Last time, we looked at the off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique of link-building. While clearly this is the most effective method for increasing the visibility of your website, you should not neglect on-page SEO techniques to help boost your search engine results. On-page SEO revolves around the placement of carefully chosen keywords within your website content. There are many content elements that can contain keyword phrases, including headlines, subheaders, body content, images and links. You need to have a sufficiently keyword density on each website page so that search engines can figure out what topic(s) you are addressing.
While there is much to be said for hiring a competent search engine optimization expert to handle on- and off-page SEO chores, you can attend to many of these chores yourself if you have the time and enough knowledge. Here are a few things that you can do to help optimize your website:
- Select a primary keyword for each website page. Once chosen, use the keyword often and in context. Try not to mix multiple keywords on the same page, as it may confuse the search engine spiders charged with interpreting and categorizing your content. Remember, a keyword is the phrase by which you wish to be found when entered by a search engine user. You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help you select the most powerful keywords to use on your website.
- Always place your primary keyword in your page’s headline and subheaders. Search engines place the greatest weight on this content.
- Repeat the keyword a number of times in your body content, but make sure you do so in context. Irrelevant references to your keyword will trigger a red flag by a search engine spider, and may be counterproductive.
- If you have images or media files, make sure the name of these files includes the keyword. Or, you can use the keyword in the ALT tag. Of course, it makes sense to include the keyword in your page URL as well.
- Construct you content for human, not robotic, consumption. If you write for a search engine, human readers will know it and avoid your site.
- Include your keyword in a page’s Title Tag and Meta Tag. This isn’t as important as it once was, but should be done nonetheless.
- Make sure you generate an XML sitemap each time you update a page, so that search engine spiders can update their indexes correctly.
- Use permanent “301 Redirects” whenever you remove or rename a page, so that there aren’t any broken links that can downgrade your search performance.