It is a shame to notice the fact that so many people out there do not actually understand that search engine optimization needs to start with the optimization of their own pages. So many stay focused on gaining links and end up with lower results than possible simply because they did not properly optimize pages on their sites.
Go through the checklist below so that you can easily make sure that your site is properly prepared for the link juice you are about to receive.
Step 1 – Title Tags
You most likely already did your research so now it is time to think about the title tags. This is what tells the search engine exactly what the page is about and needs to include relevant keyword phrases while also having some sort of call to action so that people would click when they see your page in the search engine. Every single page needs a unique title tag.
Although a little controversial from some points of view, most specialists believe that these are the best practices for the title tags:
- Having a structure that first highlights the primary keyword, then the secondary keyword and at the end the brand name
- Using dashes between keyword phrases
- Keeping titles under 66 characters – this includes spaces
Step 2 – Meta Descriptions
It is already documented that the descriptions are no longer that important for rankings but they do have a huge part in click through rate. The descriptions have to use the keywords in a wise manner and clearly highlight what the visitor is about to look at. Consider the following:
- Write really attractive meta descriptions
- Try to keep them between 150 and 160 characters
- Always avoid the duplicate descriptions
- Never use non-alpha characters because Google will eliminate them from your shown meta description
Step 3 – Including Targeted Keywords Inside The Content
The most important part of your site is the content that you have. It needs to be relevant and unique. When you have different pages with the exact same content, there is a huge possibility that you will receive a Google penalty. Also, visitors want to see fresh content that is as unique as possible. Before you think about the complex SEO trends for 2014, learn about the importance of unique content. Some practices to consider:
- Create highly relevant content for your keyword phrase
- Include relevant links from other pages on your site or from another site if you feel that this adds value to the article
- Use the keyword a minimum of 4 times. While there is no real rule about the minimum, do not overdo it since this is considered as being spam.
- No matter what promotional medium you use, make sure that the content offered is unique.
Step 4 – Keyword Phrases And Header Tags
The header tags are important and it is always a good idea to add at least one H1 or H2 tag in the content. Try to use the keyword phrase in that tag so that you can easily improve the overall experience of the visitor and the strength of your on-page SEO. The really good practices include:
- Using the phrase one time in the H1 tag
- Adding H1 on those pages that you want traffic for
- Adding H2 tags if you have multiple sections on the pages
Step 5 – Internal Anchor Text Based Page Linking
An internal link is a link that will point towards another page that is on the exact same site. We have to understand that internal linking is really important as it strengthens keywords internally. The users can easily navigate through your site and the search engines will see pages that appear as being relevant for specific keyword pages. Consider:
- Using really good anchor texts according to the page that you link
- In internal page links try to use keywords instead of general anchors like “click here”
Step 6 – Taking Advantage Of Your Images
Sites are visual and alternate tags for images help out more than people tend to believe. Every single image that you use should include appropriate ALT tags. They are good for all search engines and will be great for accessibility purposes. Including keyword phrases in image names is possible but you should never overdo this practice. In addition, try to make the filename SEO friendly. That is because Image Search is growing at the moment. Practices to consider:
- Make sure that all your images have names that describe them
- Try to use dashes between words
- Avoid the underscores
- Never use characters that are not alpha
Step 7 – Making Content Really Easy To Read
When referring to search engine rankings, this step is definitely not a really big factor but it is important for the visitor. You have to use bullet points and bolding whenever necessary so that you can make some words stand out. The search engines will realize what is important but you should never exaggerate since this can aggravate visitors. Practices to consider:
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short. The long sentences will make the user lose attention.
- Never overuse bolding and bullets.
- Break up the large content blogs with bold text and bullet points.
Go Through The List For Every Page
In many situations people will end up optimizing only some pages on their sites. This is not something that you should do. It is important that every single page is properly optimized from an on-page point of view.
While you may think that some of the aspects mentioned above are not important, think twice. Just think about all the practices mentioned, use them and you will notice that search engine rankings will be increased naturally without even realizing it. Combine this with proper off-page campaigns and you will have great results.
If there are other on-page elements that you think are really important, comment so that you can share your views with all other visitors. SEO is not exact science and we can all learn from each other.