On Page Optimisation
When Google’s looking at relevance, the key place it’s going to find that is on your page. Your pages must be optimised for the keyphrases that you need or want to be found for. So, let’s just talk about some of the things that I want you to do in optimising your pages.
One of the best ways is in the domain name. We certainly see people getting some quick wins by using a domain name that is more descriptive of their business, rather than the name of their company. I think this is a short-term strategy, but it certainly does work for a quick win. If you are taking this approach, make sure that you’re backing that up by owning the domain name that actually belongs to your company. You can then use that domain name on your business cards etc. So, if you really want quick results, then have a descriptive keyphrase in your domain, but consider it as a short-term strategy.
Next is the file name and I really believe that you should be doing this. If you have a web page that says ‘your company.com/page 7’. That doesn’t tell a search engine anything about what’s on page 7. It provides more information if that domain name was ‘yourcompany.com/a product of my company’. Let’s say that you provide a service building big stands for cupcakes. You could then have your domain name as ‘yourcompany.com/cupcake stands’. I think that’s quite easy to understand. Make sure that your keyphrase is in the file name of your web page.
Once you’ve done your file name, move on to the title of your page. This is contained in the Meta Data. Meta Data is data, code or words that you don’t see when you go to a website. It’s effectively hidden code and its right at the top of the documents, or the HTML page. This Meta Data contains a Meta Title, Meta Keywords and a Meta Description amongst others.
The Meta Title is absolutely crucial to your On Page Search Engine Optimisation. You must make sure that your keyphrase is at the beginning of your title. What you shouldn’t do is make sure that your title only contains your keyphrase. This was certainly popular a couple years ago and you may find pages still doing it, but what I would say to you, is use a full sentence that starts with your keyphrase. So that’s your Meta Title, or the title of your web page.
The second is the Meta Keywords. Historically the keywords tag helps Search Engines to know what is on your web page. This is no longer the case. In fact, what we believe is that that keywords tag could have a potentially negative effect. The reason is because a lot of people tried to con the systems by using this tag to stuff in lots of keywords that they wanted to be found for in the Search Engines. Half of those keywords never actually related to what was on the page. As a result we believe that Google does not use the keywords tag and other search engines mark you down if the keywords are not relevant.
The Meta Description is also very important to your SEO. Think about the search engine listing, especially in Google. The first line across the top is the title of your page (ideally including your keyphrase). Underneath that, you will typically see your web address. Again, if your keyword is in your file name, that will show up. Then there is a short description, the Meta Description. Now, although you want your keyphrase in your description, you also want to use that area as a Call to Action. When you’re faced with a Search Engine results page and some of those listings look a little bit gobbledygook and your one is clear in telling me why I should click to come through to your website, I’m more likely to do so. So, the Meta Description really is quite valuable.
I’ve spoken about the Meta Title, the Meta Keywords and Meta Description but, if they’re hidden, then where do we find them? Well, if you understand HTML and you’re building your site, then of course you’re going to know how to put those in. If HTML isn’t your thing, then it’s time to involve your web developer in ensuring that your website pages are optimised.
Word Press offers particularly effective solutions for On Page SEO. Using Word Press will help you to build really useful Search Engine friendly pages. If you have a WordPress site, there is a plug-in called Yoast. It’s like an SEO plug-in for WordPress and I’d recommend you install that as it will help you to build up your keyphrase or search engine friendly page including your title and your description.
All of the things we have covered so far, are not even going to be seen on your page. So, let’s talk about some of the information that’s going to be seen on your page and how you can optimise that. Clearly, you need the keyphrases to exist in your text. It would be silly to think that you can get away without that happening.
If you’re trying to build up a webpage that is image or flash-based, it will not work from an SEO points-of-view. In order to have success with SEO, you should have 300+ words on your page. You need your keyphrase included naturally in the text, so it is in a readable format, not crammed with keyphrases.
Going back to the cupcake example, it would be no good to have ‘Cupcake stands created by the Number One Cupcake Stand Company, who make cupcake stands for a leading cupcake stand manufacturers’. It doesn’t read properly and it would send any website visitor away to the competition. So, make sure that your text is readable, but think about placing your keyphrases at least once in each paragraph across the page. The important thing here is to be completely natural. The most important thing is that the pages are relevant to your chosen keyphrases.
Now, when you’ve got your 300 words, you need a Heading Tag at the top, which is called the H1 Tag. Once again, if you’re building in HTML, you will know what that is. So, apply the Heading Tag and make sure that your keyphrase is in the Heading Tag.
As you go through your page you’re likely to have Heading 2′s and possibly Heading 3′s. They too should be related, but not a copy of your keyphrase that you’re optimising the page for. Make sure that it’s sensible and logical. Use the 300+ words in your text and your Heading Tags appropriately. When you’ve got the keyphrases in your paragraph you can apply some importance to them. Use things like a Bold Tag or maybe the Italics Tag so that you’re actually telling the Search Engine “look, this is really important to the information that’s on this page.”
Next are images on your website. Make sure that you use Alt Tags. An Alt Tag is designed to show visually impaired people what the actual images on your page are. I’d recommend that you use your keyphrase in that tag, but don’t just make it the tag, as that isn’t going to be helpful. Remember when you’re building your pages the priority is your website visitors, not building pages that the Search Engine lists at the top. If somebody comes to that page and they don’t then go on to convert, then all of your SEO work was for no gain.
It’s a real trade-off and I would say that it is increasingly important to be natural. If you create content that is natural, people will not only read it, they may share it and that will lead on to the Off Page Optimisation. We will talk about in the next section of this module.
There are some technical elements as well. You need your page to have clean web code. It’s got to be clean HTML that you’re using and that’s why systems such as Word Press will help you with that. So, if you can get that code W3C Compliant, which we’ve spoken about, that is going to help you. You can now start to see how everything fits together.
The other thing to think about is the speed at which your page loads. If your page loads too slowly, then you’ll be down marked by the search engines. One way to speed up your loading time is to host video, as well as potentially hosting images. That might be an Amazon S3 account, or YouTube. That might not be necessary with images, so I’m not suggesting you run off and re-code everything so that you lose your images. But if they are particularly big and they are causing a problem with the download speed, then you might need to put them off somewhere else and refer to them rather than from the same folder on the hosting.