On Page SEO – Where to Start?

When approaching search engine optimisation for the first time the sheer number of things to consider can be overwhelming. Sorting good advice from the bad can be a nightmare and very time consuming. This article aims to highlight five very important on page SEO factors to consider. This will be followed by a second article with five more essential tips so don’t worry if you think there is something missing – hopefully we will pick this up in part two. These factors are not ranked by importance as arguably that is something that will change on a case by case basis, and by no means does this list cover off all areas to be addressed…..you will still have to put some time to learning the peculiar blend of art and science that make the building blocks of a successful SEO campaign.

Invest in a Site Audit

If you feel that your company’s web presence is not performing in terms of natural search you should look to get a professional site audit carried out…..it is important to stress that this will always be money well spent! The resulting audit document will highlight any major problems with your current SEO strategy and provide a benchmark for future improvements. A good quality site audit will make recommendations for both on page and off page opportunities to improve your performance in the search engine results pages. Below you will find five initial points that we feel are valuable and worth considering in any ongoing SEO campaign.

1. Optimise Your Title Tags For Search

Title tags are a critical factor in terms of search engine relevance. Title tags should be one of the first areas to be addressed in any SEO project. Key points to bear in mind are to place the your most important keywords first. Try to limit the length of your title to around 65 characters. After this point search engines will give less weight to any title content. Where appropriate try to make use of relevant keyword phrases. You may also look to include a highly relevant unique selling point if space allows. Use of pipes or similar will also help to improve readability of the title. The use of brand names within title tags is an often debated topic. Prominent use of the brand name on the home page of the site can certainly add value. However, using the brand at the start of every page title is off questionable value unless you have an extremely strong brand name.

Above we can see the importance of page titles in action. Here Amazon use their brand name first. This is because in terms of branding even the lost tribes in the deepest ranges of the Amazon rain forrest are now downloading Kindle e-books on their I-Pads.

However, it is also notable that when you drill down another level to individual products the page titles no longer use the brand name at the start of the page titles.

Page titles are just one of many areas where best SEO practices must be considered in balance with a broader commercial understanding.

2. Search Friendly Navigation

If your site is using attractive navigation created in flash or javascript you should ensure an alternative html navigation format exists. This will help to ensure that search engine robots are able to crawl your site more effectively.

3. Content That can be Crawled

Any SEO will tell you that one major sin you can commit is to create on page content that can not be crawled by search engines. This means creating content that is not contained within an image. There is always an ongoing debate between web designers and SEOs about the use of Flash. Whilst it is technically possible to optimise flash sites for search it is a far easier to create content in the first instance that can be crawled by search engine robots. If you have something to shout about make sure the search engines can find it!

4. Use Search Engine Friendly Urls

You should aim to use short descriptive urls on your site. Make use of your most important keywords within the urls but do not fall into the trap of stuffing your urls with every keyword you can think of.

5. Fresh Keyword Rich Content

Search engines are hungry for fresh content. An integral part to your ongoing SEO campaign will be to create a good flow of relevant content optimised for important keyword phrases. Google have recently rolled out their amended algorithm in the USA that is designed to penalise sites which are not using high quality content. This has caused a good deal of discussion within the SEO industry. To date it is estimated that up to 12% of search engine results positions have been impacted by the new algorithm. This is something that Google will almost certainly look to roll out on a world wide basis in due course. The point is simple: Google seem to mean business when it comes to low quality content that is endlessly churned out. Take your time and create a viable long-term content strategy. You will almost certainly have untapped potential existing within your business. Use the experts you already have to write about what they know best. This content can always be evaluated and tweaked by an SEO expert before going live on the site.

So there you have five initial points to look at on your site. As previously mentioned we will follow this article with five more essential on page SEO factors to consider. This is only a starting point but by covering off these areas you will be taking some very important steps towards improving your site’s performance in terms of search engine optimisation.

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