Update September 2018: SEO has evolved a lot since I wrote this article, so I decided to update this article with what has happened:
While it can be rather hard (if not impossible) to handle the off-site SEO campaign, on-site search engine optimization is under your control and it will take you no more than a few hours to check the boxes below. That’s not about adjusting your website to search engines ( as on-site sceptics might say) or about pushing your site to the first page in SERP in a day. That’s an online etiquette which demonstrates your level of competence and also makes the crawlers visit your pages more eagerly.
I have made a keyword analysis and chosen keywords to optimize for;
I have researched my site referrals by digging my search analytics and doing thorough website analysis;
I have made sure my keywords are directly related to my niche;
I use unique short meta tags based on my keywords;
I have written unique content using my primary keywords;
I add quality content at least once a week to ensure search bots have something new to crawl;
I do keep to CCS styles;
I’ve made sure that my code is clean and is no more than 100 K (the less the better);
I do have a customized 404 error page;
I do take advantage of <h1>, <h2> and <h3> to show search pots and user agents what is important;
I have developed a good clean website structure based on my keyword analysis;
I use readable URLs (I do mod-rewrite if needed);
I don’t use js, drop-downs or images for my navigation menu – just plain text links;
I don’t overuse images and flash;
I use alt text for my content-rich images and links;
I have a site map to make Big Daddy’s life easier;
I take advantage of rel=”nofollow” attribute to direct the PageRank flow;
I do 301-redirect non-www version to www version (or vice versa) to show Google what I like more;
(Optional) I do let SEO experts handle my on-site optimization!
Anything else? Please share in the comments!