Basic on-page SEO guide

May 24 07:11 2008 Niall Buchanan Print This Article

A quick guide to on-page factors which if optimised properly can help boost your website rankings in both Yahoo and Google.

There are two types of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO),Guest Posting these are on-page and off-page optimisation.  The on-page optimisation involves things that you can control, such as the content on your webpage or Meta tags.  The off-page involves getting links from other sites and submitting to quality directories.

When it comes to ranking, especially for Google, most people say off-page is the most important optimisation due to the importance that Google places on good quality links and anchor text.  However a good SEO strategy should consist of both on-page and off-page optimisation.  As we all know the search engine algorithms change frequently so today links are the main thing but who knows what tomorrow brings! 

So when it comes to on-page optimisation where do you start?  Well before you do anything you have to do some keyword research, it is an unavoidable stage and perhaps the most important stage for your entire SEO campaign.  The fact is that if you optimise your website for the wrong keywords then all your hard work is more than likely going to be wasted.

You may think that you already know what your main keywords are but remember its not you that is searching for your product, its not about what you think its about what your customer thinks and does.  Luckily there are some pretty good keyword research tools out there and some are free!  So first you need to find some keywords, you can pay for a professional service like Wordtracker or use a free service such as Google Keywords Selector.  Just type in a keyword that is related to your website and both sites will show you estimated traffic for those terms and also some related terms or phrases (these are the ones to look out for).

Make a list of some of the most popular terms, ideally the ones you are looking for a those that have good traffic but a low competitiveness rate.  In that regard the Google tool is very good as you can sort the keywords by how competitive they are and easily see the low competitive with high traffic phrases. 

Ideally you want to look to optimise your page for around 3 or 4 keywords, so find one that’s got a large amount of traffic, one that has a low competitiveness rate and one that’s in between.  This gives you a good mix of keywords to use and the lower competitive keywords should provide you with traffic while you work up to your industry terms.

Now the optimisation begins and first you should start with the Title tag, this is what is displayed as a link in the search engine results so it is important to both the search engines and your potential customers.  When optimising for your chosen keywords it’s a good idea to try and interlink a couple, an example being “hotels in England” & “luxury hotels in England”.  Put your most important keyword first in the title tag and then work the others in a readable sentence. 

Make sure that you don’t just optimise this for search engines, after all you have to make people want to click on this so a call to action phrase is always useful as well. An example would be “Accommodation in England – Book Luxury Hotels in England online now!” It is not perfect but it does have three keywords in it and a call to action, so it’s a good start.  This is an important title so take some time and write and rewrite it several times until you are happy, also try and keep the length at around 64 characters.

Next move onto the text you have on your page, for a start if you don’t have any text or have very little text then you may want to think about a serious redesign.  Search engines love text and if you have your keywords weaved throughout your page it will help you ranking by making your page more relevant.  Now you don’t want to overdo it and put your keywords all over your page, this is called keyword stuffing and it is against the search engine guidelines.  Keep the density of your keywords to around 5% or lower, use a free tool such as seochats analyzer to see the keyword density on your webpage.

Next there is the Meta description tag, this is not a major factor in search engine ranking but it is for potential customers.  This is because part of the description tag is often displayed during search results or in directory listings.  This means it is your chance to tell a potential customer about the content on your site in a short and concise manor.  Make sure you have some keywords here and an accurate description of your site or pages content.

Those are all the main on-page factors to optimise other basic things to help optimisation include the use of ALT tags for any images that you may have.  Also try running your website through the W3C html validater, it will find any site errors.  Fixing these make it easier for the search engine robots when they crawl your website and encourage them to index your page or visit your page more frequently.

These are all things that with a little time and effort can make a big difference to your search engine rankings.  Of course once you have done all these it is then time to turn your attention to the off-page factors and the lengthy process of link building.

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Niall Buchanan
Niall Buchanan

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