This checklist outlines essential SEO aspects and best practices in 2024! We'll cover everything you need to know to make your website search engine friendly and user-friendly, leading to more traffic and engagement.

Claim your Local Business

  • Get Verified: Register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for valuable website insights.
  • Test Your Website Health: Use free tools like PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and GTmetrix to identify areas for improvement and optimize your site speed.

Here's a list of useful resources to test your webpage health.

About PageSpeed Insights | Google for Developers
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Build a Powerful Sitemap

What is a Sitemap? A sitemap file comprises URLs that provide information on the content of every page on your website, including articles, images, and videos. It helps search engines find pertinent details about your website content, like the most recent update, the article title and publishing date, and details on videos and images.

Do You Need One? If your website is modest and has good links, you might not need a sitemap, but larger websites or those with rich media content definitely need one.

Build and Submit a Sitemap | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers
Google supports several sitemap formats. Follow this guide to learn about formats, how to build a sitemap, and how to submit a sitemap to Google.

Build and Submit a Sitemap

Sitemap Best Practices

  1. Submit the sitemap to Google and Bing and monitor its indexing status.
  2. Add the location of your sitemap file to your robots.txt file to tell search engines where your sitemap is located.
  3. Keep the sitemap under 50MB or 50,000 URLs.
  4. Use UTF-8 encoding and place the sitemap at the root directory of your website for best search engine accessibility.
  5. Include fully qualified URLs with https:// and avoid relative paths.
  6. Include only URLs you want search engines to find and potentially rank. If you have mobile or desktop versions, choose one or indicate both with annotations.

Unlock Rich Results with Structured Data

What is Structured Data? Structured data improves how well search engines comprehend and categorize the information on your pages.

Benefits: You can optimize your page to appear in search results as rich results and featured snippets, making them more appealing to users.

Explore Schema Markup: Explore 35 types of Schema Markup that Google supports and determine whether your website requires one.

Test Your Rich Results: Use the Rich Results Test to verify if your page supports rich results.

  • Target long-tail keywords with and without question words.
  • Answer the questions directly and concisely within your content, ideally at the beginning.
  • Use clear and simple language with proper formatting, including headers and bullet points.
  • Optimize your content for the specific type of featured snippet (paragraph, table, list, or video).
  • Include high-quality images and videos with relevant alt text.

Mobile-First Indexing: Prioritize your Users

With mobile devices dominating internet access, a mobile-friendly website is essential for a great user experience. This is also a top priority for search engines!

Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices

  1. Follow the Better Ads standard to avoid harming your mobile page ranking.
  2. If you are using structured data, use the same for both mobile and desktop.
  3. Utilize CSS media queries to create a fluid and responsive layout.
  4. Compress images and utilize formats suitable for mobile devices to reduce load times.
  5. Simplify menus and navigation to enhance user experience on smaller screens.
  6. Ensure touch-friendly elements. Make buttons and links easily tappable on touch screens.
  7. Avoid intrusive pop-ups that may disrupt the user experience.
  8. Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to create faster-loading versions of your web pages for mobile users.

Focus More on Website Speed Optimization

A slow website frustrates users and hurts your search ranking. Optimize website speed by compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing unnecessary scripts.

Website Speed Optimization Best Practices

  1. Utilize performance evaluation tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to improve website speed.
  2. Optimize images to reduce file sizes without compromising quality.
  3. Leverage browser caching to store website resources locally, enabling faster subsequent page loads.
  4. Focus on Core Web Vitals.

While website speed encompasses various factors, Google focuses on three key metrics for user experience, known as Core Web Vitals:

  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): Measures responsiveness to user actions (clicks, taps). Aim for a lower score for faster response times.
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP measures the time it takes for the largest content element on a page to load. For a good user experience, aim for an LCP score below 2.5 seconds. You can check your LCP score using Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures unexpected layout shifts during loading, which can be frustrating. Aim for a CLS score below 0.1 seconds.

Maintain a Proper Website and URL Structure

A well-structured website with clear categories, tags, and menus helps users and search engines find what they want easily.

Best Practices for Website and URL Structure

  1. Organize content into clear and logical categories to facilitate intuitive navigation for users and search engines.
  2. Implement strategic internal linking to establish logical pathways between related content.
  3. Ensure your pages' URLs follow a proper, logical structure relevant to the pages. A well-structured URL helps the user seamlessly navigate through your site.
  4. Craft SEO-friendly URLs that are descriptive, concise, and relevant to the content they represent.
  5. Avoid long, convoluted URLs that can confuse both users and search engines.
  6. Use hyphens to separate words; they are more readable to users and search engines than underscores or spaces.

Focus on People-First Content

Your goal is to enhance user experience on your page and improve your site's performance. This leads us to crucial factors like user experience, on-page SEO, E-E-A-T and overall content optimization.

Content Optimization Best Practices

  1. Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords for each website page. Focus on long-tail keywords and searcher intent, and experiment with keyword research tools.
  2. Prioritise Content Freshness and update your content regularly.
  3. Craft compelling meta elements, such as titles, descriptions, and headers, that incorporate target keywords and address user intent.
  4. Use descriptive alt attributes for images to improve accessibility and keyword relevance.
  5. Organize your content structure using proper heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to improve readability and clarify the hierarchy and relevance of your content for users and search engines.
  6. Include internal links within your content to guide users to related topics or pages on your website, improving navigation and distributing link equity.
  7. Optimize for featured snippets. Structure your content to answer common queries or provide short descriptions to get featured in SERPs.

Optimize for E-E-A-T and YMYL Content

While E-E-A-T and YMYL are not a ranking factor, they highly emphasize content and quality, helpful, people-first content. It was designed to help creators evaluate and present their content for users' benefit, not for search engine rankings.

  • Focus on Quality: E-E-A-T isn't a direct ranking factor but emphasizes high-quality, helpful content.
    • Expertise: Back up your claims with research and data from credible sources.
    • Experience: Share your practical knowledge and experience.
    • Authoritativeness: Engage with your audience and establish yourself as a leader in your niche.
    • Trustworthiness: Build trust by citing sources and avoiding misleading information.
  • Your Money or Your Life (YMYL): This refers to websites dealing with topics that can significantly impact users' well-being (finance, health, news, shopping). For YMYL content, Google places extra emphasis on E-E-A-T.


This checklist covers important SEO aspects and best practices for 2024, including technical optimizations, content strategies, mobile optimization, and user experience considerations. Website owners can utilize this checklist to confirm that their site is optimized for search engines and provides a great user experience, resulting in higher rankings, increased traffic, and improved engagement.

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