On-Site SEO Checklist

SEO Checklist

Search Engine Optimization

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of optimizing a website, as well as all the content on that website, so it will appear in prominent positions in the organic results of search engines. There are many factors that determine your rank on search engines. How your website is coded to target your desired keywords is one of the important factors to your ranking. 

Optimizing the content and how the website performs are vital to how search engines will rank you. We have put together a checklist of important features your website should have in order to initially target your keywords and appease search engines.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s source code. Meta tags are essentially little content descriptors that help search engines determine what a web page is about. 

The most important meta tags are the “Title” and the “Description” tags. The title tag is the primary and most important of the meta tags. This tag shows up in blue as a link in search engines when the website gets indexed. The description shows up underneath the link.

Example:
Black Tiger Search Engine

It is usually recommended that if you are targeting a certain word to ensure that that word is in both the title and the description. It is also recommended that the keyword is in more tags as well which we will talk about later in this post. The meta tags can be found in between the <head></head> tags in a website.

<title>Your Title Here</title>
<meta name="description" content="Your Description Here">

Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc)

Headings are pieces of HTML code that allow you to make certain words stand out on a page. Search engines look at the words inside these tags as more important than other tags. H tags usually stand out of the page and drive attention to the words within their tags. Imagine a magazine or a book cover. There are words on it that stand out more than others. The words are usually bigger and bolder than the rest of the content.

There are multiple types of header tags in a website’s code. They are defined by importance. Where H1 is the most important tag and is only allowed one time on each page, H2 and below are allowed multiple times on a page and are almost as important as the H1. Your goal should be to have your desired keyword at least once in every type of H tag.  Your website should have one H1 tags and several other H tags throughout each page of your website. 

<h1>Your Title</h1>
<h2>Your Title</h2>

Alt Tags

Alt tags are very important to getting traffic from the search engines image search results. Alt tags define the images on your website. A good example would be your logo. Your logo would have an alt tag of your company name. If you were to search your company name in search engine image search it should pull up your logo. 

<img src=”image/path.jpg” alt=”Keywords relevant to the image” />

HTTPS

Website security is very important to search engines. Securing the information between the visitor’s browser and the web server is very important and uses technology called an SSL Certificate to do so. This is particularly important when users transmit sensitive data, such as login credentials, submitting information through a website form, or purchasing a product from a website.

When an SSL Certificate is purchased and installed on your website you will be able to access your website through “HTTPS”

(Ex. https://www.yoursite.com). This means that the information between the visitor and the website is secure. Search engines care about security and give more importance to websites that use https. You can purchase an SSL certificate from a few places. You can contact your webhost to assist you with the purchase and installation of an SSL certificate. This post will help you decide. (https://www.techradar.com/news/best-ssl-certificate-provider). 

Once you have an SSL installed on your website, you will want to make sure all the urls of your website are being redirected (301) to https. If I went to http://www.yoursite.com it would redirect to https://www.yourwebsite.com. To do so you will need to add the following code to your (.htaccess) file. 

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(?:www\.)?(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://www.%1%{REQUEST_URI} [L,NE,R=301]

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Search engine friendly URLs (website addresses) are URLs that don’t contain any cryptic letters or elements in them. Search engine friendly (SEF) URLs should contain your important keywords and be intuitive,

Example:
https://www.yourwebsite.com/whiskey/irish-whiskey/jameson instead of https://www.yourwebsite.com/index.php?page=jameson

The URLs should contain keywords corresponding to the content of your website. Words in the URL carry as much importance as the title tags of your website. You should always try to have the main keyword you are trying to rank for in the URL. This keyword should also match a word in your title, description, H tags, and alt tags.

Robots.txt File

A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site. The robots.txt file also tells the search engine’s crawler where to find the sitemap, which contains the URLs of all the pages of your website. The robots.txt file typically is placed in your “public” directory. If you would like search engines to crawl all the pages of your website you would just put the following code inside the robots.txt file

Crawl all pages of your website
User-agent: *
Allow: /
Sitemap: http://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is an XML file that contains the URL of every page of your website. This helps google index not only pages of your website which may be linked and easy to find for a crawler but also the ones that do not have any links to the website. The XML sitemap is a very important file that also tells the search engine how ofter you update each page so it knows when it needs to come back to the website to reindex the pages. XML sitemaps are also a vital tool in working with search engines such as Google. Google has the option for website owners to submit all the pages of their website for Google to index through the Google Webmaster Tools.

. It content of the XML File looks like this:
XML Sitemap

There are several tools which can help you create this file. I would recommend going to https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ . This service will scan your website and create an XML Sitemap for you to download and upload to the “Public” directory of your website. Once the file is uploaded, you can goto webmaster tools and submit all the urls of your website to search engines.

Website Page Speed

Another very important aspect to how well search engines rank you is how well your website is performing. How fast does it take for your website to load on the visitors computer or mobile device. There are several ways of lowering the pages load time.

Amount of Requested Files

When a website loads, it has to load many different types of website assets. The amount of requests or assets which are called to load consists of images, CSS files, and JS files. It is recommended that you combine all the CSS files together into one CSS file. It is also recommended to do the same for javascript files. By putting all the CSS or JS into their own file you are lessening the amount of files which need to be called when a website loads.

CSS/JS Minification/Compression

Traditionally CSS or JS has a lot of empty white space in the file. This white space is filled with unnecessary empty characters which increases the size of the file being downloaded. Once you have completed your website it is recommended to minify your CSS and or JS files. This means to compress all of the CSS or JS to be on one line with all the white space removed. You can goto https://www.minifier.org/ to minify your CSS or JS files.

Image Compression

Images can make up the bulk of the download when requesting a website and can be the biggest reason why a website would load slowly. This is why it is important to make sure that your image sizes are at minimal size. There are a few practices which can allow you to get your images to the littlest file size. There are some good websites which can compress your images for you and export a lossless cut down version of each of your images. If you goto https://compresspng.com you can compress PNG image files and https://compressjpeg.com for JPG image files. I always suggest that once you are done designing your website to run all your images through these services. This will allow you to have the least file sizes for your images.

Mobile Friendliness

Search engines put major weight on if your website is mobile friendly. A mobile site is a site that is modified to fit a user’s mobile device (Tablet, iPad, or smartphone) and is easy to navigate without the user needing to zoom in or adjust their settings manually. The text is easy to read, the site is easy to navigate, and it’s easy for someone to find what they’re looking for.

You can find out if your website is mobile friendly by going to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Black Tiger Creative

Every website designed by Black Tiger Creative have these SEO features included in the website. If you are looking to have a beautiful website designed for your business then look no further. You can find more information on our website design page.

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