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SEO Search Engine Optimization Basic Checklist

The following tips are for static HTML websites more than WordPress sites which is what I now recommend. If you do not edit your webpage yourself or have access to the html files, in any browser you can go up to View and down to Source or Page Source to peek at your html code. (Hint: You can look at other web pages’ source codes as well!)

Basic SEO ChecklistThings to check on your website. Most of these are valid for either traditional html websites, or WordPress/blogging sites.

  1. Is there a unique Title tag for each page of your site? This is reflected in the very top of your browser window. Each page should have a unique title tag, preferably including words in the actual page title/heading. Max 60 characters to fit nicely in all search engines.
  2. Is there a unique Description tag for each page of your site? This is a 150 character preview of what the page is about, and appears under your link in Google. This should include keywords/phrases that appear on the page.
  3. Are your file names (such as image or page names) good keywords vs. numbers or code? Do not change file names but be aware when naming new ones. For example in this URL, ‘events.html’ is the file name. This is better than
  4. Are you using Heading tags (h1, h2, h3) for any headlines? In WordPress you find these in the Format drop down of your post editor.
  5. Are there good keywords in your headings?
  6. Are some important keywords bold or italic?
  7. Do your images have alt tags (alternate text). Test by hovering your mouse over the image – does a little keyword or phrase pop up?
  8. Are there links to other relevant pages, articles or posts within your site?
  9. Do your links to other pages within your site include the entire http:// URL?
  10.  Are there links to websites or articles outside of your site?
  11. Do your links to other internal pages or external sites include good title tags? Test by hovering your mouse over the link – does a keyword or phrase pop up?
  12. Are you registered with Google Analytics or have another good stats program set up?
  13. Is there a blog hosted within the site or at least linked to from within the site?
  14. Do your pages load quickly? About 4 seconds is ideal. If it’s slow, check for images that are not optimized for the web, or other scripts or plugins that may be slowing things down. Try the Speed Test if you aren’t sure.

Doing the above checks will give you some basic tune-ups for your search engine optimization. What else have you found?

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1 Comment

  1. Elaine
    Follow me on Twitter: WebElaine
    on May 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

    It’s also helpful to validate your code with . This makes your site faster, ensures search engines can understand your content, and your website is more likely to look the way you want it in all browsers.

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