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    GaryTheScubaGuy's SEO Checklist


    I've been trying to come up with a sort of SEO Checklist for our n008ies here at Stickyeyes to use and have come up with this list so far.

    I know I'm missing several things. How about a little help here in identifying some other key elements. Big or small, doesn't matter.

    Metatags and on-page optimisation
    Are the keywords in the title with a 1-word buffer (Max - 1 keyword phrase)
    Are Keywords in META keywords. It’s not necessary for Google, but a good habit. Keep the META keywords short (128 characters max, or 10).
    Are Keywords in META description. Keep keyword close to the left but in a full sentence.
    Are Keywords in the top portion of the page in first sentence of first full bodied paragraph (plain text: no bold, no italic, no style).
    Are Keywords in an H2-H4 heading
    Are Keywords in bold – second paragraph if possible and anywhere but the first usage on page.
    Are Keywords in italic – anywhere but the first usage.
    Are Keywords in subscript/superscript.
    Are Keywords in URL (directory name, filename, or domain name). Do not duplicate the keyword in the URL.
    Are Keywords in an image filename used on the page.
    Are Keywords in ALT tag of that previous image mentioned.
    Are Keywords in the title attribute of that image.
    Are Keywords in link text to another site.
    Are Keywords in an internal link’s text.
    Are Keywords in title attribute of all links targeted in and out of page.
    Are Keywords in the filename of your external CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) or JavaScript file.
    Are Keywords in an inbound link on site (preferably from your home page).
    Are Keywords in an inbound link from offsite (if possible).
    Are Keywords in a link to a site that has a PageRank of 8 or better (e.g. .gov or .edu
    Are Keywords in an html comment tag?

    Technical
    What is the code-to-text ratio? (text should be at minimum higher than the code)
    How many links are pointing to the full url (with http://)
    How many links are pointing to the domain?
    What is the Domain name visibility? A count of results at Google for a search for the domain, showing URL visibility rather than incoming link count.
    Number of internal pages that link to the home page?
    Number of Technorati links?
    Number of del.icio.us links?
    What is the page size?
    How long does it take to load the page?
    On each page, is the top keyword density on each page between 3-7%?
    Are their any redirects?
    Is the page W3C Compliant?
    Is their any duplicate content out on the web?
    Is the site in the top 10 directories?
    Is a spider seeing all of the site content?

    Other Issues
    Is there at least 250 words in the content?
    Is the keyword density for each kw on each page between 3-7%?
    Javascript in external files?
    Alternative navigation on flash or frames?
    Xml and html sitemap?
    Are their any broken links?
    Is there a robots.txt file?
    Browser Compatibility (IE, Netscape, Opera, Firefox, Mosaic and Safari)

    Linking
    Google backlinks
    MSN backlinks
    Yahoo backlinks
    DMOZ listing?
    Does the site have outward rss feeds?
    Does the page have rss feeds for fresh on-page content?
    Does the site have an SEO optimised 404 page?
    PDF optimised docs in root file with a navigation page listing each doc description and link. Also a separate xml sitemap for these and separate submission.
    302 redirects? (Change to 301 - Google will penalise you for these if you leave them up too long)

    In my list I have links to specific tools that will do many of these checks for you. If you are interested in the excel spreadsheet with the links and an actual page report shoot me an pm or an email and I'll trade you for a link somewhere.


    BTW, I'm almost finished with the next Top 12 SEO Tips for 2007...Volume 2 (for those interested - I slacked off for awhile trying to find some really good stuff and I think it will be worth the wait)

    Comments on this post

    • raz agrees : Nice List.
    • SEO_AM agrees : Excellent contribution!
    • AfterHim.com agrees : Excellent on page stuff...
    • pro_seo agrees : Awesome post. Sorry out of rep 4u !
    • lovekills_s agrees : You are the prince..
    • shahid agrees : very good post.
    • Noj agrees : A few points to discuss but over all an excellent contribution
    • cunning_stunt agrees : Maybe Leeds was a good move after all!
    • ABS agrees : Great Post
    • tstolber agrees : Also, is the CSS in an external file
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    Great stuff mate, really good list!
    I love these forum stickies
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    Good list. thanks.
    One little thing, you write "Are Keywords in an H2-H4 heading" dont you think they should be in H1 as well? Btw, where is the H1? I think the H1 tag should be on every page with keywords in it.

    Additionally I would add the question "What are my keywords? What do I want to optimize for?" BEFORE starting with your first point. So find appr. 3 keywords per site that are relevant to the content.

    I would change "del.icio.us" to "social bookmarks" in general as there are many of them in the net but I guess everybody knows what is meant with it.

    And yes I cant wait for Top12SEOTips07v.2 the first one was great.
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    On the first item in the list:

    Are the keywords in the title with a 1-word buffer (Max - 1 keyword phrase)

    Does this mean that you don't want to just list out keywords in your title such as:

    keyword 1 - keyword 2- keyword 3 - keyword 4?

    I sell dog products, so I've just been listing my main Keywords for each category in the title of some pages, but each product has its own title.

    Also, are you saying you should only put 1 keyword per title?


    I have been doing this on certain pages, but for the most part, each title is unique to each page.

    I'd appreciate one example. Thanks for the help!
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    Originally Posted by -mj-
    Btw, where is the H1? I think the H1 tag should be on every page with keywords in it.
    We tested the difference awhile back and came up with the theory that Google possibly sees it as over optimisation when combined with other factors.

    Using H2-H4 still sets it apart and provides any benefit the H1 used to, without having to eliminate them all together.

    Originally Posted by -mj-
    Additionally I would add the question "What are my keywords? What do I want to optimize for?"
    This is a list that our people will be using for established sites that we have already completed their kw research. In fact, the first subject I have in the volume 2 of top 12 seo tips is about kw research, and some new techniques, as well as the exact method that I use for doing kw research. Good suggestion though.

    Originally Posted by -mj-
    I would change "del.icio.us" to "social bookmarks" in general as there are many of them in the net but I guess everybody knows what is meant with it.
    I agree. The main ones that I use are del.icio.us, technorati, digg, and a good one not many have heard of; NowPublic - they are great for syndication. I actually have a list of around 20 with a quick submit technique that I outline

    Originally Posted by -mj-
    And yes I cant wait for Top12SEOTips07v.2 the first one was great.
    Thanks! That makes them worth taking the days, and sometimes weeks that they take to write worth it!

    ps. Here's an excerpt from my Keyword Research section...tell me what you think;

    2. Advanced Keyword Selection
    This has been covered over and over again, but it is a very important element and the importance of ongoing research is very important to stay ahead of the competition. There are several tools out there, most of which are free, or offer free trials. I typically use several different tools.

    Google Trends – According to Google “Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. As a Google Labs product, it is still in the early stages of development. Also, it is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.”

    This is great if you are in an industry that has seasonal traffic. This identifies the seasonality of keyword searches. Google also has a keyword tool that will take a large list of keywords and when filtered by Search Volume Trends gives you a list that contains 12 months data and when the highest month of occurrence was.

    KeywordDiscovery collects search term data from just over 180 search engines world wide. Their database contains approximately 32 billion searches from the last 12 months. Their Premium Database contains over 600 million results.
    What I like is that they cover a wider demographic than the other paid tools available. Although the new WordTracker UK version is a great addition for our company, being that it is based in the UK, KeywordDiscovery seems to be a better choice for those in a European market.

    Major differences are the databases that they pull their results from. WordTracker uses 4 or 5 sources (e.g. MetaCrawler, DogPile and Overture), while KeywordDiscovery uses Google, Yahoo Groups, DMOZ, MSN, Teoma, Miva and over 50 other databases. They also pull from databases in Japan, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, India, and Norway. In the UK alone they use 11 different engines including google.co.uk.

    SpyFu is a neat (and free) tool that can eliminate keywords that you may think are good to use, but may not convert well. It is a tool for Google Adwords and if you are trying to determine an estimated spend for individual keywords.
    I use this keyword tool to see what companies are bidding on related to my query. Chances are, if they are bidding on it, then its probably converting. This helps me eliminate broad terms as well (e.g. parts, cars). I guess you can use other tools to base KEI (keyword effectiveness index) on and do close to the same thing, but SpyFu makes it a little easier and faster.

    It will also show you misspelled terms. Of course many of these tools have this function but again, this tools does it quicker. Here’s an example of what SpyFu came up with when I searched for ‘advanced auto parts’;

    advaced auto parts
    advancd auto parts
    advancded auto parts
    advence auto parts
    advenced auto parts
    after market auto parts
    aftermarket auto parts
    anvance auto parts

    So it doesn’t just show ergonomic misspellings, it also shows ‘stoopid’ misspellings.

    HitTail is a tool that I hold near and dear to my heart because I had some of input into its development, and they added a few features that I requested while using it for Pay Per Click keyword research. (Well, that and the fact the tool saved my client £90,000 a year).

    The tool was originally designed to do what log files can basically do, but quicker and easier. HitTail gathers the keyword and keyword phrases that brought your visitors to the site and graphs them to identify niche phrases that have high KEI so that you can use them in articles or online content. They added an xml export feature that I love because I can use it while creating adwords campaigns and save myself a ton of time.

    The reason I use it for keyword research is two-fold;
    1. It’s quicker and easier than log file data mining
    2. I can quickly identify the long 4-6 keyword phrases to use in my content

    Internet Search Engine users are become more savvy and their knowledge increases every day. They know that the more words they use to target their query the better the results will be. I see 20-30% of my visitors using 4+ keyword strings. Two years ago it was around 3.
    GaryTheScubaGuy

    Comments on this post

    • tybi agrees : This reps are for the h2-h4 tags, but if it does not work I will takt them back :)
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    Originally Posted by mhsiao45
    On the first item in the list:

    Are the keywords in the title with a 1-word buffer (Max - 1 keyword phrase)

    Does this mean that you don't want to just list out keywords in your title such as:

    keyword 1 - keyword 2- keyword 3 - keyword 4?
    Personally if I was selling your product line I would create individual pages for each product, full of content and even reviews if it within your skill set.

    The more keywords that you use on each page the more emphasis that is taken away from your main kw/kw phrase...so yes, one per page.

    e.g. Cheap Dog Collars - Compare Collars for Dogs
    or even just Dog Collars.

    Here's another excerpt from V2 that you might find helpful;

    Long Tail Titles + Content
    In highly competitive markets, generic title tags just don’t get it done anymore. Although title tags can be one of the more important elements that the Search Engines look at to identify and categorize your page.

    End-users are becoming more and more knowledgeable about how search engines work; The more descriptive words they use, the more likely they are to get the results that they are looking for. What this means is that last year the key phrase for company “A” was Debt Help. This year their top keyword phrase is Get Debt Free. I don’t know why, maybe there is a major company out there doing debt consolidation ad campigns that have “coined” this phrase to make it more memorable than debt help. Who knows? The point is that they are using a completely different search phrase, and the phrase is 3 words rather than 2 words.

    Generally speaking, “the lower number of words the better”, has been the overall suggested recommendation to target because human nature is the path of least resistance. To a point it still is, but the people using longer phrases (based on my analytics), know what they are looking for, because they convert at a significantly higher rate.

    Once I have identified these phrases I start building additional pages, or even microsites (for purposes of A/B, funnel, and conversion testing) and I target the 3, 4, 5 or even 6 word long tail phrases.
    Use these longer keyword phrases within your content as well. If possible, replace enough of the current keywords with the long-tail keywords.

    If you are in a highly competitive market, this could be the answer that you are looking for to attract the middle 80-20% target audience that you are looking for, plus get great conversion rates. Just be sure to create well structured “call to actions” in the page.
    GaryTheScubaGuy
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    Originally Posted by GaryTheScubaGuy
    .................................
    I agree. The main ones that I use are del.icio.us, technorati, digg, and a good one not many have heard of; NowPublic - they are great for syndication. I actually have a list of around 20 with a quick submit technique that I outline
    ................................
    GaryTheScubaGuy
    Nice list Gary. Care to elaborate on the above?

    raz
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    Hey Gary,

    This post by stymiee on devshed might be useful for your list: http://forums.devshed.com/showpost.p...57&postcount=6
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    That post is fantastic Gary. Wel done, as a newbie i've a few questions:

    Are the keywords in the title with a 1-word buffer (Max - 1 keyword phrase)
    Why the 1 word buffer? So I should put 'Buy Mens Designer Clothing' instead of 'Mens designer Clothing?
    Number of del.icio.us links?
    What are del.icio.us links?
    Is the site in the top 10 directories?
    I guess the top ones are Dmoz, Yahoo, MSN. Have you got a list you would be revealing to show for the top 10?

    Thanks,

    Darrell Freeman
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    Originally Posted by GaryTheScubaGuy
    We tested the difference awhile back and came up with the theory that Google possibly sees it as over optimisation when combined with other factors.

    Using H2-H4 still sets it apart and provides any benefit the H1 used to, without having to eliminate them all together.
    Whohoohooo, so this one is cool.

    I thought I knew something, but now I see that I so have to learn...

    Thanks mate...
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    Great Tips Gary!
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    Originally Posted by dazfree
    That post is fantastic Gary. Wel done, as a newbie i've a few questions:



    Why the 1 word buffer? So I should put 'Buy Mens Designer Clothing' instead of 'Mens designer Clothing?


    What are del.icio.us links?

    I guess the top ones are Dmoz, Yahoo, MSN. Have you got a list you would be revealing to show for the top 10?

    Thanks,

    Darrell Freeman

    yes
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    Originally Posted by dazfree
    What are del.icio.us links?

    I guess the top ones are Dmoz, Yahoo, MSN. Have you got a list you would be revealing to show for the top 10?
    < http://del.icio.us/ > del.icio.us is a Social Bookmarking Network. Think of it as publicizing your Favorites on your IE or FireFox browser. This is how we use them for our corporate blog:

    < http://www.gmiblog.com/archives/18 >. They are the little icons at the bottom of the blog post. Add them to your website pages and blog posts if you are blogging.
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    Gary, an awesome post, as usual

    I would also like to know WHY to use the one word buffer in the title before my targeted keyword/keyphrase. I've read it many time and at many places that we should use this buffer word or a gray word in the Title, but no body stated the reason behind this.

    Would you explain it to me plz.

    Thanks a lot in advance !

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    BTW, I'm almost finished with the next Top 12 SEO Tips for 2007...Volume 2 (for those interested - I slacked off for awhile trying to find some really good stuff and I think it will be worth the wait)
    What about this one Gary.. are you publishing a pdf doc? If so, and if thats a complementary copy i would definitely like to have one before anyone else does
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