25 SEO Tips - On Page Optimisation:

HOME >> 25 SEO TIPS - ON-PAGE OPTIMISATION

Author: Mark Birkett

(see also: 25 Off-Page Optimisation Tips)
(see also: What Is Search Engine Optimisation - SEO?)
(see also: What Is Pay Per Click Advertising - PPC?)
(see also: PPC or SEO - Which Is Best For Me?)
(see also: How To Succeed In Google?)
(see also: How To Promote Your Website?)

If you're reasonably familiar with search engine optimisation (SEO) and understand why keyword research is so important, then you're already up-to-speed with the basic concepts behind online marketing success. However, it's quite easy to miss a vital step or get lost in the detail. So we've created a 'top tips' SEO checklist for you.

'On-Page' and 'Off-Page' Optimisation Tips:

The 25 tips below all relate to 'on-page' optimisation techniques, representing approximately 20% of the task of performing well in search engines.

But if you already have a well-optimised website, or have already digested the tips below, you can proceed directly to reading our 25 Inbound Linking Tips. This is known as 'off-page' optimisation which represents the remaining 80% of the task.

(NOTE: If you already have a web design team working for you, you can use this SEO checklist to ensure they have optimised your website properly).

25 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips

NOTE: 'On-page' Optimisation requires prioritisation and effort:

The following tips are in order of importance. However, you must remember that optimising your pages is only around 20% of the task of achieving good search result rankings. The remaining 80% of the task is all about sourcing inbound links; ideally from 'authoritative' and 'popular' websites.

Examples of inbound link sources:

25 top tips for 'On-Page' and 'Off-Page' Optimisation:

  1. Research Your Keyphrases / Keywords:
  2. Research as many suitable key phrases as you can; don't guess them. You can use either the free Google Keywords Tool or the excellent £50/month Wordtracker Keywords Tool to uncover at least a dozen really effective keyphrases; ideally many more. Each phrase should be:

    • Relevant to what your business has to offer
    • Attract high levels of potential search traffic
    • Attract low levels of competition
  3. Target the 'Head' But Don't Forget The 'Tail':
  4. Don't forget that there are many longer ('tail') search key phrases that can be very effective to optimise for, so don't just concentrate on finding the shorter ('head') key phrases.

    For example, let's imagine you own Cheap Widgets Ltd and you're based in Manchester. And let's say your research showed that there were 20,000 searches a month for 'Cheap Widgets'. However, let's also say that 2,000 web pages were actively competing for that phrase. In this case, it might be far better to use the 'tail' phrase 'Cheap Widgets Manchester' even though it only had, say, 1,000 searches a month. That's because we can also see it only attracts, say, 50 actively competing web pages.

    Doing the math, we can see that 20,000/2,000 = 10 and 1000/50 = 20. This means that the ratio of 'search traffic' per 'competition' is more in your favour, even though fewer actual searches were involved in the longer phrase.

    The very welcome point is this; longer 'tail' keyphrases usually attract less competition and can also attract 'hotter leads'. After all, if you're in Manchester, and the person searching included 'Manchester' in their search query, you're probably going to get their business before someone selling widgets in, say, Birmingham.

  5. Plan Your Website Structure Around Your Key Phrases:

    Now, design the structure of your website around these keywords. The structure should be kept simple as it is aimed at making your website easy for the search engine spiders and robots to find and index.

    For example, if there are a lot of searches per month made for the phrase "How to Make a Widget", then create an appropriately-named and phrase-hyphenated directory of 'How To" articles and add that article to it, along with other articles in the same vein. Each article should include the keyphrase if possible. But don't create more than one level for Google to have to 'read down into'.

    e.g. http://www.cheapwidgets.co.uk/how-to articles/how-to-make-a-widget.html

  6. Register A Keyphrase-Based Domain:

    If you haven't already done so, try to register a business domain name that contains the your most effective researched keywords within it. For example, if 'cheap widgets' is a highly searched-for term (preferably with low levels of competition), try to register www.cheapwidgets.co.uk. It's also worth registering hyphenated versions if an un-hyphenated one has already been registered by someone, e.g. www.cheap-widgets.co.uk.

  7. Pick The Right Country Domain:
  8. If you are trading in the UK, use a co.uk suffix in your domain name. This will improve your ranking for location-based searches in Google. Otherwise, choose a 'top-level domain' (.com, net, org etc).

  9. Use Text-Based Links:
  10. Google cannot read JavaScript. So if your web design includes any form of JavaScript menu system, you must duplicate those links in textual form for Google's benefit. It's common practice to position these textual links at the footer of each page of your website. This helps users to navigate your site because on longer 'scroll downs', they can link to further pages without scrolling all the way up again.

  11. Use Your Key Phrases in the Title Tag:

    Make sure that the most relevant and most effective keyphrase for your business is included in your Home page's source-code <title> tag.

    Remember that Google will only index the first 66 characters (including spaces) so more than this is a waste. If your business name includes the most effective researched keyphrase, put it in first. If it doesn't, leave it until last. Always leave your business' geographical location until last too.

    e.g. <title>ACME Widgets | Cheap Widgets | Manchester </title>
  12. Include Your KeyPhrase In Your Page Descriptions:

    When people search for your type of products and services, the description they see in the search results pages comes from the <description> tage you create in the source code of each page. Ensure the most effective keyphrase is included and try to use 'plain English' to encourage the user to click on your link.

    e.g. <meta name="description"content="Looking for cheap widgets? Call award-winning Cheap Widgets Ltd today on 01234 567890! ">

  13. Keep File Sizes Low:
  14. Your end users and Google both like speed. So try to reduce the file size of your pages as much as possible without compromising your content. This is especially important on your Home page. Low file sizes will help to make pages load as quickly as possible. On each subsequent page, apply the same logic.

  15. Use Header Tags:
  16. Every page you create should have a 'header' title in the visible text. Use the most effective keyphrase you can within that title and assign it an 'H1' tag in the source code. For example; if the visible header is "Welcome to the Cheap Widgets Website" your source code should look like this;

    e.g. <"H1">Welcome to the Cheap Widgets Website</H1>

  17. Use Sub-Header Tags:

    For sub-headers, or any other important textual points in your articles, apply the H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 tags. The closer the 'H' number is to ' 1' the more important Google will perceive it to be to the page's purpose

    e.g. <"H2">Why Cheap Widgets Are So Cool</H2>

  18. Write Lots Of Text:

    Some people like 'minimalist' websites with hardly any text. However, Google loves text. And, in fact, it can't actually 'see' anything else. So longer articles are always a good idea. Try to write at least 4-500 words in each web page article. More is even better.

  19. Please The User First, Google Second:

    Write your articles 'from the heart' first. They should appeal to the end user first-and-foremost. However, once that's done, try to spot opportunities to insert your carefully-researched keyphrases within the readable text - each ideally relating in some way to the page title keyphrase we discussed in point 6.

  20. Keep Track Of Key Phrase Density:

    Don't overdo this addition of keyphrases. 'Keyphrase density' should be limited to approximately 3-4% of the article. In other words, if it's a 100-word article, your keyphrases should appear as 3 or 4 of the words. If it's a 200-word article, they should appear as 6 to 8 of the words...and so on. More frequent than this and the article will almost certainly 'read badly' to the end user. It will also look like 'keyword stuffing' and may even attract a ranking penalty from Google.

  21. Don't Use Flash:

    Don't use Adobe Flash to design your website. Use HTML. Whilst it may look great, Google cannot 'read' anything within Flash so therefore cannot index your content. If you must use Flash to make a point, use it sparingly.

  22. Emphasis Key Phrases:

    Where appropriate, you can use italics or bold text on the researched keyphrases within your text.

    e.g. <em>this key phrase</em> or <strong>that key phrase</strong>

  23. Use Image Alt and Title Tags:

    Google cannot directly 'read' images. So apply a suitable <title> to all images on your pages. You should also apply an alternative <alt> tag.

    e.g.<img src="picture.jpg" alt="This is a picture of someone" title="This is a picture of someone">

  24. Create An XML Sitemap:

    When your website is built, and all pages within it, you need to tell Google all about it. The best way to do so is to create what's called an XML sitemap. This maps every page on your website in a way that Google can read easily. There is an excellent, and FREE, tool to achieve this at:www.xml-sitemaps.com/. Once created, download it into your local root directory and then upload a copy to your website's root directory.

  25. Set up a Google Webmasters Account:

    Set up a Google WebMaster Account (remembering that, as with all Google's services, you will first need to set up a Google email account).

    WebMaster Tools will allow you to manage your website's performance in Google, link your Google Analytics statistics to it, submit your XML sitemap and much more besides.

  26. Have An Inbound Link Strategy:

    When deciding where to place your website in its results pages, Google's algorithm also looks at the number and relevance of inbound links to your website. So it's important to have an inbound link strategy.

    However, don't try to buy links from community blogs and forums, or buy any other types of spurious 'spammy' inbound links. The algorithm will eventually catch you out - and at that point you may as well have thrown your money away. Let users of your content link to you naturally.

  27. Create Truly Great and, Up-To-Date Content:

    Google has often been cheated in the past by those trying to stay one step ahead of its algorithm and seeking to manipulate its search results. This is a complete waste of your time, effort and sometimes even money. Sooner or later, Google will shift its algorithm to unload the 'cheats'. And when it does, if you have 'cheated, your rankings will disappear, taking all your 'SEO investment' along with it. Stick with the most important message;

    Content Is King!

    Nothing matters more to Google than providing relevant, worthwhile and genuinely useful websites when a given search query is made. So focus on pleasing your end users first. Then, and only then, make sure Google knows about it by adding appropriate source code titles, adding image ALT tags, checking for opportunities to to replace selected words for your carefully-researched phrases and, finally, submitting a the site to Google with your XML sitemap.

    Your content should be genuinely informative, carefully spell-checked and up-to-date. Write regular articles on your website because Google loves new content. If two 'otherwise-equal' websites are considered, the site that has the most recent content will always come first in Google's results.

  28. Have A Social Media Strategy:

    To encourage people to link to you naturally, it is useful to have a Facebook account. This allows you to add a Facebook 'Like' button to each of your web pages. Then, when a Facebook user looks at your page, they can click the 'Like' button. This shows up on that person's Facebook 'Wall'. This creates an inbound link from the initial Facebook user's page to your website, all without you lifting a finger.

  29. Use Facebook:

    Each Facebook user has an average of 130 'friends'. Each of them will be able to see that their friend 'liked' you so this new link can drive help traffic to your site through the link they've made. It can also encourage the 130 friends to 'like' you too, thus exponentially increasing your inbound link count naturally, sometimes referred to as 'viral marketing'.

  30. Use Twitter:

    The exact same logic can be applied to Twitter. First, set up a Twitter account and start 'tweeting' regularly. Choose to 'follow' Twitter users who share similar content or ideas to yours. very often, they will 'follow' you too out of sheer curiosity. You will then begin to build up an army of followers, each of whom can both receive tweets from you and perhaps visit your website.

    Next, add a 'Tweet This' button to each of your pages. This allows any Twitter users to 'tweet' an interesting article they find on your site to their followers. Again, there is a great potential for 'viral marketing'.

  31. Use Google Plus:

    The exact same logic can be applied to Google Plus (Google's answer to Facebook). Once set up, you can download the Google Plus button and add it to all your webpages too, again encouraging 'natural' linking.

Content! Content! Content!

At the risk of repeating ourselves, given the importance of building up inbound links, nothing is more important to your long-term optimisation success than creating great content that people will naturally wish to link to. Every single article you publish should therefore be checked to ensure that it is:

Over time, if you stick to these 'rules', you will attract genuine inbound links from genuine sources and be 'rewarded' accordingly in Google and other search engines.

Recap:

Having a great website is vital for any business, but if no-one can find it in the search engines, you've wasted a lot of time, effort and money. So use the checklist above to ensure you've protected your web design investment.

So far, we've discussed 'on-page' optimisation techniques. As we've said, that's 20% of your task complete. Once your all-singing, all-dancing SEO friendly masterpiece is complete, you need to address the remaining 80% of the task which we cover in 25 Inbound Linking Tips.

(see also: 25 Off-Page Optimisation Tips)
(see also: What Is Search Engine Optimisation - SEO?)
(see also: What Is Pay Per Click Advertising - PPC?)
(see also: PPC or SEO - Which Is Best For Me?)
(see also: How To Succeed In Google?)
(see also: How To Promote Your Website?)

For further help on search engine optimisation / SEO /Web Marketing, call us on 01706 345648 today!

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