11 Most Essential SEO Ranking factor Cheat Sheet For Beginners

seo factor cheat sheet
10 Most Essential SEO Factor Cheat Sheet For Beginners

Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that’s certainly, the case when it comes to your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). What with Google search’s 30+ major updates in the last decade, it’s safe to say that SEO best practices are a moving target.

To hit that target, you need a content marketing plan — and a good marketing automation tool. While there are two main components of an SEO strategy, on-page, and off-page, this cheat sheet will focus on on-page optimization.

Here are some SEO Ranking Factor Cheat Sheet to help you stay on top of on-page optimization withless effort and more continuous, measurable results.

SEO Factor Cheat Sheet For Beginners

1. Important HTML Elements

  1. Title Tag
 <title>Page Title</title>

Best Practices

• Best between 50–60 characters
• Important keywords near the beginning
• Well-written descriptions influence
click-through rates (CTR)

2. Meta Description Tag

 <meta name="description"
 content="This is an example.">

Best Practices

• Best around 160 characters
• Each description should be unique
• Well-written descriptions influence
click-through rates (CTR)

3. Image

<img src="img/keyword.jpg" alt="description of image" width="100" height="100">

Best Practices

• Providing image height and width improves
page speed

2. Hyperlinks

  1. Text Link
<a href="https://www.example.com/webpage.
html">Anchor Text</a>

2. NoFollowed Link

<a href="https://www.example.com/webpage.html" rel="nofollow">
Anchor Text</a>

3. Image Link

<a href="https://www.example.com/webpage.html"><img src="/img/keyword.jpg"
alt="description of image" height="50"

Best Practices

Use “nofollow” for paid links and
distrusted content
• Use “sponsored” for sponsored or
compensated links
• Use “ugc” for links within user-generated
• For image links, the alt attribute serves as the
anchor text

3. Canonicalization

Common Duplicate Homepage URLs

SEO Ranking Factor Cheat Sheet

Best Practices

• Preferred URL = https://example.com/

• Place the following in section to indicate preferred URL:

 <link href="https://example.com/" rel=
 "canonical" />

HTTP Status Codes

200 OK/Success
301 Permanent redirect
302 Temporary redirect
404 Not found
410 Gone (permanently removed)
500 Server error
503 Server error

4. URLs

Best Practices

• Choose shorter, human-readable URLs with descriptive keywords
• Exclude dynamic parameters when possible (see “Canonicalization” and “Pagination”)
• When possible, place content on the same subdomain to preserve the authority

5. Robots Exclusion Standard

  1. Robots.txt
Location: https://example.com/robots.txt

User-agent: googlebot
Disallow: /example.html
Sitemap: https://example.com/sitemap.xml

Best Practices

• Only Meta Robots and X-Robots-Tag remove
URLs from search results
• Don’t block CSS or JavaScript files with

2. X-Robots-Tag

Location: Sent in the HTTP headers
X-Robots-Tag: noindex

3. Meta Robots

Location: In the HTML <head>
<meta name="robots" content="[PARAMETER]" />

4. Important Parameters

• Noindex (do not index)

• Nofollow (do not follow links)

• Noarchive (do not show cache)

…or combine (noindex, nofollow)

If the robots tag is not defined, the default is “INDEX, FOLLOW”

Don’t block noindex URLs in robots.txt. They need to be crawled to be respected.

Important User Agents

For Robots.txt, Robots Meta Tags, and X-Robots-Tag:

• Googlebot (can be used as the default for most
Google crawlers)
• Googlebot-News
• Googlebot-Image
• AdsBot-Google
• Mediapartners-Google (Mobile Adsense)
or Mediapartners
• Googlebot-Video
• Bingbot
• Yandexbot

• Baiduspider
• FacebookExternalHit
• Applebot
• Slurp
• Twitterbot
• Rogerbot
• Dotbot
• Wildcard for all robots: *

6. Sitemap Syntax

XML Sitemap Example:
RSS and text sitemaps are also options

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

Sitemap Index File

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

Default Location:


sitemap: parent tag for each sitemap
loc: location of the sitemap
lastmod: the last modified date

  • A sitemap cannot contain over 50,000 URLs.
    Large websites should use multiple sitemaps
    listed under a single sitemap index file.

Other Common Sitemap Types:

• Images
• Video
• News

  • Don’t forget to submit your sitemap to Google
    via Google Search Console.

7. Mobile – Friendly

This SEO ranking factor is most essential in our SEO Ranking Factor Cheat Sheet

There are 3 ways to implement a mobile website:

• Responsive web design (adjusts for screen size)
• Dynamic serving (serves different content based on
a user’s device)

Separate URLs (different URLs that serve mobile-optimized
content). Not advised.

Best Practices

• Your mobile version should display the same content as your
desktop site

•Page title tags & meta descriptions should remain the same

• Use the meta name=”viewport” tag in the head of your page
to tell the browser how to adjust the content.
For example:

Increase speed by optimizing the critical rendering path,
using HTTPS & HTTP/2, eliminating render-blocking resources.

removing unused CSS, and deferring offscreen images.

8. Important Social Metadata

Sample Meta Tag Template: “Article”

Place this data between the <head> tags of your website

<!-- Required Open Graph data -->
<meta property="og:title" content="Developer's Cheat
Sheet to SEO" />
<meta property="og:type" content="article" />
<meta property="og:image" content="https://example.
com/image.jpg" />
<meta property="og:url" content="https://example.
com" />
<!-- Optional Open Graph data -->
<meta property="og:audio" content="https://example.
com/guide.mp3." />
<meta property="og:description" content="Description
here." />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Your Site
Name, i.e. Moz" />
<meta property="og:locale" content="en_us" />
<meta property="og:video" content="https://example.
com/guide.mp4" />
<meta property="fb:app_id" content="Your FB_APP_ID" />
<!-- Find additional markup on https://ogp.me -->
<!-- Twitter Card data -->
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@Moz">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Title of content
(max 70 characters)">
<meta name="twitter:description" content="Description of content">
<meta name="twitter:image" content="https://example.

Best Practices

Default to Open Graph

Platforms that support Open Graph protocol include Facebook,
Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

Optimal Image Sizing

• Minimum 144×144 px
• No larger than 4096×4096 px or 5MB

• Minimum 600×600 px
• Try to use images that are at least 1080 px in width

9. Rich Snippets and Structured Data

Enhance search results and help search engines understand your content

Common Vocabularies: schema.org

Popular Formats: JSON-LD, RDFa, Microdata


<script type="application/ld+json">
 "@context": "http://schema.org",
 "@type": "BreadcrumbList",
 "itemListElement": [
<---Repeat markup for additional list items--->
 "@type": "ListItem",
 "position": 1,
 "item": {
 "@id": "http://example.com/dinner",
 "name": "Dinner" }
<---Additional list items here--->


<script type="application/ld+json">
 "@context": "http://schema.org/",
 "@type": "Review",
 "reviewBody": "The restaurant has great ambiance.",
 "itemReviewed": {
 "@type": "Restaurant",
 "name": "Fine Dining Establishment"
 "reviewRating": {
 "@type": "Rating",
 "ratingValue": 5,
 "worstRating": 1,
 "bestRating": 5,
 "reviewAspect": "Ambiance"

Review stars won’t show up in search results.

Common Structured Data Types:

• Local business
• FAQ page
• Person
• How to

• Product
• Article
• Recipes
• QA page


When using target=”_blank” to open a link in a new tab, make sure you’re implementing


rel=”noreferrer” to avoid exposing your website to a surface attack.

SSL certificates are table stakes today. Your website must have one.

Lighthouse helps to identify these vulnerabilities (and more) in the audit.

10. Targeting Multiple Languages

Help search engines understand your location/language targets.

URL Structures for Country & Language Targeting

ccTLDs (Country-Level Only): example.de
Subdirectories with gTLDS: example.com/de/
Subdomains with gTLDS: de.example.com/

rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”

Annotate alternate language & region versions of content

HTML version in

Each version must identify all versions, including itself

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="http://example.com/" /> (Specifies
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://example.com/en/" /> (Specifies Language; English)
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-GB" href="http://example.com/en-gb/" /> (Specifies Language + Region)

Sitemap Version

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
 <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://example.com/deutsch/" />
 <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://example.com/english/" />
 <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://example.com/english/" />
 <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.example.com/deutsch/"

Popular Languages

en English
es Spanish
Zh Chinese
hi Hindi
JA Japanese

Popular Regions

US United States
GB Great Britain
CN China
IN India
JP Japan

11. Performance

Page Speed

Page Speed Tips:

• Compress and minify your code
• Reduce page redirects
• Remove render-blocking JavaScript
• Use tree-shaking
• Leverage browser caching
• Use a CDN
• Leverage preconnect, prefetch, and preload
• Analyze your critical rendering path performance for additional opportunities
in Chrome Dev Tools.

Test your Page Speed with:

Lighthouse: developers.google.com/web/tools/lighthouse
PageSpeed Insights: developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
GTmetrix: gtmetrix.com
WebPageTest: webpagetest.org

Modern JavaScript Sites

JavaScript Tips:

• Keep JavaScript bundles small (especially for mobile devices). Small bundles improve
speed, lower memory usage, and reduce CPU costs.

• Use server-side or pre-rendering to improve site speed, user experience,
and crawler accessibility.

• Stuck with client-side rendering? Try pre-rendering to help Googlebot get a
more immediate HTML snapshot of your page.

• Use Chrome Dev Tools “Performance” tab to test your runtime performance
and network “throttling” to simulate different device capabilities.

Explore Chrome DevTools’ Timeline & JavaScript Profiler to analyze the impact
of your JavaScript.

The most common culprit of poor page speed is images!

Image Optimization

Image Optimization Tips:

• Compress your images & experiment with quality settings

• Remove unnecessary image metadata

• Explore lazy loading

• Leverage SRCSET for different screen sizes

• Ensure that your images have alt text

• Invest in automated tools that can help ensure your image assets will always
be optimized


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