When most people think of search engine optimization (well ok, only those that are actually nerdy enough to know what it is of course!) they immediately think about meta tags, keyword density and doorway pages.
Like many things when it comes to SEO, what once worked no longer does.
Take meta-tags for example. Way back when the internet was still a baby, meta tags were introduced to help search engines (at the time the big search engine was AltaVista…Google hadn’t even been invented) work out what the site was about. It wasn’t long before people started abusing the Meta Tags and when the next generation of search engines came about the importance of the meta tags diminished forever.
There are some self styled gurus that will tell you that you need the optimum keyword density to rank well in the search engines. The truth is, if there were an optimium density then it would be very easy to rank in the search engines. The best thing to do is to keep your writing natural and focus on the reader first, search engine second.
Now onpage optimization doesn’t count for much nowadays. The way a search engine ranks your site is to see how many inbound links your site has and assign a weight to each of these links. What a search engine is concerned about is that your site is relevant to what the user searched for and if there are plenty of inbound links chances are your site is relevant.
The classic example to prove to people that on site optimization has a lower relevancy to search engine optimization is the “click here” results. If you search on Google for the phrase click here then the number one result is for Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.
If you check out their site you will find that the phrase “click here” doesn’t appear anywhere in the title or the text. What does this mean? The site is getting it’s ranking not because of it’s on page optimization, but because of it’s off page optimization; which I’ll cover in more detail in another article.
Unlike Adobe, most of us don’t have millions of inbound links to our site, so we have to use every resource available to us to make our site as search engine friendly as possible – and this includes onpage optimization.
But what are the most important factors to consider when optimizing your website? Let’s take a look…
5. Keep the content focused
Too often webmasters try and optimize their home page for every keyword they can think of. In the end this over-optimization works against you as you dilute the relevance of your keywords. Keep the content of the page focused on one or two keywords at the most. If you are targeting multiple keywords then create separate pages for those keywords with the content focused around those keywords.
4. More than 500 words on your site
Back in the 90’s doorway pages were ultra fashionable. People would create doorway pages for each keyword. All they did was provide a short amount of text focused on a particular keyword and invited the user to enter the site. The search engines got wise to this and discounted them because they didn’t have enough content on the pages. When you are creating your laser focused page use more than 500 words to show the search engine that this page contains valuable and useful content to the user.
Don’t worry so much about keyword density, as long as you follow the rest of the instructions your page will rank well.
3. Create good linking structure
The power of inbound links cannot be underestimated in SEO, nor can the power of keyword rich anchor text. Well guess what? Your internal link structure counts towards your SEO rankings. So instead of using the text “Home” in a link to take people back to the home page, use your main keyword instead. That way google knows that it is going to a page that is all about your keyword.
Follow this structure throughout your site – but remember to keep your links readable and understandable to humans too! Using the correct internal link structure is a little known and underused SEO method that really pays off.
2. H1 tags
I have a feeling that as the word gets out about the power of H1 tags then the weight that they hold with search engines will diminish. The reason a lot of people don’t use H1 tags is because it creates very large text. However, using simple CSS we can change the style of a H1 tag to anything we want.
<h1 style="font-size: 8px;">This is a tiny h1 tag!</h1>
Try and get your main keywords within the h1 tag but remember to keep it readable!
1. Your Page Title
This is possibly the most important factor of onpage SEO. Whenever you do a search on Google or any of the big search engines the results always highlights the keyword in the title. All too often webmasters and online businesses misuse their title tag by writing something like:
Welcome To XYZ Company Ltd!
Now if this company sold widgets, there would be no highlighting in the search engine results page. The truth is no one really cares about the company name. When a user clicks on a link in the search engine results page they do so because they think the site might solve their problem (in this case a severe widget problem).
Therefore, don’t use the company name in the title, but include your primary keywords. Don’t over do it either, the more keywords you use the less effective they become. If you are targeting a dozen keywords then consider creating 12 individual pages targeted around each keyword.
There are dozens of other factors involved in onpage optimization such as file naming, alt tags, title tags and your domain name, but the factors above are amongst the most important that you need to consider when optimizing your website