Development Reference Guide: On-Site SEO Checklist

When creating a new website or redesigning an old one, it's essential to build it with search engine optimization principles.

By programming a site from the start with SEO as a primary concern, you'll give it the best possible chance at achieving a high ranking.

Take a look at this handy cheat sheet for developing websites with the most meaningful on-page search ranking factors in mind.

Analytics & webmaster tools setup

Adding Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to the back-end gives you the ability to monitor your website's traffic to maximize performance. With detailed statistics about where your visitors come from and what they do once on your site, you can make educated changes and updates to increase customer acquisition.

Site speed

Having clean, purposeful code with no redundancies will allow your site to load faster across all devices.

It's important to have efficient code using the smallest amount of resources needed to perform a function, which keeps your website from being unnecessarily bogged down.


With Google's recent mobile ranking shift, having a completely mobile website has become even more crucial for search engine success. Using responsive design principles on every page will give your site the best visibility on any screen size from any device.

Clean URLS

The URL for each page should be organized in a thoughtful manner and consistent throughout the entire site. They should be as short as possible while still describing the content on the page accurately with related keywords.

Intuitive site structure

An easy to understand structure is a meaningful feature that is necessary to satisfy both search engines and users.

For search engines, an organized structure gives your site easy crawlability — allowing it to be indexed properly and have the best opportunity for high rankings.

As for customers, an intuitive structure provides easy navigation, which gives them the ability to get to exactly what they're looking for immediately. The simplest possible customer journey is the best way to increase your website's conversion rate and total sales.

Useful internal links

Similar to having an intuitive site structure, it's also important to include intuitive links. Containing helpful internal linking between related pages of your site gives customers a simple exploring experience.

Your visitors will be more likely to browse through different areas of your site, learn more about you, stay on your site longer, and ultimately become a client.

Smart use of keywords

The use of descriptive keywords within certain areas of your site can have a significant impact on your search performance. Specific sections of code are useful spots for keywords, which is why experienced developers build every site from the ground up with SEO in mind.

Some strong back-end locations for keywords that help with ranking for related searches include:

  • Title tags
  • H1 tags
  • URL structure
  • Body copy
  • Header & footer

Social media integration

Being sure to have easily accessible links to your social media profiles is an essential piece of your website. It gives your customers quick access to all of your content and will help increase traffic to these digital platforms.

Google and other search engines also take social media signals into account — so the more likes, shares, retweets, and favorites you can acquire, the better your chance at high rankings.

Need help with technical SEO? Contact the development team at MustBeOnline

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