We work with a number of local web design companies and have recently been asked to put together a checklist for them to work to when creating a search engine ‘friendly’ website.
We’ve gone a little further than that and actually created a downloadable pdf from our website that not only contains the checklist but expands upon each of the points made. We in no way claim that this is an exhaustive list; occassionally issues will arise with specific projects that fall outside of this checklist; however, we feel the main points are detailed here.
For those who just want the basic checklist, here goes…(and for anybody reading the downloadable pdf and noticing that the Leapfrogg website does not adhere to one or two of the points made, we are well aware and in discussion with our web guys to address!)…
– Have I considered search behaviour at the site architecture planning stage?
Internal linking and URL’s
– Have I used text based links between pages or CSS to aid ‘spiderabilty’?
– Have I included a site map?
– Have I included a breadcrumb trail?
– Do I really need to create a framed site?
– Have I thought carefully about the URL structure?
– Are the search engines going to choke on my urls – am I using session ID’s or Cookies?
– Can I create urls that are relevant to the page content?
– Are the page names changing as a result of redeveloping the site?
– Is there an area for textual content on the page?
– If using flash, is this limited to a small area and not the entire site?
– How clean is my code? How much can I place in external files?
– Have I included a bookmark function?
– Is there a useful resources page?
– Is there a news/PR page?
– Has a blog been considered?
– Can I add a unique set of Meta tags and Title Tags on each page across the site?
– Can page headings be styled using H1, H2 and so on?
– Have images been tagged appropriately with Alt Attributes?
Domains and Hosting?
– Who hosts the domain and how long is it registered for?
– Where is the site hosted?
– Am I sticking to conventional navigation and layout?
– Are there prominent ‘calls to action’ across the site?
– Has the site been optimised for minimum download times?
– How much information am I requesting on enquiry forms?
– Has the shopping cart been tested?
Please note, that there is a stark difference between search engine ‘friendly’ and search engine ‘optimised’. It is one thing to design or program a site which is compatible with search engines. It is quite another to actually optimise the website through the use of correct keywords, good quality copy, properly written Meta tags, etc. This is why it is often the best case scenario for a developer to be working in partnership with an SEO company to achieve the best results for the client.
Until next time…