Sunday, 16 September 2007 15:04

SEO Checklist for Web Site Owners

Written by  L. Streete
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At LAS Design we regularly work with company's who request a Search Engine Optimisation solution, usually refered to by the the acronym SEO, to help them appear in the top 10 results on page one of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for specific key words and key word phrases on major search engines with an emphasis on Google, Yahoo and Micorsoft Live (GYM). So to help all of you aspiring company's and individuals out there, below is our FREE SEO checklist for web site owners.

The LAS Design SEO checklist has been created by SEO experts and SEO Professionals at LAS Design and covers all of the areas we feel you should focus your SEO efforts, so use the SEO web site checklist as a guide along with your existing SEO resources and SEO knowledge, to help you achieve a great result for your websites Search Engine Placement.

Free SEO Checklist for Web Site Owners

Keywords

When deciding upon your SEO strategy, it pays off to plan, as with all successful web sites planning can help to focus your SEO efforts. This will involve research performed by your web site design company or yourself, focusing on the right keywords that are usually associated with your business and the industry that your company sits within.

  1. To start off with keep your keywords specific to the services and products your web site offers.
  2. SEO Keyword Research. Find out what your competitors (web sites currently in the top 10 for SERP) are doing
  3. Your Chosen keywords should appear in the browser title (Title Tag: < title > Your Keyword < / title>) on each page of your website.
  4. Your keywords should appear in the Domain Name (web address) of your website. One such way to do this is to buy a domain name with your main keyword forming part of the name E.g. www.lasdesign-seo-keyword.co.uk
  5. Your keywords should appear in the URL of the pages accessed by your customers. One such method is called Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URL's. E.g. www.lasdesign.net/main-keyword.html notice in bold the main SEO keyword appears as the html page which a user would access. Having SEF URL's make it easy for search engines to read and makes more sense to users who look at the URL on a SERP.
  6. Use your keywords in the heading tags of your web page body. Use of H1, H2, H3 tags etc. This helps to clearly define the titles and sub titles of a web site page.
  7. Emphasise key words in your content using bold and italics tags in your HTML
  8. Use keywords in the starting sentence of a web page.
  9. Use keywords in the ALT (alternative text) tags when using images and pictures on pages.

Web site content

Web site content is one of, if not, the most effective areas where you can greatly enhance your websites optimisation efforts.

  1. It is good practice to focus on one topic per page to keep your content non diluted.
  2. Keep your content unique.
  3. Do not duplicate content from other pages of your web site or from another web site!
  4. Keep your content fresh, update your web site with new pages regularly.
  5. Do not stuff your web pages with keywords, E.g. repetitive use of key words, as this can have a negative effect, with search engines deciding to black list and remove your web site from their database instead of listing your web site.

Meta Tags

In short meta tags are used by search engines to allow them to more accurately list your web site in their indexes. Meta tags rose to popularity in the mid 1990's when search engines where reliant on them, but since then Search Engines have become more sophisticated and look at a number of other elements to help rank and list web pages and web sites. Meta tags may not be as effective as they once were but they can still be classed as a positive factor with regard to SEO. Meta elements must be placed as tags in the head section of an HTML or XHTML document.

The following meta tags can be used on your web pages;

  1. Meta Description - The description attribute provides a concise explanation of a web page's content.
  2. Meta Keywords - The keyword attribute should provide a list of approximately 10-20 key words about a web page's content.
  3. Meta Robots - The robots attribute is used to control whether search engine spiders are allowed to index a page, or not, and whether they should follow links from a page, or not.
  4. Meta Author - The author attribute is any person(s) or entity(s) that originates and assumes responsibility for the content creation of the web site or web page.

Correct website Mark-up

If you are about to design and create a new website or you have an existing website you would like to search engine optimise, then you need to ensure the mark-up (the HTML code behind your page) is valid.

  1. Ensure correct use of HTML elements with the correct document format
  2. Place styles in a separate Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), this helps to keep your HTML page primarily for content only.
  3. Place JavaScript in a separate javascript file, this helps to keep your HTML page primarily for content only.
  4. Use Flash Multimedia at minimums where possible. Flash should only used to help enhance the design of a web site page, an entire website should not be made up of flash as Search Engines cannot currently read flash files the way they do a normal HTML designed website.

Links

Once your content is looking good and you've put the above SEO checklist items in place you should then start with Internal hyper linking. This is the practice of linking to other sections and pages of your website with menus and linking from actual content of your web pages to other areas of your web site.

In terms of SEO receiving a hyperlink link from one web site to your own web site is another important factor. External hyper linking can be both good and bad, so to get it right only accept links from web sites who have similar content, or web sites of good quality (E.g. Do NOT have web site links from Casino's or web sites offering diet pills etc).

Landing Pages - Coming soon.

Other Factors

  • Domain age
    When you register or renew a domain name (web site address E.g. www.yourwebsitename.com) most people tend to renew a for a period of one to two years. This practice is all well and good but these days search engines look deeper into our web sites and in particular the age (time from the first registration) of domains and the expiration date (date of the next renewal).

    So to help your web site you can do the following;
    If you're about to register a domain name or have an existing domain, add domain years! By adding years to your domain and pushing back the renewal date you are telling search engines that your web site will be here for a while and not just some fly on the wall web site, unless that is your intention. So go back to your the web hosting company that you registered your domains with and start adding at least three or more years to your domain name.
  • Site Map
  • Accessability - W3C, WAI and Bobby
  • SEO Micro sites
    Normally developed within a sub domain or separately from your main web site, the purpose of an SEO Microsite is to focus on a key number of target keywords and key phrases. For example, keywords relating to a new or specific product, rather than your entire product range, in order to generate more targeted relevance. This technique can often help to achieve higher ranking than would be possible on the your main web site, which is usually more generalised in subject matter. It can also potentially increase the PageRank of your main site. SEO Micro sites are also a useful technique where it is not possible to optimise your main web site.
  • Hosting down time

Getting Listed

Getting your web site listed on search engines, and directories is an important objective, but even more important is identifying which search engines you should submit your site to, and the pages you should submit. By doing some research and preparation will help to make this process go as smooth as possible.

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Search Directories - Yahoo and DMOZ

SEO Seeing The Results...

SEO is not a quick process, results can sometimes be visible after 4-6 months and even then the normal expectation of good Organic Search Engine Results can come after a 9-12 month period. You might be asking why would it take this long to get into the top 10 on SERP?

Well the answer is simple, as of today's date there are approximately 250,000 new web pages a day appearing on the internet so a lot of the time you are competing with competition in the region of millions. Imagine if these web sites are already in the top 10 and you are not even in the top 100 results, and on average search engines update there main database servers each month, you can easily understand it that SEO cannot be done over night, especially if updates are carried out on a monthly basis.

If you can stay focused in your SEO effort and realise the time and commitment required you are already halfway there in terms of realising the potential of SEO for your web site.

Get in touch with LAS design for your very own SEO Solution.

Further Reading

 

This article will continue to be updated over the coming weeks, so check back for updates !

Last modified on Friday, 06 March 2009 15:23
L. Streete

L. Streete

Website: www.leonstreete.com E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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