SEO Checklist


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A checklist to help web designers bring order to their SEO chaos.

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SEO Checklist

  1. 1. SEO ChecklistThank you for downloading the SEO checklist. Learn it by heart or simplyprint it out for your next SEO project.You can consult the complete SEO session on Webdesigntuts+ for futurereference.
  2. 2. What Is SEO ?Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of awebsite or a web page in a search engines "natural" or un-paid ("organic") searchresults. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), andmore frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it willreceive from the search engines users. SEO may target different kinds of search,including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news searchand industry-specific vertical search engines.As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, whatpeople search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search enginesand which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing awebsite may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to bothincrease its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexingactivities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks,or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.Wikipedia
  3. 3. On-site SEOThese SEO techniques can influence the entire website.• Accessibility1. Page access: If a search engine cant reach a page, its impossible to have it indexed. Make sure that therobots.txt file or robots meta tag isnt accidentally blocking important pages.2. Block inappropriate pages: On the other hand: some pages should not be indexed, for example incompletepages or confidential pages. Block them via the robots.txt file or robots meta tag.3. Pagination: help search engines handle pagination by implementing the rel="next“and rel="prev“tag.4. Redirects: use 301-redirects instead of 302.5. 404 errors: try to reduce the amount of 404 errors to a minimum.6. Site speed: site speed has become a ranking factor. Faster is better. Use Google Page Speed to check the loadingtime of your pages.7. Mobile accessibility: is your site accessible for mobile devices? Google recommends a responsive design.8. Duplicate content: check for duplicate content in Google Webmaster tools, via the site: search command or viasite crawling software. Duplicate content issues can be solved via a 301-redirect, the rel="canonical“tag, meta robotstag, URL rewriting or Google Webmaster Tools.
  4. 4. • URL Structure1. www or non-www: Choose one and make sure the internal and inbound links use the sameformat. Use Google Webmaster Tools to set the preferred version. Automatic URL rewriting isalso possible.2. Domain extension: Local businesses might want to consider choosing a country-specificdomain extension for better ranking.3. Subdomain or subfolder: Subdomains are often seen by Google as separate domains, so itsbest to use subfolders. If you have several, non-related products you can still opt for asubdomain though.4. Descriptive URLs: use a descriptive page name instead of a random number of words andletters. The same goes for subfolders.5. Hyphens: use hyphens to split words in a URL.6. URL parameters: you can help Google handle URL parameters via Google Webmaster tools.
  5. 5. • Sitemaps1. HTML sitemap: a HTML sitemap is not only useful for visitors, but also for search engines. Ithelps them understand your site architecture.2. XML sitemap: this sitemap is only visible for search engines. XML sitemaps allow you to addmetadata which can be used to provide additional information about the content of each page.An XML sitemap can contain a maximum of 50,000 links.3. Image sitemap: The Image Sitemap can help your images show up in Google Image Searchresults and get you some extra visitors.4. Video sitemap: a video sitemap can help with the creation of rich snippets for your page.
  6. 6. On-page SEOOn-page SEO techniques optimize a single page forsearch engines.• Keyword1. Single keyword per page: Make sure every page targets a single keyword.2. Keyword research: ranking for the correct keywords is very important. Do some research andsee which keyword has the highest traffic potential and the least amount of competition.Balance these two factors.3. Keyword in URL: use the keyword in the URL (page name).4. Keyword in title: use the keyword in the title of the page, preferably in the beginning. This is animportant indicator for search engines to categorise a page.5. Keyword in headings: use the keyword in one or more headings (h1, h2, h3...). The H1 tagshould only be used once on a page and should be used for the title.6. Keyword in content: its impossible to write about a topic without using the keyword. Use thekeyword, including variations and synonyms throughout the text. Try to use it in the firstparagraph too.
  7. 7. • Content1. Title: max. 70 characters long.2. Unique value: content that provides a unique value attracts link naturally.3. Content type: choosing a different content type, e.g. infographic, comic, quiz... can help youattract links.4. Crawlable: Search engines have difficulties crawling certain content types, for example imagesor flash content. A combination of HTML, CSS and webfonts can be used to solve certaincrawlability problems.5. Language targeting: inform search engines about a translated page by using therel="alternate" hreflang="x“annotation.6. Freshness: search engines like new content. Regularly posting or updating pages isrecommended.7. Content length: content length is correlated with rankings. Try to aim for at least 300 words.
  8. 8. • Images1. File name: choose a descriptive file name instead of random words and numbers.2. Alt-tag: dont forget to add an alt-tag with a short description of the image.3. Size: keep your images as small as possible to improve page load times.
  9. 9. • Display in SERP1. Meta description: change the description of a page in the SERPs by adding a meta-descriptiontag. A good description convinces surfers to click on the link. Dont forget to use keywordsbecause they appear in bold.2. Structured data: add structured data to your page that can be used to generate rich snippets.Rich snippets can vastly improve the CTR of your pages. Structured data can be added viamicrodata, RFDa or microformats.3. Authorship information: add authorship information to your pages. AuthorRank is a relativelynew ranking factor.
  10. 10. • Social Snippets1. Thumbnail: choose an eye-catching thumbnail thats at least 200 x 200 pixels.2. Title: the title acts as an anchor text for your social snippet.3. URL: the URL of the underlying page. Dont forget to tag your URL using Googles URL builderfor additional information in Google Analytics.4. Description: a short description of the content. You can use the meta-description for this.5. Twitter card: Twitter Cards use the Open Graph tags, supplemented with several Twitter-specific tags.
  11. 11. • Local Search1. Local optimization: optimize your page as you would do for any other keyword. Use thelocation (for example Palo Alto) in the page title, url and content.2. Structured data: location information can also be added via structured data.3. Multiple locations: if you have a chain of businesses, create a unique page with a separate URLfor each location.4. Google+: create a Google+ Local page for your business.5. Local listing: get links from local listings (YellowPages, Foursquare, Yelp...) to improve yourvisibility for local search queries.
  12. 12. Off-site SEOTechniques that are beyond our own website.1. Inbound links: check the number of inbound links.2. Authority: links from sites with a high domain authority are more valuable.3. Anchor text: the anchor text is the text that is used to link to your site. Keywords in an anchortext are very useful, but dont overdo this. Make sure your link profile looks natural.4. Diversity: try to gain links from multiple, relevant domains instead of only a handful of sites.5. Nofollow: inbound links that use the rel="nofollow“tag passe no PageRank6. Bad links: links from spammy sites can hurt your rankings. Contact the webmaster to removethem or use the Disavow Tool.
  13. 13. Special ThanksIan Yates : Author at Webdesigntutsplus for his SEO Sessionand his SEO Checklist available in various formats such as : MarkdownPDFHTMLEvernoteKevin Vertommen is an online marketeer from Belgium. HeWorks at Fuseo where he helps businesses grow online.