On-Page Optimisation -- a usefull guide

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization and Marketing' started by orangecopper, May 6, 2009.

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  1. orangecopper

    orangecopper New Member

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    It's an often asked question on the forums: what is on-page optimisation -- so here's a quick guide to what does and doesn't work. The intention is to dispel some common myths and to focus on those things that can provide a tangible improvement to your search result positions. It's not intended to be a one-stop shop for on-page SEO knowledge -- that would be beyond the scope of a single post.

    So what is on-page (or on-site) optimisation. This basically encompasses all those factors and elements on the page itself that can help you rank better. This are things that you have direct control over, unlike off-page (or off-site) optimisation where, although you can influence them, you're not in direct control as you're dependent on another site/webmaster.

    Head Elements <head></head>

    Title Element <title></title>

    This is perhaps the singularly most important element on the page for determining your position in the SERPs. Google, Yahoo! and MSN place a great deal of weight on any terms that appear within the title, so it's worth spending some time thinking about it.

    1) Keep it concise. The more terms you have in the title, then theoretically the less weight gets passed to each. Too short and you could miss out on some additional terms, too long and you start to lose the value. Quite often you'll see sites that try to include all their targeted keywords in the homepage title -- don't do it. Instead, have a dedicated page for each term where you can focus the title and page contents on just that term. Most sites will have more traffic landing on inner pages than the homepage, so there's just no need to try and get all your keywords on the one page.

    2) Don't repeat keywords unnecessarily. You get no additional benefit from repeating keywords and if done excessively it can end up looking ridiculous to potential visitors (see point 3 below). Take for example a title such as "Widgets - Red Widgets, Blue Widgets, White Widgets | Widget Store". This could easily be rewritten as "Red, White and Blue Widgets from the Widget Store", as well as several other possible variations.

    3) Let it read well. The title of your site in the search results will almost always be taken from the content of the title element on the page. It's important therefore that it reads well for any potential visitors. There's no point ranking #1 if you're going to lose visitors because your title puts them off. Such problems could be caused by excessive repetition (making it look spammy) for example.

    4) Including your site name. This is very much down to personal preference. Some like to include the site name in every title throughout the site, others only on the homepage. If your site has particularly good branding and is already well known then it may be worth including on every page -- those searching may be encouraged to select your listing in the search results by being reassured by the presence of your brand in the title. For most sites though it is of questionable value. Your homepage should be the main page that ranks for your site's name, thus repeating it across all pages will have no real benefit in terms of SEO, and all the while you're potentially reducing the weight of the other keywords (see point 1 above).

    5) Keep it unique. Often you see sites where the same title is repeated throughout (these tend to be dynamic sites that use a common header without the ability to adjust the title). This is a criminal waste of potential. Given the value of the title element, each page should have a title that isn't repeated elsewhere within the site. The title should be targeted to the contents of that page alone.

    6) WOW!! - Look, FREE Advice. As already mentioned, titles are there for potential visitors and not just search engines. When creating titles, also consider the benefit of terms that catch the eye when they appear in the SERPs, eg WOW, FREE, LOOK, NOW. Although they may not have any ranking benefit (sometimes, but not always), it could make your title stand out enough against those of your competitors to get the click-through even if you rank lower. EGOL wrote a post about this some time ago: Three Secrets to making a LOT more money!.

    7) Synonyms. If you're struggling to compete for a particular search query, don't discount the value of targeting a slightly less competitive synonym in your title for a while. It could result in more traffic than ranking lower for a more popular term, and your page will still have relevance to the original keyword. With more traffic comes the potential for more links, strengthening the page so that later you may be in a better position to compete for the original keyword.

    Meta Keywords <meta name="keywords" content="" />

    Here we go with the first of the misconceptions. Meta keywords have no real-world effect on your SERPs. Let's repeat that so it really sinks in: meta keywords have no real-world effect on your SERPs.

    When search engines first appeared way back in the very early days of the internet, they were very basic at best and a far cry from the search engines we know today. It wasn't long before SEOs started manipulating their meta keyword tags, stuffing them full of unrelated terms and generally abusing their original purpose. Search engines therefore counteracted this by ignoring meta keywords in their ranking algorithms. When Google came onto the scene, meta keywords were already out of use for determining relevancy and ranking positions.

    Unfortunately, the perceived value of meta keywords has still persisted against all evidence to the contrary. Often an argument is put forward that if they don't hurt, why not use them. They do hurt your time though -- spending 5 minutes per page working on a meta keywords list adds up. On a ten page site that's nearly an hour, on a hundred page site that's a full working day! If you've got that much time to waste needlessly you need to find yourself a hobby!

    Another frequently asked question is "how do I format the keywords". Should they be comma separated, commas with spaces, one word or multi word terms, etc. Since meta keywords don't affect your ranks and play no part in SEO, it really doesn't make any difference. Just leave them out, then you don't need to worry. Instead worry about how much content your competitors developed while you were dwelling on your meta keywords.

    Meta Description <meta name="description" content="" />


    Where the meta description is still used is as a potential source for the page description that appears in the search results. Great, so a well crafted meta description can give us a nice boost in click-through when our site appears for a search; where's the contention there? I'm glad you asked -- read on.

    As already mentioned, the meta description is just one potential source for the search engines. The main search engines all have the ability to create snippets -- taking one or two highly relevant strings from the page content and formatting it into a description, emphasising the searched terms in the process. The page content isn't restricted to a small number of characters as is the meta description, with the resultant benefit that you can include far more possible search matches than you ever could with a meta description. The page content also has the added benefit that it does contribute towards relevancy and ranking, unlike the meta tag. If we allow the search engines to create our description for us out of our content, there is a much greater chance that the description will be more accurately matched to the search term. Don't forget that your pages will naturally rank for many more search terms than you can anticipate, and there is no way you can craft a meta description that will be relevant for all of them.

    So why then don't we create a meta description as a catch-all for those times that the search engines can't create a good snippet from our content? Well you can, but ultimately you're hiding the problem -- the problem that your content isn't optimised for that search term. Far better to take a look at the content and adjust it where necessary (either editing the existing text, or creating new content), with the added benefit that improving it will also potentially help your rankings.

    Ok, so I've removed the meta description tag from my page, but now when it appears for a site: search in Google, all I get as the description is the main navigation links, how is that supposed to be helpful and what to do about it? Well, you needn't do anything really. Those navigation links are appearing because they're the first thing on the page, and without a search term in the query there's nothing to base a snippet on, ergo Google just uses the first piece of content. How many people though come to your site via a simple site: search rather than using a search term? I would suggest that almost none do, and that the only person that does a site: search is yourself. Potentially a competitor might, but then they're not going to be a beneficial visitor that buys something, or clicks on your ads, etc. If you really are concerned about your navigation appearing thus, then move it. Adjust the layout and make sure that it's your content that appears first in the page structure and the navigation later --again, resolving the underlying issue rather than relying on a meta description to cover it up.


    cheers
    Josh
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  2. bailey.rein

    bailey.rein New Member

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    These really helps.. Thanks for the information.. Now that I know about On-page.. What about the other type - the Off-Page? What are there differences?
     
  3. mrandrei

    mrandrei New Member

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    Very comprehensive explanation, but it lacks info on keyword research and competition analysis.
     
  4. jacksan

    jacksan New Member

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    Pretty nice information you have shared... Thanks for the post. Keep on posting.
     
  5. jillhandley

    jillhandley New Member

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    Pretty basic information. But thanks for the outline.
     
  6. moonheart

    moonheart New Member

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    Now its no longer valuable for search engine like google.
     
  7. seo_websavvy

    seo_websavvy New Member

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    nice information! thanks
     
  8. lauryn tom

    lauryn tom New Member

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    this is really helpful... most SEO specialists would concentrate more on off page optimization.. often neglecting on page when in fact there's already a lot of efforts that can be done within the page
     
  9. jamesparker

    jamesparker Banned

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    After implementation of all these On-Page Optimization on your website, you will have to wait for certain period of time to see the results of all these changes.
    I have properly defined all these 0n-page optimization on my website. http://www.sybotechnologies.com.
    Now i am waiting for the results.
     
  10. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    On-Page Optimization (done within the site) deals with the proper use of title tags, description, meta tags, alt attributes, keywords and heading tags.
     
  11. orangecopper

    orangecopper New Member

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    Hmm reagarding your question ..on page SEO is basically what all you would be able to do on your webpage like metatags, keywords, desc etc... off page optimization is basically link building and seo submissions

    thank you guys for your comments, it could be helpful of learners and people who would like to share your thoughts on SEO on my blog here
     
  12. alfredwinston

    alfredwinston Banned

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    On-page optimization is nothing but techniques that you bring in, while designing the web pages, that are helpful in making the pages Search Engine Friendly. Search engines are trying to provide their users with the most relevant sites for any particular query.
     
  13. zen

    zen New Member

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    Nice information about seo on page, I like the post. An addition to my seo knowledge.
     
  14. ellehc

    ellehc Banned

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    Thanks for the useful info!
     
  15. alfredwinston

    alfredwinston Banned

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    google keyword tools and seobook.com keyword tool is best
     
  16. jasontn

    jasontn New Member

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    I think the most important aspect of on page optimisation it the title. Usually, you cannot rank for a term unless you have that term in the title.

    In addition, I think adding content is equally important. Your site cannot gain PR or authority unless you have a lot of content. If you don't have PR then it's difficult to get link exchanges.

    Of course, a lot of people say the content should be unique. I won't comment on that. However, I'd stick with unique content to be on the safe side.
     
  17. bluecollar01

    bluecollar01 New Member

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    Don't forget setting your .htaccess file with a 301 redirect so that the search engines see www.domain.com and domain.com as the same site. That way you get full credit for all inbound links rather than having them split. hope this helps.
     
  18. sivakumar

    sivakumar New Member

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    Few points for on page Optimization Here I am pointing towards few points which plays very important part in On Page Optimization..

    1.HTML Tags
    2. Code Structure
    3. Title Optimization
    4. Internal Linking Structure
    5. Meta Tags Optimization
    6. Alt Attributes
    7. Keyword Optimization & Synonyms
    8. Image Optimization
    9. Link Optimization
     
  19. atco123

    atco123 New Member

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    on page seo

    thanks for sharing information
     
  20. dinesh_Sharma

    dinesh_Sharma New Member

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    Thanks for sharing us informative information. Its trully helpful. I really like it.
     
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