The Basics of On Page SEO
Ok, so you have your keyword list ready, so now what? Lets take it step by step, editing the four key zones that make for good SEO.
This isn’t the title of the article or page but rather the title that appears in your browser window. If you’re editing HTML, then your title tag (found in HTML view) should look something like this:
<title>SiteSparker | Free Search Engine Tips and Resources</title>
Make sure not to go over 60-65 characters and write it like a news headline, capitalizing each word in the sentence. The headline should have one or more keywords that match the content on the page and should be written in a catchy way so that people will want to click on it — this will be the link that people see in Google, so make it pay!
Bad Example: Good search engine tips
Good Example: SiteSparker | Free Search Engine Tips and Resources
This is what you see when you’re searching in Google — it appears below the big blue link. You could have one description for your site, but it’s better if you use a different one for each page since it allows you to use more keywords and allows you to optimize each page for different keywords.
Descriptions should be written in sentence form; no more than 160 characters. You can usually fit two sentences and it becomes an interesting challenge to see how many keywords you can get in one description!
Here’s an example of the description meta tag (if you’re editing HTML):
<meta name=”Description” content=”Overwhelmed by complicated explanations of SEO? This page explains search engine optimization for your web page by writing keywords into the Four Key Zones.”>
Note that the Headings above (both the Page Title and other Headings) are a little bigger and bolder than the rest of the text on the page? That’s because we set those phrases to use a Heading3 or H3 tag in most text editors. Headings are a significant source of Google page analysis, so don’t overlook these sections of the page as you can really nail some good keywords here.
Headings are great to break up a lot of text with some great, keyword-rich phrases, but don’t forget to set them to H2, H3 or H4 in your text editor! Just making the text bold and larger will NOT WORK.
It’s also good to think of your content and headings in a hierarchical flow – the most important keywords at the top and more obscure phrases at the bottom. Additionally, creating a hierarchy so that you have H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags going down the page.
You might think that repeating the words “body copy” in a sentence after you’ve already written “body copy” in the heading is redundant, but from an SEO perspective, its actually really important. Because, in Google’s eyes, it increases the possibility that your content really is about the subject you’re writing. So if I was trying to rank for the term “body copy” then it’s good that I have it written on the page in an H3 heading as well as several times on the page. Our only words of advice are don’t go too crazy with the repetition (because Google considers that spam) so always make it sound natural.
To sum up, if you want your page to show up in Google, you need to write a good keyword phrase into the Four Key Zones – Title, Description, Headings and Body Copy. Make sure you repeat your keywords a lot, but always naturally! (Google is getting more sophisticated daily so they’re getting better and better at detecting fake content.)
Most of all, you should have fun. It can be a little tedious at first, trying to keep track of these four target areas, but as you get used to it, the easier it gets!