Business owners have to face many harsh realities and the one that is most elusive is website SEO. The issue of SEO is a key factor that makes or breaks a company’s website. The reason is simple – if your website can’t be found, it is of no use to anyone. That’s when quality SEO makes a huge difference, by allowing visitors to flood into your website at a steady rate.
It is important to understand that “search engine optimization” consists of two parts – On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO. Opinion on which one of these is more important varies, but it is a proven fact that they are both crucial for a successful website. We will cover Off-Site SEO in a future article.
In this article, we will talk about the different aspects of “On-Site SEO” (also known as Onpage optimization). On its most basic level, On-Site SEO represents all the tools that the web-developer wields in order to improve the website’s ranking and make it easily findable by potential clients.
On-Site SEO consists of a large number of components. Each one plays a different role in helping your site reach the first page in search engine results. You want Google and other search engines to deliver your site on the first page for the highest possible visibility.
Website content (pages, blog posts, articles etc.)
This part is obvious, yet it’s still the most important one, and often looked over. If you’re a beginner in search engine optimization, the first thing you have to do is to stop worrying about the ever-changing algorithms of Google and Bing and instead focus on creating high-quality website content, since it is the foundation of further On-Site optimization.
Title, Meta Description, Keywords, H1, H2
Each page and blog post has “Meta tags.” These tags are not complex, they are a line of HTML that includes basic information about the page. For example the “Title” meta tag contains the name of the page, Description – is the description on the page, it also has the added benefit to being the description of the page when it is pulled up by search engines like Google.
You may have heard the phrase “keywords” and there is a meta tag for that too, albeit has been rendered pretty insignificant. The proper way to focus on keywords is to use them effectively and naturally in your content. It’s important to keep track of keyword placement in your text. (Too few or too many – and this page is less likely to be indexed by search engines).
“H1” or “H2” stands for heading one or heading two. Again it comes from HTML, its important to understand that these should be used and be used with intention, they serve as a headlines that help create a hierarchical structure on the page.
User Interface & Visual Design
Even though visual design is important, we highly recommended that you go easy on the usage of Flash elements on your website. Although it might look good, search engines cannot read Flash. In addition many newer browsers will not even load Flash-based pages without specific instruction from the person looking at the site. Honestly, from our point of view… Flash is dead, let it RIP.
Inner-linking and cross-referencing content helps both your On-Site SEO and allows visitors to better navigate through your website. A well-structured website is crucial in welcoming new potential clients.
Alt. tags for images
So often forgotten, but extremely important, are “alt” tags. They are an alternative source of description for your images, as they allow them to be found via various search engines. Additionally they are used by screen readers for the visually impaired to understand what an image or logo is presenting. Good “alt” tags contain keywords relevant to the image and the content of the page.
The Other Stuff
Other on page SEO things to remember are website load time, URL structure (how readable the URL is), website site map, robots.txt (a small file that tells search engines how to read your website), and 301 redirects (a way of telling search engines that “yoursite.com” and “www.yoursite.com” are the same site) and the newest fashion is called microdata or schema (a type of data layout that tells search engines about the page, they are more complex then the meta tags we mentioned above).
If you manage to implement these elements of On-Site search engine optimization, you’re setting yourself up for a successful website launch. If you’re not sure how to bring some of these aspects to life, let us know, we will be happy to help you along the way.