SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Factors

Image SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Factors
We often get asked how Google, Bing, and Yahoo decide which sites get listed on top. Ahhh.... if only we knew the magic answer to that question. While we might not have a definitive answer, we do have a good idea of the factors that go into the search engine algorithms. We have compiled a list of SEO factors below.

  1. Your keyword phrases are present in the title tags.

  2. You have developed well-written relevant text.

  3. You have obtained a critical mass of high-quality inbound links.

  4. Your keywords are used in heading tags. You will want to pay attention to too much duplication of title tags and too much exact matching of titles, heading and phrases in a page.

  5. Keyword inclusion and density. Your pages should be about your keyword phrases. As a general rule, the text of your pages contains the keywords you are interested in at least a few times. But don't overdo it! Including your key phrase fifty times is not likely going to help your cause.

  6. Your site pages load quickly. With the advent of Google's Caffeine technology in '09, page load-time has become more of a factor.

  7. Your domain has been around for a while. A domain with longevity is a good thing. Even the number of years before your domain is set to expire can be a factor.

  8. Your links work throughout the site. Consider using a link checker to ferret out broken links.

  9. You have strong social media exposure, i.e, Facebook, Twitter and the like, and you have backlinks going to your site.

  10. The number and quality of outbound links. How many outbound links does your site have and are they going to "good neighborhoods"?

  11. How new is the site? Was the domain recently registered and if so, for how long has it been active? If the site has been around for awhile and is not associated with any bad practices, you will be doing yourself a favor.

  12. Is the server operating correctly and serving all pages to the search engines at a reasonable speed? Make sure your robots.txt file is not blocking the search engines.

  13. Do a spider test to make sure the navigation is traversable and all pages can be reached through standard hypertext links. Consider adding a sitemap.

  14. The frequency of when you are updating content on your site. New, relevant content is a seen as a good thing.

  15. The type of content. Does the content on your site match the phrases that you are going for?

  16. The dates on the page. Posting the current date with new content can be a good thing.

  17. The frequency that Google visits your site. If Google is coming back to your site on a frequent basis, that can indicate that your site has built some importance.

  18. You are using Google Webmaster Tools to send Google your sitemap.

  19. You are using permanent (301) redirects when you are retiring pages and replacing with new pages at a different URL.

  20. Minimize the use of Javascript pop-up windows and frames, which cannot be easily crawled.

  21. Doc type tags. Is there a doc type declaration present?

  22. Meta tags. The meta keywords and descriptions are relevant, concise, and contain good keywords. Do not stuff them with a long list of keywords. The meta keywords have no significance with Google at this point, so you don't want to put too much attention on that attribute.

  23. Charset. Is the character set declaration properly specified?

  24. External Javascript references. When possible, reference large Javascripts in an external file.

  25. When possible, reference style sheet files externally.

  26. Make sure the physical address of your business is present on the site. Typically this would be in the footer of your pages.

  27. Spell check the site to ensure that you have accurately entered your keyword phrases.

  28. Make sure incoming links are pointed to appropriate landing pages.

  29. Confirm that keywords are used throughout the text of the page.

  30. Compress graphics so the overall loadtime of the page is kept to a minimum.

  31. Use keywords in the internal links of the site.

  32. Is there a robots.txt file? Is it properly configured and have you confirmed that it works?

  33. Does your site have a sitemap? This can be a good backup to make sure the engines can crawl the site.

  34. Have you pointed the non-www version of your site to the www version?

  35. Are your pages being cached by Google?

  36. Have you minimized duplicate content on the site?

  37. Are you giving your graphic files names that are keyword rich?

  38. Do you have xml sitemaps that work for Google, Yahoo, and MSN?

  39. Have you set up Google Analytics or another stats package so you can track and analyze your site traffic?

  40. Have you successfully validated your html?

  41. Does your site include anything that could get you blacklisted, such as hidden text, or invisible links.

  42. Does the site satisfy basic accessibility criteria? This is slowly becoming more important. This has varying levels of important to different customers.

  43. Direct your links toward relevant pages. Use the rel=nofollow attribute to direct PageRank away from your non-essential pages and towards your important ones.

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