If you have been online for a while, you probably heard a lot of benefits about search engine optimization (SEO). Generally, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of the web page in the search engine result pages (SERPs). If your blog or website can get ranked No. 1 by the search engine (such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc…) for a number specific keywords, can you imagine how much traffic you will get via the organic traffic from search engine? This is definitely a great way to help you to increase traffic to your website, since you are getting significant amount of traffic from search engine for FREE!
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On Page SEO & Off Page SEO
How can you get your site to rank for a number of specific keywords in the search engine? There are generally 2 parts in SEO, on page SEO and off page optimization. On page SEO focuses on the content on your site, including the relevancy of your content, the format and structure of your content. Off Page optimization simply about the numbers and quality of backlinks with specific anchor text to your site. Each backlink represents a vote to your site. Here I just focus on on page SEO since this is the first thing you need to do before you start your off page optimization as it will greatly help you to gain an advantage in the SEO battle field.
On Page SEO
There are hundreds if not thousands of algorithm that Google uses to determine the ranking of your site. Also, Google almost improves and updates its algorithm everyday. This makes it almost impossible to crack the Google algorithm black box. However, there are some critical factors for the on page optimization based on the industry practice and my personal experience, that will help your site to get ranked on the top of search engine result pages.
1. Domain Name
This is considered as a very important on page factor. Your site will be ranked easily if you have your keyword in your domain name. Ideally, you would want an exact match keyword in your domain. For example, if the keyword you would like to rank for is “dog training”, you would want your domain to be DogTraining.com. What happen if the domain name is not available? You can try to register .net or .org. If the domain is still not available, consider adding a suffix to it, such as DogTrainingTips.com. Can you add a prefix in front (such as MyDogTraining.com)? Based on my experience, it is better to add suffix (i.e. have your keyword appear first) to have the on page optimization leverage.
2. Keyword in URL
Let’s say you have an article or a post about dog training product review. You would want the keyword appear in the URL, such as:
You might notice that some of the page just display an ugly URL such as DogTrainingTips.com/p=561?. Comparing these 2 URL, which one do you think Google will like? Of course the first one as it is more meaningful to have the keyword in the URL than a random number. Remember that Google rank the website based on the relevancy of your content. So, you would want your content to be easily identified by Google.
If you are using WordPress as your blogging platform, you can easily put our keyword in your URL by changing the permalink structure. Just go to your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks. Under Common Settings, check “Custom Structure” and put in /%postname%/. Look at the screenshot below as an example:
This will make your post name as your URL instead of the ?123 ugly link. So, make sure that you put in your keyword such as”Dog-Training-Product-Review” (in this example) as your blog post title.
3. Keyword in the Title, Description
and Keyword Meta Tag
The keyword should be placed in the title, description
and keyword meta tag. When you go to a site, you can right click and select “View Page Source” and you can probably find the codes look like the following:
<meta name=”description” content=”keyword in the description”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”keyword1, keyword2…”>
You should have your keyword placed in those 3 meta tags field and have a compelling title & description in order to attract more click through from the search results. Do not simply stuff lots of keyword into those meta tag field just simply for the SEO purpose as this is considered as keywords spam.
The effect of the meta tags of title and description in the SERPs is shown in the picture below:
The title is “How to Train A Dog, dog training tips and techniques for home…” and the description is “Discover how to…”. You can use a free WordPress plugin –
All-In-One-SEO Pack WordPress SEO (Refer to my post on Watch Out If You Are Using All In One SEO Pack) to help you easily set this up without touching the html code. Once you activate the plugin, you can add in the meta title, description and keywords under Posts > Add New, as shown in the following screenshot:
Ideally, the keyword should be placed at the beginning of the Title. If your keyword is “dog training tips”, put in “Dog Training Tips – 8 Ways To Train Your Dog” in your title rather than “8 Dog Training Tips To Help You To Train Your Dog”.
4. Keyword in HEADING Tags
In html, heading tags are used to organize the site’s content and structure. There are <h1>, <h2>…all the way to <h6>. Examples of the heading tags are shown below:
<h1>Dog Training History</h1>
<h2>Different types of Dog Training</h2>
Heading is a great way to be used to organize your content so that it is easy to navigate by the readers. Spend some time to use different headings in your content with your keyword at the beginning of your Heading.
5. Keyword Density
Ideally, you should have a keyword density of 2% to 5%. For example if your blog post is 500 words in total, there should be around 10 to 25 keywords in your blog post. Again, do not simply add keywords into your post so that you achieve the keyword density. Eventually, your post must be read by human, not just for search engine bots.
6. Keyword in the First and Last Sentence
The keyword position does play a role so try to put your keyword in the first and last sentence of your blog post or article.
7. Bold, Italicize and Underline your Keyword
Basically, the rationale behind is to let Google know that the bold, italicized and underlined keyword is the one that you pay attention in your blog post. Hence Google should also target these keyword.
8. Image Should Contain Keyword
How does Google recognize the images you put on your site? They can’t read image so they will rely on the description of the image. Look at the image tag below:
<img src=”image/dogtrainingtips.jpg” alt=”Dog Training Tips” width=”250” height=”250” />
The first description is the file name of the image and the 2nd description is the ALT tag. Based on the description, Google will then know the image is related to dog training tips.
9. Internal Linking of Your Blog Post
Apart from external backlinks, internal linking does play an important role in on page SEO. This can be achieved by
- Linking some keywords within your blog post body to your other relevant blog posts.
- At the bottom of each blog post, include links to related articles within the particular keyword theme.
There is a free WordPress plugin that can assist to put in relevant post at the end of each blog post. You can just download “Yet Another Related Posts Plugin” here and start playing around with it.
10. Add NoFollow Tags to Unimportant Links
We have complete control over our website’s outbound link. So, do not point a link to a link farm or junk site as this will definitely affect the page ranking badly. Also, Any link point to “About Us” & “Contact Us” page should be no follow as well. This will help to conserve internal link juice. All you do is to add a NoFollow Tag as shown below:
<a href=”http://www.YourSite.com/contact-us” rel=”nofollow”> Contact Us</a>
Above mentioned are 10 critical factors to effective on page SEO and you can easily apply to your site immediately. However, do bear in mind that the purpose of your content on your site ultimately is read by human. So make sure it is naturally readable while pleasing the search engine.
Now you are familiar with these 10 critical factors for on page SEO, you can go and implement to your website and I am sure you will see ranking improvement to your site. Next week, I am going to delve into off page optimization. So Stay tune.
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