A SEO Checklist for New Websites

Launching a new website can be extremely exciting. It’s finally time to show off all of the hard work you’ve done in the past few months. But before you press that launch button, there are a few things you’ll want to go over to make sure your SEO is up to par. Use this SEO checklist for your website before letting the rest of the world see your masterpiece.

  • Set up Google Analytics – Be sure that the correct Google Analytics code is on the website in order to track traffic. You’ll also want to make sure the Google Adwords (if being used) is connected to the website.
  • Set up Google Webmasters – Setting up Google Webmasters will help make sure you verify WWW, non-WWW and HTTPS. This is also where you can set your preferred domain and submit an XML sitemap.
  • Submit an XML Sitemap – an XML sitemap creates an index of all of the pages on a website. This allows Google robots to understand exactly what is on your website. You can also install the Google XML Sitemaps plug-in which will automatically update the sitemap when you add content to the site.
  • Check the robots.txt File –  check the robots.txt file for “Disallow: /”. This tells the web robots not to visit or crawl pages on the site. Pages that cannot be crawled will not be indexed by Google.
  • Update WordPress – Be sure to use the latest version of WordPress, and update all plugins.
  • Uncheck “Discourage Search Engines from Indexing This Site” – If this box is checked it will disallow Google robots from crawling your site. This means your site won’t be indexed and you’ll have trouble when trying to be found.
  • Make Sure Site is Mobile Friendly – Since approximately 60% of searches are now from mobile devices, you’ll want to make sure your website caters to the mobile user.
  • Make Sure Page Titles & Meta Descriptions are Optimizedpage titles and meta descriptions are one of the most important parts of SEO. Be sure all the page titles and meta descriptions are written and optimized.
  • Make Sure All Images Are Optimized – This means adding alt text and making sure the images are not too large. Pictures with a lot of data on them can increase the sites loading time.
  • Contact Forms are Working – Test the contact forms several times to be sure that you are receiving the contact forms through your email address. You don’t want to miss potential leads because you forgot to put your email on the contact form.
  • 404-Redirects are in Place – You’ll want to make sure you redirect your users to a 404 error page if they try to reach a webpage that doesn’t exist. These pages should have a link that directs them back to the webpage they were on before the 404 error.
  • 301-Redirects are in Place – You’ll want to be sure to redirect all of your old pages to your new pages. If a user tries to visit an old page, they will be redirected to the new site.
  • Create a Backup of the Website – Make a copy of the entire final website for backup purposes. Also be sure that ongoing copies of the website are being created and stored on a regular basis.
  • Store All Passwords in a Safe Place – The last thing you want after launching a new site is to have it be hacked. Be sure to use strong passwords and only give them out if necessary.

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