Website design and development is not like placing a handcraft in the showcase for the business owners. This primary understanding is lacking every time for many web designers and developers of various website design company all over the world.
As of my personal experience, at the time of work with couple of web design company, I have felt like this. Managing web designer and developers for completing a web project as a SEO Specialist or Manager, just like nightmare sometimes.
I always used to say them, think as users point of view and also business owner’s point of view, then you can understand the actual requirements.
Just design & developing a website will not fulfill the requirement of the business owner. The website should be Search Engine Friendly. Google, major search engine is now dominating the web world, if anyone want to be stand up with online business, they have to obey the basic and some technical rules of Google. Otherwise all money, efforts and resources will be wasted.
Therefore, I have made a check list for Web designers and developers. Maintaining this list at the time of any web design & development process, can save lots of time, resource and also help SEO specialist to initiate the online marketing campaign very fast and effortlessly.
So this are the 20 SEO Checklist for a Website Design & Development project –
1. If its an Ecommerce Website Confirm First for the SSL Certified Domain
This is one of the major problems SEO specialist are facing when they are going to start online marketing campaign for that particular ecommerce website.
Maximum web developers skip the initial step to confirm weather the website will have SSL certification. Yes as its a Ecommerce website its a mandatory thing. But now-a-day other websites also may required SSL.
What problem they can face if they ignore it. Well nothing just have to do some extra work, which will waste valuable time and resources. Sometimes it is very painful to make redirection for the existing live URLs which already are cached by search engine, this can send bad signals to search engine bot.
So, the developer should recheck and confirm regarding the Website’s domain certification at the initial point of starting the development works.
2. No Canonical issue should be there
Do check for the Canonical issues described below
Canonical issues should be solved with 301 Permanent Redirection. This all above issues should be fixed as soon as the website goes live.
3. Google Analytics & Other tracking Code Implementation
Do ask for Google Analytics code and other tracking codes from SEO Manager for that particular website.
If its an ecommerce website, then it should have couple of codes like – Google Goal Conversion Tracking, Re-marketing, Ecommerce Tracking codes.
Developers should know about this.
Apart from Google codes, SEO Manager may have requirements to add few other tracking codes such like – Heatmap tracking.
4. All Pages Contain Meta Title and Description
This is one of the important step. Without this SEO can’t be done. All pages of the website should have proper Meta tags (Meta title, description, H1, H2). SEO Manager is the main concern person for this.
5. Proper Pagination Functionality
The website should have proper pagination functionality. Many ecommerce websites has a common problem like Faceted navigation, like coming to a single product details page from two different page is creating two different URL for the final destination which is that single product page.
There is [PRODUCT A]
We can access it from Home Page & from Category Page also.
The breadcrumb for these two paths will be like this –
Path 1: Home & Product A
Path 2: Home & Category > Product A
and also the URLs are generating like this for
Path 1: https://www.example.com/Product-A
Path 2: https://www.example.com/category/Product-A
So its creating two different URL for that single Product, which is giving a duplicate signal to search engine like Google.
This issue should be fixed by the developers.
6. Images carrying Alt Tags
Alt Tags implementation for website images give a valuable boost for ranking in search engine ranking page.
Proper SEO optimized Alt Tags for Images are very much required. Alt tag are must for Ecommerce product listing websites.
7. Creating Sitemap.xml, Sitemap.html, ror.xml Files
At the time of web developement you should have the knowledge of Sitemaps. There are different types of sitemap you can add to the website. But two important are Sitemap.xml & Sitemap.html.
Sitemap.xml is for search engine and sitemap.html is for users.
There are few others like ror.xml, video sitemap, image sitemap, category sitemap, product sitemap. Sitemap helps to get indexed in search engine database.
You can create sitemap with various Site Map generator tools available over the web, like https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
8. Robots.txt Implementation
A website should have a Robots.txt file and you can see it like this http://www.example.com/robots.txt
Robots.txt a file, crawling this file Google-bot comes to know that which page should be crawled.
Developers should note that, the sitemap.xml url should be mentioned in the Robots.txt file.
A simple Robots.txt file looks like –
9. Page loading speed optimized
Page load time can kill your website and throw your all design, development efforts to hell. To make the website more users friendly and increase the engagements you should check the page speeds. For high page speed like 8 – 10 Seconds or more you can loss your valuable visitors or potential customers which will increase the bounce rate of website.
Implement Code for Reducing the Leverage Browser Cache, Minify CSS, Minify HTML etc in .htaccess
You can check Page Speed with the following tools
10. SEO friendly URL structure
This is one of the most important parts of web development. Google always gives value to those sites which has good users experience. Friendly website url structure can give good user experience. For example –
A ecommerce website’s url structure is like this – https://www.example.com/?route=product/category&path=33 [This is one of it’s products details page url]
and for another is http://www.example.com/category1/product1
Now, ask yourself which is users friendly? Obviously the second one.
Well, many of the ecommerce platform like OpenCart, Magento, osCommerce has the option for SEO Friendly URL structure, so you have to change those default ugly looking url to seo friendly url for users and SEO perspective.
11. Social Sharing Icons
Social Media Profiles are good for website branding and also for some businesses it becomes a potential source of sales. So we can’t ignore those profiles from websites. Connecting Facebook page, Google Plus page or business page, twitter, pinterest can boost your brand power and authority to web.
Also confirm that if the client wants to add any social media widget box in their blog section.
12. Rich Snippet Code Integration
Structural data is one of the powerful features of Google and it can increase your website value to Google.
This Rich snippet codes should be implemented to feed the Google Knowledge Graph.
You can implement this to Home Page Logo, Contact details, Products details page and in many other ways. But one of the popular is for Product details page. Implementing structural data code to product pages can increase the visibility and sales.
Schema.org is the main resource for those codes. Two code types are there like json and microdata code. Google recommends json codes.
There is another way to feed Google Knowledge graph with Data Highlighter, just mark with the exact properties to make them visible in Google SERP. You can find Data Highlighter option in Google Webmaster Tools.
Check the valid schema code from Google Rich Snippet Tool http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
13. Mobile Friendly Test
World wide web is now in between the transition of non responsive website to responsive website. Every new websites are now mobile responsive and old websites are converting themselves to HTML5 Responsive design.
Only converting is not end of your job duty. You should check your website with Google Mobile Friendly Tool, that if there is any issue with the website when Google bot crawling the mobile version of the websites. A common problem is – sometime the mobile design content part or image or any other portion is not in visible to the crawler or out of the margin. So you need to fix this, otherwise Google Mobile Search Algorithm will not give proper value to the website.
Take a test with Google Mobile Friendly Checker Tool – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
14. Latest version of CMS Should be installed
The developers should always recheck if they are using the latest released CMS version for the website. This is necessary because it reduce the chances of any hacking, hijacking of the website. Also it will be compatible with the new plugins and extensions.
15. Remove Dummy Texts, Pages & Products
Remove all dummy text with the fresh, well written website content before the launch. Also do check if there is any test pages, dummy products, then you need to delete those immediately.
16. Breadcrumb Navigation should be implemented
Proper breadcrumb should be implemented for the landing pages of the website.
17. Install SEO Plugin for WordPress Websites
WordPress website should have a SEO Plugin which can help SEO Person to implement Meta Tags like Titles, Descriptions for all pages. One of the best SEO Plugins for WordPress is All in One SEO (https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/)
18. Live the Payment Method
This is one of the mistakes developers make during the ecommerce websites launch. They leave the payment method in test mode and for this sometimes the client miss potential sales. So, always recheck before website launch that the payment option is Live or in test mode.
19. Form Field Validation & Captcha Code Implementation
Fields of forms in the website should tested properly with form validation. Also implement captcha code to Forms. For this Google reCaptcha API is one of the best. This will reduce spam, junk form submissions.
20. 404 Page, Thank You Page, Order Successful Page Creation
A proper 404 Page is always required for a website. Don’t go with traditional 404 Page design, right now you can design & develop 404 Page different way to engage the website viewers. Internet Marketers are saying 404 Page can be another marketing strategy to keep the customers alive into the website.
For tracking conversions, “Thank You” Page and Product “Order Successful Pages” is very important. And these are very common for websites. If a website has Contact us page form, that should have thank you page or if its a ecommerce website then it should have Order Successful page. Sometimes client don’t want any extra pages, they want to show the thank you message and order completion message on that page. So, in that case ask the SEO person to give you the Event tracker code for Event Goal Set up.
I hope the above list can help the web developers to execute the development process smoothly with SEO persons and the SEO persons or managers also can start the internet marketing campaign immediately after the website launch.