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Checklist for SEO site optimization in 2020

Checklist for SEO site optimization in 2020 - Complete Guide


This checklist will help you avoid commonplace mistakes during the SEO optimization of your site. Bookmark this page or download the table at the end of the article. Check the list items when creating a new site or auditing an existing one. The checklist is relevant for 2019. It will be useful for marketers, SEOs, and website owners.


Internal optimization


Internal SEO optimization is working with texts, meta tags, code, and page structure. Correctly optimized pages that meet the requirements of the search engines are considered relevant to the promoted queries.


Page tags


Title - the title of the page that is displayed in the search engine. A good title contains the keyword, doesn't appear more than once on the site, and matches the content of the page. This tag is the first thing a user sees after entering a search query. It should be attractive to entice potential visitors to click on the link.


Description - the description of the page that appears below the title. The optimal size is up to 200 characters. It is recommended to use keywords in the text. The description should be different from the title, and not be used more than once on the site. You can add emoji emoticons to attract attention.


Keywords - keywords by which the page should be promoted. If you do not prescribe, nothing bad will happen. Most SEOs ignore this tag. If you are going to use it, avoid over spam, and be unique.


Page tags can be checked using the following tools:


  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

  • Netpeak Spider.

  • ComParser.

  • WebsiteReport.

  • Wildshark SEO Spider.

  • SEO META in 1 CLICK (plugin).


H1 - page title. Should be positioned above the second-level headings. You cannot add more than one tag per page. It is undesirable to use any markup other than <h1> </h1>.


Correct link weight distribution


Home and promoted pages should receive more link power than less important ones (eg “contacts” or about “company”). Static weight is formed by the number of internal links that lead to a specific page. It is important not to link to the same page more than once, as search engines do not take into account the weight from several identical links.


Hidden text


Search engines do not like it when the site contains indexed text that is not visible to visitors. For example, white text on a white background, or rendered outside the visible page using CSS.


It is also not recommended to hide text in tabs. If the text blocks contain valuable keywords or are relevant to the content of the page, it is better to typeset so that they can be seen without additional clicks.


Internal links


Add relevant hyperlinks, a block with similar or recommended pages to your pages. Internal links improve behavioral factors, as well as help search engines, crawl your site faster and deeper. They have three main functions:


  • Determining the site hierarchy.

  • Transfer of weight to other pages.

  • Helping the user to surf the site.


Links should be useful, relevant, and anchor text. There are no special requirements for the anchor. However, you can use keywords that could not be used on the page to which the link leads - the anchor text will be added to the content.


Optimizing images


Place images next to the text they illustrate. You can also use signatures. The name of the files should convey their content. For example, zelenaya_parka.jpg, not 0189.jpg. Use the Alt / Title attributes. This is the alternate text and image title. Used when ranking images in search. Optimized images can drive traffic.


Technical optimization


Painstaking internal website optimization brings results only in the absence of technical errors. They prevent the search robot from fully indexing pages and understanding the structure of the project, and users from finding the information they need.


SSL certificate


Using a secure encryption protocol is a must-have in 2019. In 2014, Google recommended switching to SSL. After another three years, all sites using the HTTP protocol began to be marked as insecure. If the site is at the launch stage, you must initially set up a 301 border redirect from http: // to https: //. Please use Google's guidelines to migrate your existing site to SSL.


Pagination


Duplicate content, duplicate title, and description tags can be found on pagination pages. If the content of the pages is partially duplicated, you should use the rel = canonical attribute, or place all the content on one page. The first method is more priority for Yandex, the second for Google.


Robots.txt and Sitemaps.xml


The robots.txt file is used to close the indexing of certain sections of the site (admin panel, site search, authorization, and registration). Through robots.txt, you can prevent indexing of the entire site (for example, during the development period, when pages are filled with template content), individual files, and folders. It also contains a link to sitemaps.xml.


It is important in sitemaps.xml to correctly display the date of the last page refresh, as well as its priority. The XML version of the map should not contain links to pages and sections that are prohibited from indexing in the robots.txt file. You can check sitemaps for errors in Google Search Console and in Yandex Webmaster.


Cyclic links


Links must not link to the page on which they are posted. This degrades usability and lowers the position in the search results. They appear due to the peculiarities of CMS and plugins, as well as errors in the layout of the site. You can check for cyclic URLs using the SiteReport service.


Duplicate pages


Duplicates are pages with duplicate content. Copies appear due to the automatic generation of pages by the site engine, changes in the site structure, and human errors. Duplicates can be full or partial. They lead to a deterioration in indexing, loss of the link weight of pages, as well as to a change in the relevant page in the search results.


Server errors


500 errors signal problems with the server, CGI scripts, or the access file. The configuration file may contain unsupported directives or incorrect markup. Often the server error code occurs due to heavy load on the server.


Page loading speed


Slow page loading speeds increase the bounce rate. Users close pages that take longer to load. Good speed is less than 1 second. This parameter is influenced by the number of HTTP requests, optimization of images and videos, the number of JS scripts, server load, etc.


Open Graph markup


Open Graph is a page's micro-markup used to correctly display a page's announcement on social networks. The markup is placed as HTML code, within the <head> tag.


It is enough to use standard Open Graph tags:


  • Og: url is a permalink.

  • Og: image - link to the preview image.

  • Og: title - page title.

  • Og: description - page description up to 300 characters.

  • Og: type - content type (article, news, music, video).


The markup is located in the meta property tag.


Last Modified and If-Modified-Since Headers


The Last-Modified and If-Modified-Since HTTP headers tell the search engine if the page has been refreshed since the last crawl. If the titles remain the same, the search engine may not go to it the next time you visit. If your CMS does not have a script to automatically update headers, you need to configure them manually.


Optimization for mobile devices and the mobile version of the site


On sites with a mobile version, you need to use the link tag with a link to an alternative page. So search engines will understand that these are two versions of the same site.


Example for smxlr8.com/newsletters: <link rel = "alternate" media = "only screen and (max-width: 640px)" target = "_ blank" href = " https://smxlr8.com/newsletters >


On sites with responsive design, the pages must display correctly on mobile devices. You can test the optimization in the Google Search Console validator.


Semantic core of the site


The semantic core is a collection of words and phrases that reflect the subject matter, content, and structure of the site. The CL should cover as many relevant keywords as possible. An incorrectly composed list of keys leads to a lack of targeted traffic.


Expanding the semantic core


The right column in Yandex Wordstat is not the only source of keywords. The semantic core can be extended with the following tools:


  • Google Keyword Planner.

  • Search Query Analysis tool in Google Search Console.

  • Statistics of requests to "Mail.ru Search".

  • Semrush.

  • Rush Analytics.

  • Key Collector.

  • JustMagic.

  • Pixel Tools.

  • Click.ru.


You can also use hints in Google and Yandex. Most of them are formed on the basis of queries entered by users. You can collect hints using any tool to extend the semantic core. For example Rush Analytics or KeyCollector.


Consider alternative spellings of words and phrases (abbreviations, slang, synonyms). For example, “buy fabric”, “buy cloth” and “buy fabric” are queries that involve searching for the same product.


Content for pages


Posting frequency and content quality are important variables that affect SEO performance. A fresh blog article tells the search engine that the site is not abandoned, and the user - that the company's services are still relevant. There is no correct publication frequency. But if you stick to a certain schedule, then some users will remember this and will visit the site to check for new content.


Different content formats


Use pictures and infographics. Illustrations visually separate the page, improving the readability of the text. In the ALT attribute, you can write a phrase with the entry of a key phrase, as well as get traffic from image search in Google and Yandex.


Common types of images:


  • The photo.

  • Animation.

  • Infographics.

  • Drawing.

  • Scheme.

  • Map.

  • Screenshot.

  • Collage.

  • Mental map.

  • Poster.

  • Comic.

  • Meme.


The position in the search results can be influenced by the presence of a relevant video on the page. It also increases the average pageview time. In addition to videos and images, you can use audio (podcasts, broadcasts, audiobooks), inserting content from social networks.


Where to publish content


Content is published on those pages that need to be promoted in search results. For example, a description of goods and services. Also, information can be posted in a blog, portfolio, a section with questions and answers.


Section with questions and answers


The FAQ section is a good way to gather traffic and reduce the load on your support team. It is better to place the responses on separate pages so that you can add the <title> and <description> tags. Most queries with questions are low-frequency.


Blog


The blog is designed to publish informational articles that answer the questions of the target audience, increase user confidence in the site, and demonstrate expertise. Also, a blog is a platform for receiving feedback, forming a subscriber base on social networks, a channel for launching word of mouth.


Portfolio


In the portfolio, you can publish examples of work with a description of each project. In addition to improving SEO performance, a portfolio increases the level of trust among potential buyers. Optimized pages can receive traffic. For example, by request "example of a house project" on the site of an architectural bureau.


Influence of external factors


The domain's link profile has a significant impact on ranking. A high-quality link mass contributes to getting to the top, and a bad link leads to penalties from search engines. Good natural links are those placed on relevant pages of trust sites. The bad ones are links with explicit SEO anchors posted on AGS sites. You can check the quality of the link mass using the following services:



The anchor list should not be spammed with a specific key. This betrays the unnatural nature of link building. Analyze the sites in the top of your topic. Start from their percentage of non-anchor and anchor links. Post your link to generic donors that link to niche leaders.


Sources of link placement

  • Buying links on thematic sites.

  • Links from photos in Yandex Collections, images in Pinterest, video descriptions on Youtube.

  • Job search sites.

  • Company pages on thematic sites.

  • Services of questions and answers.

  • Subject forums.


Brand mentions without a link also have a positive impact on site trust. They can be obtained in the following ways:


  • Subject forums.

  • Review aggregators.

  • Guest posts.

  • Comments.


The trust of a web resource is positively influenced by links from social networks. Motivate your site visitors to share your pages. Add repost buttons to popular social networks.


Monitoring behavioral factors


User behavior affects the ranking of a site. Search engines pay attention to the following factors:


  • The time the user spends on the site.

  • The number of pages visited by a visitor at one time.

  • Returns to the site from search and vice versa.

  • Bounce rate (viewing one page without going deep into the site).

  • Number of reposts to social networks.


Example: If the majority of visitors close the page quickly, this increases the bounce rate. The search engine receives a signal that users do not like the page (ads, long loading, lack of relevant information, poor design), and worsens its position in the search results.


Promotion in the regions


If you need visitors from a specific city or region, make a geo-dependent reference:


  • Add the company's branches to Google My Business and Yandex directory.

  • Create regional pages (if you work in multiple regions).

  • Get links from regional sites.

  • Encourage customers to leave reviews with an address.

  • Use Geo Sitemap *.


* Using the Geo Sitemap & KML generator tool, you can generate a special file indicating the addresses of your company's branches. The KML file is placed at the root of the site, and the link to it is written in the sitemap.xml.


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