HomeDecorative ElementBlogDecorative ElementSEO
Comprehensive Google SEO Checklist 2023 | SEO Guide
Master Google's SEO guidelines with our comprehensive 2023 checklist. From site design and content creation to advanced optimization strategies, elevate your website's visibility in Google search results

Google SEO Guidelines Checklist

Master Google's SEO guidelines with our comprehensive 2023 checklist. From site design and content creation to advanced optimization strategies, elevate your website's visibility in Google search results by following this checklist. This checklist is dervied directly from Google's Search Essentials (formally Google Webmaster) guidelines and put into a checklist format. We've also added in several, but not all, items that we utilize in our master SEO audit list.

1. Design and Content Guidelines

These pertain to the overall design and structure of your website and its content, involving elements such as static text links, clear page titles, and useful, information-rich content.

  • Make sure that all pages are reachable by static text links.
  • Each page should have a descriptive and concise title.
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly URLs.
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site.
  • Avoid using images to display important names, content, or links.
  • Make sure your content is relevant and valuable to your target audience.
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches.

2. Technical Guidelines

This section involves ensuring your site works perfectly across all types of devices and browsers, includes HTML correctness, efficient use of robots.txt, proper handling of HTTP headers, and overall website performance optimization.

  • Test your site to make sure that it appears correctly in different browsers.
  • Use a text browser, such as Lynx, to examine your site.
  • Check your site for broken links and correct HTML.
  • Make sure that your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header.
  • Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server.
  • Review additional .txt files including security.txt, humans.txt and ads.txt that you may want to include.
  • Make effective use of robots.txt file and robot meta tags.
  • Be aware of rel="nofollow" for links.
  • Monitor your site's performance and optimize load times.

3. Quality Guidelines

These guidelines stress on creating high-quality content that serves users, not just search engines. Avoid manipulative tactics like hidden text, keyword stuffing, and cloaking. Avoid creating duplicate content across your domains or subdomains and avoid any malicious behavior like phishing or installing badware.

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
  • Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank.
  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don't send automated queries to Google.
  • Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  • Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Don't create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches.
  • If your site has been penalized, follow the necessary steps to file a reconsideration request.

4. Mobile-Friendly Guidelines

With the rising use of mobile devices for internet access, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is essential. This involves using responsive design, avoiding software uncommon on mobile devices, and optimizing your site's design for easy readability and navigation on smaller screens.

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, with responsive design.
  • Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
  • Use text that is readable without zooming.
  • Size content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

5. International and Multilingual Sites

If your website serves users in different languages or regions, these guidelines help ensure that your site appropriately serves the right content to the right users. This involves using hreflang for language and regional URLs and avoiding automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language.

  • Use hreflang or sitemaps for language- or region-specific pages.
  • Avoid automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language.
  • Use a different URL for each language version of a page.

6. Page Speed

Page speed is crucial for user experience and SEO. This includes minimizing HTTP requests, reducing server response time, enabling compression and browser caching, minifying resources, and optimizing images.

  • Minimize HTTP requests.
  • Reduce server response time.
  • Enable compression.
  • Enable browser caching.
  • Minify resources (HTML, CSS, JavaScript).
  • Optimize images.
  • Optimize CSS Delivery.

7. Structured Data

Structured data helps search engines understand your content better, leading to enhanced search presence. It involves using schema markup and validating your structured data.

  • Use schema markup to provide Google with more information about your content.
  • Validate your structured data with Google's Structured Data Testing Tool.

8. User Experience

A website should be designed keeping in mind the user experience. This involves intuitive navigation, accessibility, and user-friendly error handling.

  • Design website with user-friendly navigation and intuitive category and page hierarchy.
  • Ensure website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities (ADA compliance).
  • Implement a user-friendly 404 error page.

9. Security

A secure website is trusted by users and search engines alike. It involves switching to HTTPS and regularly updating and maintaining your site's security.

  • Ensure your website is HTTPS, not HTTP.
  • Regularly update and maintain your site's security.
  • Maintain access logs for the CMS
  • Maintain server and networking logs

10. Analytics and Search Console

These tools help you measure your site's performance and identify areas for improvement.

  • Setup a Google Marketing Platform Organization
  • Setup Google Tag Manager
  • Set up Google Analytics
  • Set up Google Search Console
  • Set a schedule to regularly review performance metrics and identify areas for improvement.

11. Local SEO (if applicable)

For businesses serving a local clientele, local SEO is crucial. This includes setting up Google My Business, managing online customer reviews, and ensuring consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) across all online platforms.

  • Set up Google My Business and regularly update it.
  • Encourage and manage online customer reviews.
  • Ensure consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) across all online platforms.

12. Image Optimization

Images can also contribute to your SEO efforts. This involves using relevant images, descriptive file names, alt tags, and compressing images for speed.

  • Use relevant images that complement your content.
  • Use descriptive file names for your images.
  • Use alt tags with relevant keywords for all images.
  • Compress images to reduce file size without compromising quality.

13. Social Media

Social media can greatly amplify your content's reach, leading to better SEO results. This involves making your content easily shareable and regularly promoting your content on your social media channels.

  • Ensure your content is easily shareable on social media.
  • Regularly promote your content on your social media channels.

14. Advanced Technical SEO

  • Implement advanced schema types like FAQ, How-to, etc.
  • Consider Edge SEO tactics like service workers and cloudflare workers to offload CPU and memory to the edge
  • Use advanced link attributes (User Generated Content, sponsored content, etc.).
  • Implement dynamic rendering for heavy JavaScript-based websites.
  • Use canonical tags properly to handle duplicate content issues.

15. Core Web Vitals & Page Experience

  • Optimize for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
  • Optimize for First Input Delay (FID).
  • Optimize for Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
  • Ensure mobile-friendliness.
  • Ensure safe-browsing.
  • Check for HTTPS security.
  • Eliminate intrusive interstitials.

16. Advanced Content Optimization

  • Optimize for featured snippets.
  • Use NLP (Natural Language Processing) tools for content optimization.
  • Create effective content clusters for relevant topics.
  • Use advanced keyword research tools for content ideation.
  • Implement A/B testing for title tags and meta descriptions.

17. Advanced Link Building

  • Implement digital PR strategies for high-quality backlinks.
  • Consider HARO (Help a Reporter Out) for quality backlinks.
  • Create linkable assets (like infographics, comprehensive guides, etc.).

18. Voice Search Optimization

  • Optimize your content for voice search.
  • Use conversational language in your content.
  • Consider the typical who, what, when, where, why, and how questions.

19. AI and Machine Learning for SEO

  • Use AI tools for content creation and optimization.
  • Use AI for predictive analysis and SEO forecasting.
  • Apply machine learning for SEO data analysis.

20. Video SEO

  • Optimize video content for search engines.
  • Use keywords in video titles and descriptions.
  • Submit a video sitemap to Google.

21. E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

  • Optimize your content for E-A-T.
  • Build high-quality backlinks.
  • Create high-quality, researched, and expert content.
Table of Contents
    Table of Contents+
    We can run an SEO Audit for you
    We're happy to run an SEO audit for you.
    Related SEO Information
    Here are additional SEO checklists and related information.
    SEO Checklist Walk Through
    Get help with your SEO
    We've been doing SEO audits for years. Let us walk through an audit with you.
    Reviewed on Clutch