Kickstart Your Website SEO in 2018: The Official On-Site Optimization Checklist
Many website owners are confused by the large amount of information available when it comes to on-site SEO. That’s why here at Crowdbotics, we’ve decided to compile a list that covers the most important on-site SEO activities required to kickstart your SEO needs in 2018.
Some of these activities might be a bit challenging to complete yourself, but push through and you’ll be amply rewarded.
1. Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics platform out there, and quite conveniently, its free account includes nearly everything you need to track your website’s performance.
When it comes to SEO, Google Analytics tracks traffic coming from Google and other search engines so you can prioritize your top search keywords. More importantly, you will be able to know which pages generate the most organic traffic and lowest bounce rates.
2. Double check redirect problems (especially 302 errors)
Setting up proper redirects is vital for your on-site SEO. So-called “301 redirects” are the standard method used by search engines to represent permanent redirect, which means it passes virtually all of the SEO value from your old page to the new one. 302 is a temporary redirect usually used for site maintenance. This means if your redirects are mostly 302, search engines consider them temporary and the old SEO value won’t be passed through. Check all your redirects and make sure all 302 redirects that aren’t really temporary should be moved to 301.
There are a lot of tools that could help you out to check for redirect errors; the most common one is Browseo.
3. Check for broken links, crawl errors and more
Google’s Search Console is a free tool by Google that allows website owners to learn more about the search performance of their websites. The search console will be extremely helpful for finding out different technical problems such as missing titles, duplicate content or web crawling errors. There is a great beginner’s guide written by the team at Moz. By setting up the Google Search Console you will be able to complete activities such as setting up an XML sitemap, verifying your website with Google, checking for a robots.txt file, and more.
3rd party software such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider can also be extremely helpful in finding and fixing broken links, crawl problems and other technical errors. This type of software will especially be of huge help if you plan on scaling your website, as it really stands out when it comes to error checking on larger scales.
4. Use descriptive ALT tags and filenames for your pages
Google and other search engines also crawl images, and they are able to crawl images via their ALT tag and by scanning their filenames. That’s why it is extremely useful to have descriptive ALT tags and file names for images you are using on your website to boost SEO quality.
5. Make sure your website loads fast.
Fast loading sites provide a much better user experience and lower the bounce rate. Search engines measure and value the loading speed of your website, so this is something you should rarely (or never) compromise on. Use Pingdom or similar service to check the loading speed of your site.
6. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Over 70% of visits nowadays come from mobile devices. Not having a website with responsive design that works flawlessly across different devices will have negative effect on your SEO performance, and this one is not debatable.
7. Wordpress Users: Install the Wordpress Google Analytics plugin and use Yoast SEO.
If you are using Wordpress for your website, then this plugin provides a painless way to add Google Analytics tracking code to your website.
Yoast SEO is another great free plugin that will allow you to complete virtually every aspect of your on-site SEO in Wordpress. The paid version offers some advanced stuff, but every beginner should do just fine with the free version of Yoast SEO. There’s an official definitive guide for installing and setting up Yoast SEO on your website.
BONUS: Create a profile on major social media websites
This one isn’t really on-site optimization, but it is quite useful. Not only will you be able to manage your reputation across social media, but you’ll dominate the first page of Google Search for your brand name. This is especially useful if your company or brand is new.