What is the point in having a decent website if it’s no where to be seen and doesn’t get any traffic. Use this basic On-site SEO Starter Guide to help you or your web developer optimise your website for better Search Engine Rankings.
If you are new to SEO and want to know more, you can read up on our What is SEO page here
Domain/URL – If you haven’t yet decided on a name for your web business, then its important that you try and include your keywords in your domain name if possible. Even better if you can get the exact match keyword. Having the keywords in the domain name make it more relevant to search engines and also people will be more likely to click through to your site as it matches what they were searching for.
There is huge debates amongst SEO experts whether this plays a role in ranking or not. We believe this still carries quite a bit of weight or points in the algorithm scoring system.
If you already have a branded website and this doesn’t include your keywords, don’t worry its still possible. Either you setup a separate site with the keywords and use this to promote your brand for redirect traffic or you optimise your brand site elsewhere on-site and offsite for your chosen keywords.
Additional you should also try and structure the pages on your website to include the main keywords you want to rank for. Take this site for example. I wanted a domain name to match what people would be looking for. So I chose seoguide.org.uk as this was available at a good price from a domainer. No other domains were available. I’ve also titled the URLs of my pages with the keywords I want to rank for, so my seo tools page is http://www.seoguide.org.uk/seo-tools/ and you can see I’ve tried to also incorporate the keywords what is seo on this page here http://www.seoguide.org.uk/what-is-seo/. If this helps make the page clearer to users then search engines will love it too because of relevancy.
Domain extension also plays a role. If you are targeting UK customers, then a .co.uk TLD domain extension can usually outrank a .com domain.
Title Tag – Below you will see a snippet showing the Title, URL and Description of the search engine listing. We can change the Title tag or <title>insert chosen title here</title> in the website header code and this will instruct search engines to display this. Without this search engines will decide from the content and code what is best to display.
It’s important to try and put your main keyword near the beginning of the Title.
Meta Description – This is known as the meta description. In the header code again you can specify what you would like the search engines to display. The code will look like this…
<meta name=”description” content=”put your description here, give it a call to action to entice visitors to click through”>
Meta Keywords – like meta description you can let the search engine robots know what your site is about with these meta keywords. These use to play a role in ranking, but there has been a lot of theory to say these are now pointless. As long as this doesn’t affect your overall keyword density, then its worth putting some keywords in here but don’t go overboard.
Heading Tags, H1, H2, H3 etc – This shows Google what the topic of the page is about. Make it meaningful to both the user and the search engine. Try and include your main keywords in the heading tags, or relevant keywords in the sub headings.
Image Alt Tags – Assigning image alt tags to images on your web page can help make your page more relevant what its about and also helps you get extra traffic from image searches! The code will look like this <img src=”/seoimage.jpg” alt=”seo guide”>
Other Factors for onsite SEO are;
Keyword Density – experts and research studies have shown that having to high a keyword density can impact the page ranking. As a guideline it is best to aim for about 2-5% of the overall page content for your chosen keywords.
Unique Content – Make sure you always use original content. Don’t duplicate content from other sites unless you are adding additional value to the user.
Website Hosting – although not on-site, but website hosting plays a role in the performance and reliability of your website. If your hosting is dropping and then your site returns errors then why would a search engine want to rank a website which isn’t going to be good for the visitor.
Additionally if you host your website on shared hosting, you run the risk of being affected if some other sites are using spamming tactics. The shared host will be on the same ip address and this could be blacklisted or filtered in search engines.
File Sizes – Size of the page and the images and how long they take to load. If the page takes too long to load then its not very good for the user. Try to reduce the page speed as much as possible. You can check the speed of your page online at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
You can reduce image sizes using Yahoo’s nifty tool called smush.it