Tips for On Page SEO
On Page SEO is one half of the two types of SEO you can undertake for your website. The other is Off Page SEO if you weren’t sure. Here are some On Page SEO tips to help get your website ranked in the search engines.
Update Your Website Content Regularly
Search engines like new stuff! Try to keep your website content fresh with regular blog posts and new page content.
What is regular? Well that depends on your site, your business and your customers. Any site should be updated weekly at a minimum, but a high traffic site may require updates more than once daily.
New content not only keeps search engines interested, but also makes your site more interesting for your regular visitors.
Meta Tags Matter!
Well some do…
Don’t waste time with the Meta Keywords tag. All major search engines now ignore the Keywords tag. Instead focus on keyword rich and catchy Title and Meta Description tags. See below for more details.
Sitemaps act like a navigation system for search engines. They let the search engine crawlers know what your website structure is and how to get from page A to page B. There are a number of free sitemap generators available. XML Sitemaps have a free tool you can use or if you’re a WordPress user, you can use a plugin like Google XML Sitemaps generator.
Create Unique, User Friendly Content
Copying and pasting content from another website ain’t gonna cut it! If you are doing this, 1, it’s stealing (unless you have permission), and 2, it doesn’t really help your search engine ranking unless you already have a kick ass ranking (so why would you need to steal content anyway?).
On page SEO relies heavily on keywords. Before you start writing your page content, you must figure out which keywords are relative to your page. Think about synonyms of these keywords and try to include these keywords and synonyms in your webpage.
Optimal keyword density is a contentious issue among top web writers. Too many keywords and your page looks like spam, too little and the search engines don’t know what your page is actually about. A reasonable keyword density is around 3% but no more than 5%. You can use the keyword density tool from SEO Book to check your web page’s keyword density.
Utilize HTML Tags
HTML is the coding framework that makes up a webpage. There are a number of tags that are used to tell your browser how to display the page, and these are also picked up by search engines.
Heading tags are used for styling headings – H1, H2, H3 and so on. Every page in your website should have your keyword in the H1 tag, then use subheadings for subtopics, with some keywords referenced where possible.
Alt Image Tags
Alt image tags are alternate text for images which enable screen-readers, search engine crawlers (like Google Bot) or non-image-ready browsers use. These are not only essential for SEO, but make your site accessible for the blind and other who use screen-readers. There was a case in June 2010 where 4 American Law Schools were sued for not making their online application forms accessible to the blind.
Title tags are a bit like a one line advertisement for your webpage as title tags are used by search engines as the webpage title in search results. Although search engines don’t give much weight to title tags when ranking your site, it is important to create descriptive title tags to entice searchers to click on your page when viewing search results. Google displays a maximum of 69 characters, Yahoo displays up to 72 characters while Bing shows 65 characters for titles in search engine results.
The description tag is somewhat similar to the title tag in that it is used to describe your page in search engine results. There should be a relevant and descriptive description for each webpage as it can help persuade the searcher to visit your page. Google displays 156 characters, Yahoo 161 characters and Bing 150 characters in the webpage description.
Two words… Don’t bother… Keywords tags were used and abused for years so all major search engines now ignore the keywords tags completely.
Linking keyword phrases to other pages within your site can help search engines navigate your website and influence relevancy. Internal linking is usually done by simply linking a keyword or phrase like off page SEO to a relevant page on your site. Note that this only works for links within your site; linking to external sites does not help your SEO.
Robots.txt is a simple text file added to your website root directory that allows or disallows search engine bots through your site. If you have private content or a dynamic website that creates lots of duplicate content, you can stop Google and other search engines from indexing those pages in their results. You can use the SEO Book Robots.txt Tutorial to help create your own robots file.
Images and Flash
Search engines don’t pick up flash or images by default, so all rich media should be optimized with alternative text where possible. This means using alt image tags or alternate flash content. You can find out how to use alternate flash content from Adobe or see above on how to utilize alt image tags. Also, you should never embed important text and keyword rich content within flash or images.