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Search engine optimization guide

On Page Optimization – How to optimize your website for a certain keyword or phrase
From the Day 1 guide you should have decided on which keyword or phrase you want to target. This guide will walk you through the process of optimising your website for your target word or phrase. There are various ways of doing this:
- Meta tags
- Title Tag
- Body Text
- Headings
- Image alt text
Meta Tags:
Meta tags were used extensively by search engines in order to rank websites in the results, but nowadays they have very little or zero power in determining your ranking. So why use them you might well ask. Well, usually the search engines display a short description of each web page listed in the results. If you enter a meta description tag then the search engines sometimes use this as the description displayed in the search engines result pages (SERPs). I personally would like to be able to enter a description for my site, rather than the search engine create one using the body text of my website.

Meta tags are placed in the section of your web page. The two meta tags that are concerned with SEO are the meta description and meta keywords tags. You should try to enter your target word or phrase in the keywords and description meta tags.

The Title Tag
The title tag is a very important. Why? Because you only enter one title tag, and it’s quite short in length, so it can be deemed to be an accurate representation of what the web page topic is.

From an SEO perspective you should always enter your keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible, this will give the keyword more ‘prominence’. You should also try to keep your title tag as short as possible, this will give each word in the title tag more ‘weight’.

Body Text
The actual content, or body text of your web page is an important factor of on-page optimization. To optimize your body text you should try to use your keyword frequently throughout so that it accounts for 4-5% of all of the words on your website. It is also a good idea to try to include your keyword in bold or italics to give additional weight to the keyword. You should also try to place your keyword as close to the beginning of your body text as possible, certainly in the first paragraph of text. Ideally your keyword will be the first word in your body text.

One important thing to remember is not to go overboard and mention your keyword every other word. This is known as keyword stuffing, and the search engines certainly don’t like this as it is seen as an attempt to spam and your site could actually be penalised, or even worse – banned! You should also never use text which is the same colour as the background of your web page (so that it is invisible or hidden), nor should you ever use tiny text, both of these can also be seen as an attempt to spam the search engine and could lead to a ban.

HTML headings, e.g. , , are important when it comes to on page optimization. The headings carry special weight with many search engines. The same rules apply to the headings as applies to the tag: –

Ensure your keyword is present in the heading
Try to get your keyword as near the beginning of the heading as possible
Keep the heading as short as possible to ensure maximum weight is given to your keyword
It is generally good practice to only have one tag per page, so in some respects this is the most important heading to be optimized for your keyword.

A common mistake I see is that people use graphics for their headings – don’t! Sure they might look pretty, but they mean zip to the search engines – they can’t interpret graphics or read what they say. If you want to make your headings look more attractive then by all means use CSS to make the heading look more aesthetically pleasing, but do not use graphics, it’s a waste of an opportunity!

Image Alt Text
Image alt (alternate) text is an attribute of the HTML tag. The alt text can be entered when creating an image: –

It is used by text viewers (web browsers that only display text – no images) rather than displaying the image itself. So in the example above it will say “Ferrari sports car” rather than display the image. In case you’re wondering, a visually impaired person might use a text viewer when browsing the web.

It is important that if you have any images on your web page, that you include your keyword or phrase in the alt text of a few of the images.

Piecing It All Together
When doing keyword optimization it is important to maintain a balance between what is ‘optimized’ and what is ‘useful’. I’ve seen on many websites where the Webmaster has gone way over the top when optimizing the page for their keyword, that the content was incoherent drivel.

There is a tool in WebLink SEO, which is the software I use, which allows you to enter the URL of a web page, and the keyword(s) you would like to optimize that page for. It will then suggest different enhancements that can be made in order for your web page to be better optimized, including all of the optimization methods I have mentioned above. This makes the whole optimization task much quicker, and also takes the guesswork out of what needs to be done. I certainly recommend checking it out.
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