Search engine optimisation (SEO) is usually divided into two sections, on-page and off-page optimisation techniques. In basic terms, on-page optimisation deals with everything that can be done to help boost your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs) on the actual website and webpages.
Off-page optimisation is aimed at aspects that take place elsewhere such as the quality and relevance of your backlinks. To get the most out of your SEO campaign you should take both into account, but the importance of complete on-page optimisation cannot be overstated.
Below we outline the on-page optimisation techniques that are still valid in 2013 after Google’s much loved Panda and Penguin updates.
Choosing the correct keywords is crucial to help the search engines determine your website’s ranking. They are the phrases that people use when searching for a site, meaning that without them, how would your website rank?
You must approach you keywords with caution though. The recent Penguin update to Google’s search algorithm was mainly aimed at fighting keyword stuffing, among other issues. Keyword repetition, if done within reasonable parameters, is not considered a black hat technique, but its efficacy is certainly debatable.
When a search engine analyses your site, they pay a lot of attention to what lies between the HTML heading tags, especially <H1>, <H2>, and <H3>. In other words, titles and subtitles are important positions for keywords.
It is important to not just use these heading tags on your homepage. For every page on your website you should have a <h1> or <h2> or <h3> that has that page’s main keyword within it.
The URL of a webpage can be one of the most important factors of on-page optimisation. Also changing your URL structure further down the line can cause issues and confusion for search engines, so it is important to get it right from the start. Including your targeted keyword or key-phrase in the URL is crucial as it canhelp the search engines rank the page. Also Google and Yahoo will display the portions of your URL that match the search term entered in bold in the SERPs, which can help your website stand out from the others.
You should avoid (where possible) overly dynamic URLs as these can be off-putting in the search results. All of your URLs should be set up in a logical way that gives someone an idea to what you can expect from the content of that page.
An example for a good URL for a page targeting the key-phrase “Web Design Company” would be:
An example of a bad URL would be:
Meta tags are used to inform search engines on how a particular webpage should be indexed. Optimising your title tag and the description meta tag can be useful in providing additional information to the search engines. But you must bear in mind that using the keyword meta tag can sometimes do more harm than good.
SEO has changed over time and will continue to change as the needs and habits of users change. That said, the purpose and principle of SEO is still the same. On-page optimisation is definitely one of the most important factors and you must try to focus your efforts on creating quality content on a well constructed site. And most of all, be patient. A good search engine position will not happen over night!