On page search engine optimization is an extremely important part of the overall search engine optimization formula. Some people say it’s half the equation. In reality, it’s more like an entry ticket to compete.
Having your on-page SEO done well isn’t necessarily going to help you topple the #1 position for your keyword. However, if you don’t have your pages well optimized, chances are you won’t rank at all.
Consider it an all-important prerequisite to getting your website ranked on the front page. If you don’t have your on page SEO done properly, chances are you won’t rank at all.
The primary reason you want to do on page SEO is so that Google can accurately tell what your page is about. A poorly optimized page will seem like it’s about everything. A well optimized page on the other hand will tell Google exactly what the page is about, so Google can give you strong rankings for that keyword.
Here’s how to optimize your page for search engines. For the purposes of demonstration, we’ll be using the “All in One SEO” plugin for WordPress for a number of these steps.
Step 1: The Title Tag
The title tag is the most important tag in all of your SEO efforts. It’s what Google places the most weight on when they’re trying to determine what your site is about.
Your title should have as much of your keyword towards the front of the tag as possible.
Different pages on your site should have different title tags. Do not have the same title tag throughout your entire website. If you do, you waste each individual page’s potential to rank for unique keywords.
For example, below is a setup for how your WordPress pages and posts might look like. You can configure your system to by default put post’s title first, then the blog’s name second, rather than the other way around.
Step 2: Meta Description
Your meta description tag doesn’t actually help you rank higher. Instead, what it does is tell Google what to display beneath your search listing. This can help you get a lot more clicks from Google by writing the “right thing” to hook your audience in.
Each page on your site can have a different meta description. You definitely want to write the meta description for your home page and the popular pages on your site yourself. For the pages on your site that aren’t too popular, Google will just take an excerpt from your website and use that as your meta description.
Step 3: Meta Keywords
Your meta keywords tags tell Google what keywords you think your site is relevant for. It doesn’t bear much weight as far as helping you rank goes, but it can really help Google figure out what your site is about. It takes just a minute to do them and is good SEO practice in general.
Step 4: URL Structure
Generally, you want your URL to contain your keyword as much as possible. You never want to use just your post ID or the date as your URL. You should also avoid cryptic URLs that contain data that no human being can read.
If you want to use just your post title as your URL for example, this is how you’d do it in WordPress’ “Permalinks” settings.
Step 5: Image Alt Tags
Optimizing your alt tags plays a much larger part on SEO than a lot of people think. It won’t single handedly help you rank, but it is an important factor for your on page SEO.
Give the images on your site good alt tags. Make sure the filenames are meaningful and make sure that your alt tags are descriptive. If you have purely navigational images on your site, such as white space or button backgrounds, name them numbers (111.jpg) rather than a text based keyword.
In WordPress, you can change the alt tag of images by going to that image’s preferences.
Step 6: Noindex Non-Content Pages
You should noindex your non-content pages. Your affiliate pages, your category pages, your archives and so on should all be noindexed. This is particularly true if those pages contain duplicate content. On most blogs, category and archive pages are mostly duplicate content so you definitely want to noindex those pages.
Step 7: Internal Linking
Internal linking is one of the most crucial factors you could pay attention to for your SEO.
Make sure you have links going from all your content pages to other pages on your site. Embed these links within your actual content, or within links on the site or bottom of the article.
Things like “You May Like” boxes or “Related Posts” boxes are all good choices.
Step 8: Have a Robots.txt
A robots.txt just tells search engines where to go and where not to go. This is a good way to disallow search engine spiders from going where they’re not supposed to.
This can help you keep the areas you don’t want from ranking out of the search engines. For example, you probably don’t want the paid areas of your site indexed and shown in the Google search engines.
Step 9: Low Ad to Content Ratio
One factor that’s become more prominent since the Google Panda and Panda 2.0 updates is the ad to content ratio on your website. As the name suggests, the idea is to avoid stuffing your site with ads.
Google knows that great websites tend to only have a few ads on their pages. On the other hand, people who focus too much on milking their visitors for as much cash as possible tend to produce lower quality content.
So, therefore, pages with more ads tend to rank lower. Of course, you do need to make money – Just limit your ads to one or two per page, rather than spamming ads all over the place.
Step 10: Regular, Fresh, High Quality Content
Finally, it all comes down to content and content quality. Google is looking to promote websites with high quality content.
Produce fresh content as often as possible. The more fresh content you have, the higher your chances of ranking.
These are the most important on page factors to pay attention to in search engine optimization. Get your on page optimization right before you try and topple your competition.