users expect pages to load in 2-3 second, if it takes longer, they will bounce off.
Other than optimized and compressed media, your website structure, code, and navigation also determine your page load speed. Thus, in your website SEO checklist it should have clean, search and user-friendly code, and navigation; this will ensure users stay longer on your site, which Google will treat as a sign of trust and usefulness.
3: Fix Errors and Redirects for Website SEO
We touched on link rots while looking at the how to build back links. As part of your website SEO checklist, search and fix all error 404s, 301 redirects, and other server related issues.
Note: Although most errors will not cost you ranking juice, they will leave a bad taste in user’s mouths, and will increase your bounce rate, something Google uses as a user-friendliness metric.
4: Eliminate Duplicate Content
We talked about duplicate content/URLs and their effects on ranking. Search for, and eliminate all duplicate content on your page. If you absolutely must have duplicate content, use the canonical tag to let Google bots know the nature of this content, and the piece of content or page they index.
5: Utilize Static Pages
If your site has many dynamic pages, especially ones that contain duplicate content, consider converting your content into static pages. Additionally, if your homepage content constantly changes, consider using a static homepage, and then using this page to point to other locations on your site. This is especially useful considering that an index page with content that changes constantly has a negative SEO effect.
6: Capitalize On Analytics for Website SEO
Analytics allow you to know where your users are coming from, where they are going once they get to your site, and how long they are staying on your site. Analytics play a very huge part in SEO and it is thus a very important SEO must do. Fortunately, Google analytics is very easy to set up on all websites.