With all the Google algorithm changes and debates on what SEO really is, we wanted to share the truth with you. Search Engine Optimization is about one thing: providing content the user is looking for. This involves two key drivers: relevancy and authority. Relevancy built through content on your website. When optimizing your content, you're focusing on using specific keywords or key phrases throughout the copy and in other places on the page to match what people are searching for online.
The first rule of on-page SEO is to think about what your target users might be searching for and make sure those keywords are on the page. This increases the likelihood of reaching those users as they go to Google, Bing or other search engines to look for an answer their question or to fulfill their need in regards to a product or service.
Authority is established with off-page SEO. Iíll discuss that in a later blog.
That being said, on-page SEO is basically about two things:
• Picking the best keywords around which to base each of your pages
• Making it as clear as possible to search engines that your page is relevant to those keywords
With that in mind, letís dive into the specifics.
On-Page Optimization: The Old Way
Hundreds of tools are littered across the web that allow you to measure the keyword density of a page. Some of them teach that more is better. As a result, webmasters would crank out keyword-stuffed text that was not interesting and/or provided a horrible user experience.
These keywords would be stuffed in various places, including
• The URL
• The page title
• The meta description tag
• The on-page headings
• Aggressively throughout the page content
Such tactics even ended up stripping out important keyword variations -- so the page wouldnít rank as well, or at all, for the related keywords.
On-Page Optimization: The New Way
Marketers should still be using keywords. But rather than littering them throughout every aspect of your page, think about the value you want each page to provide, and which keywords match that value. And rather than repeating the same word over and over again, you should use a diverse set of related keywords to help you rank for a variety of long tail keywords. For example:
• Link vs links
• Build vs building
• Strategy vs strategies
And also rank for a verity of lateral keywords. For example:
• lawyer vs attorney
• dentist vs oral surgeon
• seo vs inbound marketing
The Core Components of On-Page SEO
Meta tags are the official data tags for each web page that are found in-between the open and closing head tags in the HTML code. The most popular Meta tags are the title tag, meta description, and keyword tag. These tags alert search engines with relevant information describing the content of the page, which helps the search engines decide if your website is an appropriate listing in response to a particular search query.
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Title tags and Meta descriptions are two of the most important tags when it comes to SEO and enticing potential visitors to click through to your website.
A title tag is an HTML tag which contains a sentence of text describing the contents of its associated webpage. These tags are the first aspect of your page that a search engine crawler ñ (crawlers are what search engines use to analyze the content of a site in response to a search to then present the best results) comes across when visiting your website, so itís important to make a good first impression by optimizing them with your keywords and brand. Titles generally run about 77 characters, so make sure to easy each character wisely.
Meta descriptions are what appear on SERP describing the content of the page being linked to. While these descriptions are not used by the search engines to determine relevance, they are used by your visitors to determine said relevancy and entice them to click ñ think about when you search! You almost always read the description of each link before deciding to click, right? Or at least skim. Make sure you include your keywords and the main call-to-action right in this description.
TIP: Meta descriptions generally run about 160 characters. Donít only use those characters well, but stick to that limit so that when the description appears in Google itís not cut off with ellipses!
Keyword tags are also no longer used by the search engines to determine page relevancy, although many webmasters still use them, which is why they are a popular meta tag. It is recommended that you do not set up keyword tags.
On-page content is a critical component of on-page SEO. Content is what the search engine crawlers need to associate your page with a set of keywords and/or key phrases. Without it, crawlers are left in the dark as to what your page is about.
When building your content, itís important to remember to give the crawlers enough to bite into. A hundred words typically isnít enough copy for these crawlers to read and understand what the content is about. And this content shouldnít be stuffed with keywords either, as some search engines (as youíll learn in later sections) punish websites for keyword stuffing.
Instead, you should write about your product or service or idea naturally, and let your keyword variations naturally fall into place. If that doesnít happen, go back and spring in some variations into the content so that the same message gets across, just optimized!
Where appropriate, you should add localization. This is extremely important to businesses who offer products and services to a specific geographic region. If you are an attorney, youíll want to have a page of content set up for each location you service. When building your content, youíll want to include localized keywords so that the search engines know you have offices and operate in certain locations.
Quick Action Items for Local Businesses
If you are a local business, be sure to optimize your location easily and quickly with the following tools:
Google Places http://www.google.com/places/
Bing Local http://www.bing.com/local/
Yahoo Local Listings http://listings.local.yahoo.co...