Making sure you are earning a top spot in the SERPs is hard. Essentially, it’s ensuring a strong foundation is in place to give your content the best chance it can have to rank highly for relevant keywords and phrases. We have composed a quick list of items to consider to ensure you are covered!
HTML & XML Site Maps
Make sure you have created an XML sitemap and submitted it to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Use XML-Sitemaps.com or the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin. It’s possible for search engines to find the Sitemap without your assistance, but you should notify them about its location.
HTTP Status Codes & Redirects
301, 404 etc – Search engines and users will be unable to access your content if you have URLs that return errors
After identifying the pages that search engines are allowed to access, we then need to determine how many of those pages are being indexed by search engines. If you search for site:seomoz.org on Google, we are able to see that the search engine has indexed roughly 60,700 pages for SEOmoz. This reported number of indexed pages is rarely accurate but an estimate can still be valuable.
Ensure you have you created a Robots.txt file and submitted it in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
The robots meta tag is vitally important and used to tell search engine crawlers if they have permission to index a specific page and follow its links. When analysing your site’s accessibility it’s a good idea to identify pages that are inadvertently blocking crawlers.
Mobile / Responsive layout
It’s hardly surprising that more Google searches happen on mobile devices than on desktop. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Google is rewarding sites that are responsive with better rankings on mobile searches. Those that aren’t might have a harder time appearing. Ensure your site is mobile friendly. You’ll increase your chance of success with search rankings.
HTTPS/ Site Security
Google would like to see the entire web running HTTPS servers ideally. To help make this happen, it rewards sites that use HTTPS with a small boost in rank.
Try and ensure you monitor bounce rate. The design of your site and your Analytics can affect your bounce rate. Improving your bounce rate requires specific, changes to your site and setup. A general site-wide bounce rate can vary too much due to the different marketing activities that run at the same time. Consider your bounce rate for specific traffic sources. Using other dimensions, like medium, campaign, landing page to evaluate your bounce rate can also be more actionable than your general bounce rate.
Minification in the context of CSS means removing all unnecessary characters, such as spaces, new lines, comments without affecting the functionality of the source code. These characters facilitate working with the code at the development and debugging stage by improving the code readability.