On page search engine optimization is an extremely important part of the overall search engine optimization formula. Having your on-page SEO done well isn’t necessarily going to help you to reach the #1 position for your keyword. However, if you don’t have your pages well optimized, chances are you won’t rank at all.
Throughout this article we’re going to look at all the major on-page SEO factors and discuss why they are important, as well as how you can implement them on your sites. On-Page SEO factors are responsible for the success of my online business and they are among the biggest reasons as to why I get so much traffic from the search engines on a daily basis. I focus all my energy on search engine traffic because for me, it’s the most reliable and the most stable source of traffic for my business. When done right, search engine traffic can come in floods and you will never need to worry about Google Panda updates or any other algorithm changes that seem to scare people away from Search Engines.
At the bottom of the guide, you’ll find a checklist that you can print and use for ALL your websites.
There are 25 major points to consider before starting On Page SEO Optimization:
1. Generate a Meta Tag
Meta tags are the tags that you place inside the <head></head> tags of your website document.
You can find a Meta Tag Generator here – http://www.liveseotools.com/tool.php?id=generate-meta-tags
Using this tool to create your Meta Tags is a great way to make sure that you have your keywords in your title – but for those of you who know html, you can simply add it into the document in between the <head></head> tags.
Placing of Meta Tag
Placing of Meta tag should be at right place on web page.
Always place inside the <head> </head> tags of your website document.
2. Keywords In the URL<html>
<title>Title Should be maximum 60 characters</title>
<META name="description" content="A short description in 200 characters of your web-page.">
<META name="keywords" content="put, at, least, 20, important, keywords, here">
Having your keywords in the URL of your website is a must. However, this doesn’t mean you HAVE to have an Exact Match Domain. There seems to be quite a lot of confusion on this matter and I’d like to put it to an end. Google reads the entire URL of a domain name. In other words, they don’t just read the bit before the .com. This means that if you can’t find the Exact Match Domain then you can use a page within your site to have the keywords in. Technically, this means you STILL have the keywords in your URL. Notice this factor is called “Keyword in the URL” NOT keyword in the domain.
Obviously, finding an Exact Match Domain is ideal but for larger authority sites, this isn’t always possible – many keywords are competitive these days and more often than not, you’ll find that the Exact Match Domain is taken. If this is the case for the keywords you are targeting then don’t worry! You can simply add a page to your site that has the keywords in. This means you are still going to get credit from Google for having the keyword in your URL.
3. Keywords In The Title
Having your keywords in the title of your page is a major SEO factor but you’d be surprised as to how many people forget this. Having your main keyword in the title tags of your website homepage (or the page you are trying to rank) is the most essential factor, in my opinion.
Try to keep your title to a maximum of 60 characters – in other words, don’t ramble. Just make a title that’s clear and to the point, with your keywords inside.
4. Keywords in the Description Tag
This is something that people also seem to forget and there are some people that believe that Google doesn’t pay attention to this tag anymore. Actually, it’s still as important today as it has always been. Why would you pass up another opportunity to tell Google that you are the most relevant website in your niche? Use it.
However, do make sure that your description is EXTREMELY relevant to your website content.
5. The Keywords Meta Tag
A lot of people don’t use this any more because Google openly stated that they were reducing the weight of the Keyword Meta tag. BUT, you should still use it. Keep the keywords to a maximum of 10 and don’t spam the keyword tag. Just list your top 10 keywords in the keywords Meta Tag.
The keywords that you list, in the Meta Tag, MUST be in the content somewhere on your webpage. If they’re not then you will look like you’re spamming so you need to make sure that the only keywords that you list in here are actually in your content.
6. Keyword Density
This is an area where a lot of people fail. Keyword density is important because it is exactly how Google determines the relevance of your website. You need to aim for an OVERALL keyword density of 5-20%. This means that for ALL your keywords, you need to have around 10% density. When you are targeting just ONE keyword, you need to aim for anywhere between 1-6%. Any higher and it will appear as though you are “keyword stuffing” your content, any lower and Google won’t think you are relevant enough.
A lot of people forget to consider OVERALL keyword density when they are targeting more than one keyword. This is an important step towards success with your search engine rankings. Remember that the keyword density I’m talking about here is in your “body” text. You can ignore the headlines and other areas of your website for this percentage.
7. Heading Tags
Your H1, H2 and H3 tags are an important part of your website. You need to make sure that you use them throughout the content on your pages. You need to include the main keywords in your H1, H2 and H3 tags. Make sure you use all of them – H1 is the most important, but H2 and H3 are becoming more and more important.
8. Bold Your Keywords
You should make sure that somewhere in the body text of your webpage, you have bolded your keywords at least once and no more than twice. Bolding your keywords makes them stand out and Google can read the difference between bold text and normal text so it’s just another way to let Google know which keywords you are targeting.
9. Keyword Layout (for more than 2 keywords)
Another area that a lot of people forget is the layout of your content and where the keywords are actually placed in the content. If you are targeting more than one keyword (i.e. 2 or more), it’s best to place these keywords next to each other in a sentence. Google seems to like this layout best so it’s a good idea to adhere to it.
10. Keyword Order
It’s important that you think about the order of your keywords. Are people searching for “best seo company” or “company seo best”? The first option is the most likely so this is how you should order your keywords. Most of the time, it’s a case of making sure that your keywords make sense in a sentence.
11. Keywords in First & Last Sentence
It’s important to include your keywords at the top and bottom of the page and the best way to do this is to include your keywords in the first sentence of your body text, and the last sentence of your body text. Missing this step has cost me a few places in the rankings for some keywords so make sure you implement this one.
12. Keywords In Image ALT Tags
If you have images on your page, then you need to make sure that the ALT text of that image has the keywords in it. However, use this with caution. Google doesn’t differentiate between ALT tags and other content on your page. The way Google reads images is the same as they read text – they can’t see images, so ALT text is used instead, but this appears as text to Google so if you are pushing it on your keyword density BEFORE you have image ALT text, then the additional keywords for your images could affect your keyword density. But it’s better to have image ALT text than to not have it so adjust your content accordingly.
13. Internal Anchor Text
When you link to other pages within your website, you should try and use your anchor text where possible. Don’t over-do it – obviously, every page needs a different anchor text but you should make sure that a few of your internal links have your keywords in the anchor text.
14. Web Page Names/URLs
The pages that you link to with your anchor text, should be named using your keywords. For example, this-is-a-page-name.html should contain your keywords.
Use hyphens for naming your webpages, but no more than 3 hyphens per document.
15. Validate Your Links
Google HATES invalid links or links to pages that generate a 404 error. Make sure that you have validated ALL of your links. Make sure that they all go to the correct pages and that you have NO 404 errors.
16. Internal Linking Structure
Make sure that you website is easy to navigate. Aim for a maximum of 3 clicks to every page from every other page within your site. Ideally, you want to have a menu listing all your important pages on every page of your site. Footer menus and header menus are ideal for important pages such as privacy policies, contact pages etc. but you should also use a side bar to link to these pages as well as your content pages.
Make sure that your pages are all linked to within your website and that you are using a tree-like structure that is easy for both users and search engines to follow.
17. Outbound Link Anchor Text
Make sure that you link to relevant websites using your keywords in the anchor text. Link only to relevant pages/websites and make sure that you check these links on a regular basis to ensure the site you are linking to is still there and is still relevant.
DON’T link to directories or other pages with hundreds of links. Make sure that you are linking to content that can further help your users and further help Google understand what your website is all about.
18. Keep Stable Link Partners
Don’t keep changing who you link to. It’s a good idea to find pages to link to that are likely to stick around for a long time. Don’t keep changing who you link to because Google will find this irritating and penalise you for it. Also, make sure that the places you are linking to are still valid. If you need to, check your links every month for validity. You don’t want to be linking to 404 pages.
19. Limit the Number of Outbound Links
Don’t link to everyone! You should limit the number of people you link to. Ideally less than 50-100 outbound links, but it can be more as long as your niche is large and widely discussed online.
20. Link to High Quality, High Authority Sites
Linking to trashy websites is a complete waste of time and will hurt your rankings. Don’t link to junk and spam websites – EVEN if they are relevant. Make sure that you are linking to an authority website in your niche – the more the merrier (but stick to the limits of outbound links).
21. Domain Name Extensions
In order of preference
The .info name debate is over. In my opinion, you can still get high rankings with .info domains (now that spammers have calmed down!) but I’d still recommend other domain extensions first.
Also, bear in mind that although .com is a popular domain extension, it actually gets a lot more scrutiny from Google because it’s so widely used by spammers and other junk websites.
22. Webpage File Size
Try not to exceed 200kb per page. You can find this information in an FTP client, or you can save the webpages on your PC and look at the file size in Windows or Mac.
23. Fresh Content & Regular Updates
It’s important to update your content on a regular basis. The newer the content, the better; this is why blogs tend to do well in search engines because they are usually updated every day.
24. URL Length
Make sure that you keep the length of your URLs to a minimum. Ideally, less than 200 characters – try and keep everything short and to the point when it comes to URLs.
25. Domain Age/Content AgeAn old domain will get higher rankings – fact. Older content won’t – fact.
The best combination is an old domain with fresh (new) content.
You can use this checklist for ALL your websites to make sure that you are covering ALL the on-page SEO factors. This should help you towards dominating the search engines for your keywords.
1. Generate a Meta Tag
2. Keywords in URL
3. Keywords in Title
4. Keywords in Description
5. Keywords in Keywords Meta Tag
6. Overall Keyword Density
7. Individual Keyword Density
8. Heading Tags - H1, H2, H3
9. Keywords in Bold
10. Keywords Next To Each Other (2+ Keywords)
11. Keyword Order Makes Sense
12. Keyword in First Sentence
13. Keyword in Last Sentence
14. Keywords in Image ALT Tags
15. Internal Link Anchor Text
16. Webpage File Names
17. All Links Validated
18. Internal Linking Structure
19. Outbound Link Anchor Text
20. Stable Link Partners
21. Limited Outbound Links
22. Links Only To High Quality, Authority Sites
23. Domain Name Extensions
24. Webpage File Size
25. Fresh Content & Regular Updates
26. URL Length
27. Domain Age/Content Age