Webmasters faced with building a new website or updating an existing one are often overloaded when told that the site must be search engine optimized. We put together this as a handy checklist for you to use during development. This list is just a foundation of some of the most important elements we have identified. Feel free to leave additional questions in the comment section of this blog post.
Language Barrier. Will the search engines be able to understand my website? Have I included Flash or other files that are not necessarily search engine friendly? Is there a way to include the same textual or visual content in a way that will have search engine optimization benefit?
Link Structure. Have I designed the links of my website to be search engine friendly? Are keywords included and separated by dashes?
Lost In Translation. Have I checked for broken code? Have I checked for broken links?
404 Page. Have I designed a custom 404 page so that visitors to my website are taken to a friendly and easy to navigate page in case of an otherwise dead-end.
Canonicalization. Have I chosen the preferred structure of my website URLs that I would like to be canon? For example, do I prefer http://www.domain.com/ or domain.com? Other non-canon variations of the URL will redirect to this chosen canon URL. Have I set up this redirect properly?
Sitemap. Have I remembered to include a sitemap with links to the important pages on my website?
Robots.txt. Have I set up a robots.txt file to alert search engines how I would like my website crawled and if there are any off-limits areas.
Webmaster Tools. Have I set up the various ways of learning more about my site such as search engine provided tools for webmasters (Google Webmaster Tools, Bind Webmaster Tools, etc.)
Analytics. Have I chosen an analytics providers (Google Analytics, Webtrends, IBM Coremetrics, etc?) Have I set up and tested an analytic tracking service?
Loading Time. Have I tested my home page and other pages of my website for their loading times? What can be done to reduce it? The search engines have begun to take into account the loading time of the pages on your website when determining rankings.
Please let us know if you have any additions to add to our list of SEO building blocks webmasters should have when developing a website.