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SEO Resources Vol.17

Technical SEO Checklist

If you forgot to tend to your technical SEO while you were busy surviving Google algorithm updates, I could hardly blame you. Fortunately, there's no time like the present to double-check your site health and conduct an SEO audit.

This checklist will run you through all the technical SEO fundamentals you need in place in the year ahead.

Install essential tools:

Your ability to improve your SEO hinges on your tools' ability to find and fix technical problems. Here are the absolute essentials you'll need:

  • Google Analytics: Track website traffic and gain insight into your visitors.

  • Google Search Console: Measure site performance and errors. If you're targeting US markets, you might also want to sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools.

  • Yoast SEO plugin (if you're using WordPress): Optimize your content, metadata, sitemap, keywords, and more(must have for WordPress sites).

  • An SEO auditing tool: I'll be using my tool, WebSite Auditor.

Those tools are the absolute bare minimum for improving your technical SEO.

Improve indexing and crawl-ability:

One of the best ways to find out whether your site has too many duplicate URLs, non-canonical URLs, and URLs that contain a no-index meta tag is to check your index status.

To do this, enter into your target search engine, use your favorite SEO crawling software, or log in to Google Search Console and click Google Index > Index Status to see your report.

Ideally, you want your total indexed pages as close to your total number of pages as possible.

Improve your 'crawl budget:

We call the number of pages on your website that search engine spiders crawl in a given period of time your "crawl budget." You probably won't have to worry about crawl budget (unless your site is gigantic), but working to improve your crawl budget almost always translates into improving your technical SEO.

To view your approximate crawl budget, log in to Google Search Console and click Crawl > Crawl Stats. Unfortunately, finding a page-by-page breakdown of your crawl stats is a little harder and will require a separate tool.

Clean up your sitemap:

You can also boost your crawlability by improving your sitemap navigation. You can check your sitemap for errors by clicking Crawl > Sitemaps in your Google Search Console.

For the sake of technical SEO, you'll want to make sure that your XML sitemap is...

  • Not too large: Google limits a single sitemap to 10MB (uncompressed) and 50,000 URLs. If you exceed those limits, break your site into multiple sitemaps or create a sitemap index fileand submit it to Google.

  • Up to date: Whenever you add content to your site, update your XML sitemap and submit it to Google.

  • Uncluttered: Remove all noncanonical URLs, redirects, 400-level pages, and blocked pages from your sitemap.

While you're optimizing your XML sitemap for search engines, don't forget to update your HTML sitemaps, too. Doing so will help improve user experience for your site visitors.

Optimize metadata:

Review your HTML code and improve your meta descriptions and title tags wherever they're missing.

Here are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Title Tags

  • Meta Descriptions

  • Headline Tags

Fix broken links and redirects:

After you've performed your website audit, fixing any redirect chains and broken links is among the best bits of technical SEO you can perform. Redirects and broken links eat up valuable crawl budget, slow down your page, result in a poorer user experience, and may ultimately devalue your page. It's in your best interest to fix them ASAP.

  • Broken Links

  • Redirect Chains

  • Orphan Pages

Use rich snippets and structured data:

Schema markup gives users a snapshot of your content before they click on the page so that they can see thumbnail images, star ratings, and additional product details before clicking on your link.

Rich snippets like this help build consumer trust and often encourage click throughs'.

Here's what you can do to improve your site speed and mobile performance:

  • Run your page through Google's free tools, including PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test, and Test My Site. Make the changes they recommend.

  • Optimize your images.

  • Minify JavaScript and CSS Files.

  • Move files such as images, CSS, and Javascript to a CDN (content delivery network).

Look to the future (voice search, RankBrain, and more):

Checklists like this are great if you've fallen behind on your technical SEO, but they don't often help you prepare for upcoming trends. So do yourself a favor and brush up on other innovations you can use to solve customer pain points, such as...

  • Voice search: Local businesses are becoming increasingly discovered via voice chat, through queries such as "I want to buy _____" or "What are _____ businesses near me?" Optimize for voice search to help these customers find you.

  • RankBrain/AI: RankBrain allows Google to understand what would be the best result for the user's query, based on historical data. The algorithm is focused on quality for the end-user, so optimize the experience for the audience that you want coming to your website.

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), mobile apps, and progressive Web apps (PWA): As mobile usage increases and Google shifts toward mobile-first indexing, developers are working hard to make the mobile Web as efficient and useful as possible.

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SEO-Friendly contents

What is SEO and How to do it?

- When you’re doing SEO for your blog/website, you need to make sure you’ve got a bunch of important things covered in order to guarantee SEO-friendly content. SEO is nothing more than a given page’s optimization. It can even be the optimization of the whole website.

The aim? To make sure you optimize it so that search engine technology can understand what your content is all about. You should also know there’s a battle going on: some people go for in-house SEO; others for third-party SEO (SEO agencies).

  • In-house SEO

This strategy is great since it allows people who know the company/website well and who work for the business to actually be the official SEO warriors.
  • Third-party SEO

This is also awesome.. Why? Because it allows people who are SEO masters to optimize your page.

You’ll be able to trust competent professionals with a whole lot off experience and who know what they’re doing.

Keyword research

a) What is Keyword Research in SEO and How To Do It?

- Keyword research is when you use keywords in order to find and research search terms people insert on search engines.

b) Spy your competitors and see which keywords they’re getting traffic

- Perform Manual Searches on Google

- Use SEMRush

c) Don’t forget to use Latent Semantic Keywords (LSI Keywords)

d) Keyword Density vs Keyword Frequency

Choosing SEO-Friendly titles for your blog posts

a) Sub-title

- Make sure to create a text with many Sub-titles or H2 Tags.

Defining your SEO-Friendly URL

- For you to have an SEO-friendly content nowadays, you’ve gotta understand your URL is extremely important.

Meta Description

- The meta-description (MD) is the text that’s generally used by Google to show the text results of the second and third lines of search results, underneath the TITLE. It’s important to make sure your MD is well-written and appealing.

SEO-Friendly Content: The Real Gold Mine

- You can never forget that – in order for any post to be truly SEO-friendly – content is of the essence. Indeed, you can’t possibly think of creating a super SEO-friendly post if your content is superficial, tainted by an awful use of improper language, written in an impossibly complex technical jargon, etc.

Make sure your site or blog is mobile-friendly

a) Website’s speed

b) Accelerated Mobile Pages

Use Google Search Console

a) Google Search Console

Internal linking vs External linking

- Whenever possible, try to create internal links to your previous posts. This is how you not only create value and add info for your readers to read but also create an internal structure of inter-linking that’ll make it easier for search engine’s crawls to understand your website.

It’s not advisable to create internal links to topics that have nothing to do with what you’re actually writing about. Quantity must be overpowered by quality!

Use media and optimize images (ALT Tags)

You should never forget to insert images in your posts so as to get users to read your words.

Strategically-placed and adroitly-chosen images can also strengthen your actual message.

Moreover, you should always give proper alt attributes to the images.

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Google My Business

Google My Business is bringing videos to the photos dashboard, allowing business owners to upload videos, and view videos uploaded by customers.

The ability for businesses to upload videos to their own listing is a brand new feature, and could prove to be an effective marketing tool. The ability for customers to upload videos to another business’s listing is something that was introduced last year.

Videos can be up to 30 seconds in length and will appear in the overview tab of the Google My Business Dashboard. Customer uploaded videos can be found in the ‘customer’ tab, while videos uploaded by the business owner can be found in the ‘by owner’ tab.

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