My personal guidelines for picking UK dividend shares Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Image source: Getty Images. This year has not been a good one for income investors. Many of the best UK dividend shares have been forced to cut their payouts. Things may be starting to look up, however. With Covid-19 vaccines already rolling out and the ban on banking dividends no longer in place, now may be the perfect time to invest for income.With this in mind, here are my personal criteria for picking the best UK dividend shares right now.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Watch your capitalMy first rule when looking for UK dividend shares, is making every effort to keep my initial investment secure. This means that while income is my main consideration, I also want steady growth in the price as well.In the UK, this effectively means I limit myself to the FTSE 100 when looking for income. I choose among the largest, most stable firms with strong brands, in industries I think are growing or at least around for the long run.On the company side, I want a history of strong fundamentals in its finances. This means year-on-year revenue and profit growth, and depending on the sector, not too much debt.Dividend yieldMy next criteria is the most obvious – dividend yield. In the UK, a dividend is paid on a pence-per-share basis. This means the yield is very much dependent on the share price itself. While in more stable times I consider the 3%–6% range a sensible one to look at, in today’s market I think we can do better.Just as with looking for growth, there are often bargains to be had. A company’s share price can drop because of a news story or trend that actually won’t have much genuine impact on its fundamentals. These are the time to ‘lock in’ good yields.Of course knowing the difference between these short-term sell-offs and fundamental problems is often the difficult part. Here good advice and a dose of healthy scepticism can be useful.Dividend growthMy last criteria for choosing UK dividend shares is looking for dividend growth. As dividends are paid on a pence per share basis, I would want to see the dividend payout itself increasing year on year. Something like 2% annual growth is enough to keep up with inflation at the very least. Preferably, dividend increasing as profits increased as well indicates the value the company has for its shareholders.Very much linked with this is consistency in the dividend schedule. Aside from the practicalities of being able to rely on regular payments, it is a strong indicator of a company’s ability to consistently offer the dividends I am looking for.The best UK dividend shares will show a pattern of usually four payouts, once a quarter, usually in the same months each year. This regularity can be a good indicator of the company’s ability to pay going forward. If it has never had to worry about finding cash for dividends, it hopefully will have little trouble doing so in future. Karl Loomes | Thursday, 24th December, 2020 Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares 5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50 I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Markets around the world are reeling from the coronavirus pandemic…And with so many great companies trading at what look to be ‘discount-bin’ prices, now could be the time for savvy investors to snap up some potential bargains.But whether you’re a newbie investor or a seasoned pro, deciding which stocks to add to your shopping list can be daunting prospect during such unprecedented times.Fortunately, The Motley Fool is here to help: our UK Chief Investment Officer and his analyst team have short-listed five companies that they believe STILL boast significant long-term growth prospects despite the global lock-down…You see, here at The Motley Fool we don’t believe “over-trading” is the right path to financial freedom in retirement; instead, we advocate buying and holding (for AT LEAST three to five years) 15 or more quality companies, with shareholder-focused management teams at the helm.That’s why we’re sharing the names of all five of these companies in a special investing report that you can download today for FREE. If you’re 50 or over, we believe these stocks could be a great fit for any well-diversified portfolio, and that you can consider building a position in all five right away. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. See all posts by Karl Loomes Enter Your Email Address Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Click here to claim your free copy of this special investing report now!