A Basic SEO Checklist
How to Optimise your Website – a basic Checklist
Include an XML site map
XML site maps are a way to give search engines more information about your site. Once you’ve created it, you need to submit it to search engines to make sure they index your site correctly. Submitting a site map to search engines is easy; go to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster.
Include a Robots file
A robots.txt file tells search engines how to interact with your content, and tells them which pages you want them to crawl/index. Otherwise, a search engine will assume they can crawl every page and all the content within your site. The robots file needs to be placed in the top level directory of a web server for it to work effectively.
Find the Right Keywords
Selecting the right keywords can make or break an SEO strategy, you’ll need to get the right balance of finding keywords that get searched for regularly, but are also achievable to rank for. Use the Google Keyword Tool to help research and choose the right keywords.
Include Meta Data for each page
Search engines use this information to determine what your site is about and rank it accordingly.
It’s not visible on the actual web page, but it does appear as the snippet of text on search engine result pages, and people read these to determine whether your site matches their search query. When writing your meta data, try to include your main keywords and be concise, as there is a character limit of 70 for the meta title and 155 for the meta description.
Pay Attention to Page structure
Your web pages should be well structured to include a title tag, a h1 tag (main heading), a h2 tag (subheading), possibly a h3 and h4 tag. More weight is given to the H1 than the H2 and H3. Search engines do pay attention to these to determine the relevancy of a web page against a given search query, so include your main keywords at the beginning of these tags.
Poor URL structure can hinder your search engine rankings. URLs need to be easy-to-read, follow a logical site structure, and contain your keywords, i.e. www.torpedogroup.com/blog/a-basic-seo-checklist/.
Apply any Redirects
It is likely you will own several domains that relate to your company name and services, and if you do not know where you can find powerful expired domains, check out the Spamzilla software. Don’t have them all sitting there with the same content on under their respective domains. Decide which is the main (primary) domain then apply a 301 (permanent) redirect to point the other (secondary) sites to the primary domain. This makes it clear to search engines which is the primary domain and eliminates any confusion over duplicate content.
Include a HTML site map
This is a site map located at the footer of each web page. It contains links to some of the main pages within the site, and also any deeper pages that might otherwise be harder to find. HTML site maps allow for better indexing in search engines and well-informed site visitors.
Make it Easy to Navigate
Easy-to-use navigation makes it better for visitors to find their way around your site, encourages them to come back and keeps them engaged in your content. Good usability also helps search engines index your pages more efficiently.
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