SEO doesn’t have to be complex and by following these simple on-page optimization techniques you can give your SEO campaign the perfect start.
SEO is often seen as being a difficult and in-depth process, but the reality is that by following some reasonably common sense guidelines it is possible to get good rankings. That’s not to say that optimization is a simple or quick process; there are, unfortunately, no short cuts. Your SEO efforts should be a concerted and long term effort in order that you will enjoy the best possible results and should incorporate both on-page and off-page optimization techniques. By following the on-page SEO strategies below you can set a strong foundation to all your SEO work.
Before you begin penning content and writing title and meta tags you first need to research the keywords you will use on each of your pages. Using the wrong keywords can negatively impact your entire campaign, causing you to lose untold hours and days of work and eventually forcing you to concede that you made the wrong decision and start all over again.
The most appropriate and most beneficial keywords are popular enough that they will enjoy regular searches but without being prohibitively competitive or overly generic. A number of keyword research tools exist and your competitors’ websites are a good place to start your early research. Ensure keywords are targeted specifically to the type of content you will provide as well as the service or product you will be selling. More targeted keywords will result in more targeted visitors and targeted visitors mean greater conversion rates and an improved return on your efforts.
Niche And Semantically Related Keywords
A good strategy is to incorporate a reasonable list of competitive keywords with less competitive ones. The more niche keywords will serve you well during the early days of your website and over time you should be able to start competing for the more challenging of the keywords you use. Also incorporate semantically or topically related keywords into your keyword list because the search engines are placing more and more emphasis on those pages that use related keywords as well as primary keywords.
Accessibility And Standards
Site accessibility is an integral part of good website design but it should also be considered an important factor in any SEO strategy. Using standards based code for your website will help to ensure that anybody that wishes to access and view your website will be able to do so. It will also mean that the spiders used by search engines will be able to access and index your pages effectively ensuring that you get the full credit for your site.
Navigation And Intra-Linking
Your navigation menu and internal links should be prominently placed, easy to see, and easy to follow for the spiders. It is good practice to include a text link from the home page to a compliant sitemap on your site, alleviating any potential problems that might arise from broken links or the use of graphical or flash based navigation menus. You can also consider adding links into the main body of your content, although too many will make the page difficult to read and therefore diminish the overall effectiveness so don’t get too carried away.
Title And Meta Tags
While search engines do not specifically use the meta tags to help assess the value of a page like they once did, meta tags are still critical to good SEO performance. The title and description tags that you add at the top of a page are used in various ways including in the compiling and display of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). This is the first thing a potential site visitor will see from your site so this mini listing needs to be as effective as any paid advert or PPC ad. Poorly written titles and descriptions can put many readers off viewing your pages so a little time and effort here can have a very positive effect.
Using your keywords in the title and the description is good practice because these will be highlighted in the search results if they were used in the search query itself. This will make your result more prominent and instantly identify your page as being relevant to the user. Don’t needlessly use keywords, however, and don’t throw extra keywords into the description at the cost of a well written, short ad.
Other Formatting Tags
On-page content should always be written with the visitor in mind, although obviously it can still be optimized for search engines. As such, proper page structure is important to your reader as well as to the engines. H1 and H2 tags are an effective way of breaking up page content, and give readers the chance to skim through a page and determine its relevance.
A page should only contain a single H1 tag at the top of the content but can include multiple H2 and H3 tags. Alt tags on images should also be included and these as well as the actual file path to the image itself can include important keywords (but do make sure that they actually make sense and are more than just a keyword thrown in for the sake of SEO).
Page Content Optimization
Finally, we get to the heart of the page – the content itself. Use the keywords you researched for a page including semantically related keywords. Write as naturally and appealingly as possible while keeping those keywords in mind and don’t get carried away stuffing or cramming them into the body of the text. Not only is this unappealing to readers but is seriously frowned upon by the search engines.
The reader really is the most important aspect of your content. If the majority of your visitors are coming from the search engines remember that they arrived using specific keywords. This means that they are searching for equally specific information relating to those keywords – make sure you deliver on the promise that you made in your title and description tags.
About the Author: Matt Jackson – WebWiseWords is a content writing service enabling website owners and online business owners to tailored to their needs. Services include affordable and high quality SEO and more.