Friday, January 1, 2010

On-Page SEO Techniques

Are you doing all you can when it comes to on-page search engine optimization? I recently found that the title attributes of my “Home” links contained the text “Home”. The Home link goes back to the main page of SEOLogs.com. Is “Home” the best way to describe my site? I don’t think so. I changed the title text to “Search Engine Optimization Tools and Industry News”. This better describes my site and is fully optimized for search engines. Read on for a full list of on-page optimization factors.

Page Title

The Page Title is the text between the <title></title> tags. If there is one necessary element, this is it. Not only for SEO reasons, but also because users rely on it to know what a page is about.

The title is also very important because most of the time, it is used in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). A well put together page title can have a much higher click-thru rate.

Here’s an example from Hotels.com.

“hotels.com – We know hotels inside and out.”

Their main keyword is [hotels]. Its a good title because they the main keyword, once as the first word, and once later in the sentence, and it is also very user friendly. It makes sense. If you try searching for [hotels] in Google, you will see that they have been very successfully. (I must add that that success has come from Off-Page Search Engine Optimization. We’ll talk about that soon).

Body Text

The body text is any text between the <body></body> tags. Body text, or page content is important for on-page optimization, because without it, there is very little for search engines to judge a site by. More body text is generally better, but you want to keep paragraphs short (short paragraphs help hold the attention of readers). Use your keyword as much as you can In A Reasonable Manner. Overuse of your keyword will result in an Over Optimization Penalty (OOP).

Important elements of the Body Text

  • First Sentence of the Body Text
  • Try to use your keyword somewhere in the first sentence of the body text. It sets the tone, and reinforces to the search engine the fact that the keyword is important.

  • H1 Tag and H2 Tag Text
  • The H1 text is the text between the <H1></H1> tags, and H2 tags are used in the same manner. These tags are called Header tags. Meaning that they should describe everything that is under them. Header tags are helpful for on-page optimization, and letting search engines know what a page is about, but if you don’t use them, its not the end of the world.

  • Anchor Text (internal)
  • Anchor text is anything between <A></A> tags. In other words these are links. Anchor text helps search engines know what the link leads to. So a link with the anchor text “Click Here” is not very descriptive, while one that makes use of your keyword like “keyword” or “click here for keyword” is much better.

    One element of the Anchor tag that is usually overlooked is the Anchor Tag Title. This is not visible unless the user hovers the mouse pointer over the link. Here is an example for the keyword [foo].

    <a href=”foo.html” title=”Click here to learn all about Foo!”>Foo

  • IMG ALT Attributes
  • The IMG ALT is important for on-page SEO and probably more important because it is required by law. For disabled users who cant see your images, the alt text should describe what the image is. This is a good thing because its another place to use your keyword.

    Example: <img src=”/images/foo.jpg” alt=”foo”>

  • URL/ File Name
  • It can be helpful for pages to be named using the keyword. For example if a page is about “Green widgets”, then you would name the page green-widgets.html. Always make sure to use a hyphen “-” and not an underscore”_” (don’t even think about using a space), since most search engines have a hard time with underscores.

Meta Tags

Meta Description and Meta Keywords

Meta tags go anywhere in the <head></head> tags. They are only for search engine use. There is a good reason that I have put Meta Tags at the end of this article. They are becoming less important to on-page search engine optimization. With that said, it can’t hurt to use them. I will briefly describe and give examples of both.

Meta Description:

Include a complete, descriptive sentence that describes the page. Make sure to use your keyword, but don’t go overboard.

Example:

<META NAME=”description” CONTENT=”Wiget supplies for users of green widgets.”>

Meta Keywords:

Include a list of keywords. The best way is to write your body text, and then select keywords from that text. Don’t use keywords that aren’t in the page.

<META NAME=”keywords” CONTENT=”Wiget supplies, green widgets, #3467A1 widgets, widget cakes, …..”>

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