Web Site SEO Check List

There are a number of steps that should be taken when putting any website on the Internet. Failure to consider these steps will usually mean that your site will either rank very poorly in Google and the search engine results or not at all, which pretty much defeats the purpose of creating a website. Collectively these steps are called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

This list will help you remember all of the most essential SEO steps. You should have the majority of the "On Site" work completed before you start devoting too much time to link building or hire a link building service. Once these are completed you can move on to “Fine Tuning” your SEO by applying some of the more advanced Optimization methods found on this site.

Google and the other search engines like Yahoo and Bing change their methods of ranking website periodically, so we will be updating this page as often as needed. Bookmark us, and stop by regularly for additional tips.


Onsite SEO

  1. Research Good keywords
  2. Sufficient page text – Too little text on a web page will cause Google to turn it into a supplemental page.
  3. Original Page Text – Pages that are too similar to other pages on your site may be filtered out by the search engines.
  4. Unique Page Title – Each page on your site should have a unique title based on the pages content and your most important keywords.
  5. Unique Meta Description – Each page on your site should have a unique meta description based on the pages content and your most important keywords.
  6. Unique Meta Keywords (doesn’t do much good, but it doesn’t hurt either) – Each page on your site should have a unique meta keywords based on the pages content and your most important keywords.
  7. Keyword repetition in page text. Keywords and keyword variations should be used frequently on the page. Don’t get carried away, make sure the page is still comfortable for your visitors to read.
  8. Keyword emphasis in page text – Use heading html tags and bold to tell the search engines what you think are the most important words on your page.
  9. Keyword placement in page text – Be sure the first and last paragraphs on your page include your major keywords.
  10. Alt tags – Search engines cannot read an image. Tell them what the picture is about. Don’t repeat the some keywords over and over, if you put the image there than it must relate to your content, tell the search engine about that relation.
  11. Site maps and rss Feeds:Small, relatively static (unchanging) sites with good navigation usually don’t need too much more for Google to find the pages. Larger sites, sites that use poor navigation methods like JavaScript and Flash as well as sites that frequently add new content need to help the search engines locate pages quicker. Two tools are very helpful in this.
    1. Rss feeds work well if you have a site where content is frequently being added to the site (like blogs). Rss feeds also have the advantage of being easily used on other sites like Squidoo to list your latest pages of posts.
    2. Sites maps also work well for keeping the search engine up to date on your website additions. It’s best to list your sitemap with Google using the Google webmaster tools.

    There should be links on your site to both your rss and site map pages to ensure they are found by all of the search engines. Another method of ensuring that the search engine are able to find your site map is by adding the site map in your robots.txt file on the root of your website. (example “Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml”)

Offsite SEO

Much of Top Website Tips is devoted to link building; we also talk about ways to build your links in a bulk fashion. Bulk link building is starting to become a dying form of SEO. It is best try for fewer and higher quality links instead of huge amounts of low quality links. Small numbers of links received from larger web directories, and article directories still help but use them sparingly and change the link text and url frequently.

  1. Incoming links
    • Guest Article Writing - In the post-Penguin (a google update) world "guest writting" is one of the best means of promoting your website. Look for high quality blogs and websites and ask if they would accept a unique, professionally written article that is on the theme of the website. As compensation you add a link to your site within the article as the source reference.
    • Directories - General directories have some value; however, try to find as many niche directories that are devoted to your industry as you can. We suggest though that you do not get too wrapped up in this form of link acquisition. We recommend a slow, steady rate in adding these links. Don't spam Google
    • Article Submission – This is a good way to establish yourself as an “Authority” in your field, as well as create a steady stream of new relevant links (and Traffic) to your site.
    • Press Releases – Find “News Worthy” events to write about your company and your website. This can give you a large burst of new visitors, although these will normally reduce over time. Some of the sites that use your release may keep it on their site, which will give you a good quality link back to your site. Most of the links that you get will be short term, which will not provide link value. It’s the traffic that makes this worth while
    • Link Trades – The search engines are reducing the values of these trades. Be picky; only add trades from quality related sites. These trades often will send you regular visitors. If one of your visitors are going to leave your site (you don’t always have what they want!), why not send them to one of your “friends”.
    • One-way links – These come in many forms. You may pay for some, often sites will give you a link if you just ask and your site would be valuable to their clients.
    • Look for opportunities, some additional sources are:
      • Forums
      • Blog Comments
      • Review sites
      • Classified sites
      • Don’t spam these sites, if they give you the opportunity to write something and add your link, be sure to give them something back. Follow their rules and give quality thoughtful comments, reviews etc.
    • Link Bait – This is a pretty new term. It means to add high quality content to your site that someone may want to link to.
  2. Outgoing links - It has been suggested that Google uses the sites you link to in determining the subject of your site. Link to a few authority sites.
  3. Statistics – Watch your Web Site statistics for trends. This will show you what is working in your SEO efforts and what is not. Statistics can also be used to see where people go when they visit your site. If people are leaving without visiting other pages, then you may have a problem with that page.
  4. Social Marketing - Don’t forget the social marketing. While it is still up for debate as to whether social sites like facebook (which uses the nofollow rel), Twitter (which uses link shorteners), Google Plus or G+, and the other social sites actually provide link value, one thing that is for certain is that Google and the other search engines do pay attention to trends in the social sites. Be sure that you have your own accounts in each of the major social sites and work on getting them followed by other people interested in your same topic.
  5. Web Master tools – There are many tools you can use to check the health of your web site.
  6. Google provided tools – Google provides a number of webmaster tools to help you to see if there are errors in your site, what the most common words are in your site (ie what your site is about), what words are most frequently used in link text pointing to your site (once again, what your site is about)

Additional reading

Good SEO means keeping up with the latest trends and changes in the search engines. This requires spending some time on a regular basis reading industry related blogs, newsletters  and forums. Although the basic SEO steps listed on this page never change, the way you do some of them will, as well as many other details on now to improve the ranking of your sites in Google and the other search engines.