10 Basic Guidelines for On-site SEO

By | January 9, 2009

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is vital for any website, if you want to get visitors from the search engines. SEO is neither complex nor simple, but does require at least a working knowledge in the basic principles. On-site or on-page SEO is often overlooked in favor of off-page SEO, but it is in fact equally important if not more so, especially with search engines like Yahoo. Here are 10 basic guidelines for on-site SEO, which should be similar for any page within a site, whether it is the homepage, landing page, or an inner page or post page.

1. Put your targeted keywords in the title of the page you are optimizing: Search engines expect the titles of the pages to be summaries for the content of those respective pages. While search engines show up your pages in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), they give the highest priority to your page titles. So craft your page titles to be near perfect overviews of the content on that page and put some relevant keywords in it as well.

2. Use your keywords towards the top of the page: While you are writing content for a page, make sure that the page has a proper heading. Include your keywords in that heading and place them within HTML heading tags like <h1> tags. This indicates to search engines that this is an overview of what is coming next. Make these titles keyword rich.

3. Repeat your keywords within the content of the page: Try to incorporate your targeted keywords within the main content of the page. Repeating the keywords about 5-6 times within the content is OK, but don’t overdo it or else you know what it’s called – Keyword Spamming.

4. Meta description tags: Meta descriptions should be provided in a “marketing style” which attracts visitors, with all your main keywords. Ideally, meta descriptions should be between 25 to 40 words. Try to include all your targeted keywords in the meta descriptions of every page, and they should be unique for each page.

5. Make your pages of at least 300 words of total text content: Your text content is everything which the search engines parse to get an idea of that page. So it is better to provide an adequate amount of text within your page so that search engines can understand what your page is all about.

6. Interlink your inner related pages: When you come across something which you have talked about in other pages of your site, link to that page. This is called interlinking or cross-linking which is important for search engine optimization. This also increases keyword relevance for your whole site and also helps with spider crawling, like spreading “Google Juice” for other pages of the site.

7. Always follow Google Webmaster guidelines: Please go through the Google Webmaster guidelines as they are generally good advice. Although they are only guidelines, not rules, it’s important not to leave any stone unturned by adhering to them.

8. Maintain proper standards of W3C: The World Wide Web Consortium has standards and guidelines for web designing and development which should be followed while designing a webpage. Maintain proper markup structure and heading tag sequence. These ensure that your pages are easily parseable and indexed by search engine robots.

9. File names or url structures: The search engines seem to parse hyphenated urls very well. So when you are making a page on dog training for example, make the file name or url as “dog-training.” Keep proper directory structure as they appear in your menu or sitemap. Avoid capital letters in urls.

10. Text equivalents for non-text elements: Search engines are not yet capable of understanding non-text elements like images, videos etc. Provide a text describing those images or videos in their alt or text attributes. Search Engines also have problems with dynamic content like Flash, JavaScript or pure database driven websites. So avoid these if you want the spiders to crawl.

These are all good on-site SEO practices which can be easily implemented on any website and also indicate good coding practices. While search engine technology is constantly evolving, on-site SEO is still very much a relevant factor in how they view any website. Now go get a boost on your search engine rankings with these guidelines.

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