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A Web Designer's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Checklist

These days a strong grip on SEO is an essential tool for a good web designer. There are many phases in the web design process where SEO considerations impact upon the design outcome. Keeping this in mind we have created an SEO checklist that will help web designers at each phase of the design process.

This SEO checklist has been separated into three points: webpage-wide SEO, on-site SEO and off-page SEO.

Webpage-wide SEO:

Your webpage-wide SEO methods can greatly influence the whole website. Firstly, its accessibility. If search engines can’t reach a webpage, it is not possible to have it indexed. You have to make sure that, the robots Meta tag or robots.txt file is not unintentionally blocking important pages. You need to block the unimportant pages via the robots Meta tag or robots.txt file.

Redirects and 404 errors:

For increasing your page rank, use 301-redirects in place of 302, as the 301 is more effective in achieving higher page ranks. You need to reduce 404 errors and increase your website page loading speed.

You need to select one URL; it may be www or non-www. Select one and ensure that, the internal and inbound page links are also in the same format. You may do country-wide domain extensions and make sub-domains or subfolders. You will need to use one descriptive webpage name in place of a random number of letters and words.

Sitemap:

A sitemap is another important factor. A HTML sitemap is very useful for visitors and search engines, because it helps them to understand your site architecture. An XML sitemap is only noticeable for search engines. It will allow you to insert metadata, which might be used to give extra information regarding the content of every page.

On-site SEO:

On-site SEO methods optimise a particular webpage for search engines. Firstly, its keywords. Ensure that each page targets a particular keyword only. If you make a web page for a specific keyword you can optimise that page for the keyword to great effect.

You need to do some research about keywords, because the highest traffic potential keywords with low competition will increase your website rank. So, search for a keyword which gets a massive amount of search and one that not a lot of companies are targeting. Now it is rarely possible that such a keyword is not targeted by many companies but it must be your goal to find such a keyword.

Use your main keyword in the page title. Then use your three to four main keywords in the “h1, h2, h3” headings.

Content:

Keep your title to a maximum 60 to 70 words long. Try to include exceptional and interesting content such as a research finding or an infographic. This will help in getting natural one way links and increase ranking of your website. If there is a lot of image or flash content in your website they create crawlability issues and should be minimised. Use CSS, HTML and webfonts to solve this problem.

Add valuable content of 350 to 700 words. Research studies about your target market will be far better than 10 general articles.

For images use a relevant file name instead of numbers or other words. Don’t forget to insert an alt-tag with a small description of the picture. Keep image size as small as possible, because it will reduce page loading time.

Social Snippets:

Social Snippets, select an eye-catching thumbnail that is minimum 200 x 200 pixels. Don’t forget to tag your website URL using Google’s URL builder. This helps in getting valuable information from Google Analytics. It’s very helpful, if you are able to add your website link with different social Medias.

Off-page SEO:

Check the exact number of inbound links pointing back to your website. Then check the quality of those links. If some bad quality links are pointing to your website then contact the webmaster to remove your link. If there are a lot of such websites where contacting every webmaster is not possible, use Google Disavow Tool to remove the impact of such links.

Link your website with targeted websites. While linking, use your primary keywords in the keyword anchor text. Don’t over use your primary keywords. Use a mixture of words to create your backlinks so that your link profile looks natural. A rule of thumb should be 20% of your links must be targeted (primary keywords), 40% should be generic (use your home page URL or words like Click Here etc) and remaining 40% should be branding links like using your company name as keyword anchor text, for example, PAKKA.

Also Read: White Hat SEO Techniques


Carol is the founder and Director of Pakka which she started in 1993. As a specialist in developing and executing marketing strategies for SMEs, she has an excellent understanding of small business and their challenges.

Her areas of expertise include product development, brand management, client relationship management (CRM), communications, graphic and website design. Carol has over 16 years of professional marketing and communications experience.

Specialties include: Marketing, technology and design solutions to help small-medium sized businesses grow.
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