Every time I start a new website, I typically find myself doing the same things over and over, in order to lay the foundation for solid optimization. During my SEO training class, I mention this checklist, which covers everything you should consider doing in the first week or so of going live.
This list covers the top 30 things you should consider when it comes to getting a new site live and into the search index. It has been updated for 2013. It uses a simple script to tally everything you check off. Once you’ve completed it, it will give you a score out of 30 possible points at the bottom of the page.
The 2013 SEO Checklist
Check off items as you go along.
Feel free to keep this page open so that you can refer back.
Everything you check off will be tallied at the bottom. Maximum 30 points.
Not all of these may apply to your situation.
Have you created a new Google Account and Email address for your site?
Have you installed Google Analytics?
Have you installed Google Webmaster Tools?
Have you installed Bing Webmaster Tools?
Using WordPress? Have you installed Google Analytics for WordPress and SEO for WordPress?
Have you used Browseo to find even more technical errors (the most common error people make are 302 redirects that should be 301 redirects)?
Have you used Xenu to find any broken links you might have?
Have you used Google’s Keyword Research Tool? Be sure to consider searcher intent and difficulty, pick 1 keyword per page, and you’ll generally want to start with lower-volume keywords first.
Have you looked at competitor link profiles? This way you can see what kind of anchor text they’re using, as well as how and where they’ve been getting their links. Input competitor domains at Link Diagnosis, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and LipperHey
Have you incorporated your primary keyword (or something close) into your page URL?
Are all of your title tags 70 characters or less? Title tags over 70 will be truncated in results.
Have you used only one H1 tag? Is it before any (H2, H3, H4…) tags? Is your keyword in the tag?
Do you have a healthy amount of search engine-accessible text on your site? My recommendation is at least 100 words, because you want to give search engines an opportunity to understand what the topic of your page is. You can still rank with less, and you don’t ever want to put unnecessary text on your site, but I recommend not creating a new page unless you have roughly 100 words worth of content.
Did you use synonyms in your copy by using the “~keyword” advanced search operator? Remember: synonyms are great, and using natural language that’s influenced by keyword research (rather than just pure keywords) is highly encouraged!
Do your images have descriptive ALT tags and filenames? Search engines “see” images by reading the ALT tag and looking at file names, among other factors. Try to be descriptive when you name your images. Don’t overdo it! Being spammy about this can trigger an over-optimization penalty.
Are you linking to your internal pages in an SEO-friendly way? Are you describing the page your linking to in the anchor text, so that both users and search engines understand what it’s about? I recommend not using anchor text in your global nav because it can look like over-optimization. Stick to in-content links instead.
Are you using absolute URLs in your code? Some CMS platforms give you the option. Use absolute URLs instead of relative ones.
Have you checked your site speed with Google Page Speed Tools?
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.
Have you created a Robots.txt file and submitted it in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools?
Have you claimed your business / website username on other major networks
Have you setup social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+?
Have you added Authorship Markup to your site? Use the Authorship Markup Walkthrough.
Have you used the MetaFever’s SEO On-Page Optimization Report to double-check everything once you’re live?
Have you reviewed all of the understand some of the high-level concepts (don’t worry, it can be tough!), have you reviewed the Beginner’s Guide to SEO?