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Complete Website Launch SEO Checklist
Launching a website needs to be a perfect calculated action, making the job of search engines as easy as possible, we want our new website to be fully indexed at its full potential, ensuring the best possible ranks, this is why I consider a website launched only when it is 100% ready for search engines.
If you expect programmers and designers to worry about how your new website is going to be indexed you are going to have a problem! I've seen plenty of website launches made by programmers and they all failed some elemental SEO checklist, like removing the noindex tag or implementing canonical on pages that needed this tag. They simply don't care or think about search engines. This is why you need an SEO or you need to go through an SEO checklist yourself, ensuring everything is like it should and your website will get the best possible start in terms of rankings.
Here is my SEO based checklist for website launching. I'm sure this will be helpful both to SEOs and website owners but also digital agencies that are looking for a complete website launching checklist.
1.Performance based SEO checklist:
2. On-Page SEO based checklist:
- All your images need to be optimized. Instead of resigning images with CSS and HTML you need to generate optimized images for each website element. All this can be done through a number of plugins or tools.
- Optimize page size by reducing weight and the number of requests
- The font you are using needs to be limited to a maximum of 3 fonts per page, don't load the complete set for every page.
- GZIP and JS or CSS need to be minified
- Use and implement HTTP2
3. Content and functionality Checklist
- Keywords orientated pages. I know exact matched keywords aren't important anymore, but if you want any organic traffic, you still need to implement popular keywords inside your pages in one form or the other. You need to show Google you have content on highly searched subjects and you can't do this without using the right keywords. Make sure you have them in: URL, title tag, meta description, and headings.
- Google Analytics
- Search console
- Robots.txt file should include the sitemap's link and allow all search engine robots to crawl the website
- Have a screaming frog general crawl to check for errors
- Implement canonicals on pages that need it
- Implement rich snippets and structured data
- Twitter card and Open Graph implementations, side site-wide
- AMP at least for the article pages if not the whole website
- HTTPs site-wide implementation
- Check 301 redirects from non-www to www or vice-versa as well as HTTP to HTTPS redirects
- Check trailing slash redirects
- All images must have alt tag implemented
- Checked site-wide spelling as well as readability
- You need to have clear and proper contact details displayed
- Implement proper and custom favicon
- Custom 404 page
- Responsive design
- Mobile optimizations
So there you have it. My main three points with all the task needed before you launch a new website.
After the site is live an SEO needs to do an audit at least once a week for 1 month. To check up the Search Console for possible structure data errors, 404 errors, HTML improvements and so on. The SEO also needs to check on your analytics data to make sure everything is fine, as well as the organic traffic and the current status of index pages.
Don't ignore the SEO audits after launching websites, I assure you that most websites will need certian improvemnts or will have certian problems needed to be fixed no matter how well everything was prepared pre-launch.
If you have additional task you think should be implemented before launching a new website, share them with us in the comments below!