In this article you will be able to find a long list of working strategies for SEO optimization, both with focus on 1) ONSITE and 2) OFFSITE factors.
Okay, Let’s dive into it! (NB: alphabetic order does not signify importance):
Section 1 – Onsite SEO List
A multimedia platform for animation and interactive webpages. We strongly suggest not using flash for search engine reasons. Search engines are still not perfect at reading your content. Flash translates to larger loading times and is problematic from an indexation stand point. What about mobile users which can’t read you? In most cases it’s a no-no.
Tip: Alternative – Learn more about html5
Refers to the text content on the website. Nowadays, you don’t have to use standard web-only fonts. You can actually embed custom ones. Try to use less heavy loading images for headers, as well as easy indexable html text.
Tip: Read more at Google Webfonts
Microformats and Rich Snippets
Microformats are simple tags and coding additions to help the search engines understand specific content in an easier way. With microformats, you can enhance your organic search engine result listings. Here’s how: It increases CTR, gains trust and branding for author attributes, as well as highlights your specific content (address, reviews, events, business info, recipes, etc). Great to have!
Robots.txt is a simple text file that gives simple instructions to regular crawlers and bots about what pages to visit and avoid (only good bots follow this). Don’t forget to place a robots.txt on your domain’s main directory.
Tip: Reference Robots.txt Checker in Google Webmaster Tools (start here)
A sitemap is a list of all of your webpages on your domain, or in a specific area of the website. It can be in an HTML file and/or XML sitemap. We tend to use sitemap.xml on the main domain directory, and then submit it through webmaster tools.
We’ve made it easy to find. Compile sitemaps with this generator tool. Plus don’t forget to submit to search engine webmaster tools sitemaps area.
This is the actual website address. Here are the top tips for seo-friendly urls:
1. Create search engine friendly urls (e.g. /local-seo.php, instead of index.php?q=local-seo) [otherwise known as dynamic vs. static]
2. Try to keep urls without too many subdirectories (do NOT use site.com/product/small/sale/model/23454/)
3. Use a keyword in the url
Tip: Try to stay within a maximum of 3 subdirectories. e.g. site.com/x/y/z/. In most cases you’ll have just 1 or 2.
The method used for coding webpages can help search engines and browsers read your webpages more quickly. Create solid, tableless w3c and css validated codes – for clean simple coding.
Tip: Validate Tools – W3C & CSS. Remember to check your webpages in all types of browsers and devices (e.g. desktop, mobile, tablets). Also, look into responsive design for fitting your site for all devices.
A blog is a great way to expand your business. It’s a more personal way to get your message across, plus it creates new content that search engines look for. Setting up a regular schedule for content updates on your blog is also an ideal way to get more out of your business online.
Tip: Write about your expanded niche, not just your [buy keyword]. Use UberSuggest for a great start on topics.
Write for the USER. period! Think about ideas such as:
How can I help my potential client understand me better?
How can I make an easier checkout process?
How can I setup how-tos, an FAQ, contact me, find simple ways to solve problems, and learn simplified and detailed descriptions of what I’m selling.
Tip: Publish your most frequent customer questions on an easy-to- find FAQ page, and write detailed product descriptions so that the consumer can feel more informed and confident about making a purchase.
Create unique content on your website. Duplicate content issues should be seen as:
– Domain to Domain Duplicate Content – Make sure you create unique site descriptions and content, as well as product descriptions.
Tip: When selling products, gain extra value by creating unique product descriptions, which will make you stand out from 90% of your competition. This is especially true if the competition entails brand names as well as user-generated content
– Page to Page Duplicate Content – Ensure that you’re not using the same word for word content from page to page, or just switching only a few terms.
Tip: Check duplicate content with CopyScape
Use bold, italic, and large headers (h1..h5) where needed, in order to emphasize to your visitors that these are important ideas. These fonts also create dividers between themes.
Tip: Use <h1> tags for your main theme in each page.
Formats of Files
Try to create additional content in formats other than HTML or regular text. Instead write the content, then link to them from content pages such as xls, doc, PDF, video, text, HTML, php, Google docs, maps, XML, etc.
Use visually bright imagery to help the site. Don’t neglect the load speed, but use images to help make the content stand out. Don’t forget to use alt tags and show multiple images, angles and types for products.
Tip: Compress images with Smushit
Create important glossary pages for your business.
Meta Tags are here to present information to the search engines. Create unique meta descriptions and keywords for EACH page
Tip: Add social meta tags as well
Facebook – Open Graph Tags (see step 2)
Don’t be afraid to link out to relevant resources. Also, don’t “nofollow” them. If they’re important, link out.
Tip: A few great examples are your niche associations, Chamber of Commerce sites, relevant resources, awards, etc.
Resource and Informational Pages
Write more in-depth informational content. We love how tos and informational pages that don’t directly sell your product. These help with “gaining trust”, providing help, as well as adding targeted long tail keywords.
Testimonials and Trust Logos
It is hard enough to get visitors to your site. When they arrive, show off your accomplishments in order to gain more trust and higher conversions. Don’t be afraid to showcase them in prominent areas on the site, not just on the footer pages.
This is one of the most important factors on-page. Use it wisely, and try to use 2 max terms/themes in the title tag.
User Generated Content (UGC)
The more unique and relevant new content you can get, the better (in most cases). Encourage user reviews, comments, and a community on your site.
Tip: Absolutely love thinkgeek.com’s video uploads of users with products, not just there text comments.
3 Clicks Away (Site architecture)
Make it easy for visitors to find their way on your site. Enable the user to find all of your content in up to 3 clicks away (max). For example – Homepage -> Category Page -> (sub-page) -> product page.
301 is a response code referring to a permanent redirect. Use this to redirect from one page to another (or site, subdirectory, etc).
301 redirects help maintain search engine valuables on a new page from a redirected page. 301 redirects can be made directly from scripts PHP for example, or from your htaccess file.
Tip #1: Look at your webmaster tools data for errors and 301 missing relevant pages to find the most relevant ones, not just to your homepage.
Tip #2: Always use the server header tool to verify newly created 301s.
Breadcrumbs are an extra navigational linking tool to help the user move around the site. It’s typically seen more for eCommerce sites, but it can be helpful for navigation and SEO as well.
Contact and About Us Pages
Don’t make your users look for your information. If you have a phone number, place it on top of your pages. Ensure that your contact page is easy-to-use, and that it has direct info to get in touch. If you use a contact form, let the fields be minimal. Plus, be sure to either send a follow-up email response, or a short confirmation message.
For offline stores, use an easy navigation map.
Tip: Store Locators – when using a search box for zip codes for example, don’t show the entire county. Instead, try to help the user do as little work as possible to find you.
Tip 2: Use microformats for contact and address information, see this.
When evaluating your website, in addition to your own checklist, try using external tools to help you find supplemental information.
Domain Registration Period and Matching Address for Local SEO
Register your domain for 10 years and you won’t have to think about it mid-year. Also, for local SEO purposes, try to have your exact address in the whois information.
What is the goal of your website and its specific pages? Figure these out, then setup Google analytics tracking and goals.
Tip: Learn about funnel visualization, contact form tracking, eCommerce cart tagging of sales, etc.
One of the most important first steps to every business. Don’t forget the (hopefully) less competitive long-tail keywords.
Tip: If you’re beginning a new website, try to setup a paid PPC Adwords campaign with a few hundred dollars+. This helps you to test out your audience, landing pages, and you’ll get a more detailed list of keywords and traffic possibilities. (Go to Adwords, “keyword” tab, and click on the “keyword details” button for a more accurate list of exact matches, numbers, and conversions)
Languages and Countries
Can you serve customers in countries and languages other than your own?
Tip: This is a frequently missed opportunity for many businesses, due to the lower competition.
– Make sure that you have your full address, business name, email and phone number on all pages in HTML text
– Use microformats for business information
– Make sure your contact page’s title tag has your main keyword, plus the city location
– Try to include a Google map in your contact page
– Include on page(s), the cities you serve, as well as the zip codes
– Try to interlink some pages with “location/city” keyword
– Link to your Google places/Google+ page
– Write about local information in your blog
Longtail Pages and Info
Don’t be afraid to create additional pages that link back to the main pages.
Tip: Try to create subcategories with colors, types, etc. Use ubersuggest for some ideas
Number of Links On Page
Think about your user. Try to create ease of navigation and don’t stuff links everywhere. Aim for less than 100 per page at most.
Number of Pages + Indexed vs. Actual Number
A simple task is to verify correct site architecture, and that all pages are being indexed by the search engines. Try to search “site:domain.com” and compare the actual numbers.
Search On Site
In many cases, a search box with search results about products and information about your site can be very helpful for the user.
Tip: Capture search queries in Google analytics or in your own way to help with navigation improvement on site.
For example, if you see a popular search of “search.php?search=upc432″, and you don’t have an easy way to find this product# upc432, then adjustments need to be made.
In another instance, if users are searching for a “brown x”, and it’s on page 3 of category y, then you might want to sort this and place it on page 1.
Setup Analytics Goals, Webmaster Tools for Yahoo, Bing and Google
These are simple additions for any website. Install simple and custom analytics (including goals and eCommerce where applicable). Also connect with Bing and Google Webmaster Tools.
Tip: Make sure you have alerts for traffic decline, spikes, as well as email alerts from webmaster tools.
Social Sharing on Pages
Today, it’s simple to understand the power of social media. Millions are using it, plus these tools make it easy to share each and every page, product, image, etc.
Tip: For simple implementation, use tools like sharethis
Monitor your website for potential hacks and unwanted coding. In addition, keep all software up-to-date and write secure coding.
– Use Google alerts for your website and add terms such as “viagra” to alert you of any hacks
– File permissions (make readable files where possible)
– Always verify user-generated content and form input
– Setup email alerts on webmaster tools
Too Many Themes and Keywords on a Single Page
Don’t place too many keywords on a specific page. This is counterproductive for rankings. Instead, separate themes and interlink.
Top of Pages
Always place the most important content on the top of your pages. The less the user needs to scroll, the better.
Create your website for your user. Don’t forget about conversion rates. After all, Search Engine Robots and Crawlers still don’t have credit cards, but people do! (as of November 2012).
Up-to-date design with great navigation helps the user feel comfortable on your site. If ads are used, make these minimal and differentiate them from the content. Remember Panda?
#4 Server and Technology
Create helpful error and missing landing pages with navigation to help users find their way.
Tip: Track with server side coding the 404 landing pages, and fix them as soon as you can. You might be able to 301 some incoming links and gain “seo fruit juice”.
Article Creation (use ubersuggest)
Look for great topics for content on your site and blog. Don’t forget FAQs, and user suggestions & questions.
Enhance your specific pages (blog in most cases) with the author attribute microdata.
Tip: Read more about author attribute and Google plus.
Don’t forget about mobile. Users should be able to use your site on smartphones and tablets.
Read more about responsive design
Site Speed & Caching
Make sure your site loads quickly and easily.
Don’t forget to load all secure pages with SSL.
Don’t be afraid to show your users the SSL badges. This signifies that their information is secure on your site.
Type of Server
What type of server are you using (Linux or Windows)? And what strengths do each have? Is it a shared hosting account? Do you have thousands of sites on the same server?
Tip: Don’t be shy. Invest in a better server. We like Media Temple hosting
WWW to Non (or opposite – be consistent)
301 redirect subdomains. Keep your url structure the same, and minimize duplicate content.
Section 2 – Offsite SEO List
Create relevant and updated content on your blog. A blog will help with many of the strategies found above and below this article including blog directories, link building with content, getting the community to connect with you via comments, and more personal writing. Schedule and run a consistent content creation strategy for your blog.
Tip: Use WordPress on your own domain (sudirectory not subdomain) and its great custom functionality. Start with:
– Setup SEO Friendly URLS with permalinks
– Design your blog with custom themes
– Always use the latest version of WordPress
#2 Competitor Research
Know Your Competition
It’s a very important component of doing business. Know who your competition is and why the top competitors are so prominent online. Also, take note of their link building strategies, content, site architecture and coding.
Tip: Use tools such as:
– Use Raven’s link pullout of your competition
– Analyze their PPC creative ads
– Where are they getting press from?
How Tos and Tutorials
Creating easy-to-consume, educational, and problem-solving content is one of our favorites. Don’t just sell your product, but expand upon it. Show the reasons why you’re a leader in your industry. You should know it all, because this helps to gain trust, as well as answer any questions your potential customers have.
Tip: Blog and add to the FAQ all customers’ emails and contact form questions. If one customer asked it, then there are many out there that have not asked you about it (yet).
A great way to enhance Wikipedia is by adding relevant , not already specified content to existing pages. It’s a no-follow link, but still great for actual traffic.
Step 1: Find your relevant page(s) you want to add content to
Step 2: Find what’s missing and write a detailed article about the topic on YOUR website
Step 3: Add unique content to Wikipedia page, and link to your expanded version in the references or external links section.
* only add value content that does not exist
Submit your toll-free number to directories and get more mentions online.
Tip: Try internet toll free
411 Directory and Company Directory Submission
Submit your business to local Yellow Pages, City Directories and 411 sites that mention your business name, address, phone, and of course, your website. Great for Local SEO!
Tip: Start with this guide
Submit unique and great articles to article directories.
The Better Business Bureau provides a paid way to get more trust and a nice mention.
Embed their badge on your site. See BBB
Once you have an established blog with great content, submit your blog to known blog directories
Tip: Start with this list
Chamber of Commerce
Submit your site to your local chamber of commerce directory. Especially good for Local SEO and a trustworthy link.
Tip: Make sure that your submission will be placed on a public online url that the search engines can read as well. Also, submit to ChamberofCommerce.com.
CSS DIRECTORIES (+HTML5)
Submit your amazing website design and valid w3c sites to showcase your site. You’ll achieve good traffic and good links.
Submit your site and showcase your unique web design for great links.
Tip: Start submission at dribble
This is another great way to submit your company and stand out. Are you an internet only company? If so, you’re probably pretty green. Do you hire remote workers? This is green as well.
Logo Design Directories
Submit your logo to logo directories. This showcases your logo and helps you receive quality links.
Try to submit to: Creattica
Why wouldn’t you be LGBT friendly? We’re living in a modern world. Thinking outside the box is great for untapped mentions and linking opportunities.
Tip: Try to submit to Go Q Notes
Mobile App Directories
Create a mobile app (android + amazon android, ios, windows, html5 apps) and submit to relevant directories as well as the main app stores.
Niche Specific Directories
VERY IMPORTANT – relevance is king in link building, so try to get those relevant directory mentions (and ones that have traffic). While there’s a heated debate about how worthwhile directory submissions are, we still strongly believe in top niche directories.
Tip: Search in Google for [keyword] directory
Non English Directories
Does your site support multiple languages?
Non US Directories
Does your site service multiple countries? Do you have your domain name / business with other country codes?
Create a podcast. It could go flying sky high.
Favorite (a little unrelated to SEO) – Joe Rogan Podcast
Tip: Submit to iTunes, use ustream, and offer it on your own website.
Submit your Blog to RSS directories and Feeds
Tip: Submit from this list.
Theme Template Directories
Create unique theme/designs and give them away for free. Don’t forget to add your link on the designs, but please be careful on how you use this tactic. It can be problematic.
Web 2.0 Submissions
Submit your site to web 2.0 Sites
Tip: Try to submit to: Go 2 Web 2.0
Web Directories (free and paid)
A general web directory submission is important as well. However, don’t focus on the quantity, but the quality instead.
#5 EDU and GOV
Coupons & Promotions
Give coupons and promotion for specific niche audiences, such as university students and the military to help gain exposure. Get edu links and promotions for those who might need it (students for example).
Tip: Search on Google for “submit employee discount site:.edu”
Guides and Data
Create educational or informational guides to target those looking for specific edu and gov resources. Offer a way for users to easily contact these departments.
#6 Giveaway Stuff
Setup coupons and promotions and submit them to relevant coupon sites, such as Retail Me Not
Tip: Create a coupons/promotions page on your own domain and try to rank for “company coupons, so you can easily control what you’re trying to push.
Post craigslist ads and give away free services, time, and help in exchange for a link.
Contest Giveaways (giving and entering especially video and writing ones)
Host contests and giveaways and promote them on mom blogs and giveaway sites.
Tip: Start with this giveaways list
Give money and/or time to non-profit, university causes, sponsor a little league team, kick starter project, etc.
Tip: Try to see if the organization’s website includes a donor area, or look for a specific causes that gives sponsors an online notice.
Create free tools, widgets, gadgets, and calculators that enable users to embed them on their own website.
Tip: Make the copy and paste code steps very easy. Enable customization of colors and sizes.
Create and giveaway free data, charts, images, infographics, and open source projects.
Give To Students
Give your time, expertise, and services, in exchange for a mention on their personal edu homepage.
Helping Webmasters and Giving Free Time
Look for bugs and help with coding, writing services, or whatever you can. (e.g. bugs, broken links, free work, copywriting, logo design, etc)
Provide free icon sets for website owners to use. You’ll get some mentions.
Tip: Try to contact smashingmagazine, and select “want to release a freebie” when contacting them.
Products to Bloggers
Giveaway products to bloggers in exchange for honest reviews and mentions to their readers.
Submit an App
(WordPress plugins, themes, Drupal, Chrome extensions, Firefox plugin, Joomla, etc)
#7 Guest Blogging
Share your expertise in the field and get more acknowledgement that you’re the king/queen in your niche. Great for traffic, exposure and new links.
Tip: Start with the following tips:
1. Google Search – “keyword “submit a guest post”
keyword “guest post”
keyword “guest post by”
keyword “accepting guest posts”
keyword “guest post guidelines”
3. Also check out HARO
Google Search to Find Others Using Your Images
Use Google image search by url to find websites that are using your images without permissions. If it turns out they are, request either links or that the image is removed.
Create graphical representations of data and submit them.
Tip: Don’t forget to watermark your infographic, reference submission sites at Seer’s Infographics Post, and use the Google search to find others using your images without credit.
Turning Text Content and Data Into Images (use graphs)
This is similar to the infographic creation. However, instead of creating beautiful images, think about other file types (excel sheets, Google docs, PDF’s, etc.). Don’t forget to create a hyperlink in each of these documents back to your site and try Google Charts.
#9 Local SEO
Don’t forget to get mentions of your business name, entire address, phone number and link/s.
Chamber of Commerce
[wanted to mention again in article] Submit your site to your local chamber of commerce directory. Especially good for Local SEO and a trustworthy link.
Tip: Make sure that your submission will be placed on a public online url that the search engines can read as well. Also, submit to ChamberofCommerce.com.
Get certified in your niche, and get listed in directories of top organizations as well as show off your trust logos.
Get mentioned in your city’s website or website. Local [city] information. For example – losangeles.com
Get credit for speaking at conferences or other educational talks. Don’t forget to mention your website plus social information. Also, place your information on all slideshows and data you give away.
Donations (local or nationwide businesses, non-profits, etc)
Donating to your local city businesses with a visible mention of your business information will help to tremendously boost local SEO rankings.
Give away free time, data, or funds to local universities in exchange for mentions.
Interview Authority in Niche
Be active in your community and get to know them. You’ll start to make connections and be able to learn from each other.You might even get to publish some of that information online.
Tip: OR write an article that mentions an authority, and let them know about it.
Local News Sites and Newspapers
Submit your local news and PR to local newspapers. For example – La Times Store Submit
Tip: Also try local radio stations with relevant information and NPR
Local University Pages (discounts, resource pages)
Create promotions and/or resource pages and contact your city’s universities.
Setup alerts on Google Alerts and Twitter to help with your SEO benefits.
1. Setup Google Alerts to monitor your site for hacks. Try to use terms such as viagra site:yourdomain.com
2. Setup Google Alerts to view new mentions of your competitors.”competitor business -site:competitorwebsite.com”
3. Setup Twitter Alerts for monitoring mentions of your company as well as potential customers searches.
4. Setup Google Alerts to monitor new mentions. Check out the ones that don’t link to you, but mention you and ask the webmaster for a link.
Associations and Organizations
Register for your niche’s known associations and organizations and get amazing mentions.
Setup user badges with embeddable information.
Be Yourself and Do What YOU Love
Just kick ass and push forward with the tasks and projects that you love. They will shine through!
Setup all of your profile bio with a unified profile image, as well as try to always fill out as much information. Always mention your website and social profile URLs.
Brand Mentions Without Link
Setup Google Alerts or randomly search “brand name” to monitor new mentions. Check out the ones that don’t link to you but mention you and ask the webmaster for a link.
Create Browser extensions in Chrome and Firefox.
Build Links That Link to Your Links
Do link building for links that point to you.
Tip: On guest posts try (not on your domain), try to reference an article that has a link to you (if applicable)
Build Links on Sites and Pages That Actually Get Traffic
A point that we strongly believe in. Don’t always rely on a link, but try to get links that will get you traffic first. Search engines will value these links more.
Calls – Make Phone Calls!
Get off your butt and do something physical. Don’t be afraid to call and be personal.
Get certified in your niche and get listed in the directories of top organizations. Also, show off your trust logos.
Consistency, Hard Work and Patience
SEO is not a quick in and out project. Establishing trust with the search engines and your clients takes time. Make sure you give yourself good feedback and keep on pushing forward.
Feed your business information to major data distribution companies that provide many local sites such as Citysearch, Yelp and even Google information.
Tip: Start with:
– My Business Listing by Acxiom
– Universal Business Listing (UBL)
Share your documents and other formats online, and try to include links in your documents for more expanded information on your website.
Tips: Start with:
Hire Others to Help
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find the right help and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Leveraging Existing and Old Opportunities, Clients and Relationships
Don’t forget about your existing clients, friends, connections and family. They can help tremendously.
Buying traffic in the SEO world is definitely not degrading. Pay Per Click for instance can help with many aspects such as user trends, refining keywords, research, and helping to promote great content you’ve written.
Profile Links and Signature Links (fill out as much relevant info as possible, plus consistent images)
Setup all of your profile bio with a unified profile image as well as try to always fill out as much information. Plus always mention your website and social profile URLs.
This is an easy way to get low quality (if at all) links.
Tip: Search for whois domain scanners and rating of websites. There are hundreds of them, just search online for inurl:”competitorwebsitename.com” ( for example DomainTool, Worth of Web, Webstatsdomain)
Don’t forget about word-of-mouth, social sharing, and social link signals. Always make your content easy to share.
Tips for Search Terms to Use for Link Building
Tip: See example at:
– submit news site:example.com
– contact editors site:example.com
– send press release site:example.com
– submit press release site:example.com
– business owners site:example.com
– list your business site:example.com
– claim your business site:example.com
– contact us site:example.com (and look for editor submissions, news ideas, local ..)
– about us site:example.com (and look for editor submissions, news ideas, local .)
– submission(s) page site:example.com
– product submissions site:example.com (for ecommerce sites)
– submit article(s) site:example.com
– wish to contribute site:example.com
– familiarizing yourself with example.com
– familiarize yourself site:example.com
– employee discounts site:.edu
– employee discounts site:.edu submit
– student discount site:.edu
– vendor enroll discount OR discounts site:.edu
– “If you are a vendor”
– submit inurl:vendor
– [keyword] -“This thread is closed to new comments.” site:http://ask.metafilter.com
– “list your business”
– “add your [keyword]”
Connect with Journalists
Tip: See the following:
Press Release Submission
Submit your press releases and news updates online.
Tip: Start with:
Add interesting comments and expand upon blog post information. And don’t spam!
Help others on online forums of your niche.
Pay by Tweet
An interesting concept to give stuff away for free (moneywise) in exchange for a tweet. Pay with a Tweet
Answer questions and help out the community.
Tip: Start with:
Connect with others on this amazing platform!
Use search.twitter.com to find potential new clients and people to connect with. One of our favorite tools online. Period!
Create video content, open profiles, and submit your great videos online, plus fill out profiles carefully.
Tip: Submit your videos to:
Inspirations and Thanks!
See below people and stuff we like! (in no particular order)
David Mihm – For amazing Local SEO insight.
Rand Fishkin and SEOMOZ – For great content and setting many SEO examples.
SEO Point Blank – For amazing blog posts.
Joe Rogan – For always being 100% truthful andhis amazing podcasts.
SearchEngineLand – For interesting SEO blog posts.
Raven Tools – For a nice set of tools (ranking reports, link pullouts)
Asana – For a simple and amazing project and task management system.
Twitter and Twitter Search – All-over awesome way to connect with others.
Google Testing Tool and Microformats – Important tool
Gary Vaynerchuk – For being inspirational
Map Maker – Help with Local SEO
Google Webmaster Tools – Important
Google Analytics – Important, especially when we setup custom goals and tracking.
Girit Tech – Partner for web development and a great friend.