November 4th, 2009
Search Engine Optimization, Tips, Tools and Tutorials
When developing content pages on your website that you want to rank well in search engines, there are a variety of on page technical SEO factors that tend to help your page rank. Whether you are optimizing one of your services pages, a product page, a blog post, or any other page on your website, it is very important to do your research before attempting to optimize the page. This will include a combination of keyword research and competition research.
Before you can begin optimizing your page, you must begin looking at which keywords will be the best ones to target for that particular page. For conducting keyword research, one of the best free tools out there is Google’s keyword tool. Though there is no real set, step by step method for doing keyword research, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It is important to choose keywords that you can actually rank for. With the vast majority of people who use search engines not looking past the top few results, you will not be doing your website much good unless you have the potential to reach one of these top spots. I would recommend choosing longer tail keyword phrases that will usually have a much higher chance of converting as they are more specific and targeted. For example, a hotel located in Los Angeles will see a much better ROI by targeting a longer tail keyword phrase such as, “Los Angeles Hotel Reservations” versus targeting simply “Hotel.” Generally, the more targeted the phrase, the better ROI you will see from your organic visitors.
Once you begin to narrow down a handful or two of keyword phrases, do a quick search for those phrases in the major search engines and look to see who is currently ranking in the top three spots for those keywords. Using SEO Quake, you should be able to get a good idea if your site will have a chance to rank in spots 1-3 for your keyword phrases based on the domain age, links, page rank, and overall domain authority of your competition. Your goal is to narrow down your choices to about two or three keyword phrases that you have a good chance at ranking for.
Now that you have chosen a good set of keywords to target for your particular page, you can begin implementing the technical SEO components.
Title and Meta Tags
Based on the two or three keywords you have chosen for your page, you must write unique title and Meta tags. Be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases and limit your title to no more than about 68 characters and your description to no more than 165 characters. A good rule of thumb is to keep meta descriptions as objective as possible. Also note that Google does not use the meta keywords tag in it’s ranking algorithm.
Including keyword phrases in your page’s URL is one very important technical SEO aspect that should not be overlooked. Make sure to develop keyword rich URLs using lowercase letters and hyphens. Please note that if you change the URL of an existing page, you will need to 301 redirect the old URL to the new one to preserve the authority of the existing page as well as prevent any broken links on your site. If your site is still using dynamic URLs, you should consider changing this as soon as possible.
For the most part, pages that rank well in search engines have high quality and unique content on them. When writing SEO optimized content, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Headings and Page Formatting
With heading tags being very important on page elements, you want to make sure you incorporate your most important keyword phrase into your H1 tag. Also be sure to make use of additional subheading tags (H2, H3, etc) with your secondary keyword phrases.
Sites that rank well, almost always seem to have a good internal link structure. When optimizing a page, you will need to do two things with regards to internal links. First, link out to other related posts, articles, or pages on your website from the page you are optimizing. Secondly, go back to other related pages on your website and link back to the page you are optimizing.
It is also important to link out to other authoritative websites that support your content. This shows search engines that you are a legitimate resource and betters your chances of ranking well. For example, linking out to leading industry blogs or Wikipedia articles will help improve a pages ability to rank. Additionally, if you have any links on your page that are not adding value to your content, consider placing a nofollow tag on these links.
Another common characteristic of pages that rank well, is that they tend to have properly optimized images and videos that support the page’s content. Including keyword rich file names, alt tags, and descriptions will almost always help your page rank for your desired keyword terms.
Now that your page is setup for success in the search engines, you can begin looking at different ways to promote that content in order to drive traffic to the page and build backlinks. A well optimized page with backlinks and some traffic should have no problem ranking well in search engines.
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