In the dynamic world of SEO, where there are so many small and big things that contribute to your website’s Search Engine friendliness, it is so easy for even professional SEOs to miss out on few of the factors. So as to make sure that there is less SEO skipping and your website is fulfilling Search Engine’s basic requirements, I have compiled a really simple and most basic SEO checklist that will help you to be a little more confident about your SEO campaign.
1. If you haven’t booked a domain name yet, make sure you have your main keyword in it; people will link to you using your domain name as anchor text and hence giving a boost to your ranking for that particular keyword.
2. To begin with, make sure that you run a Google Adword Campaign to know the most convertible keyword theme for your website.
3. After the final keyword research, use this data to write unique and click-enticing title and meta description tag for each page. 65 characters in title tag is the maximum amount that will display in the search results but a little longer won’t hurt either. Keyword in the title tag is one most important factor you can’t afford to ignore.
4. Make sure that you haven’t overused keywords on the body copy; keyword density is a thing of past, Search Engines now use Latent Semantic Indexing instead.
5. Use keywords in alt and title tag of every image on your site (without making it look spammy).
6. Use H1, H2, H3 tags in your keyword headings. Use only one H1 tag per page with the most important keyword in it but you can use as many h2, h3 tags.
7. Use bold or strong tags to highlight the most important keyword.
8. Make sure all the internal and external navigational links have keywords in the anchor text and not just ‘click here’ and ‘learn more’. It gives a boost to the internal linking. You may even consider using tag clouds on your website for better Internal linking.
9. Be selective while submitting links to directories otherwise you may spoil your link profile in pursue of easy back links.
10. Use a robot.txt file to stop Google bots to index the unwanted & duplicate content.
11. Use Google and static sitemap and don’t forget to update it time to time.
12. Use keywords in bread crumb navigation.
13. Make sure you have a customized 404 error page. To make this task more interesting for you, check out these cool 404 error pages. (But please don’t forget to put a static sitemap or site search on your error page).
14. Implement Google Analytics and feed burner to monitor website stats.
15. Minimize exit links from your landing page.
16. Do your host’s IP analysis especially if you own a family of websites.
17. Write your company’s local address with your important keyword somewhere in the heading on the website and submit your website to Google local business Center for optimizing your website locally.
18. Make sure that there are no broken links. Use a program like Xenu.
19. Every time you add a new blog or article (auto) ping atleast Google, Yahoo, MSN and technorati.
20. Keep your website and page URLs as simple as possible. Search Engines hate non-sense dynamically generated URLs like http://www.crapurl/114/cat223 or http://www.crapurl/view_item.php?listing_id=477443&pic_id=2. Use URL masking.
21. For usability follow these simple design principles.
22. Don’t try to rank all the pages of your website. Concentrate on five of them and keep cannibalization factor in mind while doing the internal and external linking of your website.
23. Be creative in your link building approach. One solid idea can fetch you a million dollar worth links.
24. Keep your website link worthy.
25. Domain age matters a lot. You can’t do any thing about it but you have to be patient. (I wish there was some aging formula for websites like anti-aging cream for women)
26. Link popularity of the website. Use Yahoo for this as it presents more accurate link profile of a website than Google.
27. Additionally, use misspelled keywords in the keyword meta tags. It certainly helps.
29. Make sure you update your website content as often as possible. This improves your website bot-crawl frequency.
30. Have your website W3C compliant, it will give your website some definite future benefits.
31. Test your website on text browsers like lynx.
32. View your website at browsershots.org, where you can test on loads of different operating systems and browsers.
These are the most basic SEO factors that I can recall at the moment according to current Big3 Search Engine algos. If you think I have missed out on any of the important factors, please feel free to add them as comments on this post.