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On Page Website Optimization

Performing keyword research on the topic of your website is the first step in optimizing a website for search. Without knowing what keywords people use when they search, you cannot shape and mold your website around these keywords. For more information about keyword research, refer to our section on keyword research.

Once you have performed the necessary keyword research and have a list of keywords to target, itís important to focus on one keyword or one keyword phrase per page. Once you have a keyword in mind, you need to gather or write at least a few paragraphs of content (text) that contain that keyword. Itís important to have at least a few paragraphs of text available to work with because search engines only read text (not images) and you do not want any other web page on your website to be a duplicate of the current page youíre working optimizing.

There are two parts of a web page. One is what the user sees when visit your web page and what the search engine spider sees when they visit your web page. The visitors see a combination of images and text, while the search engine sees everything on the pageóthe text on the web page that the visitor sees as well as the underlying code of your web page (search engine spiders donít see images). When optimizing a web page, itís important to have access to both the text that the visitor sees as well as the underlying code that the search engine spiders see called the html code. Without access to the html code, you cannot edit the important areas of the code, including the title of the page and the meta tags that describe with the web page is about.

Title Tag
The title tag is a very part of on-page optimization. Edit or create the title tag in the html code area of your web page. The title tag should be as short as possible while accurately describing the content of the current web page. For example, if the primary keyword that youíre focusing on is ďred widgets in DallasĒ, then the title tag should include the term ďred widgetsĒ. Thereís nothing wrong with creating your title tag that contains the keyword and only the keyword youíre targeting. However, this is the first thing the searcher will see when they search for your keyword, so youíll want a title tag good enough to entice them to visit your web page but not too creative. The important part of the title tag is to accurately describe the content of your web page. The title tag of this page should be uniqueóno other page on the website should have this same title tag.

Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag is also important. Some search engines use the meta description tag in their search results, and some directory editors prefer to use it, as well. This tag should include your primary keyword for that page and be at least one sentence long. It should accurately describe the content of the page, and it should not be duplicated on any other web page or used to describe any other web page on your website. Although users do not see the information in this tag when they visit a web page, most search engine spiders see this tag and recognize it.

Meta Keywords Tag
The meta keywords tag includes all the keywords included on your page. While not duplicating any words, include most or all the important nouns and proper nouns that appear on you web page, as well as the primary keyword that your web page is about. Itís important not to include any keywords that do not appear in the text of your web page. However, if a keyword or phrase doesnít appear on the page but is important for your websiteís topic, then itís okay to include it. The meta keywords tag should not be duplicated on any other page of your websiteóit should be unique. Although users do not see the information in this tag when they visit a web page, some search engine spiders see this tag and recognize it. Other search engines signore this tag altogether. In any case, itís important to include this tag on your page.

Heading Tags
Heading tags are the H1, H2, and H3 tags. The user sees these tags on the web page and they are used as subtitles on the web page. Your web page should include an H1 tag, although it does not have to include only the exact keyword phrase that youíre targeting for that web pageóit can include other words, as necessary. The heading tags should not be too longóthey should be used as subtitles to describe paragraphs or sections of the web page.

Alt tags
Alt tags are used to describe an image on your web page. If your web page includes pictures or illustrative examples, then use alt tags to describe those images. If those images are photos of products or pictures of the keyword youíre targeting for that page, then itís important to include the keyword youíre targeting in the alt tag. It is not recommended that you inaccurately describe images just to add your keyword into the alt tag. It is also not recommended that you include alt tags that are unnecessary, such as alt tags with images that common to your website in general such as navigation bars and logos that appear on every page of your site.

On-page Content
As mentioned earlier, search engines donít read images. More importantly, they donít read images contained in text. So, itís necessary to include at least a few paragraphs of text on the page so that it cannot be considered a duplicate of any other web page on your website. Itís also important to include enough text so that it can be reasonably edited or changed to reflect any necessary changes when manipulating the pageís keyword density.

Keyword Density
Keyword density is the measurement /ratio of the number of keywords on a page in relation to the total number of words on that page. Once you have created your web page, you can use a keyword density analyzer to analyze the pageís keyword density for the keyword or phrase youíre targeting on that page. Keyword density analyzers can be used online or offline. There are several free online keyword density analyzers available, so itís necessary to make sure your web page is live and accessible on your website in order to be analyzed. You can also use an application to analyze keyword density, and there are third party software products available.

Keyword density is a percentage. Generally speaking, you do not want your keyword density percentage to be too high, then the search engines tend to think that you are purposely trying to use your keyword phrase too much in order to manipulate the search engine rankings. If the percentage is too low, then the search engines may not understand that your web page is truly about the keyword youíre targeting for that page.

First, perform a search on a search engine for the keyword youíre targeting. Make a list of the top several web pages that appear in the top results. The first five or so web pages is a good number of pages to analyze. Use your keyword density analyzer to analyze the keyword density of the top-ranking web pages. Write down each web pageís keyword density percentage and get an average keyword density for the keyword phrase youíre targeting. In some cases, the average may be around 3-5 percent. In other cases, it might be as high as 8-10 percent or as low as 1-2 percent. In any case, itís important to have the keyword density of the page youíre optimizing in the range of the web pages that currently rank well for that keyword. Once youíre in the targeted range, start adding or subtracting that keyword phrase on your page until youíre in the proper range but just a little bit above it. For example, if the average of all those pages that rank well is 4.5 percent, you would want to be a little bit higher, perhaps 4.6 to 5.0 percent. If you can manipulate your page enough so that the pageís keyword density is just above the average, then thatís preferable.

Keyword Prominence
Keyword prominence is a measurement of how close to the start of an area of a page that a keyword appears. Free online tools are available that measure keyword prominence.

Like keyword density, itís important to get the average keyword prominence of the web pages that appears in the top of the search results and manipulate your page so that the keyword prominence is a little bit higher than the average. . If you can manipulate your page enough so that the pageís keyword prominence is just above the average, then thatís preferable.

CSS Cascading Style Sheet
Using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS file) is and advanced search engine optimization technique. Generally speaking, the more you can remove code off of your html page and into a separate CSS file the better.

   

Copyright 2003-2004 by Bill Hartzer. All rights reserved.