If you have invested a lot of time in your keyword research you need to ensure that you don’t waste that when it comes to crafting great pages. The on page SEO factors are crucial to good rankings and the more effort you put into your pages the more likely they are to rank well.
People often invest all their time and effort on the home page – and maybe a couple of landing pages – but if you apply these tactics across your site you are more likely to get further search engine visibility.
For this example we shall say that Hallam actually runs a Cheese Shop. Within this cheese shop we sell a variety of cheeses – blue cheese, soft cheeses, hard cheeses, goats cheese and sheep’s cheese. Each of these should have dedicated category page which should be well optimised and serve as a path to your particular cheeses.
We shall take the ‘blue cheeses’ category as our example and look at the critical on page SEO factors that you need to make use of to help that deep page rank for the phrase ‘blue cheeses’.
Making a great SEO page
*What follows is not meant to be an exhaustive list, merely some guidelines on what we know Google is looking at, what Google MAY be looking at and what makes a great user experience for your visitors.*
Title Tag – You have 65 character to play with here so use them wisely. Include your main keywords at the front of the Title Tag as prominence is important. Leave you brand until the end and make sure that it doesn’t look spammy.
Meta Description – You have 155 characters to play with on your Meta Description. It won’t directly influence your rankings but plays a large part in convincing people to click through to your site. Include you important keywords as Google will show these in bold, convincing searchers that your page is relevant. You should also include a strong marketing message.
URL – Include your keyword here if possible, keep it fairly short and descriptive and use hyphens as a separator.
Mention of Keyword in Body – There are no hard rules here but you should include your main keywords three or four times in a 500 word document. Don’t be tempted to cram loads in and remember to check that it reads well to humans.
Variation the Keyword – Use synonyms and related words, Google will be looking for topical relevance. Use the Google Wonder Wheel, Google Instant and related searchers to see what words Google thinks are related to your main keyword.
Heading Tags (h1, h2 and so on) – Whilst heading tags are not as important as once thought they still play a small part in the algorithm. Make sure your <h1> includes your keywords and other headings are thematically related and useful for the visitor.
Bold and Italic – Again Google only uses bold and italics as a small part of the ranking algorithm. Use them very sparingly on important keywords.
Alt Tags – Alt Tags are the words that site behind any given image on a web page. Include keywords but make sure they describe they describe the image accurately as they are used by people with disabilities via screen readers.
Image Filename – When creating the images for your site ensure that your image filename is keyword rich and descriptive. Imagine all these little tasks part of the big jigsaw that comes together to aid your rankings.
Internal Links – We all know the importance of external links and anchor text, but this tactic should be used on your internal links as well. It also allows you point users to other relevant pages on your site.
External Links to Great Content – There is some debate as to whether this helps your rankings or not. However part of a great user experience is pointing your visitors to other great, related content on the web. If it helps the user and Google needs to give great relevant results it, at the very least, aids in creating useful pages.
Aesthetically Pleasing and Simple – With the recent Panda Update and the inclusion of Page Previews in the search results we suspect that Google is now looking at the look and feel sites. As a user do you want an easy to navigate site that is beautiful to look at or a big unstructured mess?
Include Multi Media – I am a big believer in including great visuals, videos, graphs and all sorts of little extras that distinguish your site from the crowd. This is crucial on ecommerce sites especially, where many sites are selling exactly the same products. Make your pages stand out and be noticed
Social Sharing – With Google and Bing both admitting that they are starting to use social signals in the algorithms (although the debate rages on) you cannot afford not to have some form of social sharing buttons on your site.
A great resource on ranking factors:
SEOmoz Ranking Factors – This is the 2009 version, the new one is due out soon!
Susan Hallam on ‘Getting Found in Google’
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