Playing nicely with the search engines is key to the success of a website. Fortunately our fate is not completely left at the hands of the Google Gods. In implementing good Search Engine Optimization practices there are certain things we can do to improve our chances of success. Today in this on page SEO tutorial we will specifically look at how for the most part invisible elements of our web pages can have such an impact on where we appear in the search engine listings. It’s time to get to work. Are you ready to rank? Good. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.
Identify a Focus Keyword
Each page you create should be targeted towards a specific focus keyword. This does not specifically mean just one word but a string of words of which you feel is representative of the main idea of your page. Your focus keyword should not be abstract or odd. You are ideally looking for a phrase that you can identify that many people are searching for but also something that is not so common that Google’s search results are not already completely saturated with stiff competition. A focus keyword is not to be confused with a meta keyword. Many a guru argue that meta keyword syntax is of little use nowadays thanks to black hat abuse of years gone by. For that reason I tend to ignore them.
Choose a Good Title
The title of your page is effectively going to decide whether somebody clicks through from the search engines to your site or not. A good title will summarise what the viewer can expect to find on your listed page, and in doing so mention your focus keyword – the closer towards the beginning of your sentence the better.
Write a Meta Description
When your web page is listed on a search engine the viewer is also presented with a description of the page in question. If the meta description tag has no value then the description is automatically generated from the first few words of the page. Sometimes these words might not actually have much of a relationship to the rest of your work. A meta description allows you to accurately provide a mini synopsis of what people can expect to find if they click through. The search engine will also be crawling this description in hope of finding your focus keyword in order to further strengthen your authority for the phrase.
In implementing all of the above in to your HTML code it should look something like this:
<title>10 of the Bet Free WordPress Themes 2013</title>
<meta name=description content="Too many themes to choose from? Let me help narrow down your list with my 10 best free WordPress themes 2013.">
Assign a Descriptive Page URL
A strong page URL can also be very effective in landing you a top spot in the search results. By keeping it concise whilst again including your focus keyword you are laser targeting attention towards your subject and letting both reader and search engine know that they should really be looking at you for information on said topic.
Use the Image Alt Attribute
Any image you use on your pages should be given a text alternative description through use of the alt attribute. This can not only be used to reinforce your focus keyword but also means that the image can be identified and found easily by people performing image searches. This in turn may result in more traffic.
An example of the image alt(ernative) attribute in action could be:
<img src="hello.jpg" alt="A Person Waves Hello!">
Think About Your Page Formatting
All page titles should be contained within appropriate text styling markup. Perhaps most importantly, the title of your page should feature with <h1></h1> tags. Subheadings should exist in the <h2>, <h3>, <h4> (and so on) syntax respectively. Many people when first writing blogs ignore this but achieve the same look by changing font sizes, using <strong> tags or similar. This is completely unnecessary if you set up your headings correctly.
Aid Site Navigation
You want to keep your readers engaged with your web site and should be doing you utmost to tempt people with other useful content. Within your body of text link to other articles you have written before. Maybe you’re discussing free WordPress themes of 2013 or touching upon telling people how to stop Google Analytics tracking your own visits. Good! Entice people to read and explore your site further by embedding links to other interesting content with descriptive anchor text. (See what I did there! ;)). Not only are you promoting your work and helping visitors find your content, you are also encouraging the search engines to crawl through it.
Create Engaging, Readable Content
Yep. This one is pretty simple but also oh so important. Search engines are becoming ever better at checking as to how readable content is and furthermore identifying the quality of it. The days of black hat marketers spinning articles for backlinks and trying to find ways to fool search engines are gone. Nowadays, and rightly so, writing good content is rewarded. The web continues to evolve massively towards this goal to the benefit of us all. Ideally your focus keyword density should be at least 1% (feature once every hundred words). Do not however force it into your text for sake if it doesn’t fit. At the end of day you want to please your readers as equally as you do the search engines. Your copy should be over 300 words minimum but recommended to surpass 400. As long as your content is quality there is downfall to writing at length.
If you’re a WordPress user then free plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast can also help you stay on top of things. There may be add-ons for other content management systems with similar functionality. This on page SEO tutorial might have left some of you banging heads against the wall. Have you got a headache yet? When you’re first starting out it can certainly feel like there is so much to remember. Like with anything in life, the secret is to practice. Once you’ve created a few pages in keeping with a good SEO workflow then you will soon find all of the above comes naturally.
Do you implement good on page SEO practices? Would you do anything differently? Get in touch and let us know!
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