Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best On-Page Search Engine Optimization Tips

Though there has been a lot of discussion lately about how important it is to have solid off-page search engine optimization, like social media, it’s also vital that you remember the basic principle of a search engine algorithm. It’s trying to find relevant pages to a search query based on the content on the page. Your goal for on-page search engine optimization is to make your page appear to be more relevant than any other page for your selected keyword.

LSI Keywords
One way a search engine can tell if a page is relevant is to look for synonyms of terms searched for. If a page features these synonyms several times throughout the article, it’s less likely to be a keyword-stuffed, irrelevant article. You can promote the relevancy of your page by including LSI keywords, or words you might find in a thesaurus when you search for your keyword, as often as possible.

Domain Name Keyword Targeting
You can target a keyword directly by using your page’s URL. Before designing a new site, decide what keywords will be important for your early targeting efforts and place one or two in the domain name of your site. Sometimes you can separate a domain name with a hyphen for uniqueness and readability, like,, but try not to use two or more hyphens, as that starts to look like spam.

Title and Header Tags
Another way a search engine determines the relevancy of a page is by seeing what keywords are featured in the page’s title and header tags. The reason a search engine specifically looks at these tags is because these are the tags a user is most likely to look at while skimming a page. Since the header tags are summaries of paragraphs, they are like condensed phrases of information, and looking at the header tags saves the effort of having a machine try to discern what a paragraph is about.

Meta Description
Don’t forget to include meta descriptions featuring your keywords, as search engines do use meta descriptions to decide what queries a page is relevant to (but not meta keywords: they ignore these).

Internal Cross-Linking
Your page’s navigation should be easy to use and provide links to all relevant areas of your site. No page on your site should ever be more than two or three clicks away from any other page. Cross-linking helps share your search engine optimization results across other pages on your site, rather than promoting a section of your site, like your blog, at the cost of other sections, like your products.

Use a Sitemap
Creating and uploading a sitemap to Google is easier now than ever, so if you’re not already utilizing a sitemap, this should be the first thing on your list. If you do use a sitemap, make sure it is getting updated automatically by your Content Management System on a regular basis.

Image Alt Tags
You should be using alt tags for all of your images, describing what the image is. You should also be using image filenames to stuff additional keywords whenever possible. Your alt tags and filenames will most influence your Google Images SEO, which can bring a few additional hits to your site.

Keyword Density
The tried and true search engine optimization technique, using a keyword density of around 4-5% seems to be the sweet spot these days. Using 8%+ is going to make you subject to a Google penalty and therefore devalue your page in the search engine results.

Even if you’ve worked on your on-page search engine optimization in the past, this article makes a good refresher course for the things you should be doing on a regular basis, like checking your sitemap, making sure your newly-uploaded images are alt-tagged, and maintaining a consistent keyword density across your site. Remember that these factors change from update to update, sometimes several times a year, so it’s important to keep emerging SEO trends in your peripheral vision, even while you improve your on-site SEO.

Posted by Greg Henderson, an Internet Marketer and SEO Associate for an email search and free public records site: MFES & RecordsProject. Please feel free to leave a comment or email him.

No comments:

Post a Comment