SEO Checklist – Quick Wins for Any Website
Building a high performing website and ranking top for it on all search engine is not easy. There is more to the SEO game than just enabling the search engines to find your sites pages.
There are a range of different ways that you fix a website quickly. Below we have listed some quick wins to use at the start of a new campaign.
Generate a Sitemap & Add Your Site to Google Search Console
A sitemap on a website tell search engines about the pages that are on a website. By creating and submitting a sitemap, it helps the search engines when crawling the site. There are a range of tools available to build XML sitemaps for free.
Once you have created your sitemap, you will want to create a Google Search Console account and add in the website, then submit the sitemap. This allows the search engines to crawl your pages then.
Ensure Googlebot is Crawling the Site
Googlebot is what crawls a website and it’s content in order to rank the site on the SERP. If Googlebot cannot crawl the site then it will not be able to access the content therefore the site will not rank in the search results.
How to check that Googlebot is crawling the site:
- Click the site that you want to crawl on the Search Console homepage
- There is a tool on here called ‘Fetch as Google’ which comes under the crawl section
- Enter the URL path to the page where prompted to
- Select ‘Desktop’ from the dropdown list
- Click ‘Fetch’, you should see a ‘successful’ status, once this has appeared then click on ‘Submit to index’
Another useful tool whilst you are on Search Console is the Robots.txt tester, this tests whether the robots.txt file is correctly set for all the pages you want the Googlebot to crawl and also those that you don’t.
Run a Crawler on the Site
You can use a tool like Screaming Frog to run a crawl test on the site. There is numerous amount of data that you can get from a crawler tool such as:
- Missing & duplicate H1 & H2 Tags
- Missing & duplicate page titles & meta descriptions
- MIssing ALT tags on images
- Any 404 errors
- Duplicate Pages
Checking for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is content that appears on the internet in more than one place. When there are multiple copies of identical content on the internet, search engines find it difficult to decide on which version is more relevant. So to provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show multiple duplicate pieces of content.
Therefore it’s important that you check that the content on your site is not duplicated somewhere else on the web. If there is duplicate content present the site owner will suffer in terms of rankings and therefore traffic loss too.
There are many tools on the web that can check if content is duplicated anywhere else so we would suggest that you use this tool when adding content to a site.
Check the Page Load Time of the Site
Checking the page load time of a site is essential and improving the issues with the page that are causing it to slow down can have quick results for the site. Google have a tool called the PageSpeed Tool, which tells you what is causing the site to slow down and will also give guidance on how to fix the issues immediately.
All you need to do is enter the website URL and click ‘Analyse’. This gives you a full report of the speed of the site along with recommendations on how to fix it. Increasing the page load speed of a site can help with the bounce rate and increase the amount of pages per visit too.
Optimise Content By Adding a Call to Action
If you want a conversion to take place then you need to ensure that your efforts aren’t in vain. Add in a n effective call to action button on your landing pages to persuade the visitors to take the desired action. Just by making a minor tweak and adding in an effect call to action in the right place and not to overwhelming can help reduce your sites bounce rate and increase conversions too.
We would recommend having at least 1 call to action on each page of the site and at least 3 call to actions on the homepage.
Check that Your Site Hasn’t Been Hit With By an Algorithm Update
Algorithm Penalties occur when Google updates the Algorithm to which it ranks search results and a website does not comply with the update. This penalty can affect the site by decreasing the traffic to the site, losing rankings and a drop in SEO visibility too.
A manual action can take place when Google picks up that a site is violating its quality guidelines and issues a warning or penalty. It’s essential that if a site is given a manual action then this is known to the site owner and removed before the site loses all rankings etc. A way to check if a site has a manual action is to use the Webmaster Tool called Search Console which I spoke about earlier on. There is a section called ‘search traffic’ which has a ‘manual actions’ category. This will tell you if the site has manual action, hopefully it doesn’t, but in the case that it does lifting the penalty can increase traffic, rankings and visibility dramatically.
Use Relevant Keywords
If you are targeting the wrong keywords then all your work could be useless. It’s essential that you find the right keywords that searchers are using to find your site. Local keywords can be less competitive so can be easier to rank for these the majority of the time. Make sure that you are keeping the relevant keywords in the headers and title tags without over using them.
Ensure Your Site is Optimised for Mobile Devices
Google has said that over 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search, while 34% of consumers on tablets or computer will go to the store. This is why it’s essential that your website is optimised for mobile devices. This is becoming increasingly important as the number of mobile searches is increasing every day.
If a site is taking too long to load on mobile then the majority of visitors are probably going to click back, which will increase your bounce rate. Thus emphasising the importance of having a fully optimised mobile site. This is important to e-commerce sites that may not have a physical store to visit, so all transactions are coming through the website.
While you can manage some of the quick wins above yourself, you might need professional help for others. Completing all of the above will help you successfully find and fix the majority of the issues that can affect your website’s site performance. If you need professional help with your site then get in touch with Ricemedia to put our expertise to use.