SEO How to – On page Factors

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Good SEO.

Search Engine optimisation is made up of on-page and off page factors, this post is only about on-page factors

On-Page factors are the things you can do on your website to improve the chances of getting indexed by google and indexed for the right things. Here are my top three;

  1. Keyword Strategy
  2. Hosting and Technical Considerations
  3. Content Optimisation

In the next blog post I’ll run through the two key elements for Off-page factors.

Keyword Strategy

Selecting the right keywords is the most important part of SEO and involves a mixture of art and science.

Because SEO building is relatively slow compared with paid search or other campaigns, testing is not really an option, you need to get this part right to reduce the amount of time and money you spend on SEO and improve your ROI.

The criteria for selecting the right keywords to focus your SEO attention on is as following;

1. Start with the Client brief.
If you are the client, write a list of which keywords you think you should be chasing and why. This is a starting point and will form the basis of your arguments that you will later confirm or disprove using the following 5 criteria.

2. Look at the website navigation as it is today.
This is most likely to be the core of your product/service offering and what you want to get found for.
Side note:One of the most difficult parts of managing effective online marketing is finding the time and money to do it properly. When I say properly I mean building new pages for each variation of the keyword phrases you are chasing. So if building new pages is a long term project, then start with the ones you have.

3. Current Keywords

Look at your Google analytics and see which ones are currently driving traffic to your site. Or better yet, which ones are driving traffic that convert to an inquiry or sale. Some of these you wont need to chase because you already get most or all of the traffic available (especially for a unique product or service with a brand name), some keywords on the other hand might be good ones to pursue.

4. Competitors

If you have two keywords that have the same estimated traffic available or coming to your site already, look at the competition for those keywords and choose the low hanging fruit so to speak. It depends on two things, the share of the pie  – as in 11% of 100 is better than 1% of 1000 and the likelihood of conversion – as in how likely visitors are to buy your product form this keyword search as opposed to the other. For example,  It may be better to chase “brown suede dessert boots” than just “dessert boots”

HOW?

See google keyword tool for traffic volumes and competition around keywords but remember to set your location and devices, use exact match not broad and look at local (your country) not global results.

Also visit google insights for trends as there’s no point chasing keywords that are flavour of the month and wont be used next month. You can also learn what time of the year you should focus more attention on each keyword phrase.

Hosting and Technical Considerations

First check that you haven’t got any contnet pages blocked from google. This often happens when you build a new site and block it in the testing phase then when you go live forget to unblock. Look at your Robots.txt file for messages to the search engine.

Second consider localisation. the country where you site is hosted is important. your domain is most important, ie .com.au for Australia, then hosting in your country then finally what you (or your developer) tell Google in your webmaster tools.

You need a site map for both users to see the whole site in one map but also for google to know what your site includes.

The problem with xml site map generators tools are that they try to find pages of your site just like google does so if google cant find them neither will the generator. Best to either go through your entire site or use plugins from your CMS like wordpress or drupal etc.

Content Optimisation

URL: Most importnat
Folder structure can be the indicator of importance so use the more important info up front eg; www.mydomain/page is more important than www.mydomain/folder/folder/page. Also use your keywords in your page name, eg; www.mydomain/keyword.

Title Tag:  sends a strong message to the search engine.
It has 66 charachters (roughly 9-11 words) and you should avoid repition. Front load it with keyword first then brand at end (if you need it at all)

Meta description: (Ignore meta keywords tag) 150 charachters and use folliwng 3 criteria to build a good one;

  1. repeat title tag
  2. include brand here (especially if you exclude from the title tag)
  3. include call-to-action (buy now, click here)

Heading:

Don’t over-use headings as it dilutes the effect, the following is enough – 1 x H1 then 2 x H2 then 3 x H3
Use bold or italics if you want and they should reflect the title tag, meta descriptions and body copy.

Body Copy:
Don’t worry about how often the keyword appears on the page just keep the content relevant to that keyword dedicated to that page.

Alt Tags:
Is the text associated with an image. If you have too many pics on your site don’t worry just pick the important ones and add an alt tag.

Duplicate content:
Make sure any content you have on  your site only appears once, less pages is better than more if you are duplicating content. Google does NOT like it!

There you have it, Keyword Strategy, Hosting and Technical Considerations and Content Optimisation. If yo get all these three right you are half way there. visit my next post on SEO How to – Off Page Factors.

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