A common challenge with small business marketing is improving your website’s traffic, which involves internet marketing and search engine optimization – areas that may be unfamiliar to you.
Optimizing your on-page elements (On-Page SEO) involves the elements of your website – the content, the code, the images, the way the pages are structured and inter-linked, etc. On-page SEO elements are the things about your website that you have direct control over, unlike Off Page SEO. Since you manage these factors, it is in your best interest to ensure they are structured in a way that is optimal for search engines to evaluate your webpage’s content.
This webpage presents a list of on-page elements and suggestions for best optimizing on-page SEO elements. If you haven’t done so already, it may be helpful to read the page on Search Engine Optimization and the Introduction to SEO.
Prior to starting any on-page search engine optimization, you should have a clear vision of your small business internet marketing strategy. This includes how you will structure your website, what code it will be written in and what your targeted keywords will be (the words which most clearly define your business or service).
I recommend you perform an extensive keyword analysis based on search volume, relevance, and competition for those keywords. Select the keywords the present the best combination of high search volume, high relevance to your business and have the lowest levels of competition. Once the keywords are selected for a page it is time to optimize your on-page elements.
You should optimize your home page first since this typically accounts for a larger share of your ranking. It will also force you to focus on the architecture of your website.
Here is a list of the content, or more specifically body copy elements, that you should pay attention to. Body copy means the actual prose on your webpage, what your visitors will read.
Generally, more is better. I recommend you aim for 500-3,000 words per page (2,000 – 20,000 characters). Two elements that are considered in your page content are location and frequency. It’s generally advisable to include your targeted keywords near the top of the page as well as referencing them again toward the bottom of your page. The key thing to remember here is, in most cases, more content is better than less content – provided it is rich, unique and valuable content. Your website can achieve high rankings without a lot of high quality content, but you better have very strong off-page SEO to pull this off (more on this later).
There much more consensus about Keyword Density and it’s reduced relevance with today’s complex search engine ranking algorithms. There may be truth behind this but it can be useful as a guideline for writing rich, user-oriented copy while maintaining a focus on your page’s keywords. It’s a good idea to write naturally, with the reader in mind, and not worrying about keyword density but staying focused on your targeted keywords. You’ll find it’s not difficult to write interesting, reader-centric copy, and achieve reasonable keyword densities and placements. Don’t write for the search engine, write for your visitors, and afterwards use keyword density as a guideline to make sure the content you wrote is focused and relevant for your page’s topic.
Where your keywords are located can influence the weight a search engine gives them.
These factors are not necessarily the main content on the page – where your visitors will spend the most time reading – but they are important areas.
The use of headings is a useful SEO tool. You can use CSS to modify the look and style of the text to suit the design elements of your page.
Search engines give more weight to certain text formatting. For example the use of the “strong” tag creates a bold-face appearance. It’s worthwhile to periodically highlight and/or italicize your select keywords for each page – don’t overdo it.
Create links with keywords in the text known as anchor text. Create links with keywords in the text known as anchor text. So a link to this page “www.marketingpracticality.com/Search-Engine-Optimization” should look like this: Search Engine Optimization rather than www.marketingpracticality.com/Search-Engine-Optimization.
The purpose of Alt attributes is to provide a textual reference if an image cannot be served. Generally Alt attributes are ignored by search engines unless the image contains a link in it. Nonetheless, it’s a good practice to use them to selectively place keywords.
Again, make sure everything ties in for each page. Targeted page keywords should tie in to the: title, description, URL (if possible), Meta keywords (if used), header elements, and page copy for each page. I generally think you should optimize for 1-2 keywords per page. If you need to optimize more keywords; make more pages.
These are elements contained in the code of your webpage’s head section. Typically this will include a page title, meta description, possibly meta keywords and other elements.
This is one of, if not the most, important element on the page. It is displayed in search results and at the top of the browser once the page is opened. Make your title tags unique, relevant and specific for each page.
This tag typically shows up as the description of your webpage in search engine queries – so it’s telling the potential visitor what your page is all about.
Most search engines ignore this tag. If you use it, keep it brief and only reference keywords on your page.
There are a lot of factors that go into optimizing a website, as you are starting to see. And when you consider the relative permutations of all these factors, in can get quite staggering. Here are a few more elements that are within your control and suggestions for how to manage them.
Using your keywords as part of your URL is a debated topic. In my experience it is helpful, especially for niche industries. However, if you have an established business and website, it may not be practical to change your domain name.
When possible, URL depth should be no more than four. For example: www.site.com/depth2/depth3/depth4. And less is better. It’s is preferable to have no more than two parameters, which are items like: php?brand, object=&type=, etc. in the URL.
Using an xml sitemap will assist spiders in crawling your site and you can submit one through Google’s Webmaster Tools.
There are several types of Robots text. The most common being: index or noindex. The index command is not really necessary since that is the robot’s (spider’s) default setting. Use the noindex command when you don’t want a page indexed by a search engine.
301 redirects tell search engines that a webpage has been “permanently” moved to a different webpage (as opposed to a 302 which means it has been temporarily moved).
It is a good idea to check your HTML for W3C, World Wide Web Consortium compliance. It is not a requisite for optimization but it is a good practice. There are also several HTML validators out there.
Hopefully you now have a general idea about what is involved with search engine optimization and specifically on-page seo. You control this and if you want your website to rank higher, improve these areas or hire someone to do it for you. If you would like more information on on-page SEO, internet marketing or other small business marketing solutions, please contact Marketing Practicality.
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