- Adding HTML Comments
In HTML, you can add comments that aren’t displayed to the user but that show up in the source code. Try adding in 2-4 comments that have your keyword phrases in them (along with some other words) throughout the body of your HTML source code. Again, this isn’t something you should look over, but each little thing you do gets you one step closer to the top in search engine.
- Directory Structure & Domain Name
When most people choose a domain, they don’t generally perform keyword research first to determine what their best keyword phrase is so they can ensure those keywords are in the URL. Maybe they should. Considering Google and other engines care most about relevancy and given the elements that they have at their disposal to determine relevancy, having a url, filename and path with your keyword phrases in it can’t hurt your cause at all.
Think about it. If Google has two web sites, all other things being equal, that it needs to choose from to return for a search done on “WWII ”, which one do you think it finds more relevant:
I know which one I’d choose; and I also know which one the SE’s (search engines) will choose as well!
- Internal Linking Structure
Another factor that shows Google what level of importance you place on certain phrases is what text you use in hyperlinks (this text that the user clicks on is called anchor text). We see this very clearly in external inbound links to your site and the same holds true for the links you have internally leading your visitors to the various pages on your site.
Think small changes here. For example, replace the anchor text named “Products” that leads a visitor to your product page with “Weight Loss Products” if you sell weight loss products. Also, if your site design allows it (and most do quite well these days), replace images in your navigation with text. This gives you more linking real estate to work with and if you use style sheets properly, your navigation elements will still look wonderful.
- Image Alt Tags
This one is sort of famous and can be overdone quite easily. Every image on your site uses the <img>tag to display it. The alt attribute of this tag used to be use primarily in the early days of the internet when folks would quite frequently turn off images in their browser so that pages would load faster on the super slow connection speeds that were common at the time. The alt attribute of the <img>tag was the way of telling your user using a short text description, what they would have seen if they image displayed. Today everyone displays images and so having text here is still only valuable for one thing: seo.
Now, while this is an effective technique to tell Google what your content is about, you shouldn’t go crazy with this one. Reserve this for more significant images on the page such as logo, header image and important body/content images. The only exception to this is if for whatever reason you absolutely can’t or won’t replace navigation images with text. In this case, use alt text for each nav image as well.
5. Site Load Time & Good Neighborhood
This isn’t one that people talk about a lot, but since it impacts rankings, we will. Picture it: two sites with all other things being equal; one loads in under 2 seconds and the other takes just under 30 seconds to load. Which one should rank higher? Yep, you guessed it…the quicker site gets the nod. Tips for improvement here are straightforward; optimize all site images, get the best hosting you can afford, and keep large slow loading files/functionality separate from your optimized content.
Another consideration here that is sort of along the same lines is your sites “neighborhood”. Just as location, location, location is the most critical factor in the housing market, likewise it affects your rankings if your site is in a bad neighborhood. Here’s how. If your site is hosted on the same IP block as a known spammer or a blacklisted server, Google doesn’t KNOW that you are bad, but they have to guess that if your neighbors are bad, you MIGHT be. Again, it’s not so much about receiving a penalty here, as much as it is not getting the nod.
- Meta Keyword & Description Tags
Use meta tags or not to use meta tags…that is the question. This is quite possibly one of the most misunderstood yet highly talked about techniques out there. Listen, let’s look at the facts; will Google or any other engine give this tag supreme importance over all other tags when going through their algorithm? Thanks to blackhat keyword spamming on these tags…the answer is NO, not ever again. BUT, does that mean that they aren’t read and used for indexing?
You need to take every opportunity you have to plead your case as to why your page should be granted one of the top 10 spots when someone types that phrase in one of the major SE’s. These tags are no exception. The key here is keyword density. You want a high keyword density, and you want to get it from keeping things short. DO NOT under any circumstances use the keyword tag as an opportunity to simply list out all 400 keyword phrases you wanted to optimize for when you did your research. For each page of your site, you should choose between 2-4 keyword phrases that you will optimize that page for. Those are the phrases that go in your keyword tag and that will be used in your description tag as well.
- Bold, Italicize, & Underline Keyword Phrases
As SE’s scan down your pages, they are trying to determine the importance you’re giving to the phrases in your content. One way to help them along is to randomly “add emphasis” to your keyword phrases as you write your content. Using bold, italics and underlining will do just that. You should use all three sporadically, but due to the useability issues with having something underlined and people thinking it should be clickable, focus on just bold and italics most of the time.
- Scatter Keyword Phrases Throughout Your Content
This tip was born due to some of the blackhat SEO tricks like loading up on keywords either in the beginning of the page or at the end of the page. But it also just makes good common sense as to why it would help you rank higher for a keyword phrase. Spreading out your keyword phrases all over your page says to the search engines that your message to your users is consistent with the message your sending to them. Evenly disperse them if you can, but keep one important tip in mind: try to have at least 2 of your main keyword phrases found in the 1st 25 words and the last 25 words of your site.
- H1 & H2 Tags
This is another one that stems back from “the old days” with how web pages were written and read. Before streaming content, image laden and extremely visually appealing pages, and in an age where 28.8k speeds were flying, the internet use to be white papers or mostly text documents that needed organization and flow. The method used to give those documents that organization was the use of header tags. The idea is this; in a page, the main idea or title is in the H1 tag and the second most important thought is in the H2 tag and so on down to H7. For SEO, we only care about H1 and H2 tags. I do occasionally use H3 tags as well, but I’ve not seen any proof it helps rankings…I do it for asthetics.
You should always include your main keyword phrase within an H1 header tag. In addition, try to place your H1 header tag towards the top of your website (preferably the top left hand portion of your page).
As for H2 tags, they should always come after the H1 tag and should also include another one of your top keyword phrases for the page. If at all possible, if you can include ONLY your main keyword in both the H1 tag and H2 tag, that would benefit you the most due to the keyword density those tags would have, however sprinkling a few other words in to make sense won’t hurt you.
- Title Tag
And we’re down to number 10; which in our case is the most important on-page optimization technique you can use for your sites pages; the HTML Title Tag. This one tag tells the SE’s in one small sentence what the entire page is going to be about. It’s the thesis statement if you will for the page. Think of it as an introduction: “Google, meet pagename. This page is about…”. The keywords your page is going to be optimized for should go in this tag and very little else. The best way to accomplish this while maintianing a title that is human friendly is to separate your keywords with pipes (|) or some other divider. So if you’ve chosen 3 keyword phrases to optimize that page for, you’d make your title tag look like this:
KW Phrase 1 | KW Phrase 2 | KW Phrase 3
This is very powerful in that it gives your title tag very high keyword density for each phrase, especially if one keyword phrase is contained within another one