Here is a checklist of the factors that affect your rankings with Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the other search engines. The list contains positive, negative and neutral factors because all of them exist. Most of the factors in the checklist apply mainly to Google and partially to Bing, Yahoo! and all the other search engines of lesser importance. If you need more information on particular sections of the checklist, you may want to read our SEO tutorial, which gives more detailed explanations of Keywords, Links, Metatags, Visual Extras, etc.

Keywords

1

Keywords in tag</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%">This is one of the most important places to have a keyword because what is written inside the <title> tag shows in search results as your page title. The title tag must be short (6 or 7 words at most) and the the keyword must be near the beginning.</td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">2</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in URL</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in URLs help a lot – e.g. – http://domainname.com/seo-services.html, where “SEO services” is the keyword phrase you attempt to rank well for. But if you don’t have the keywords in other parts of the document, don’t rely on having them in the URL.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">3</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword density in document text</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Another very important factor you need to <a href="http://www.webconfs.com/keyword-density-checker.php">check</a>. 3-7 % for major keywords is best, 1-2 for minor. Keyword density of over 10% is suspicious and looks more like keyword stuffing, than a naturally written text.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">4</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Keywords in anchor text</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Also very important, especially for <a href="http://www.webconfs.com/anchor-text-analysis.php">the anchor text of inbound links</a>, because if you have the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site, this is regarded as getting a vote from this site not only about your site in general, but about the keyword in particular.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">5</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc. tags)</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">One more place where keywords count a lot. But beware that your page has actual text about the particular keyword.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">6</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in the beginning of a document</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Also counts, though not as much as anchor text, title tag or headings. However, have in mind that the beginning of a document does not necessarily mean the first paragraph – for instance if you use tables, the first paragraph of text might be in the second half of the table.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">7</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in <alt> tags</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Spiders don’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 some keywords about them.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">8</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keywords in metatags</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Less and less important, especially for Google. Yahoo! and Bing still rely on them, so if you are optimizing for Yahoo! or Bing, fill these tags properly. In any case, filling these tags properly will not hurt, so do it.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">9</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword proximity</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword proximity measures how close in the text the keywords are. It is best if they are immediately one after the other (e.g. “dog food”), with no other words between them. For instance, if you have “dog” in the first paragraph and “food” in the third paragraph, this also counts but not as much as having the phrase “dog food” without any other words in between. Keyword proximity is applicable for keyword phrases that consist of 2 or more words.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">10</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword phrases</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">In addition to keywords, you can optimize for keyword phrases that consist of several words – e.g. “SEO services”. It is best when the keyword phrases you optimize for are popular ones, so you can get a lot of exact matches of the search string but sometimes it makes sense to optimize for 2 or 3 separate keywords (“SEO” and “services”) than for one phrase that might occasionally get an exact match.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">11</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Secondary keywords</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Optimizing for secondary keywords can be a golden mine because when everybody else is optimizing for the most popular keywords, there will be less competition (and probably more hits) for pages that are optimized for the minor words. For instance, “real estate new jersey” might have thousand times less hits than “real estate” only but if you are operating in New Jersey, you will get less but considerably better targeted traffic.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">12</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword stemming</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">For English this is not so much of a factor because words that stem from the same root (e.g. dog, dogs, doggy, etc.) are considered related and if you have “dog” on your page, you will get hits for “dogs” and “doggy” as well, but for other languages keywords stemming could be an issue because different words that stem from the same root are considered as not related and you might need to optimize for all of them.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">13</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Synonyms</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Optimizing for synonyms of the target keywords, in addition to the main keywords. This is good for sites in English, for which search engines are smart enough to use synonyms as well, when ranking sites but for many other languages synonyms are not taken into account, when calculating rankings and relevancy.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">14</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword Mistypes</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Spelling errors are very frequent and if you know that your target keywords have popular misspellings or alternative spellings (i.e. Christmas and Xmas), you might be tempted to optimize for them. Yes, this might get you some more traffic but having spelling mistakes on your site does not make a good impression, so you’d better don’t do it, or do it only in the metatags.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_0">0</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">15</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword dilution</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">When you are optimizing for an excessive amount of keywords, especially unrelated ones, this will affect the performance of all your keywords and even the major ones will be lost (diluted) in the text.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_minus_2" style="color: #ff2e23;">-2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">16</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Keyword stuffing</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Any artificially inflated keyword density (10% and over) is keyword stuffing and you risk getting banned from search engines.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_minus_3" style="color: #e20800;">-3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr class="heading" valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"></td> <td style="color: #212121;" colspan="3" width="93%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Links – internal, inbound, outbound</b></span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">17</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Anchor text of inbound links</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">As discussed in the Keywords section, this is one of the most important factors for good rankings. It is best if you have a keyword in the anchor text but even if you don’t, it is still OK. However, don’t use the same anchor text all the time because this is also penalized by Google. Try to use synonyms, keyword stemming, or simply the name of your site instead</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">18</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Origin of inbound links</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Besides the anchor text, 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. Links from poor sites and link farms can do real harm to you, so avoid them at all costs.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">19</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Links from similar sites</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Generally the more, the better. But the reputation of the sites that link to you is more important than their number. Also important is their anchor text (and its diversity), the lack/presence of keyword(s) in it, the link age, etc.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">20</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Links from .edu and .gov sites</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">These links are precious because .edu and .gov sites are more reputable than .com. .biz, .info, etc. domains. Additionally, such links are hard to obtain.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">21</span></span></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Number of <a href="http://www.webconfs.com/importance-of-backlinks-article-5.php">backlinks</a></p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Generally the more, the better. But the reputation of the sites that link to you is more important than their number. Also important is their anchor text, is there a keyword in it, how old are they, etc.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_3" style="color: #298c1b;">+3</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">22</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Anchor text of internal links</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">This also matters, though not as much as the anchor text of inbound links.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">23</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Around-the-anchor text</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">The text that is immediately before and after the anchor text also matters because it further indicates the relevance of the link – i.e. if the link is artificial or it naturally flows in the text.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">24</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Age of inbound links</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">The older, the better. Getting many new links in a short time suggests buying them.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">25</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Links from directories</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Could work, though it strongly depends on which directories. Being listed in DMOZ, Yahoo Directory and similar directories is a great boost for your ranking but having tons of links from PR0 directories is useless or even harmful because it can even be regarded as link spamming, if you have hundreds or thousands of such links.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_2" style="color: #40d52b;">+2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">26</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Number of outgoing links on the page that links to you</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">The fewer, the better for you because this way your link looks more important.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">27</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Named anchors</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Named anchors (the target place of internal links) are useful for internal navigation but are also useful for SEO because you stress additionally that a particular page, paragraph or text is important. In the code, named anchors look like this: <A href= “#dogs”>Read about dogs</A> and “#dogs” is the named anchor.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">28</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">IP address of inbound link</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT"><a href="http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/myth-busting-virtual-hosts-vs-dedicated-ip-addresses/">Google denies</a> that they discriminate against links that come from the same IP address or C class of addresses, so for Google the IP address can be considered neutral to the weight of inbound links. However, Bing and Yahoo! may discard links from the same IPs or IP classes, so it is always better to get links from different IPs.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_plus_1" style="color: #67fb51;">+1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">29</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Inbound links from link farms and other suspicious sites</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Presumably, this does not affect you, provided the links are not reciprocal. The idea is that it is beyond your control to define what a link farm links to, so you don’t get penalized when such sites link to you because this is not your fault. However, some recent changes to the Google algorithm suggest the opposite. This is why, you must always stay away from link farms and other suspicious sites or if you see they link to you, contact their webmaster and ask the link to be removed.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_0">0</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">30</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Many outgoing links</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">Google does not like pages that consists mainly of links, so you’d better keep them under 100 per page. Having many outgoing links does not get you any benefits in terms of ranking and could even make your situation worse.</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="6%"> <p align="CENTER"><span class="color_minus_1" style="color: #ff6a5f;">-1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr valign="TOP"> <td style="color: #212121;" width="7%"> <p align="LEFT">31</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="24%"> <p align="LEFT">Excessive linking, link spamming</p> </td> <td style="color: #212121;" width="62%"> <p align="LEFT">It is bad for your rankings,