When optimizing your website to increase traffic, it helps to have an SEO checklist to follow in order to get the most out of your time and effort. That’s why I’ve to put together this detailed SEO Checklist updated for 2016 with SEO best practices that help increase search engine rankings for targeted keywords.
1. Head Section Order
Ensure your web page Meta tags are in the order: Title > Description > Keywords. Remember, the information you put in these tags is used to render the title and description in the search engine results pages, and is what searchers see.
2. Title Tag
Write a unique title tag for every page and post. Title tags should be approx. nine words, plus or minus three (Limit title tag length to 60 characters.). You want to make sure the most important information, including top keywords, show up in title tag.
3. Description Tag
The description tag should also be mindful to include the most important info and keywords. Keep it under 155 characters, and make it enticing so that viewers will click through from the search engine results page to your content.
Don’t forget to make the title and description compelling as this text assists in conversions.
4. Keywords Tag
Even though Google has stated the keywords tag is not a consideration in ranking, we always include it as a best practice. We list keywords in order from longest in length to shortest in length, separated by commas.
5. Heading Tags
Proper use of headings tags lets search engines know what your web page is about. In the body of your content, your first heading tag must begins as an <h1>. Subsequent heading tags should be <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, etc., and be used as the page’s table of contents.
6. Minimum Word Count
The amount of words you have on a web page will vary by topic, keyword and intent. But, nomaly more than 250 words are recommended. if you’re trying to optimize for keywords. Informational web pages will almost always warrant at least 450 words. Quality content is key. Since the Google Panda Update penalizing low-quality content, avoid duplicate content.
7. Dashes vs. Underscores in URLs
Underscores are alpha characters and do not separate words. Dashes (hyphens) are word separators, but should not appear too many times or it could look spammy.
8. Fully Qualified Links
If you make your links fully qualified, there’s no question by search engine spiders, browsers, etc. as to where the file is located and what it’s about. If your link looks something like “../../pagename” (a relative link), then it may result in crawl issues for some search engines. Rather than complex URLs, use fully qualified links (http://www.URL). And the site map should always have fully qualified URLs.
You want to be sure the most important code is the first thing the search engine bots crawl. You can externalize the code that gets in the way of this to ensure there aren’t unnecessary lines above the body text.