SEO checklist

A full checklist of on-page optimisation tips to get your website to stand out with Google and pushed up the rankings.

Let’s get to it!

This article splits in to 4 sections:

Crawler/Bot accessible

Meta robots tag allows crawling

Make sure your meta robots are set to allow the Google bots to crawl your site.

Meta robots tag is a tag that tells search engines what to follow and what not to follow. It is a piece of code in the <head> section of your webpage. It’s a simple code that gives you the power to decide about what pages you want to hide from search engine crawlers and what pages you want them to index and look at. It sits in the header and looks something like this: <meta name =”robots” content=”index”>.

If you don’t have a meta robots tag though, don’t panic. By default, the search engine crawlers WILL index your site and WILL follow links. Let me make it clear that search engine crawlers following your links is not bad at all. Losing some of your juice won’t affect your site much in exchange for getting the attention of other websites you’re linking out to. In fact I don’t recommend using nofollow at all if you don’t have too much outbound links.

Basically the meta robots tag can be cracked down to four main functions for the search engine crawlers:

  • FOLLOW – a command for the search engine crawler to follow the links in that webpage
  • INDEX – a command for the search engine crawler  to index that webpage
  • NOFOLLOW – a command for the search engine crawler NOT to follow the links in that webpage
  • NOINDEX – a command for the search engine crawler NOT to index that webpage
Ensure your Robot.txt allows crawling

Robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct web robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl pages on their website.

These crawl instructions are specified by “disallowing” or “allowing” the behavior of certain (or all) user agents.

The basic format is:

User -agent: [user-agent name]

Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]

Ensure your sitemap is fully set up

Ensure all pages are listed including url links.

Add Schema mark ups

You also want to add any schema markup, any relevant schema markup that you can. This is essentially spoon-feeding search engines what your page is about and what your content is about. (often called Schema) is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs. is designed to provide information to the search engines to better understand your site content and better display content in SERPs. Eg. star ratings.

Code sample:

<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=””> <span itemprop=”ratingValue”>[Aggregate rating given]</span> stars – <span itemprop=”reviewCount”>[Number of reviews]</span> reviews </div>

To generate your own code, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

Internal links pointing to your page with natural anchor text

Make sure you have links to your page from other pages in yur site, and importantly using the anchor text of the title and content of your destination page.

User experience

The second section of this article.


Ensure pages meet good old Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Clear CTAs

Is there one clear call to action? A lot of pages miss this.

Multimedia: Evaluate SERP and add desired media

Are you providing other desired media types? Are there images and video and different forms of content on your page?

Page speed: utilize CDNs, compress images

Check the page speed and get insights to improve. Page loading speed is an important SEO factor. Your site’s webpage load times are very important, affecting everything from bounce rate to time on your website (dwell time), conversion rates, and the overall user experience; which in turn drives the ranking performance. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights

Are you using a Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) near t your audience? CDNs are edge servers (known as POPs) located around the globe that serve sites? If you organise to have pats of your pages (images for example) loaded through a local CDN you can significantly reduce the page loading times.

Are you using compressed images? Use something like Gzip to compress.

Integrate social sharing buttons

Simple. Add in buttons for users to share content.

Content and Value

Optimize for intent: Evaluate SERP and PPC, note which SERP features show up

Ranking is competitive, so check what other pages which are performing are showing as content. If they have lots of videos and images, you should too.

You also want to evaluate the PPC. They have done so much testing on what converts and what doesn’t. So it’s silly not to take that into consideration when optimizing your page.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Those good old tags are still important. This is the first impression to many of your visitors in Google. Are you enticing a click? Are you making that an enticing call to action to your site?

Header tags

H1, H2, and H3 header tags are still important. You want to make sure that the title of your page is the H1 then down as a natural hierarchy.

Review for freshness

Make sure content is regularly updated – a continual wash and repeat.

Include FAQs

It’s such an easy thing to do, but it’s commonly overlooked.

Add summaries

Summaries are also hidden gems. We see Google seeking out summaries for content all of the time. They are providing summaries in featured snippets and in different SERP features to help sort of distill information for users. So if you can do that, not only will you make your content more easily scannable, but you’re also making it more accessible for search, and also improve the user experience (lower bounce etc, and in turn improve ranking).

TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency)

TF-IDF stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” It sounds a little intimidating. It’s actually pretty simple. It’s the number of times your target keyword is mentioned on the page divided by how many times across your entire site. It signals the importance of this page for ranking over ther pages.

LSI (latent semantic indexing) for relevance

Similarly LSI or LSA is latent semantic indexing, and it’s also for relevance. It is the number of times related words to your keyword are used.

Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test

What is the readability of this page? The easier it is to read the better.

Final tip!

One final tip – see the top three pages ranked for your target keyword. Put them in to Moz Keyword Explorer to see what other keywords they rank for. Use these keywords in your page. This effectively increases the relevance to Google we mentioned above.

Good luck!

Matthew Brown


Matthew Brown
Matthew Brown
Matthew has 20 years director level experience in digital marketing and website development (working at a number of ecommerce businesses including Scholastic, Dada, McAfee and The Open University). Matthew founded Jam in 2000 in parallel to his digital marketing career but over time has moved to 100% focus on building the Jam business and a team of highly qualified digital experts.

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