A strong online presence is vital to the success of any business or blog, and optimizing content for search engines is a key component of that strategy. In this article, we will discuss the top 6 SEO self-checklists you should know before posting blogs. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your content is easily discoverable by search engines, reaches your target audience, and drives traffic to your website. By implementing these tips, you can improve your SEO performance and ultimately increase your chances of success in the online marketplace.
1. Secure Your Website by Enabling HTTPS
The frist one of SEO Self-checklists is Enabling HTTPS. HTTPS provides a secure and encrypted connection between a web server and a user’s browser.
Why HTTPS is Important to Google SEO？
- Google has been advocating for a more secure internet by incentivizing websites that use HTTPS, and in 2014, announced that they would consider HTTPS as a ranking signal. Websites that use HTTPS have a higher chance of ranking higher in search engine results pages compared to those that don’t use HTTPS.
- Additionally, users are more likely to trust and engage with websites that use HTTPS, which leads to improved user experience and ultimately, higher search engine rankings.
How to Check if Your Website Uses HTTPS?
- Open your web browser and go to the website you want to check.
- Look at the address bar at the top of the browser window. If the website uses HTTPS, you should see “https://” at the beginning of the URL instead of “http://”.
- Look for a padlock icon in the address bar. This indicates that the website is using HTTPS and that the connection is encrypted and secure.
2. Page Loading Speed Test
Fast-loading pages improve user experience and SEO performance. Google’s primary goal is to provide the best user experience possible. To maintain its reputation as a reliable search engine, Google prioritizes delivering fast-loading websites to its users. Page loading speed directly affects search engine rankings. Faster-loading pages are more likely to rank higher than slower ones, all other factors being equal. Therefore, optimizing your website’s loading speed can boost your SEO rankings and increase organic traffic.
SEO-friendly Page Loading Speed Numerical Range
Data from Google PageSpeed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/v5/about
Page Loading Speed Test Tools
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool from Google provides valuable insights into your website’s performance on both mobile and desktop devices. It generates a speed score and offers suggestions for improvement.
- GTmetrix: GTmetrix offers in-depth analysis of your website’s performance, including loading time, page size, and the number of requests. It also provides actionable recommendations for optimizing your site.
- WebPageTest: WebPageTest allows you to run tests from different locations, browsers, and connection speeds. It provides a comprehensive breakdown of your website’s loading process, including a waterfall chart view.
3. Mobile-Friendly Design
Mobile-friendly design is a web development approach that optimizes the design and functionality of a website for viewing on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Essentially, a mobile-friendly website ensures that visitors can access all of your site’s content easily, no matter what type of device they’re using. This helps to increase engagement, improve search engine rankings, and drive more traffic to your website.
Why Mobile-friendly Design is Critical to Google SEO?
- More mobile users than desktop users: a mobile-friendly website is essential to reach and engage with this significant portion of online traffic.
- Mobile responsiveness is a ranking factor: In 2015, Google announced that mobile responsiveness is a ranking factor, meaning mobile-friendly websites receive a boost in search engine rankings.
- Better user experience: mobile-friendly websites adapt to different screen sizes and provide a smooth and seamless user experience, resulting in increased user satisfaction and engagement.
- Increased mobile search engine traffic: mobile-friendly websites are more likely to rank higher on mobile search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract organic traffic.
Mobile-Friendly Design Check Tools
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: Google provides a free tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply enter your website’s URL, and it will analyze your site and provide feedback on its mobile-friendliness. It will also highlight any issues that need improvement.
- Responsive Design Testing: One way to check if your website is mobile-friendly is by manually testing it on different devices with varying screen sizes. Resize your browser window to mimic different mobile device sizes and see how your website adapts. Pay attention to elements such as font size, image scaling, and navigation.
- User Testing: Ask friends, colleagues, or target users to review your website on their mobile devices. Collect their feedback on usability, readability, and overall mobile experience. Their insights can help identify any areas that need improvement.
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console provides Mobile Usability reports that show issues affecting the mobile-friendliness of your website. It offers valuable insights into specific problems that may hinder mobile usability and suggestions on how to fix them.
4. Make Sure Sitemap has been Submitted to Google
Sitemap is the most important one of SEO Self-checklists. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages and content on a website. It’s designed to help search engine crawlers, such as Googlebot, navigate and index your site’s content more efficiently.A sitemap usually contains information about all the pages on a website, including the URLs, last updated date, and importance of each page. The file can be in XML format or other user-friendly formats.
Here is an example of a semerush’s sitemap:
Why Sitemap is so Important?
- Indexing Efficiency: A sitemap helps search engine crawlers, such as Googlebot, understand the structure of your website and discover all the pages more efficiently. It provides a list of URLs that need to be crawled and indexed, ensuring that no important page is missed.
- Freshness and Updates: When you update or add new content to your website, a sitemap notifies search engines about these changes. This helps search engines index the updated or new content faster, ensuring it appears in search results in a timely manner.
- Priority and Importance: In an XML sitemap, you can assign priority levels to different pages. This gives search engines an indication of the importance of each page relative to others on your site.
- Urls Visibility: By submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console, you can gain insights into how many URLs on your website are discovered and indexed by Google. Any indexing errors or issues can be identified and addressed through these reports.
- Large or Complex Websites: If your website has a large number of pages or complex navigation, a sitemap becomes even more important. It ensures that search engines can easily find and crawl all the relevant pages, preventing any important content from being overlooked.
How to Check if Your Website’s Sitemap has been Submitted?
To check if your website’s sitemap has been submitted using Google Search Console, you can follow these steps:
- Access Google Search Console: Go to the Google Search Console website (https://search.google.com/search-console) and sign in with your Google account.
- Select Your Property: If you have multiple properties (websites) added to your Google Search Console account, choose the property for which you want to check the sitemap.
- Open the Sitemaps Report: In the left-hand menu, click on “Sitemaps” under the “Index” section. This will open the Sitemaps report.
- Check Sitemap Status: In the Sitemaps report, you will see a list of submitted sitemaps for your website. It will display information such as the number of submitted URLs and the last processed date. If a sitemap has been successfully submitted, it will show a “Success” status.
- Review Errors or Warnings: If there are any issues with your sitemap submission, such as errors or warnings, they will be listed in the report. You can click on each sitemap to see specific details about any errors encountered during the processing.
- Monitor Indexing Status: After submitting your sitemap, it may take some time for search engines to crawl and index the included URLs. You can monitor the indexing status by checking the “Coverage” report or performing searches using site-specific queries to see if the indexed pages match those in your sitemap
Extended reading you may intereste
- Learn more about sitemaps
- How to add your website to Google Search Console?
- How to submit sitemap to Google Search Console?
- How to Create a sitemap file?
5. Are There Any URLs that Have not been Included by Google?
It’s possible that some URLs on your website have not been included by Google in their index. This could happen for various reasons, such as low-quality content, duplicate content, or insufficient internal linking. No inclusion, no impressions, no clicks, no traffic. It’s very important to ensure that all the important pages on your website are included in Google’s index as it can affect your website’s search engine visibility.
One way to determine which URLs have not been included by Google is to use the Google Search Console. Here’s how:
- Access Google Search Console: Go to the Google Search Console and sign in with your Google account.
- Select Your Property: If you have multiple properties (websites) added to your Google Search Console account, choose the property for which you want to check the URL indexing status.
- Open the Page indexing: In the left-hand menu, click on “Pages” under the “Index” section. This will open the Page indexing.
- Check Excluded URLs: In the Coverage report, you will see a list of URLs that are excluded from Google’s index. This includes URLs that are not indexed, have an error, are blocked by robots.txt, or have been removed. You can click on each URL to see specific details about why it has been excluded.
- Address Issues: Once you have identified the excluded URLs, you can take steps to address any issues that are preventing Google from indexing them. This could involve improving the quality of the content, fixing errors, or adjusting your website’s internal linking.
By using the Coverage report in Google Search Console, you can identify which URLs on your website are not being indexed by Google and take steps to improve your website’s visibility in search results.
6. Not All Web Pages Need to be Indexed by Google
In fact, there are certain types of web pages that you may not want to include in Google’s index.
What types of web pages do not need to be indexed by Google?
- Admin or Backend Pages: Pages that are meant for administrative purposes, such as login pages, user dashboards, or internal tools, generally do not need to be indexed by search engines. These pages are intended for site owners or authorized users and aren’t relevant or valuable to general users searching on Google.
- Private or Confidential Pages: If you have web pages containing sensitive information or personal data that should only be accessible to a limited audience, such as private user profiles, restricted content, or secure documents, it is advisable not to include them in Google’s index. This helps to maintain privacy and prevent unauthorized access.
- Thank You or Confirmation Pages: Pages that appear after a transaction, form submission, or successful action, such as thank you pages or order confirmation pages, may not necessarily provide valuable information to search engine users. As such, excluding these pages from indexing can help to streamline search engine results and prioritize more relevant content.
- Temporary or Outdated Pages: Pages that are temporary in nature, such as seasonal promotions, event pages, or outdated content that is no longer relevant, may not need to be included in Google’s long-term index. These pages may lose their relevance over time, so it’s often better to remove or exclude them to maintain the overall quality of your website’s index.
It’s important to consider which web pages should be indexed by Google based on their relevance and value to the search engine users. Excluding certain types of pages can help improve the overall user experience and ensure that the most valuable and relevant content is being indexed and displayed in search results.
How to Prevent Webpages From being Indexed by Google?
- Use Meta Tags: You can use HTML meta tags to tell search engines not to index a specific page. The most common meta tag for this purpose is the “noindex” tag which tells search engines not to index the page. Here’s an example of the code you can add to the head section of your webpage:
You can also use the “nofollow” tag to prevent search engines from following links on the page:htmlCopy Code<meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow”>
- Use Robots.txt: Another way to block search engines from indexing a webpage is by using the robots.txt file. The robots.txt file is located in the root directory of your website and instructs search engine bots which pages or directories to crawl or ignore. You can add the following code to the robots.txt file to block search engines from indexing specific pages:
- Use HTTP Status Codes: You can also use HTTP status codes to indicate that a page should not be indexed. The most common HTTP status code for this purpose is 404, which indicates that the page does not exist. Here’s an example of how you can use the 404 status code to tell search engines not to index a page:
Being aware of these six basic SEO self-checklists before posting your blogs is crucial for optimizing your content and improving search engine visibility. Implementing these best practices will help you create blog posts that are both user-friendly and search engine-friendly, enhance your blog’s chances of ranking higher in search results and attracting organic traffic.
When you confirm that the above checklist is OK, it’s time to start your content marketing work.