5 Easy Onsite Wins for Great SEO

By now, you already know the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) all too well; without SEO, how would you drive traffic to your site?

However, when you’re crafting your SEO to-do list, don’t forget to include on-site strategies. Many of the tactics you’re probably already implementing, such as building links, blog commenting and social bookmarking, are effective – but these are off-site SEO methods, designed to increase referral traffic and back-linking.

Without a comprehensive on-site strategy, you may be losing traffic. Consider factors such as site structure, keyword densities and on-page content, too.

These five simple onsite SEO tips can help you optimize – and drive up your search rankings.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is a hotly contested topic. Because search engines use keywords and phrases to find and rank websites, many feel that stuffing their sites with selected keywords is the key.

In reality, this just makes sites seem spammy and contrived, and search engines even have their own algorithms for determining sites that are simply stuffed with keywords.

Though there are no hard and fast density rules, many feel that about 8% density is optimal. This translates to about 40 keywords – and naturally occurring variances – in a 500-word article. This level of density still allows for relevant, non-spammy content while picking up search engine attention.

Also use keywords in H1, H2 and H3 tags; meta tag keywords and descriptions; image tags and descriptions; domain names and sub-page names; and in anchor text for on-page navigation and internal links.

Meta Tag Keywords and Descriptions

Your site’s meta tag keywords and descriptions are more important than you might realize; after all, that’s what describes your site to search engines. These tags directly affect your site’s search engine position, rank and placement, so you should optimize them.

Though the major search engines are constantly changing their search algorithms and some, like  Google, have moved away from meta tags. Many still place emphasis on them, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, Google’s not the only search engine out there.

Meta keyword tags should offer a concise, specific list of your site’s main themes. Generally, they contain both words and phrases and take this form: <meta name=”keywords” content=”this, that, the other, more stuff, and that one too, etc.”>.

Keep these descriptions simple, keyword-rich (but not stuffed), and relevant to your site. Remember, their main focus is to help search engines index your site. Choose keywords by reading through your site’s content and selecting 10 to 15 terms that most accurately describe your content. Put the most important keywords first in the list.

Remember, the more specific and concise, the better. Keyword density is important, here too; if you have too many keywords or they’re not specific enough, today’s sophisticated search engines will pass you by.

First Words

Word placement matters: The first sentences you use in body text as well as the first words in each sentence are the most important, search-engine-recognition-wise. Use keyword-rich first words and sentences, but keep them readable and don’t make them sound spammy.

URLs

It’s important to SEO your URL. While this may sound basic, many site owners don’t do it.

First, select a domain name that’s relevant – i.e., keyword-rich but still concise and specific – and readable by humans. Avoid long strings of numbers and characters: URLs should never contain more than 80 characters.

Also optimize your subdirectory folder names and each page of content with keywords. For instance, yourdomainname.com/small-business/small-business-marketing-ideas.com would likely achieve high ranking results for small business marketing ideas, especially if it contained keyword-rich, authoritative and unique content with deep links.

Avoid using stock URL structures; instead, stick to the domain name, the article name and maybe a date to keep those fickle Google algorithms happy.

Image Tags

Search engines don’t read images, so it’s essential to create optimized image titles, descriptions and ALT tags.  ALT tags are descriptive tags that appear when an image or graphic doesn’t load for some reason. Keep these tags consistent, accurate, keyword-rich and relevant across your site to help out search engine bots.

Relate each image description and tag to the keywords in its related post. For instance, if your post about zebras contains a picture of a zebra eating grass, the image should be labeled zebra.jpg in your images folder. An alt tag should offer more description, reading <IMG src=”zebra.jpg” ALT=”Zebra Grazing on the African Savannah:”>.

These five simple tips can help optimize your site, increase your rankings, and drive traffic. Follow up your optimized site with a vibrant comment system that builds upon your blog posts or articles.

Which on-site SEO tactics have you found most effective?

 

Author Byline:

Sean is tech-enthusiast that invests more time and money in new toys than he does on rent.  When he’s not learning the latest tricks for his gadgets find him contributing to ATTSavings or on Twitter @SeanTR.

 

 

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