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The SEO Checklist we use before we hand over a website to a client

If you own a business or run a marketing department, you know ranking on Google is crucial.

But SEO can be a scary term.

For many, once they hear the word SEO, they begin to look for a place to hide.

It is not the prettiest part of digital marketing, but it is a MUST for any website.

As you are about to learn, SEO is crucial for your business if you want to rank on Google’s first page. Without spending quality time on SEO and building a good website from the ground up, you could end up not being seen by your customers.

But don’t worry, that is why we have created this simple SEO check-list.

In this post, we are sharing the check-list we use before we hand over the website to you. This check-list ensures the technical SEO of your website is 100% ready; however, it does not mean that this is all you will need to rank on Google.

Remember that SEO is a long term process.

So when should you start working on SEO?

We are glad you asked.

When do I need to start working on the SEO of a website?

Within our process, we have a phase called Inception. Here, our developers and strategist work towards creating the structure of the website and the flow of the clients. Also known as the customer journey on a website.

When it comes to Google, know that structure is everything!

In this site map, we also include the main keywords and the experience each user will have with each page.

As you know, Google uses the experience of your website to rank you against your competitors. Hence, you want to be careful with website templates.

Once the structure of your website is clear, your website will do the following:

  • Allow Google to crawl the website. They crawl your website to see what is new, find keywords and make sure everything is working
  • Your users will be able to navigate the website easier than before
  • As your website grows, you will be able to connect pages and related content better.

Quick Tip: Your website’s map, should be updated as often as there are changes. For example, if you write a new blog post, you want to connect that blog posts to many other pages on your website. This has proven to work for us better than generating backlinks for our client’s website.

So you have your structure in hand, now to the codes.

SEO Check-list Item #1: Clean codes and fast speed

You want Google and Bing, yes I said Bing, to crawl your website as fast as possible. For this to happen, your codes neat to be very neat, minify and compressed.

If you have built your website from scratch, you will have full control of this. On the other hand, if you have used a template, you will have to spend some more time ensuring the codes are clean.

You have to make sure all your HTML, CSS, JS is minified and compressed. If you are using WordPress, you can use a plugin, or do it manually with a minifying web application.

Also, make sure all your javascript is moved to the footer to improve the speed of the site.

SEO Check-list Item #2: Are the images prepared for the web?

Images are important for the web. But they need to be ready for your website.

I am talking in term of size and weight. One of the biggest problems with websites is large images and a large number of images on a website.

So here are a few rules we follow:

  • Can this image be an SVG file – logos, backgrounds, animations, icons
  • Since most people visit websites on their tablets, the images do not need to be more than 1920px wide.
  • Now, we are moving to 1500PX wide and the speed has increased
  • No image can be larger than 350kb
  • Any image larger than 350kb needs to be stored using a CDN
  • Images have to be minified before being uploaded to the site
  • Once you have uploaded the images here is what we check:
  • All images have clean names
  • Images on the website MUST have Alt tags and titles

You now have your codes and images out of the way. Your website should be loading fast by now. Keep in mind, you want the website to load within 2- 5 seconds. The ideal time here is 3 seconds of complete loading time.

SEO Check-list Item #3: Check Description and Title Tags

For us, we write all of these tags as begin to write content for each page of the website. Then, we add them to a file and share it with the developer to ensure they are successfully added.

These are the tags you will see on Google when you do any search queries.

In this step you want to check for the following:

  • All title tags have the main keyword you want to rank for
  • Title tags need to be between 50 – 60 characters. Keep in mind, Google is now showing fewer characters
  • Your Description tags need to also have the keyword you want to rank for
  • The description tag needs to have a Call-To-Action to drive people to click
  • The description of your website needs to be completed in 150 characters.
  • Once all of this has been added to the website, we will use a crawling software to ensure that:
  • No tags are repeated
  • Tags have the right amount of characters
  • All pages are accessible
  • All images have an ALT description that tells what the image is
  • Anywhere on the website that has a tag, needs to have an alt description added to it

Once we have crawled the website, found no errors. We will then generate a site map of the website.

SEO Check-list Item #4: Creating a site map

Now that everything is in place, we work towards creating a site map. As you know, this is a .XML files you share with Google, giving them the map of your website.

Can you see where the structure of the site plays an important role?

I bet you can!

We create 3 site maps:
Your main pages site map (Home, about, services)
Blogs and resources site map
Images site map
Images?

What are you talking about?

Did you know you can rank a website with images? That is why it is so important to give them an ALT tag and title, as well as a proper name.

If you are using WordPress, you can use SEO Yoast to do this. At Pirela Consultancy, we use Screaming frog to create amazing site maps.

SEO Check-list Item #5: Adding a tag manager for our client’s website

Tag Manager is a tool by Google that allows you to add tags like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels and much more without going to the back end of your website.

We ensure to do this on every website to ensure it is easier for our clients to add integrations to their websites.

Once you have added the tag manager tag to your website, do the following:
Create and Add a Google Analytics account for the website
Create and add a Webmaster account for the website
Add your Facebook Pixels
Add any other third-party integration

Once this set up is completed, you can go ahead and add your sitemaps to Google’s and Bing’s Website Master tool.

Within a few days, you will see Google has begun to crawl your website.

As we complete this check-list, our team goes through the website to ensure everything is clickable and the website is working as it should on mobile and desktop.

This check-list takes between 1 – 2 hrs, but saves many hours of work later on.

Now that you have all this set, you have a solid start to SEO and ranking your website.

We have also implemented a client’s website hand-over check-list, that we use for every project alongside this SEO Checklist. If you want to see it, comment YES! and we will break it down for you.

What does your checklist look like?

Written by: Leopoldo Pirela

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