Optimization Checklist and Checking It Twice!

by Garrett Pierson January 28th, 2009 

If you have a website and you are updating things on a regular basis like you should be, then this checklist is for you. Trust me, I know there could be more added to this checklist but if the list gets too big then it wont get done. So do these things and you will be on the right track.
First of all, why does this checklist exist? I found that as I added web pages, edited web pages, deleted web pages, or restructured a website, I always missed something that was crucial to my optimization efforts. Here are the top 5 items that you must check every time you change something on any website.

Internal Linking

Many times we will forget to internally link to the new pages that we have created, and if we do end up linking to them we do it incorrectly. You need to make sure first off that your website has a Search Friendly Information Environment Design and that you are constantly checking all your internal linking structure.

Sitemaps

You must remember to update your sitemaps with any change you have made. This means your html sitemap for your users and also your .xml or .txt sitemaps for the search engines.

Some of you are thinking, Hey I have automated sitemap generation software installed so everything is fine. WRONG. You, at the very least, must double check and make sure that everything updated correctly.

Broken Links

If you have changed filenames, or added anything to your site you must ensure that you dont link to old URLs on your site. Any broken link or link that goes to the wrong place can have an adverse effect on your optimization efforts and also can really drive your visitors insane. There are plenty of free and paid options out there to help you find broken links. Here are just a few:

http://www.dead-links.com/
http://validator.w3.org/checklink
http://linkchecker.submitexpress.com/
http://www.inspyder.com/products/InSite/

Feeds

If you use any type of feed for your site then you need to check that the feed has been updated with your changes. A lot of ecommerce websites use feeds for shopping submissions sites like Google Base, Shopping.com, and Shopzilla. If you have added a product to your site then you need to make sure that your feed has been updated and you might even need to resubmit it to the various areas for updates.

Analytics

You would be surprised at how many of us forget to add analytics to pages other than our home page or main pages. If we want to be successful online, then we cant forget how important it is to test and track on a daily basis. How can we do this if we dont have analytics on every single page that affects our bottom line? Simply dont forget to place your analytics code on your new or updated pages.

The list is short and easy to follow and will save you time, effort, and money in the long run. Some other quick and important items you should think when changing anything on your website are correct targeted content, meta tags, and split testing. You have worked so hard to get the rankings you deserve so why take shortcuts now. Start today with the Optimization Checklist and Checking It Twice!

Online Marketing consultant, Garrett Pierson, is the creator of Your SEO Mentor, also the Operations Manager at Trust Guard. His knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and Marketing background has helped online businesses around the world for years.

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15 Responses to “Optimization Checklist and Checking It Twice!”

  1. Utah SEO says:

    Thanks for the refreshing checklist Garrett! definitely a helpful resource to SEOs

  2. lillobyte91 says:

    Good Article, thanks for checklist :D

  3. I've read many articles on this topic, but I have to say, you are very knowledgable – thanks for a great article!

  4. Mikael says:

    I can't remember how many times I've changed themes on wordpress blogs and forgot to copy the analytics code to the new theme.

    I think a checklist like this is a great idea and I'm actually checking my links right now ;)

  5. Thanks for the kind words Utah SEO (Jordan)!

  6. Garrett

    Thanks for the great tips. I'll make a note of them for future reference reminders.

  7. Thanks for the tips. Anyone have any advice of things to do with a sitemap once it's been made?

  8. Fantastic post, gets to some important points that many of us let slip through the cracks over time.

  9. Handy tips thanks.

    Jonathan you could submit your sitemap to the major search engines.

  10. Great checklist..I often forget to do internal linking..it is mostly do the laziness, your right there is no room for that. Thanks also for the broken links info.

  11. Ross says:

    Awesome checklist. Everyone should pay serious attention.

  12. I'm thankful for a reminder of the basics. We can get so caught up in Social Media and working to get content to go viral that we forget about the basics you covered!

    Just last week someone said they didn't need to worry about updating their sitemap.xml, because they were using an automatic script in Joomla. Manual is the only sure-fire, safe way!

    Nice work, Garrett!

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  15. Thomas says:

    What internal linking plugin do you recommend/use? The best I've tried is smart links, but it doesn't seem AS smart as I'd like it to be sometimes, lol.