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The 5 Minute SEO Site Audit Checklist

>From month to month I have the opportunity to present 4 different webinars on different topics related to Internet marketing to brand new online business owners.

The reason I bring this up is because no matter what the topic I am presenting on, I usually get asked the same question by completely different random people. They are all wanting me to “look at their site” and give them a “quick, what do you think?”.

These people are wanting to know if their site is ready to “go live” (although I never really understand why people ask that question) but for these people, and this post – I have come up with what I’d like to call “The 5 Minute SEO Site Audit Checklist”. If you have a brand new site, and haven’t done any kind of SEO before, this will be a great list of reminders that will set you off on the right foot.

1. URL canonicalization and 301 re-dirs. One of the first things I look for on any domain I am giving a health check on is the URL canonicalization. In My Opinion it does not matter if you pick proper URL canonicalization pointing to the www’s or non-www’s, but you need to pick one and stick to it. I personally always choose the www’s because more people (from my experience) tend to link to you with the full URL. So you need to get into your .htaccess file and make a few edits. Any variation of the homepage URL needs to be done this way too – for example you need to have the /index.php also re-direct to the main URL (however you have it set up) Bottom line here, you need to make sure all variations of your URL point to the same way you set it up.

Any extension of your URL like:

• http://www.example.com/index.php
• http://www.example.com/index.htm
• http://www.example.com/default.html
• http://www.example.com/default.php
• http://www.example.com/anything (that goes to homepage)

All need to be pointed to the main – http://www.example.com (without any extensions). You also need to make sure that you don’t have any dev links that need to be 301-ed to their new addresses so you don’t have any bad or dead links on the site. You can handle all these changes via the .htaccess file. Here is a little more in depth look into 301 re-directs via a post I did on it a few months back.

Here’s the code:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

(Make sure your Apache installation has mod_rewrite enabled.)

As long as your Apache installation has mod_rewrite enabled then you should be able to use this fix on almost any host.

2. Unique Title Tags and Meta Data. I will go to Google and run a site: command and see all of the pages that are indexed just to make sure that there are no duplicate content issues and that all pages seem to be individual and unique with their own title tags and meta data. If your site is not right – all results that come back will look exactly the same, and if the title and data that comes back is all the same – you have a problem!

3. Search Engine Friendly. Check to make sure the CMS you are using is search engine friendly. Are your URLs search engine friendly? Are you using keywords in the naming structure of your URLs or just automatically created jibberish by the builder? Are you able to include header tags? Alt Tags?

4. Has the site been submitted to Google Webmaster Central? By submitting your site to Google you are able to get your whole site indexed properly on Google, and they are able to show you any errors your site may have. There are so many tools that are offered here that you need to become aware of, but for the sake of “The 5 Minute SEO Site Audit” I just want to make sure the site has been submitted.

5. Check for Duplicate Content. If you are selling products and are using a supplier with their descriptions and info, I am going to make sure there is no duplicate content issues. If you are using the same content that 1,000 other people are using, there might be a problem. I would always suggest making sure you do everything you can to make sure that you have no duplicate content of any kind on your site.

In Conclusion: Again, this is just a quick “What I would do” SEO Audit checklist of what I look for when “checking out” brand new sites. These are a few of the steps that I would recommend anyone new to Internet business and SEO should check out before really thinking they are ready to make money with their website. I know this info may seem basic to a lot of us that have been doing it “forever”, but you woul be surprised how many people still do the simple things wrong!

About The Author
Matt Siltala has been working with Internet business owners since 1999 to help them increase their conversion rate and truly become successful. Matt got started in the field by working with a small radio station in Arizona and posting to his own personal blog . From there, Matt has become an expert in the field of SEO and internet marketing, all while building his own internet marketing company, Dream Systems Media.

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