Here is a checklist of the factors that affect your rankings with Google, MSN, Yahoo, Ask! and other search engines.Most of the factors in the checklist apply mainly to Google and partially to MSN, Yahoo!
1. Proper URL, which includes the keywords of the post.
Ex:- If you are writing about money making through Internet topic, then your URL would be http://yoursitename.com/money-making-through-internet/
Here the keywords money and internet are important, as these words will be displayed in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
And writing a post about Vegetables and fruits at your place and giving a URL like http://yoursitename.com/this-is-my-second-post/ will surly harm your serp.
2. Have proper, relevant key words in your title.Because this is displayed in the SERP with your site link.Keywords that relate to the post.And having a good title also helps people to know what they can expect after clicking the link.The example at point one also holds good here.
3. Keywords in headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc. tags) has more weightage in Search engines, so be cautious while choosing them.(This is also very important for those who are using AdSense, to get more relevant ads).
4. Keywords in <alt> and <title> tags of images(<img>) are very important. Search Engine Spiders can’t read images but they do read their textual descriptions in the <alt> tag, so if you have images on your page, fill in the <alt> tag with relevant keywords about them. In this case, the keywords should be about the image and not about your blog or blog post. And some of the browsers don’t respond to this <alt> tag, so you can use the <title> tag. This will get you some traffic from Google image search, if your images are listed in Google Search Engine.
5. Keywords in meta tags — Now a days it is said that, search engines no more use your websites meta tags. But I have observed that, search engines do consider them in the beginning, and after they have indexed your pages deeply, they will just discard the keywords in your meta tags. Anyway,filling these tags properly will not hurt, so do it.
Remember, not using meta tags would be better than using them to trick Search Engines. If you have irrelevant keywords in your meta tags, then you will surly be penalized by search engines.
6. Use short descriptions near images — this would help search engines to index the images properly, thus your website will be more SEO friendly.
7. Incoming links — Though not in our control, it is important if the site that links to you is a reputable one or not. Generally sites with greater Google PR are considered reputable. And the longer the link stays in the site, the greater will be its value.And the links from similar niche sites would have higher priority.
And if your blog is related to technology, then the blogs should link to you with proper keyword related to the technology and not simply like click here. Because your site is not about click here!
And the site page that links you must not have many outgoing links or just outgoing links. If your site URL is the only one outgoing link from another site’s article, then it would suggest the search engine that your site is of more importance. Thus will get more search juice.
Links from .edu and .gov sites are also said to be more reputable than .com. .biz, .info, etc. domains.And its the hardest to achieve.
8. Unique content — This is the key. You should have very good quality content and something original to say. And, if all the contents in your blog is concentrating on particular niche, then your search engine ranking would be higher.
9. Have comment section in your posts — This would make the contents of the page to get updated whenever there is a comment left. And search engines like to fetch more of those updated contents.
10. Have frequent posts — This will keep Search Spiders busy in your site and coming back more frequently and like a scheduled way.
11. Keyword formats — Change the front size, bold, italics etc of certain keywords to highlight those keywords.
12. Duplicate content in our own site — this also hurts our ranking. You must see whether your site is accessible by these two URL http://yoursitename.com and www.yoursitename.com . If this is true, then as soon as possible contact your domain registrar and ask them to redirect it to any one URL.Making your own website (the same website) accessible from two URL will confuse the search engines and there is high chances of getting penalized.
And make sure that, your contents are only at one single place(URL) and not in many places like tags, homepage, archives page etc. Let there be only small excerpt of the post and in all other places other than the main post, and let all other things link to the original article.
13. Have a well designed, well coded website. Search engines see the HTML codes while indexing and not the regular pages, as we human visitors see. So if they find some badly coded things like irrelevant tags, opening tags which are left without closing tags(missing tags) etc will surly contribute a lot to bad search engine ranking.So take care about the designing very much in the beginning itself.
14. Illegal Content may kick you off the SERP.Websites containing porn contents, copied contents and some other contents which violet the search engines polices may get penalized.
15. Black hat techniques to get to the top of search engine rankings will make your site to lose the race in the long run.And if detected by Search Engines, your site will be penalized and in worst cases your website will be removed from the SERP.
16. Choose the domain name very consciously.Include some keywords of your niche in it to get better ranking.
Use hyphens, if you have 2 or 3 keywords to be included.Hyphens are said to be search engine friendly.But note that, use of more than 3 hyphens may confuse your real visitors and finally endup losing your regular direct visitors, who may not comeback as they can’t remember the site URL.
17. Downtime and restrictions — Many web hosting companies have downtime now and then, this will surly make the site not accessible to search engine spiders.And using password protected pages, restriction from robot.txt will make the crawling more difficult or sometimes impossible.
18. Sitemap — It would be a very good idea to have a site map.Let the site map be a old fashioned plain HTML sitemap or the special Google sitemap format, keep the Sitemap updated always and submit it to search engines.This would ensure that you are in the list of search spiders.
19. Site age — The older the site is, the higher the chances of getting higher position in SERP.
This may be because, an established site is more trustworthy, as they have been around from long time.Search engines hate fly-by-night kind of sites.
20. IP address( Static or Shared IP Address? )
This could matter only for shared hosting or when a site is hosted with a free hosting provider, when any one IP addresses in the Shared hosting is blacklisted due to spamming, adult contents or any other illegal practices then all other sites with same IP address will get affected.
21. And don’t have the wrong notion that, you will be ranked high, as you are a AdSense or/and AdWord customer.This has nothing to do with SERP. It may just boost your earning and not the ranking.
22. Do not sell text-link-ads.Use of nofollow is advised.
23. Have a custom error page…to tell the visitors that, they have typed a wrong URL. Do not just redirect them to the page that matches the keyword they typed.Just display the relevant topics under that page, and let your visitors decide and navigate to whichever post they like.
24. Do not use any keywords just for the sake of Search Engines, like creating links which matches the background of your site(Which are hidden or invisible for the real visitors). This would also be considered as Black Hat technique.
25. Do not end the URL with
.0 (this is being accepted by Google recently, but still not an ideal choice.
Just go to Google and use this query “[filetype:exe]” (Without cotes) to see whether the file types are being indexed by Google or not.
26. Do not have the link to the same article in the post title in the single.php(in the main post page). It is OK to have link in the title, when we show excerpts somewhere else in our blog(ex:-in homepage, Archives etc).
27. Put the NoFollow attribute to your Feedburner Feed Links, as search engines see same content in your feed content as well as your blog contents and penalize for duplicate contents.
28. Finally, build the site keeping your visitors as your primary importance.Because, Search Engines are always in search of good contents, to give to its users while they search. So follow some basic rules listed above and have a very good, valuable content, and you will see your site ranking going up over time.
Now you must take a look at, Jefferson Graham interviewing Google engineer Matt Cutts on how to get your site to the top of Google with 5 basic, common sense SEO tips…..(don’t miss it)
Please share your knowledge about SEO and share some of the missed out points from the above list, in the below comment section…