Maintaining a search presence for your website involves multiple technical factors working correctly.
This 20-minute SEO checklist provides a high-level overview of the state of your search presence and an early warning for any developing issues that need attention. To keep tabs on your site’s search presence health, use a core group of technical SEO factors to monitor the site weekly.
Some full-time technical SEO pros will argue that you can’t address all of your website’s SEO issues in 20 minutes a week.
However, this guide demonstrates how to monitor your most critical issues from a high level and diagnose where to spend more energy digging in. Some weeks, you may need only a brief technical SEO check. Other weeks, you may find a disastrous canonicalization error and call in the troops for an all-hands-on-deck assault on site issues.
1. Google Search Console Check (Minutes 0-10)
- First look at the Performance summary, do you see any big dips in tariff that look abnormal? If yes, this can suggest that there is a technical SEO issue that is site wide.
- Next look at the Coverage summary, do you see any big increase in the number of “Pages with errors”? Note that is you haven’t previously checked for this, it’s important to look into any past errors as well.
- Then check the Enhancement overviews, review the peaks and valleys in AMP, Q&As, Mobile Usability, and more. Is the movement regular or are you seeing irregular spikes and drops? If yes, investigate by drilling down.
Now The Coverage Section:
- The most important thing to be aware of here is the default Error view, read through the entire section for Details. In the trend column, read line by line and if anything looks peculiar, do more research and try and diagnose the issue.
Check The Sitemaps Section:
- Has the site been crawled recently? Review the Last Read column to confirm.
- Next, look at the Status column, are there any highlighted errors? Have these errors changed significantly since the previous week?
Look For Manual Actions:
- You shouldn’t hardly ever have any manual actions listed, but if you do, address it right away.
2. Review Robots.txt (Minutes 11-12)
- The next step of the SEO checklist is to ensure the robots.txt file doesn’t get changed to “Disallow: /” which can happen in a relaunch of a website or when your development team updates the site. Developers might do this so that the pages aren’t crawled while being developed and then will be changed back when the pages are ready to go live on the production website.
- Confirm the below is not on the live website:
- Since all sites have a slightly different configuration week over week, it’s important to compare it Every site has a different configuration every week; you’ll want to compare it to ensure nothing has changed to an error.
3. Check Page Speed In Google Analytics (Minutes 13-15)
- First, on the left-hand side, Go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview
- Toggle the date range to compare the last week to see if there were any large fluctuations. You’re looking for a high-level overview to see if anything has gone awry in the last 7 days.
- We recommend Lighthouse as a tool for checking page speed.
4. Look Over Search Results (Minutes 15-18)
- Search your keywords into the search engine, confirm if the rankings reported are the same as what you see in your SERP.
5. Add Hreflang If You Don’t Have It (Minutes 19-20)
- Hreflang is rarely used by websites and SEO’s so even if your entire website is in English, we add Hreflang to every page as x-default, en-us and en-ca (Because Make Your Mark Today is a Canadian company)
- Inspect Hreflang by right click > view page source and then search the source code for “Hreflang” to see if it’s there on your pages
Pro-tip: ensure that the URL’s in your Hreflang match the page that you’re on! Or the page that it refers to with alternative languages is correct!
Bonus: Add Schema to your website
As a bonus to your SEO checklist, look into including website schema from schema.org. This is an important element of our SEO standards.
Schema is data / code that is behind the scenes that explain a variety of things, like what your business does, if there’s FAQ’s on a page, or if you wrote a How-to, or what a review page is about.
But schema is a big topic that deserves a lot more attention than we can give in this post. So contact one of our SEO experts at Make Your Mark Today Inc. to get help with your website!
SEO Checklist Conclusion
The 20-minute technical SEO checkup is a quick way to get a high-level overview of your website’s overall SEO health and an early warning when something may be out of place before the problem escalates into a catastrophic failure.
The goal is to quickly make sure that the site’s vital signs (such as crawling and indexing) are healthy and that its performance is optimal. I also recommend getting a free SEO Action Plan to further improve your website health and help you rank for your money keywords and get leads.
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