By Bruce Clay

Part of Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Search engine optimization starts on your own website. Focus on ensuring that your content, server setup, and internal links communicate expertise and professionalism to search engines and visitors. Strive to make your website equal to your competitors first, and then focus on surpassing them. As you work to improve your website, stay organized by using this checklist to coordinate your SEO campaign:

  • Do keyword research.

  • Create a Title tag (<title>).

  • Create a Meta description tag.

  • Create a Meta keywords tag.

  • Create heading tag(s) in hierarchical order, headline style.

  • Have a minimum of 400 words of textual content.

  • Include descriptive Alt attributes on all images.

  • Consistently use Strong and Bold tags (<strong> and <b>).

  • Use fully qualified links (begin all links with http://).

  • Use a sitemap to outline silos.

  • Never exceed 99 links on a page.

  • Use text navigation, rather than image maps, JavaScript, or Flash-based navigation.

  • Externalize JavaScript/CSS code.

  • Have a Robots.txt file.

  • Use web analytics tools to monitor traffic and ROI (return on investment).

  • Include image names.

  • Create a privacy statement.

  • Include contact information.

  • Check server logs or webmaster tools for server errors.

  • Use 301 Redirects over 302 Redirects.

  • Test mobile usability of your site (with tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test).

  • Check Google Search Console for reported manual penalties.

  • Improve site speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.