Optimizing a web site is like placing your business downtown. When it comes to offline practices, all businesses try to choose a high interest location: inside a business center, in a mall or on a crowded street. Placing your business online has a similar process. Optimization will set your web site in top search results, which means getting more traffic and generating more sales.
There are some key elements to take into consideration when doing OnPage SEO Optimization. We’ve come up with a list of best practices.
Robots.txt – all pages should include Robots.txt. Robots.txt actually tell search engines how to index your site.
Sitemap.xml – a sitemap provides a list of all your pages to the search engines and makes it much easier for them to list your pages.
Domain Registration – search engines place higher value on domains that have longer renewal periods. In our experience, five years or higher is ideal.
Meta Keywords – each page should contain a unique combination of keywords. In our experience, five keywords per page is the best. Be careful when choosing the best keywords for your site, make sure they have a high potential (high volume of searches and low competition).
Meta Description – search engines tend to use the description to gather information on the topic/theme of the page. A well written description should be not more than 160 characters with the strongest keyword phrases woven into it. A good description results in a higher CTR from your site listing after a search.
RSS Feed (if applicable) – not all sites have an RSS of their site updates. With your newsletter section you could include this as a site feature.
Title Tag – the title should describe the page and use the strongest keyword/keywords (don’t overload the title with keyword phrases; concentrate on the strongest one or two keywords that best describe the web page’s topic). Search engines will only show the first 70 characters of your title in the SERPs (search engine result pages) so use those 70 characters to make a high impact relevant title for your page.
Plain text on page – search engine spiders read the basic body text the best. Try avoiding using too much Flash and Java – search engines are much better at indexing the content of Flash and Java, but be sure to include the information search engines need in order to do so. Friendly URLs – some search engines (with a few exceptions, such as Google) will not index any pages that include in the URL characters such as question mark, ampersand, equals sign etc. Friendly URLs allow you to include some keywords as well as present a more friendly page experience to users and search engines.
Image Alt Tags – images can have Alt tags that are indexed for relevance and provide an opportunity to reinforce your keywords as well as drive traffic from image searches.
Image File Names – images get indexed separately from your site and can generate traffic if the file name is descriptive of the image’s content. The best is to use photos that are named upon keywords as this reinforces your image for image search.
Use this list to help improve your own search engine optimization efforts. We’ll be the first to admit there is some debate over the effectiveness of some of these practices. There is no debate, however, over how implementing best practices will only improve your overall optimization efforts.