A detailed look at search engine optimization

A detailed look at search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very important task for a business owner. It’s all very well having a great looking website, but, are you sacrificing search engine ranking with some of your design principles? I’ve covered SEO before, but this time, I am going to deep dive into on page SEO factors.

So let’s jump right into the factors that can help and hinder your search engine ranking. Firstly we have the basics – the page title and description. These are very important SEO factors, they give the search engine a first glance at what your website is about and they also give the user a good idea what you do when they find you in the search results. Your webpage title should be limited to a max of 70 characters and your description should be a max of 160 characters.

The below example shows how you can structure your webpage titles. You should make sure you include your keyword, but just once (any more could be seen as spam).

Sample Description:  <website name – keyword rich statement>

Heading styles  are the next basic factor of on page SEO – a heading style (H1, H2, H3 etc…) tells the web page that this is an important statement on your website. So, if your website sells shoes and your chosen keyword is ‘high heels’ then a great way to let a search engine know what your site is about (and your chosen keyword) is to include your keyword in a header tag (e.g. “company name – low price high heels”).

The next, and probably the most important factor is  keyword density. Essentially, your website will be crawled by search engine robots. Those robots will read the content to establish what it is about. Using the example from earlier, if your content includes the words ‘high heels’ a large number of times, the website can safely assume that your website is about high heels. You want your keyword density to be a maximum of 4% (meaning up to 4% of the words on your page can be your keyword) – any more than this and you could be considered to be ‘keyword spamming’ and the search engines will demote you accordingly.

A good way to boost your keyword density is to make sure you have ALT tags on all your images. These are used to let search engines (and e-readers) know what your image shows – so, by including an ALT tag of “high heels” you’ve increased your keyword density.

Next we have a little bit of administrative work – we need to make sure that our robots.txt file doesn’t block the search engine robots. You can check this using Google Webmaster Tools – it will let you know if your URL is blocked to the Google bots. Further to this, make sure you have an  XML Sitemap uploaded to your domain & listed on Google Webmaster Tools.

You could be ranked based on your website performance too, so you could minify all your files, leverage cache and compress images to make sure that your website performs well.

Next we have URL structures,  this is an important one as many web developers use underscores in their URL’s. It should be noted that search engines do not see words separated by underscores as separate words – you should rather use a hyphen.

You should make sure that your content is easy to share through the use of social sharing buttons and you should make sure you’re active on all the social networks. This is picked up by search engines and can help your rankings.

There we have many of the important on-page SEO factors. I hope that helps!

Image used under creative commons

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1 Comment

  • Donna

    You actually make it seem really easy, but I am finding SEO to be one thing which I feel I might never understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m taking a look ahead in your subsequent post, Iˇll attempt to get the dangle of it!

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