Andrew Shotland at the Local SEO Guide blog has written a very interesting post following up the recent release of the Google Ranking Factors poll. In his post he argues that perhaps the most important factor to determine Google ranking is an overall quality assurance check of the website that covers simple things such as the robots.txt file.
Based on this premise, Andrew has provided a checklist of SEO Quality Assurance factors that all webmasters should consider when updating site contents.
SEO Quality Assurance Checklist
- Does each page type have a unique Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords tag?
- For dynamic pages does the code generate a unique Title, Description and Keywords tag?
- For static pages have content authors written a unique Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords tag?
- Is the robots.txt file blocking any URLs that you want the search engines to index?
- Are pages such as the login, email to a friend, printer friendly pages, footer pages, etc blocked?
- Does the robots.txt file contain a line “Disallow: /” that blocks all robots from crawling the entire site?
- Do any dynamic pages that should be indexed have a “noindex” tag in the Robots Meta Tag?
- Have all necessary URL redirects been implemented correctly?
- Do non-www versions of every URL 301 to www versions (or vice-versa)?
- Do URLs that end in / 301 to versions that have no / (or vice-versa)?
- Do all mixed case URLs 301 to lowercase versions?
- Do test version sub domains (e.g. alpha.site.com) either 301 to the root domain or are the password protected?
- Are 301 redirects implemented for any URLs that are eliminated, to point visitors to the new version of the URL or if there is no new version does the 301 redirect to the root domain or a related directory on the site?
- Has the xml sitemap file been updated to reflect the new changes?
- Does running a crawler such as Linkscan through the site deliver error codes?
- Are there any chain redirects (e.g. 301 to 301 to 301)?
- Has a change log / list been created to easily identify and diagnose issues that could affect SEO?
- Is the addition of or reduction of links on a page tracked?
- Have rewritten page copy and Meta information been backed up?
- Have new pages been added?
- Are and URLs eliminated or redirected?
This checklist should be used alongside a regular SEO checklist for first time SEO, and on its own when changes are implemented on a site or when domains / sub-domains are created or moved. The principles in this list are just as applicable to local and multimedia search optimisation as they are to regular website optimisation.