An SEO Checklist For New Websites

Are you building a new website and would like to optimise your search engine presence? Here is an SEO Checklist to incorporate into the building of your new website!

  • Title Tags

Title tags should be able to be set individually, on a page by page basis, overriding the defaults. These are usually easily edited via your content management system (CMS). However, if not, your web developer should be able to help you with this. The title tag of a given page is in important place to use your target key phrases.

  • Meta Description Tags

Like title tags, these should be able to be set individually, on a page by page basis, overriding any defaults. Search engines will sometimes use these to provide a description of the organic search links they provide, as per the screenshot below. This can be a key factor in influencing visitors to click through to your website. Again, if you are not able to edit these, your web developer should be able to edit them for you.

  • H1 Tags (Page Headings)

Ideally, the main heading on the page should also contain your target key phrases if it makes sense in context. We would normally recommend that this be marked up as an H1.

  • Breadcrumb Trails

As well as helping visitors to find their way around the website, a breadcrumb trail can help Google to understand the structure of the site and if you have used semantic markup, the breadcrumb trail may be displayed in Google’s search results.

  • Semantic Markup

Marking up content semantically helps search engines to better understand your content. An address can be marked up as an address, for example, and a recipe as a recipe.

  • Site Map

Your site should automatically produce a valid Google site map which can be set up in Google Search Console (formerly called Webmaster Tools). This can help Google to find and index all your pages easily.

  • Google Analytics

When redeveloping a website, we recommend that you keep your existing Analytics account rather than starting a new one, so that you can easily compare the performance of the new site to the old. GA should preferably be set up using the latest Universal Analytics code, with demographic reporting enabled, giving you access to all the available features. You should also set up integration with Google’s Search Console. We would also suggest setting up Google Tag Manager to enable you to make changes to tracking codes on the site without having to go through your web developer each time.

  • Page URLs

When redeveloping a website, if it involves a change of content management system, you are likely to have changed most, if not all, of the URLs on the website. You should set up 301 redirects from the old page addresses to their new equivalents – this helps Google understand which new page is equivalent.

  • Image ALT Tags

ALT tags of images on the site should be editable via the content management system wherever possible, as these can be beneficial to SEO as well as to accessibility.

  • Canonical Tags

If more than one version of the same page is created on the website then a canonical tag should be used to identify to Google the primary version of the page. Pages should be linked to consistently using the same version of the URL.

  • Tracking Conversions

For tracking goal conversions, we would usually recommend a separate tailored ‘thank you’ page for each enquiry form on the website. This way you will be able to track how many people have filled in each enquiry form via your Google Analytics.   If you have any queries, feel free to leave a comment or call us on 01952 462845.

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