On- And Off-Page Optimization of Web Pages
By David Meade
Three of the factors that dominate the SEO field are on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and the quality and uniqueness of Web writing.
These principles are extremely important – if you write your value proposition correctly and your Web text correctly, you will likely achieve higher rankings. An entertaining writing style will keep visitors on your page, and the use of copywriting principles will produce high conversion (sale) rates for every visitor.
After all, content is king in SEO. A well researched and written set of Web Pages is a primary key to high SEO ranking. You must produce true and original value. You need psychologically appealing copy which can increase your revenue. The vast majority of existing websites can be vastly improved with the appropriate use of optimizing Web copy for both the users and the search engines.
When setting up your website, keyword choice is a paramount concern. Studies have shown that more than half of Web searches are for keyword phrases.
Keywords should emphasize the niche of your business. Keywords should appear on every page of your website – particularly in the first paragraph and the last paragraph on each page. Keyword density is not a material factor, though. You need to focus on the writing of your Web pages in a natural manner because user experience matters most.
Keyword density which exceeds 5 percent may result in demotion by Google. When I optimize a website, I usually put the keyword in the title tag once, in the page content and in the meta description. If you have good, solid content this is usually enough. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team, has said that good content will trump SEO every time, so the smart thing to do is to focus on your copy and on creating good content.
To rank in the search engines, websites must have original content. No one is sure of the exact percentage of copied text that the Google algorithm uses to exclude, but always write original content, and you won't have a problem. Just like readers pay more attention to the words at the top, search engines likely do too. Make sure to write content with the inverted pyramid in mind.
Length of Web Pages
The longer a reader stays on a Web page, the higher Google and the other search engines may rank it. Time on site shows reader engagement and the search engines want users to enjoy the content of the websites they send them to. One of the ways to keep readers on your site is to publish in-depth articles, as readers will likely take their time consuming the information if it's informative and of high quality.
The title tag is a required page element according to the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). It should have a maximum of 58 characters and include your keywords or key phrase.
The description tag is what Google and the other search engines will display to the public as the ‘first view’ of the website. It should have a maximum of 160 characters and be phrased like a headline – with a captivating question or hook. If you are designing your own Web Page with Word Press then there is a Meta Tag Plug-In which you can install which will meet these requirements.
The keywords tag is not utilized by Google, but it is by other search engines and it is within this description you’ll place key phrases and words you want to be recognized in search terms for. Regardless, in terms of the Penguin and Panda updates, it is believed that using more than a couple of keywords in this meta tag may result in a penalty.
You can check your competitor’s information by right clicking on their Web pages and “View Page Source.” Then use Ctrl-F to find the title and meta tags. This is one reason why some experts say to actually minimize or exclude meta tags, becuase you are essentially do the competitors' keyword research for them.
The alt attribute is an attribute of the image tag and is meant to be an alternative for non-visual browsers when they come across images. Since they cannot read images, they need a description. All of your photos should have these tags, using appropriate keywords.
Two images (or a video and an image) per page are recommended. They break up visual monotony and keep users engaged (remember, the more they are engaged, the less likely they are to leave your website quickly).
Updating Your Web Page
Having a good content plan is essential for the success of a website. The Google crawler thrives on unique original content published consistently. Every time you publish, Google gets a "ping" asking the crawler to come back and visit your site.
In writing Web text, any anchor text (Hyperlinks) should be infused with relevant keywords.
This is the heading of your Web page, much like the heading of a newspaper article. You should have at least one H1 tag with a keyword per page.
Needless to say, your domain name should include your primary keyword phrase but exact match domain names may be considered low quality by Google. Relevancy, over keywords, should always be given priority.
Dynamic vs. Static URL
By default, when you install a WordPress, your URLs are set to be dynamic URLs. These are not search engine friendly. It is very important for your Page’s SEO On-Page optimization to change dynamic URLs to static URLs. First you need to go to your wp-admin, and then go to Setting –> Permalinks. By default you will see the “Default” option selected that makes your URLs be dynamic. To change this setting and select “Custom Structure” you just type /%postname%. This will create URLs to be static instead of dynamic.
A canonical page is the preferred version of a set of pages with highly similar content.
There’s a three-step process you need to follow. The first step you take on WordPress. The second step you take is in Google Webmaster Tools. The All In One SEO Pack takes care of step number three. Once it is activated, navigate to settings and ensure that the “Canonical URLs” checkbox is selected.
Here’s a checklist for Word Press Recommendations:
• Use the latest version
• Optimize the keywords
• Avoid duplicate content
• Optimize the main headings (post titles)
• Add your blog to Google Webmaster Tools
• Avoid Flash
• Don’t use text within images
• Don’t use Frames
• Consider a Google Sitemap
• Submit a video to YouTube
• Submit your domain name to Google early on
• Aim for 400 – 1,000 words per page
• Engage in Social Media Optimization
• Submit to the DMOZ Open Directory Project
• Engage in a Backlink Strategy
The higher your achievement goals the more backlinks you likely need. Backlinks are a key ranking factor to Google. Any small business should be looking to start out at least 50-100 quality backlinks to have proper search engine optimization. I have personally seen Google Page Rank increase from 1 to 5 with proper handling of backlinks. I have seen very high ranking appear for certain Web pages with as few as 450-500 backlinks.
There are online tools you can use if you have the time, or you can hire a professional SEO consultant. But remember – only quality editorial-style links (backlinks) work. The days of reciprocal, FFA and shared links are over. Articles are an excellent link method if done properly – submissions to quality sites with a high PR rank, and of course articles must be original, high quality and have sufficient content – at least 700 words.
If you use Word Press, there is a Plug-In that will accomplish this for you. After it’s finished, it pings Google to alert it that the Sitemap is available.
Social bookmarking is considered by many to be a ranking factor, and you should have around 30 bookmarks on sites such as Delicious, Digg & Stumbleupon. Reddit is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Only registered users can then vote submissions "up" or "down" to organize the posts and determine their position on the site's pages.
I have personally found Reddit to be an excellent site to establish your initial presence on from a backlink perspective. You can post articles, videos and book links there. Usually Google and the other search engines will index you within days after posting your link to this site because it has a very high Google Page Rank. Remember, though, indexing and ranking in the search results are two different functions. If you type your URL into a search inquiry and find it, you’ve been indexed. Appearing in search engine results will be the next task. The highest ranking social bookmarking sites (Page Rank of 8) are Delicious.com, Digg.com, Reddit.com, Stumbleupon.com, Citeulike.org, Connotes.org, Chime.in and Slashdot.org.
Although not as popular as they once were submission to directories is also still important. Marketers can manage local listings with services like Yext, Moz Local and others.
David Meade is an international freelance SEO Consultant based in Florida. He has written half a dozen books and is also a copywriter. He can be reached at: DavidMeade7777@gmail.com or through his website http://www.writers-web-services.com.