SEO Cheat Sheet

When it comes to SEO there are a lot of things you need to consider to keep your website up to date. This tool aims to help you with the technical side of On-Page SEO and includes a sorted list of best practices. And since I know that you're a busy person, I tried to implement them in a TL;DR way.

For questions or suggestions for improvement, find me on LinkedIn.
And last but not least…if you like the little Astronaut, we made some Wallpapers.


Even though the term "tag" is not 100% correct in many places (some tags should correctly be called "elements" or "attributes"), we use this term because most people tend to look for tags rather than the correct technical terms.

Perhaps the most underrated but also most important tag of them all. Every page should have a unique title tag and include relevant keywords for that specific site.

<title> - About

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
  1. Order matters. The first word in the title has more “power” than the last one.
  2. Always ask yourself: what’s the most relevant Keyword for this page?
  3. Get creative. Indeed, one of the largest job searches on the web includes dynamic dates into their titles to always stay relevant.
Indeed dynamic title tag
  1. If it’s your index page switch the order to:
Brand Name – Relevant Keywords for your Page

Because you want your main page to rank for your brand name.

Meta Description Tagback to navigation

Meta descriptions have no direct impact on your SEO rankings. Nevertheless they are very important for good click-through rates on your search results.

  1. The recommended length is between 50 and 160 characters.
  2. It’s the place where you should “advertise” your content for potential visitors. Write compelling ad-copy.
  3. Use keywords that are specific to that page. Don’t overuse them.
  4. As with title tags, generate a unique description for every page and avoid duplicate description tags.

Heading Tagback to navigation

You know, heading tags are those <h1> to <h6> things which should be used on every title in your website. They are important for SEO as well as for usability. A few things to keep in mind while using them:

  1. Make sure that every page of your website has one <h1></h1> tag. Only one, but this one is a must have.
  2. Make it relevant to your page content and use keywords that describe that page.
  3. Use heading tags in order to correctly structure your content for your visitors. This is also important for featured snippets.

Good structure:

<h1>Main Heading</h1>
<h2>Secondary Heading 1</h2>
<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 1</h3>
<h2>Secondary Heading 2</h2>
<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 2</h3>

Every image on your website should have an alt attribute. A lot of people tend to oversee them but they are actually pretty important for image SEO. If you use them properly a lot of users will find you through Google’s image search.

  1. If you can picture the image in your head when someone reads the alt text to you without you seeing the image, then you have a good one.
  2. Keep it relatively short but very descriptive.
  3. Avoid keyword stuffing – c’mon it’s 2020.
  4. Don’t use “image of” or “picture of”
  5. End the alt-text with a period. This will make screen readers pause a bit after the last word in the alt-text, which creates a more pleasant reading experience for the user.
man with headphones walking down escalator
Bad alt text:
<img src="escalator.jpg" alt="">

Okay alt text:
<img src="escalator.jpg" alt="man on escalator">

Better alt text:
<img src="escalator.jpg" alt="man walking on escalator">

Best alt text:
<img src="escalator.jpg" alt="man with headphones walking down escalator">

Canonical Tagback to navigation

A canonical tag is a way of pointing Google to the master copy of a specific page. Using it correctly generally prevents problems with “duplicate content" and potential ranking losses.

  1. The canonical tag can point to the current URL. If page A is your master copy you can also include the URL for page A into the canonical tag of page A.
  2. Bad code can sometimes lead to problems like different tags for every version of the same URL. Check all of your pages and make sure that this is not the case.
  3. In order to prevent problems Include a canonical tag into your index page.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

Open Graph Tagback to navigation

Open Graph tags are a way of formatting your content for correct output on Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s not so much a ranking factor than it’s a conversion factor but in any way it’s important in 2020 and beyond.

  1. A lot of platforms do have their very own structures and because of this it’s very difficult to list all of them in a short way. Therefore we would recommend checking out this article by Cyrus Shepard in which he includes some great templates for you to copy.

Responsive Site Meta Tagback to navigation

Google introduced mobile first indexing in 2018 and since then has evaluated search results exclusively based on the information found on the mobile version of a website. Therefore mobile friendliness should be a top priority for every website.

  1. Responsive site meta tags let search engines know that this site has a responsive design available. Include it to make sure your site is surfaced when searching through mobile devices.
  2. If you want to check if your site is mobile friendly go to: Google's mobile-firiendliness-check
  3. Include this tag as a bare minimum for mobile friendliness:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1” />

Robots Tagback to navigation

Robots meta directives are pieces of code that provide crawlers recommendations for how to crawl or index web page content. On the other hand there are robots.txt file directives which give crawlers recommendations for how to crawl a website’s pages.

  1. The included parameters are only suggestions. Especially malicious robots may decide to ignore these suggestions.
  2. For sensitive or private data use more secure mechanisms like password protection to prevent them from being indexed.
  3. If you don’t want a page to get indexed use a robots meta directive with “noindex, follow” instead of the robots.txt version.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow” />

Hreflang Tagback to navigation

With the hreflang attribute you can tell Google which language you are using on any given page of your website. This may not directly benefit your rankings but will help search engines serving users the right content.

  1. You can place the hreflang attribute in 3 different locations: on-page markup, HTTP header or in the sitemap. Use only one of those locations.
  2. Every hreflang attribute should include a reference to itself as well as to all pages that serve as alternates for it.
  3. Use it in the following way:
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en-en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://" hreflang="de-de" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://" hreflang="fr-fr" />


HTML Structureback to navigation

Nowadays a semantic HTML structure is a must for every web page. It helps search engines evaluate the given content and correctly serve it to its users. See it as the backbone of your website on which every other SEO is based upon.

  1. Correctly use and implement all of the mentioned HTML tags on this page.
  2. Not every element should be a <div>. Make use of every section element available – like <section>, <nav>, <article>, <aside> or <footer>
  3. Correctly structuring your HTML base will make the difference between you showing up in Google’s featured snippets or not showing up at all.
  4. Implement a table of contents on every blog post or article. This will help you to get featured snippets as well.

Structured Databack to navigation

Structured data is a library of fields that help you improve the way search engines represent your website in their search results. I would highly recommend implementing this on your page.

  1. Google recommends using the JSON-LD format for structured data. Place the structured data code inside the <head></head> element of your page.
  2. Use this generator to generate structured data for your site.
  3. Use this tool to check if you correctly implemented it.
  4. If you want to learn more about structured data go to the Google documentation.

<script type="application/ld+json">
  "@context": "",
  "@type": "Corporation",
  "name": "9elements",
  "url": "",
  "logo": "",
  "sameAs": [

URL Structureback to navigation

URLs are the human readable version of our IP addresses and search engines use them to determine the relevance of a particular page to a search query. Therefore they are pretty important for SEO.

  1. Keep them short, relevant and compelling. If possible only use words in them.
  2. When a user (or search engine) reads them, they should know what to expect on that site.
  3. Only use hyphens to separate words.
  4. Only use lowercase letters to prevent problems.
  5. Keep them as short as possible. Research indicates that this can benefit your search rankings.
Bad URL:

Good URL:

Redirectionback to navigation

Sometimes your URLs will change or no longer exist. Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to a different one. Doing this correctly can benefit the overall health of your website.

  1. Use the 301 “moved permanently” HTTP status code in order to redirect URLs while still passing along up to 99% of your former link equity.
  2. Even if there are other status codes like 302 “moved temporarily” it’s best advised to still use 301 instead.

Internal Linkingback to navigation

Internal linking is an important way to make the job of a search engine crawler a whole lot easier. It not only helps them to find every subpage of your website but also makes sure that you can rank for every piece of content on your site.

  1. Understand that links pass on their link value (ranking strength). Mostly your index page is the most valuable and if you link from here to other pages these pages will have more ranking strength then if you just link to them from a category page for example.
  2. Don’t hide any pages from being accessed via internal linking. It helps them to rank even better.
  3. Hiding can happen accidentally. Common mistakes are:
    1. Links are generated via unparseable JavaScript
      Make sure that every link on your site is, in the end, a standard HTML link
    2. Links are only accessible through search
      A crawler won’t make an effort to use the search on your website. If you hide pages behind searches you will likely not rank for them.
    3. To many links
      If your site needs to have a lot of links it’s recommended to stay under 150 links per page because the crawler will not go on forever.
  4. Make sure that you don’t link to pages that are blocked from being crawled by the robots.txt or robots meta tag.

XML Sitemapsback to navigation

XML Sitemaps are a way of telling search engines which pages on your site you find worthy indexing and to include all of them into a single file which you can then upload into the Google Search Console. Sitemaps have a few pros and cons and we would recommend the following:

  1. Sites which normally would not have been indexed can get indexed when you include them into a sitemap. This can hide structural problems of your website so be careful.
  2. We wouldn’t recommend them for new websites. If you don’t use them you can discover structural problems if there are any.
  3. If you block sites in your robots.txt don’t include them into sitemaps.
  4. If your site has a lot of pages, use dynamic sitemaps.

NAP stands for name, address and phone number. Do you have a local store or business? Then NAP is important for you. Google takes this data into account when it comes to geo-targeted searches.

  1. Make sure to implement your NAP data into your website. It is recommended to do so by writing it into the footer.
  2. Make sure that the data is always up to date in order to prevent false information in search results.
  3. Claim your Google My Business listings and make sure to update it with the correct NAP data.
  4. Also include NAP into your sturctured data code.


Page Speedback to navigation

In 2018 Google officially made page speed one of their ranking factors. In a world where attention is hard to get and even harder to keep, every second counts. Make sure your site is equipped for years to come by focusing on page speed.

  1. One of the most issues with page speed is caused by unoptimized images. Make sure that every image is optimized for file size and use tools like TinyPNG to do so.
  2. Whenever possible implement lazy loading into your page setup. This ensures that your images (and other contents) only load if necessary.
  3. Minify CSS, JavaScript and HTML. Optimizing your code can work wonders.
  4. Leverage browser caching. An effective caching strategy can improve your page speed a lot.
  5. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to serve your site more quickly depending on the location of your user.
  6. There are many more ways how you can improve page speed but the above are the most common ones.

Featured Snippetsback to navigation

Featured snippets are Google’s way of directly displaying answers to search queries right within their results, without you needing to visit a website. They are very eye-catching and only one result can get a featured snippet.

  1. Featured snippets are especially interesting when it comes to voice search. If you search via voice only the snippet position will be evaluated thus making it highly relevant for upcoming years.
  2. Unfortunately only Google decides which page is eligible for featured snippets.
  3. If you follow every recommendation on this page you will have a great chance to get featured snippets as well.
  4. The most important part is to answer a question in a very short, precise and structured way.
  5. Right now there are 3 types of snippets: text, video and table.

Text Snippet:

Google featured text snippet

Video Snippet:

Google featured video snippet

List Snippet:

Google featured list snippet

JavaScript Frameworksback to navigation

A lot of sites today leverage the possibilities and conveniences that modern JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue have to offer. Building sites with those frameworks only has one major issue for SEO – they don’t render a “normal” HTML structure as you would need for search crawlers to read your site correctly.

  1. Again there are many ways in how you could handle these issues. We will only scratch the surface here.
  2. When it comes to SEO, always go for Server Side Rendering (SSR). This enables Google to see a fully SEO optimized page in the initial crawl.
  3. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of SEO and JavaScript frameworks, this article by Jan-Willem Bobbink is a good start.

SEO can be a pretty difficult topic and a lot of knowledge is already out there for free. Here are our top reading recommendations if you want to learn more:


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