16-point checklist for SEO newbies and veterans

Apply these search engine optimization tips to ensure your content attracts both search engines and human readers.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) and content optimization can quickly get confusing. However, there are a reasonably small number of areas you have to concentrate on.

This guide is a quick checklist to help you focus your attention. Let me know if I missed anything.

1. ALT descriptions: Always use keywords for an image’s ALT description. It strengthens SEO and is a courtesy to human readers who cannot display images on the screen.

2. Anchor text: Use keywords in the anchor text for internal and outbound links.

3. Bold and italic text: Many believe bold and italicized text carry more weight in search engines than plain text. Use these formatting options with care, however. Too much of either can result in a page that is confusing to human readers.

4. Entry pages: Concentrate your SEO efforts on the pages of your site that you really want people to find in searches. These pages, called entry or landing pages, will be keyword rich and your targets for inbound links.

5. Flash animation: Do not use Flash for navigational elements because the navigation text, which you should optimize with keywords, will be invisible to search engines. Text navigation links are essential.

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