November 30, 2011
One of the most basic things which a webmaster should understand is how to do on page SEO and the on page SEO factors to consider when both creating a new website or when adding new content and pages to an existing website.
On page SEO predominantly pertains to tweaking your site’s code, choosing the right keywords, and optimizing your content overall to make it more attractive and identifiable to Google and other search engines’ web crawling bots so that they will in turn rank your site higher in the SERPs.
Here I’ve expanded on the major techniques which you should implement on your site if you want to rank and rank well at that.
Keep in mind that the weight which search engines place on these techniques is subjective as no one knows for sure the algorithms behind Google’s and other engine’s ranking practices. No one factor is ever been unanimously considered to be more paramount than all others, so don’t overlook any of these techniques. Most of them are quick and simple to implement, so there’s really no reason not to, either.
Editor’s Note: For additional information on the techniques noted below, and in some cases an alternate viewpoint, read Jill Whalen’s article “16 SEO Tactics That Will NOT Bring Targeted Google Visitors”.
Keyword On Page SEO Factors
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keywords are the gateways to your site and they play a huge role in on page SEO.
Once you know what is a good keyword and how to do keyword research, then you can find the keywords which you should be using for your on page SEO. WordPress combined with a good free SEO plugin like All in One SEO Pack makes implementing most of the following keyword related on page SEO factors simple as can be, but let’s take a look at where we need to make sure to effectively use our keywords.
Keyword(s) In Title Tags – The title tag is the line of clickable text which appears in Google’s SERPs for each ranking page. This is also the text which appears at the top of your browser’s window in naming or identifying the page which you are currently browsing. It’s important to work your best (most relevant, highest searched, lowest competition) keywords into your title tags as Google will consider this over most factors when indexing and ranking your page and in general in determining what it’s about.
Keywords In Heading Tags – Effective use of heading tags helps Google know what is most important on your site, and what text it should pick out over the rest. It’s been estimated that most people when opening a new page will first instinctively read the top left of your page before other elements. Consequently, your most important message using your most important keyword that you want to get across should be here and ideally using the H1 tag.
From here, less important keywords should be put in H2, and even less important but still noteworthy keywords should be in H3, and so on. An effective use of heading tags is a valuable skill to have in on page SEO.
Keywords In the Body – There is no substitute for good content, and in SEO a large part of good content is effectively including keywords where applicable. This means no over saturation because as I mentioned in the last chapter this will get you penalized and possibly de-indexed. A number of SEOers have argued for years over just the right saturation which will get you ranking well but not penalized and they have thrown out different figures to try to answer this magical ratio.
My advice is to not waste your time trying to crunch ratios as there is no perfect ratio. Besides, you have better things to do with your time and other ways to optimize your site. Just make it look natural and don’t over think it and you’ll be fine.
Words Surrounding Keywords – This all may seem a bit redundant, but the words around the keywords are just as important as the keywords which you include to begin with.
Google not only looks at the keywords which you are targeting, but it looks at the words surrounding them to get a better idea of what your site is about, not to mention that it does this to check you on keyword stuffing and make sure you’re not doing anything “black hat” which could get you in trouble.
Keyword In Domain Name – This takes some careful planning, but many SEOers agree that this has a decent amount of bearing on how Google ranks a site for a keyword. In continuing with this point, you can set your site up as it expands to be more SEO friendly by naming subdomains after keywords, as well. So be as specific as possible when naming if you can. For example name a subdomain of a music site “Gibson-guitars” rather than just “guitars”.
Note the use of the hyphen in the example. Hyphens represent spaces, so if you are using keywords in your URLs, break them up. While keywords in the subdomains don’t carry quite as much weight as the top level of the domain, they’re nonetheless important and helpful to Google in identifying what your site is about.
Keywords In Alt/Image Tags – If you’ve got pictures on your website and want them to show up in image search results, you’ve got to tag them by placing the appropriate keywords inside the alt tags of each image. It’s also helpful in case some web browsers don’t load your page/images properly so that web users can still see what the image was meant to be since most browsers will still show the keyword which you included in the alt tag.
Keywords In Anchor Text of Internal Links – Just like with external links pointing to your domain and pages, whenever linking to another page on your site, make sure that you make the link using anchor text consisting of keywords which you want pointing to and associated with that destination page because this greatly helps Google in putting the pieces together.
Keywords in Strong/Bold Tags – These tags make your keywords stand out a bit more from their surrounding text to web users as well as Google’s search bots. These tags are ideal when something isn’t on the same level as say something in an H1 tag, but you still want them to stand out from the rest of your
Keywords in Meta Tags – About where you included the title in your site’s code you can include a meta description tag and a meta keywords tag. If the title tag as mentioned earlier in this article is the clickable title in the SERPs, the meta description is the short summary of what your site is about which appears below it.
If you leave this blank, Google or other engines will form their own description of your site using some of your content. If you don’t like the sound of that, you can add your own. Keep in mind that while it doesn’t have much bearing on your ranking, it’s important for display purposes/what the web users will see when viewing your site in the SERPs.
Editor’s Note: For an in-depth review of the Meta Description tag and it’s use, read Jill Whalen’s article at: http://www.sitepronews.com/2011/11/20/the-meta-description-tag/
Other On Page SEO Factors
Time to move away from keywords to the other half of on page SEO factors. Some of these you may not have as much control over but are still worth knowing about.
Age of a Site/Page – If all things are equal between two pages competing for the same keyword, Google is far more likely to rank a site from 2002 over a site from 2007 because in most cases the older site is seen as more authoritative. Now, if that first site hasn’t been touched since 2004 and the 2007 site is constantly updated with fresh and unique content, then it’s a different story. Individual pages work in the same way so this is just something to keep in mind.
Internal Links – If you have a number of pages on your site like a blog with a lot of posts, and say that one post in particular has gained some attention and is ranking well on its own (maybe from a little off page SEO), by linking back to a second page on your site from that popular page, you have increased the power of that second page. Internal linking is a beautiful thing because if you’re lucky enough to have several pages on your site ranking well, you can spread that link juice to the rest of your site without having to rely on anyone else.
Updates – I mentioned this in the age of a page, but Google is far more likely to rank a page which is updated regularly and adds fresh content on a regular basis such as articles, blogs, or any new content in general rather than a similar site which just stagnates. This is just more evidence supporting the fact that if you want to rank well, you’ve got to constantly be working towards optimizing your site because no one gets to the top of the SERPs, retires, and stays there for long.
Flash Animations, Etc. – Flash animation intros may look neat and some of your web users may enjoy them, but Google’s robots have a hard time navigating through them to get to your site and incidentally flash pages never rank well. If you are set on having something like that, make sure that you include a link beneath the animation to connect that page with the page you want to follow the animation so that all web users AND search engine robots can reach and index your site properly.
Avoid 4th Level Subdomains – If you have a funneling style/broad index page (like going back to the guitar example) where you’ve got a number of smaller branching out subdomains, don’t go any further than 3 levels. An example would be “domain.com/subdomain1/subdomain2/subdomain3”. Anything beyond that final subdomain will likely not get indexed as easily as search robots only go so far. Plus, having that many subdomains simply isn’t conducive to easily browsing a site if you’ve got to click on that many links to get to where you want to go. Remember, one of the most important points when designing a site is to make sure that it’s user/traffic friendly when it comes to navigation.
Site Maps – In continuing with the point of making a site easily maneuverable, including a site map and linking to it on every page can be a major help to search bots when they crawl your site, plus people can use it to easily navigate, as well. Use a freebie plugin like Google Sitemap Generator to take care of this with a couple of clicks.
Note that much of this post is taken from my “No Nonsense Marketing/Making Money Online Handbook” which you can get as a free gift for signing up for my FREE “10 Day Fast Track Affiliate Course”. Check out this video to see how quick and easy it is to make money in affiliate marketing when the path is laid out clearly right in front of you without costing you a dime.
OR you can check out this post on writing copy for SEO for more SEO tips.