Google SEO Report Card Summary

To help webmasters to improve the ranking and the look of their site in the SERPs, Google posted a consolidated record of best practices.

This PDF file can be downloaded and printed, here is a summary.

I - Presentation of search results

To improve the way the link on your page is displayed, you can act on the <title>, description and other meta tags, and the organization of the headings.

Title

The statistical reality is:

A title can have a length of 60 characters. They should be all used. It should contain the essential keywords on the product (in a sentence).

The title should be a summary of the description: some users look only the title in results pages.

The title and meta description should have a descriptive content, to inform users. You must think about what users are searching.

Meta tag: The noodp directive tag in <meta spam content="noodp"> helps prevent use of the title and description from Dmoz.org when it is not updated.

Description

It is contained in <meta content="">. Its length must correspond to the two lines of snippets in result pages.

The content of this tag may be used for the results page and it is essential when the page do not contains enough text to build a description (only pictures).
Try to make a description that can create user interest, to describe the content and why it is useful.

Getting Sitelinks

It is possible to help the emergence of site links under the title and snippet, in the SERPs.

To have a better chance to obtain sitelinks:

If sitelinks displayed in SERPs are not relevant, you can block them in webmaster tools (GWT).

II - URLs and redirects

To avoid duplicate content, you should use <link rel="canonical" href="url to index" >.

For those who use a subdirectory:

III - Page Optimization

What you can optimize:

Titles

Titles should describe the content of sections and contain all the essential keywords.

The <h1> tag should be used for the main title of the page and reflect its overall content.

Logo

The logo image must have an alt attribute. The content thereof is similar to the site's title (that of the home page).

Internal Links

The anchor should have a description of the page being linked similar to the title of this page. All title rules apply to them as well.

References