Guide to On Page SEO

 

Website Content – On Page SEO Best Practices Part 1

Good on page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make a difference in your website’s organic search ranking and increase the volume of traffic your website gets via search results.

“On page” SEO involves your web content and page structure; these are critical SEO best practices for high “natural” or organic search ranking. “Off page” SEO are things that you often can’t control or involve in-depth strategies for optimization. For instance, the age of your site is off page SEO; an older site has a better edge for higher organic ranking than a newly launched site. This is a basic SEO guide to “on page SEO” and the things you can do to optimize your website’s content for SEO.


Domain Name and Keywords

  • Including keywords in your domain name is ideal but not always possible.
  • When possible, use entire words rather than abbreviations or phonetic.
  • SockMonkeyOutlet.com describes the company and uses keywords.

URL structure and keywords in the URL

  • For ease of search engine crawling and better user interaction, limit your site directories to 3 subdirectories max:
  • DomainName.com/Subsection/title-of-article.html
  • SockMonkeyOutlet.com/History/monkeys_made_of_old_socks.html
  • Should use the title (or H1) of the page rather than a code or numerical assignment:
  • “monkeys_made_of_old_socks.html” is the article title rather than “article1.html”
  • Use hyphens (also underscores) to separate words; avoid symbols and spaces (%20).
  • Including keywords in your H1 tag will make the URL contain keywords as well.


Title Tag (also Window Title or Page Title) with keywords

  • Title tags are the text that appears at the top of the browser’s window; this describes the page and should contain at least 1-2 keywords.
  • The title tag should be 60 characters max and include keywords at the beginning of the title tag.
  • History of Sock Monkeys | Sock Monkeys Made From Old Socks


Meta Description or MetaTags

  • The meta description of a page is the blurb of text that appears in the search results.
  • Well-written meta descriptions can “grab” the user and entice site visits.
  • SEO-friendly meta descriptions are 160 characters max, using 1-2 keywords.
  • Ideally, the meta description corresponds with text in the first paragraph for first 150-200 words of page content.
  • Each site page should have a unique meta description.
  • There seems to be less emphasis on meta descriptions now, however the search engines don’t completely ignore meta tags.

H1 or the Title of the page

  • The H1 or Headline of the page should mirror Title Tag, use 1-2 keywords if possible:
  • The History of Sock Monkeys
  • Page hierarchy of headers: H1 (top of page), H2 (first subhead), H3, H4, H5, H6.
  • Critical that there is only one H1 on each page.
  • Include keywords in all headings.
  • It’s ideal if URL uses H1 within the URL structure (see URL Structure above).
  • Blogs often assign numbers to articles; this is not SEO-friendly and will not help your search ranking.

Keywords

  • Assign 1-5 keywords per page max; can be singular keyword (tends to be more competitive) or long tail (key word phrase).
  • The first paragraph of the page content, ideally 150-200 words, should use the primary key word once or twice. The text should appear logical and natural.
  • Although web site content is optimized for SEO ranking, it still needs to create a positive user experience and the content needs to be valuable to the user.
  • Key words should not be “stuffed” into the content (key word stuffing); generally, a 10 percent ratio of key words to the word count is good.

Unique Content – Relevant and Useful

  • Again, it is critical that the initial paragraph of the web page (about 150-200 words) is optimized for organic ranking by using keywords several times
  • It’s ideal if words or phrases from the first 1-2 sentences of the paragraph mirror Title Tag, meta description and H1 tag.
  • Typically, good SEO page content is about 400-600 words and includes 4-6 keyword instances for good keyword density.
  • Again, keyword inclusions should be logical and not appear overly repetitive.

Bulleted Lists, Subheads, Bold Text

  • Subheads (H2, H3, etc.), bulleted lists, and bold text are valuable ways to break up page content, add visual interest and aid user in digesting info quickly.
  • Search engines often view subheads, lists and bold text as an important call out in content, so this content should include keywords.
  • In the page structure, you may have more than one H2, H3, etc. tags but keep in mind you should only have one H1 tag.

Content Updates and Site Activity

  • Ideally, updating your site content frequently is best. Updating existing content or adding new content should be significant and add value to the site and user.
  • Consistent and meaningful content updates are better than very frequent but small updates to the site.

Tags

  • Often sites have a “tag cloud” or list of keywords that relate to the page’s content; open source CMS platforms such as Word Press and Drupal use tags as a way to allow the user to search site for content.
  • Tags should reflect keywords and topics of the article and/or what the user may search on.

Links Include Anchor Text Include Key words

  • There are Internal Links, External Links and Inbound Links.
  • All links should contain anchor text and the anchor text should include your keywords.
  • The anchor text appears when the user rolls over text links on your page.

Internal Links

  • Internal links help users learn more information by linking similar topics (pages) within your site to each other.
  • Link structure should include anchor text that contains keywords.
  • Anchor tags enhance usability and adding keywords here helps organic SEO
  • Consideration: opening the new page in the same window as the user remains on your site.

External Links

  • External links are links to other web sites.
  • Link structure should still include anchor text that contains keywords.
  • Although external links add value to page and site as source for information, be frugal as these types of links do take send the user off your site.
  • Consideration: takes user off site so it is important that external links open in a “new window” leaving your web site easily accessible still.

Back Links or Inbound Links

  • Inbound links are when other sites link to your site; links to your site from credible sites within your market are valuable.
  • Links should come from credible sources and sites that are similar to yours; these types of links are relevant to your site.
  • This is a vote for your site from a potential competitor’s site.
  • Site relevance is important to acquiring link juice.
  • Certain sources lend more credibility and value than others; .edu, .gov sites are very reputable, but the link must still be relevant to your site.
  • A linking strategy should be devised; often it requires diligent effort to reach out to sources you would like an inbound link from.

Images

  • Search engines don’t register images, but they read alt tags (text) associated to the image.
  • Alt tags appear when the user rolls over the image.
  • Image alt tags should contain at least 1-2 keywords.
  • Also, images should load quickly and be optimized for web use (load time may affect ranking).

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