Search engine optimization “how to” series: On-page
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The internet is full of useful (and some not-so-useful) tips for optimizing your pages for SEO. We’re going to concentrate on the top 8 tips which most people can do regardless of platform and do fairly quickly to see more immediate results.
These SEO on page changes can have a dramatic impact on your website’s overall search engine performance.
You should already know your users and personas so of course you should know the keywords you’ll be writing this page content for. Make sure you use this keyword/long-tail keyword in your page title. An additional tip to keep in mind is to ideally keep your page titles under 70 characters.
This should be less then 160 characters but more then 60. Use your keywords again here if possible and be descriptive, this is what your searchers see under your organic search listings.
These should be clean and simple but even better to get your keywords mentioned here also. Watch out for “stop” words like “in, if, and, your, with, etc” since Google will ignore these words. These are considered low priority by search engines and rightly so.
These are the “H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, & H6” tags you see referenced in your online editors. Use them commonly but in order of importance to help Google (and your readers) understand what’s most important and the entire hierarchy of your page.
Make sure your navigation is easy to read and understand and that search engines can find
it and read it also. Your webmaster tools account will have a tremendous amount of good data on this and other navigation issues that can help you improve if work is needed.
Decrease load time
Among a host of typical problem areas, here are a few quick ideas to look at to bring up your load speed.
- Loading non-optimized or higher resolution images. They only need to be 72ppi for on page display.
- Make sure your host has been keeping up with their updates, equipment, and promises to have “lightning fast speed”. Many hosts promise the world but then stick you on a server with 100’s of other resource-greedy websites. The end result is a slower experience for your user.
You see them everywhere. The social share links help others, who find your content valuable, share your content with their followers. If you’re going to write good, quality, and educational content, make sure people can share it easily with others.
Internal linking allows your users to find more great content that you’ve already written and keeps them on your website (lowers your bounce rate). External links to quality websites with content relevant to the context of your page will earn you points in search engines, gain your pages credibility on the topic, and make your reader’s experience much more likely to be positive and worthwhile.
The following four suggestions aren’t “on-page” seo tips – but are incredibly important in obtaining a higher rank, and monitoring the process as you get there and maintain your position.
- Get a Webmaster Tools account with Google if you don’t have one already. Among it’s endlessly useful data is a process for finding broken links and urls, crawl errors, and load speed concerns.
- Get an Analytics account (also through Google). You can’t see if what you’re doing is working if you don’t see new users finding your content.
- Create a sitemap(s). A simple task for plugins of the popular cms’s such as WordPress or Joomla, but not too hard for hands-on users either. Here’s a great guide so you know what you’re doing.
- Make sure you have your robots.txt file created and correct. A robots.txt file is simply a sheet for directions on your website for the search engines so they know what to search and where to find it. Here is a website to create a robots.txt file.