SEO On-Page Optimisation

Martyn Talbot

Published Fri 30 May by Martyn Talbot in Perfecting Your Website's Design

This article on Search Engine Optimisation On-Page Factors, describes how you can determine using on-page factors what keywords you are found for in Search Engines including Google.

On-page factors refer to what you do on your website to help or harm your rankings. In general, on page factors help to decide WHAT keywords you get found for. On-page factors that are fully in your control include:

  • Keywords: Keywords are the words or phrases that a person will type into a search box in a search engine to find a website that is relevant to the product or service they are looking for. Keywords your website is optimised for, need to correlate with the keywords your customers will type into a search engine to find your service.
  • Page structure: Structure your page so that the Google spider will read your unique content first.
  • Meta-tags (invisible tags): The labels that you give your web pages. Search engines scan them to see what information the pages contain. They are invisible to browsers but nevertheless very important. Each page on your website needs its own unique set of meta-tags. Duplicate tags can damage your Google rankings.
  • Visible tags: Heading tags and list items, links and paragraphs: all of which are clearly visible on your web pages.
  • Content: It would also appear that the "freshness" of our content can have a positive effect on your Google ranking. Well managed sites tend to have regular updates, new products, services and information.

Keywords: Short and Long-Tailed

The less competitive your keywords are, the higher you will be ranked in search engines. It is essential to strike a healthy balance because it is also pointless to choose keywords/phrases that have little search traffic.

Keywords can be divided into two groups: Short Tail and Long Tail.

Short tail keywords are usually short, generic words relating to a site or subject. For example “photography”. More people search for this term in Google but also more sites use it so there is less chance you will get a click through from this result due to the high level of competition.

Long tail keywords have longer, specific phrase or words relating to a site or subject. For example “wedding photography”. Less people search for this term in Google but also (and more importantly) less sites use it so there is more chance you will get a click through from this result due to the lack of competition.

Page Structure

  • HTML Structure: Format your site so that the search engine spider reads your content first. The search engine spider crawls your site from top to bottom and indexes it.
  • Internal linking: Make sure your internal pages link with each other and use keywords, easy for browsers to navigate your site.
  • Flash and javascript: The Google spider does not read/see it so don't have too much on your home page.
  • Site maps: Indexes your website. Important to keep it updated and use keywords for SEO.

Meta Tags Explained

  • Title tags: These tell Google (or any other search engine) what the main theme of your page is. For best SEO results:
  1. Limit your title tags to 7 words and no more than 65 characters (including spaces)
  2. Always place your keywords/phrases in your title tag (but remember to make them sound flowing and natural)
  3. Place your company name within your title tag
  4. Use a post | to separate distinct phrases. Each title tag should be related, but they must be unique (duplicate material is spotted by Google and may be penalised)
  • Description tags: These appear under the website title in the Google search engine results listing. For SEO:
  1. Make your keywords appear natural.
  2. Your description tag should be compelling (encouraging visitors to click through to your site).
  3. Your description tag should describe accurately what users will find when they click through to your page.
  • Author tag: This shows that the content belongs to you/your company, reduces plagiarism, search engines like them as it signals content is legitimate and original.
  • Robots tag: Helps Google index your site/ find original content.
  • Alt tag: Text appears when you hover over an image or logo on your website. Important for users who have disabilities to be able to read/navigate your website. Make sure you include your Keyword phrase and the word 'image' on your alt tags!

Visible Tags

Visible tags format the content of your page that your users see.

  • Heading tags: Search engines favour them because they indicate that the content has importance and substance. Try to use at least one h1 tag on the pages you are trying to optimise. Don't overdo heading tags! Restrict yourself to between 1-3 heading tags per page. They must appear natural and aligned with the flow of your content. Place keywords in your heading tags.
  • Lists: Slightly indented from the main heading either bulleted or numbered. For SEO keywords need to be included in lists
  • Links: important to use keywords as your links. Links labelled 'Click here' or 'Read more' mean nothing to Google and other search engines!

What do you think? Use our comments section below to share your ideas and suggestions.

Want to ask us anything, about the issues raised in this article, or anything else web-related? Visit our ask an expert page!

1 Comment on SEO On-Page Optimisation

  • Left at 12:56 Jeanette Helen Wilson

    SEO is something that most website owners want to know about, and you have explained it really well here, Martyn. The On-Page factors are very technical and it can be quite scary for those without technical training in web design, so it is useful to have it explained in plain English!

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