SEO Checklist

Accessibility

Page access: If a search engine can't reach a page, it's impossible to
have it indexed. Make sure that the robots.txt file or robots meta tag
isn't accidentally blocking important pages.

Block inappropriate pages: On the other hand: some pages should not be
indexed, for example incomplete pages or confidential pages. Block them
via the robots.txt file or robots meta tag.

Pagination: help search engines handle pagination by implementing the
rel="next" and rel="prev" tag.

Redirects: use 301-redirects instead of 302.

404 errors: try to reduce the amount of 404 errors to a minimum.

Site speed: site speed has become a ranking factor. Faster is better.
Use Google Page Speed

to check the loading time of your pages.

Mobile accessibility: is your site accessible for mobile devices?
Google recommends a responsive design.

Duplicate content: check for duplicate content in Google Webmaster
tools, via the site:

search command or via site crawling software. Duplicate content issues
can be solved via a

301-redirect, the rel="canonical" tag, meta robots tag, URL rewriting
etc.

URL Structure

www or non-www: Choose one and make sure the internal and inbound links
use the same format. Use Google Webmaster Tools to set the preferred
version. Automatic URL rewriting is also possible.

Domain extension: Local businesses might want to consider choosing a
country-specific domain extension for better ranking.

Subdomain or subfolder: Subdomains are often seen by Google as separate
domains, so it's best to use subfolders. If you have several,
non-related products you can still opt for a subdomain though.

Descriptive URLs: use a descriptive page name instead of a random
number of words and letters. The same goes for subfolders.

Hyphens: use hyphens to split words in a URL.

URL parameters: you can help Google handle URL parameters via Google
Webmaster tools.

Sitemaps

HTML sitemap: a HTML sitemap is not only useful for visitors, but also
for search engines. It helps them understand your site architecture.

XML sitemap: this sitemap is only visible for search engines. XML
sitemaps allow you to add metadata 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.

Image sitemap: The Image Sitemap can help your images show up in Google
Image Search results and get you some extra visitors.

Video sitemap: a video sitemap can help with the creation of rich
snippets for your page.

Keywords

Single keyword per page: Make sure every page targets a single keyword.

 

Keyword research: ranking for the correct keywords is very important.
Do some research and see which keyword has the highest traffic
potential and the least amount of competition. Balance these two
factors.

Keyword in URL: use the keyword in the URL (page name).

Keyword in title: use the keyword in the title of the page, preferably
in the beginning. This is

an important indicator for search engines to categorise a page.

Keyword in headings: use the keyword in one or more headings (h1, h2,
h3...). The H1 tag should only be used once on a page and should be
used for the title.

Keyword in content: it's impossible to write about a topic without
using the keyword. Use the keyword, including variations and synonyms
throughout the text. Try to use it in the first paragraph too.

Content

Title: max. 70 characters long.

Unique value: content that provides a unique value attracts link
naturally.

Content type: choosing a different content type, e.g. infographic,
comic, quiz... can help you

attract links.

Crawlable: Search engines have difficulties crawling certain content
types, for example images or flash content. A combination of HTML, CSS
and webfonts can be used to solve certain crawlability problems.

Language targeting: inform search engines about a translated page by
using the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" annotation.

Freshness: search engines like new content. Regularly posting or
updating pages is recommended.

Content length: content length is correlated with rankings. Try to aim
for at least 300 words.

Images

File name: choose a descriptive file name instead of random words and
numbers.

Alt-tag: don't forget to add an alt-tag with a short description of the
image.

Size: keep your images as small as possible to improve page load times.

Display in SERP

Meta description: change the description of a page in the SERPs by
adding a meta- description tag. A good description convinces surfers to
click on the link. Don't forget to use keywords because they appear in
bold.

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 via microdata, RFDa or microformats.

Authorship information: add authorship information to your pages.
AuthorRank is a relatively

new ranking factor.

Social Snippets

Thumbnail: choose an eye-catching thumbnail that's at least 200 x 200
pixels.

Title: the title acts as an anchor text for your social snippet.

 

URL: the URL of the underlying page. Don't forget to tag your URL using
Google's URL

builder for additional information in Google Analytics.

Description: a short description of the content. You can use the
meta-description for this.

Twitter card: Twitter Cards use the Open Graph tags, supplemented with
several Twitter-

specific tags.

Local Search

Local optimization: optimize your page as you would do for any other
keyword. Use the

location (for example Los Angeles) in the page title, url and content.

Structured data: location information can also be added via structured
data.

Multiple locations: if you have a chain of businesses, create a unique page
with a separate

URL for each location.

Google+: create a Google+ Local page for your business.

Local listing: get links from local listings (YellowPages, Foursquare,
Yelp…) to improve your

visibility for local search queries.

Off-site SEO

Inbound links: check the number of inbound links.

Authority: links from sites with a high domain authority are more valuable.

Anchor text: the anchor text is the text that is used to link to your site.
Keywords in an anchor

text are very useful, but don't overdo this. Make sure your link profile
looks natural.

Diversity: try to gain links from multiple, relevant domains instead of
only a handful of sites.

Nofollow: inbound links that use the rel="nofollow" tag passe no PageRank

Bad links: links from spammy sites can hurt your rankings. Contact the
webmaster to remove

them or use the Disavow Tool.