On-page optimization of web pages
Ranking high on Google and other search engines today is not an easy thing to accomplish. It is simple when you know exactly what need to be done for perfect on-page optimization thou.
Search engine algorithms are constantly improved, becoming more “intelligent” and it is not enough anymore to just have quality content on your website. On-page optimization is the first step towards website optimization that every webmaster should start with.
Why is on-page optimization so crucial?
Applying proper on-page optimization will not only ensure high ranking of the web page, but can also improve the quality of article making it more appealing for reading. Let me list all the factors for proper on-page optimization:
Title optimization is one of the most important elements for quality on-page optimization. Title should be short but reveal enough information to readers about content of the web page. Title is the 1th thing that search engines index and has the greatest value as such.
Title should be:
- short and descriptive
- easy to spot and appealing for reading
- written to reveal enough information about content optimized for search engines – means that title shouldn’t be longer then 60 characters and has to have your keyword or keywords included for better on-page optimization. For example, if you aim to rank high on search engines for keyword “golf clubs”, you should include “golf clubs” in your title – quality golf clubs, golf clubs for beginners etc. Of course, you don’t want to spam the title like “golf clubs golf clubs golf clubs”. It is unnatural and inadequate for search engines and readers will most likely skip those titles. (on-page optimization)
On-page optimization of meta-tags
Meta tags give information to search engines what your web page is exactly about. They shouldn’t be ignored, specially description tags.
Meta Description tag must be:
- focused on the content of the page.
Quality short description of page content is what brings visitors to your pages. If it doesn’t exist or is written poorly, there is high probability that your page will be ignored and never visited. Meta Description shows on search engines below title and is extremely important for on-page optimization process.
One more crucial thing about meta tags and on-page optimization – besides accentuating what is on the page, it is of utmost importance to include your keywords in meta description.
All 3 meta tags should never be ignored:
- Title meta tag – your post title (60 characters max)
- Description meta tag -focused short information of your page content (160 characters max)
- Post tags (keywords) – a list of relevant keywords separated with comma (5-10 keywords is optimum)
The importance of HTML tags for better on-page optimization
It is essential to offer the visitors quality content that is easy to read with all relevant words and sentences extracted. There are several HTML tags that can do the job. Those would be H1, H2, H3, bold, italic, underline, quote… Text marked with H1 tag is the most important to search engines, because it points out the most relevant information about your page content.
- Header 1 – it is used to define the most important parts of the page. It is usually marked in title or beginning of content
- Header 2 and 3 – should be used as subtitles of various sections
- Text styles – Bold, Italic and Underline – used for marking important words within the content (on-page optimization)
Optimization of keywords
Website pages should be optimized for reading and for search engines at the same time. Overuse of keywords can make content unreadable, and Google “spiders” will notice keyword spamming and might ignore it. So, it is very important to create balance between those two optimizations.
Important factors for on-page optimization of keywords:
- Keyword research – the first thing that should be done. Basic for proper on-page optimization. To ensure usage of quality keywords that are actually typed into Google, it is important to do keyword research. You can see how strong your competition is and how many webmasters are competing for that same keyword too.
There are several great tools that can guide you through choosing the right keywords. AdWords keyword tool is free, requires registration only. Or you can try one of professional keyword research software suites like Market Samurai or Traffic Travis that offer free trial (Traffic Travis 3.0 is totally free for download).
- Keyword density – optimum keyword density throughout the article is about 2-5%. You need to be very careful not to sacrifice your content for the sake of those 2 percents and better “on-page optimization”. What is important is that you assign H1 and H2 tags to your keywords and mention your keyword in the first and last sentence. LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing is what Google checks. It represents a relationship between your words and phrases based on huge Google database. So, don’t spam keywords in every sentence just to improve on-page optimization.
Google seems not have high keyword density required for determining your on-page optimization, but Yahoo has much higher. You can see that with same content with higher keyword density you are positioned much higer on Yahoo then on Google. I beleive that you shouldn’t sacrifice the content for “better on-page optimization”.
- Keyword synonyms – Using synonyms and words similar to your keywords is of particular importance for good on-page optimization. Google implemented semantic web that includes slang and determines if other words mentioned in the text are related to your keywords.
- Long tail keywords – those are essentially your keywords with some word added in front or after. Those are words that are usually easier to rank with, because of less competition. It is always good to include them not only for easier ranking, but you can really dig out nice keywords that way. For example: if your main keyword is “cat furniture”- some of the long tail keywords would be – “designer cat furniture”, “cat furniture on-sale”, “cheap cat furniture”… etc.
With link on-page optimization it is important to pay special attention on internal and outbound links and provide visitors with quality navigation throughout your website. Do not be afraid to implement outbound links to your texts if they help with fulfilling your content.
Crucial elements for link optimization:
It is always good to have links as anchor text when links point to other pages. Usage of adequate keywords for outbound links is essential for nice on-page optimization. Nice and clean internal link structure with carefully chosen anchor text will for sure give the best results and flawless on-page SEO. If you use CMS, then permalinks are ideal. In that case keywords/titles become links automatically and you get quality results from search engines.
If page has significant number of pictures, they need to be optimized to be noticed by search engines too. A picture might be understandable for visitors without explanations, but that’s not the case with search engines. So called “Google spider” cannot see pictures, it just reads text. That’s why we need to give meaning to pictures by using some special tags to get better on-page optimization.
Important things for picture optimization:
- Alt tag – or alternate text is a text that shows up when you are scrolling over the picture. It has to be short and adequately describe the picture. It is smart to include your keywords in alt-tags, mostly for search engines sake and better on-page optimization.
- Picture title – it is good to have understandable picture title and not some “DSCxxxxx.jpg” or any combination seemingly without meaning. Alt tag and picture title should be the same.
- Picture link – if you want a picture to have a link, then link should have your keyword included too.
- Size – try to shrink image size to minimum for better performance (load time) of your pages. That is considered very important on-page optimization factor because search engines monitor how fast particular pages load.
I recommend rereading your post prior to publishing and running spellcheck and grammar check. You can do spellcheck online for free and you will be sure no silly words or sentences appear on your website. If you want to get visitors to come back and read your texts as you publish them, then at least do a spell check.
This is not a part of on-page optimization process but cannot hurt running one right before publishing.