2014 mandatory SEO checklist to show proper onpage optimization
Regretfully, some website platforms or any free hosting or website builders may not be search engine friendly. This is some SEO’s why offer absolutely free websites.
Below is an optimization check list that has been compiled since Google was born. This list needs to be instilled on your website in order for it to gain Google’s 100% trust.
1. Head Section Order
You must make sure that your Meta tags are in the correct order this being: Title>Description>Keywords. This is important as the information that is placed in these tags will be what renders the title and description in the search engine results page which of course your perspective client will see.
2. Title Tag
It is important to any SEO check list, that your title tags must be concise. Nine words plus or minus three. Make sure that the most important information including keywords shows up before the cutoff in SERP. Google for instance has the cutoff at approx. 70 characters and this includes spaces.
3. Description Tag
The description tag will need to include those keywords, and other important information before the SERP cutoff. Which in Google’s case is approx. 160 characters including spaces. As a side note, make both your title and description tags engaging to your audience. This will help when attracting customers to the site. For some helpful hints check out the SEO newsletter article that deals with the ins and outs of Meta data.
4. Keywords Tag
Although keywords tag is no longer a consideration in Google ranking, we continue to use it for clarity. Simply list your keywords in order from longest to shortest, separated by commas.
5. Heading Tags
In the body of the content, it is key to make your first heading tag <h1>. The following heading tags should follow the same format <h2>, <h3> and so on. As well, these following heading tags will be used as your web pages table of contents.
6. Overall Word Count
Depending on the content, topic, and keywords the amount of words on a page will vary. In general, you should never have less that 250 words per page, especially if you are looking to optimize the page for keywords. If you are dealing with an informational web page we recommend 450 words per page at a bare minimum.
7. Alt Attributes with Keywords
To abide by the American with Disabilities Act, you should always describe the image on the page for those with a disability. Make sure that your images have proper descriptions and keywords for the page. Alt attributes will be needed to validate your HTML code as well.
8. Dashes vs. Underscores in URLs
Dashes act as word separators, and should not appear too many times as if they do the page will give the look of a spam page. Underscores are considered alpha characters and do not separate words.
9. Fully Qualified Links
Every SEO check list must include mention of your sitemap, it should always have fully qualified URL’s within it. A consideration is if you do make your links fully qualified there will no question by the search engine as to the location of the file, and its origins. Thus, clearing up a large amount of headaches.
The most important thing is that your most important code is the first thing that the search engine bots crawl. You can externalize the code to make sure that you do not have unnecessary lines above your body text that will inhibit this.
11. Site Map
You site needs to have an HTML site map, and every page will need a link to said site map, preferably in the footer. It is also a good idea to have an XML sitemap to submit to the various search engines.
12. Text Navigation
13. Make Robots.txt File
This file must exist, even if it is empty, it must be on the site. The robots.txt file allows the search engine spiders to leave certain items out of indexing. Do make sure that important files, or even the entire site is not in this folder… It will avoid many a hours of frustration.
14. Keyword Strategy
This is a process that seemingly never ends, keyword strategy require extensive research and continues throughout the life of the site. Although we could write essays on this topic, make sure it is on any good SEO checklist.
15. Web Analytics
Although we could speak on this subject for a while, the important think to remember is you must have web analytics. If they are set up correctly, they will continually let you know hat keywords are driving traffic, and if your site is optimized to them.
16. Linking Strategy
This is an integral part of the 2014 SEO checklist. You must make sure that your internal linking structure stems from your linking strategy and to make sure that your inbound/outbound links are also part of a neutral strategy that is within the search engine guidelines. Remember to regularly monitor these as guidelines change quickly.
17. Server Configuration
This is a no contest, check your server regularly for 301 redirects, 404 errors or other errors.
18. Privacy Statement
Although this is not required, it is of your best interest to include a privacy statement. This is to inform site visitors what you are doing with any data that you collect on them.
19. Static Pages
As complex or dynamic URL’s or two query string perimeters are not getting indexed you will have to consider converting them to static pages. Before this, consider mod_rewrite or ISAPI_rewrite to simplify URL’s. Rewritten URL’s show as static pages and although this takes time, it isa surefire way to fix this issue.
20. Static Index Pages
On the home page it is important to maintain constant text chunks. As home pages that have rotating content dilutes the theme and tend to cause poor key term rankings.
21. Use Text over Images
When you are faced with the question of text or image, always side with text. Text allows the spiders to understand what the page is about, as search engine spiders have a hard time to see all the text on an image file.
22. Ensure No SPAM Tactics
You must make sure that your SEO strategy is complying to Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you are ever in doubt, refer to what these guidelines say for SEO.
23. Check for Duplicate Content
When it comes to content, it is in your best interest is to do a quick scan of the web, to check for duplicate content. This will allow you to fix any issues, and make your site unique.
Hope this helps, TH