I compiled a list of everything I know of that you can do internally (on your own webpage) to improve your SEO and rankings. I have broken it down into categories: header, content, navigation, graphic/image, and other. The header stuff is inside <head> tag. Content is about your actual text content. Navigation is structural/linking. Graphic/Image is about <IMG> and when to use it. Other is everything else.
This checklist does not tell you exactly how to resolve your specific seo issues. It is designed as a reminder about all the things you can do to try and improve your rankings.
Feel free to add anything you feel is missing for internal SEO and I would be happy to add it.
- Title Tags – Proper <title> tags with relevant keyword on each page.
- Meta Description – Describe content of the page briefly (155 chars according to seomoz).
- Meta Keywords – Some search engines still give these weight.
- Header Tags – H1, ONCE, overall purpose/keyword. H2 describing sections. H3 and more if needed for sub sections.
- Bold/Strong/Italic/Underline Keywords – inline where appropriate.
- Unique Content – Duplicate content often gets ignored/buried.
- Link Authoritative Content – Not only do incoming links help, where you link out to may as well.
- If you use Flash - Make sure it's SEO friendly.
- Describe Links – 'Read More about <Keyword/Product/Service>' instead of 'Read More'.
- Breadcrumbs – Let users find their way around website structure properly, more internal links.
- Cross Linking – Appropriately link you content internally within content.
- URL Structure – Should have a logical order/hierarchy.
- URL Content – Instead of 'service.html' use 'keyword_service.html'.
- HTML Sitemap – Display structure of content for users (sitemap.xml is for search engines).
- Title Tags for Navigation Links – <a href='keyword_service.html' title='keyword services we provide'>.
Graphic and Image Related
- Minimize Graphic Text – Use text not images when appropriate.
- Alt Tags – Primarily for images, describe the content of the image with relevant keywords included.
- Image Filenames – Properly name files with relevant keywords.
- Surrounding Text – Text near an image should be relevant to the image (it's name/alt tags).
- Robots.txt – Control how you get crawled (what gets crawled and how frequently).
- Sitemap – Ensure /sitemap.xml exists, submit to search engines.
- Error Pages – 404 is most important.
- Analytics – Always a good idea to keep track of your performance.
- W3C Validation – Valid code makes the crawlers happy and also makes users see less errors across browsers.
- 301 Redirects – Any old/duplicate content should be pointed to a single version.
- Canonical Issues – www vs no www, pick one.
- Absolute URLs instead of Relative – 'http://example.com/keyword.html' vs '/keyword.html'. Sometimes helps with dupe issues and scrapers depending on site design especially if you haven't resolved canonical issues. Also can help rankings if your content gets scraped.
- Load Speed - Faster page loads increase rankings. There are so many things you can do to improve performance from faster hardware, to caching, to optimizing code that a new article (or book) could be written on the topic.