How to Improve Search Engine Ranking by On-Page Search Engine Optimization
By Viet Ma
On-page Search Engine Optimization
There are two types of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques: on-page and off-page SEO. With on-page SEO, you have full control of all the techniques and methods you can use on your own sites. With off-page SEO, you will try some techniques to get other site owners to refer to your site which will help your site to rank well. The on-page elements include page title, page metadata, headings, breadcrumb navigation, image alt tag, body text and internal links. I'll discuss how to optimize each of them in this article.
- Choosing a domain name
Search engines (SE) are looking for keywords in URLs. For instance, if you have a website with a domain name "how-to-become-a-vegetarian.com" and someone searches for "how to become a vegetarian", SE sees how-to-become-a-vegetarian as a match. If, however, you have a website with a domain name "howtobecomeavegetarian.com", SE sees them as part of the same word, it doesn't regard the individual words as individual words. So, putting keywords into the domain name and separating keywords with dashes provides small benefit. A domain name should be short, easy to spell and easy to remember. You should get the dot com version of a domain name since it is easy for people to remember.
- Submitting your website URL to the search engines
You can have your website added to the indexes of popular search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. You can add your website URL to Google via the Google Webmaster Tools and add your website URL to Yahoo via the Site Explorer.
However submitting your website URL via one of the above methods is not effective and sometimes it takes quite long time to get added in the search engine indexes. I'll show you better way to get your website URL included in the search engine indexes in another article about off-page optimization.
- Page Title
The title tag is the first element in the head area of your site, followed by the Meta Description and the Meta Keywords Tags. The title tag appears on the search result page, so it might attract readers to visit your page if they find what they want in the title on the search result page. The title tag is one of the most important components which search engines are concerned. Searchbots read page titles and use that information to determine what the pages are about. If your title tag has keywords that other competing websites do not have, you will have good chance of getting higher ranking in the search results. title should only contain your main keywords or keyword phrases. You should limit 3 keywords or keyword phrases in the title tag. Do not use irrelevant words like "a, and, or, as, the" since search engines ignore them.
Do not repeat the same keyword in your title more than twice. For example, if you choose vegetarian as your main keyword, you could have "how to become a vegetarian and vegetarian shop and low fat vegetarian recipes" in your title tag. You better replace "and" with "|" character as the following: titlehow to become a vegetarian | vegetarian shop | low fat vegetarian recipes/title You can find out how many pages having similar words in their title to yours by typing the following phrase in Google search: allintitle:"your title words" Keep your page title short. Most search engines display around 60 characters in the listing title. So to get your message across, include important keywords toward the beginning of the title, and make sure that the first 60 characters of your title form a complete thought. You can combine keywords to save space. You should write unique titles for each page. Use title case, titles with the first letters capitalized. Include your organization's name in page title.
- Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag describes your site's content and gives search engines a summary of what your site is about. For example: The description text ant title text described above will appear as a summary of a website in the search result returned from a search engine.
When there is no HTML content on the page such as in the case of an all Flash site or when someone searches for your site using your URL but no keywords, your meta description tag will be displayed. If Google finds all keywords or keyword phrases you entered in the query in the description tag, it will use the description text. If Google finds only some of the keywords in the description and some in the body text, it will use part of each. You can place the description tag below the title tag as shown below: Try to make your keyworded description neat and concise to attract readers and encourage them to visit your site. Search engines often display around 150 characters for the listing description. You should keep your description informative as an "About Us" advertisement.
- Meta Keywords Tag
Google has ignored the meta keywords tag so there's no point to discuss about this tag.
- Page Body
This is the main content of your site. You need to have good content to attract viewers. The Page Body can include the breadcrumb navigation, heading tags, body text, image alt tag and internal links.
- Breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb is generally the first text that appears in the body of your page and therefore it's good place to put your keywords and keyphrases.
- Heading tag
Heading tag is an important SEO on-page element. You are encouraged to use h1 and h2 heading tags as much as you can on your page. Heading tags are also great to break up the content of your pages into sections that are easy to read. Putting keywords into the headings is useful in search engine optimization because you are telling to a search engine those keywords are so important that they appear in the heading text.
- Body Text
You might consider to place your main keywords in the text of your pages. However do not simply list of keywords on your pages without any quality content since search engine is smart enough to filter out those pages. You can analyze the keywords on your page by using the free Keyword Density Analyzer Tool at http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density. Using bold and italics tags to highlight your keywords on the page. This helps both human readers and search engines to easily see your key text. Do not use underline tag on your page since underline is normally used for hyperlink. You should limit around 300 to 500 words on each page and consider using more sections or categories if you want to write more than 500 words since your readers might get tired and hardly read through a long page.
- Image alt tag
If you place images on your websites, you should include an alt tag for every image to help Google to know more what your image is about. For example: <img src="/yourimage.jpg" alt="vegetarian recipes" /> You can further optimize your image by naming your image with a descriptive name. For example: <img src="/vegetarian-recipes.jpg" alt="vegetarian recipes" /> The ALT tags don't really help much because some web designers have stuffed ALT attribute with tons of keywords but using ALT tags can't hurt if you simply drop in a few keywords and might even help push your page up a little in the ranking.
- Creating Internal Links
Links in your pages help searchbots find other pages in your site. Putting keywords in links will tell searchbots about the pages that the links are pointing at and also about the page containing the links. You should always use keyword-rich anchor text in your links rather than images. When creating pages within your site, create links on the page to other pages and create link back from other pages to the page you are creating, using the keywords in your title tag. I'll discuss about inbound links or backlinks to your site in my next article about off-page optimization.
Viet Ma is a Java professional living in Melbourne. You can visit his website at http://www.get-to-the-top.com and read his latest tips about search engine optimization and how to improve search engine ranking at http://www.get-to-the-top.com.
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