It takes more than just horsepower to build the ultimate vehicle. From steering to braking power, there are hundreds of important components that go into building an exceptional automobile. Invest too heavily in one aspect and you produce a car that isn’t balanced – a high-speed machine that’s incapable of turning a corner.
A lot of SEOs make the same mistake when they’re building campaigns. Instead of aiming for balance – on-site optimization, diverse inbound anchor text links, and a high quality link profile – they spend all of their resources on link building without ever thinking of the other elements of SEO.
A great SEO campaign is rounded – it uses many concepts, but never veers too far in one direction. Today, we’ll be covering one of the most frequently ignored yet vitally important aspects of SEO: on-site optimization.
Before you build a single link to your website, write a single guest post, or publish a single directory listing, make sure your website possesses these eight essentials for successful on-site SEO:
1. Optimized Page Titles
Are your titles descriptive, keyword-oriented, and useful? A good page title should include your target keyword prominently. For example, if your website is targeting ‘blue widgets,’ your page title should use ‘blue widgets’ as part of a sentence.
2. Click-Friendly Meta Descriptions
When you think about it, SEO is the art of getting Adwords ads for free. As such, you should apply the same optimization principles to your search listings as you would to an effective Adwords search advertisement.
Use action words like ‘click here’ or ‘enter’ in your meta description to encourage visitors to click through to your website. Also, remember to include your keyword as part of your meta description for a simple, user-friendly SEO boost.
3. Non-Excessive Keyword Inclusion
The days of extreme keyword density are, quite thankfully, behind us. Today, there’s little value in stuffing your content with search keywords. Take a modest attitude to keyword inclusion and try to aim for 2-3 target keyword uses per page of content.
4. Relevant Complementary Keywords
Google’s search algorithm takes a variety of factors into account when it judges a page for relevance. One of these is the usage of related keywords – keywords that, despite not being your exact target keyword, are related to its subject matter.
If your page is about ‘soft mattresses,’ for example, it makes sense to include a range of complementary phrases like ‘comfortable mattresses’ and ‘bed mattresses.’ While these aren’t your exact keyword, they will help Google determine your page’s theme.
5. Enough Content
In the early days of SEO, 200 words of relevant content was enough to achieve top-ten rankings for the toughest keywords. Today, it’s barely enough to crack the first twenty results for a low-traffic, non-commercial keyword.
Aim to have at least 500 words of content on each page of your website. If your page targets an exceptionally competitive term, having upwards of 1,000 words of useful content – better yet, over 2,000 – will give you a large SEO advantage.
6. Images, Videos, and Rich Media
There’s more to SEO content development than just text. Include images, videos, and other media on your website and you’ll experience a far better improvement in your search rankings once you start building inbound links to your page.
Try to create the ultimate resource for your key phrase. Again, if your business sells ‘soft mattresses,’ try to include a video guide to picking the ideal mattress, complete with prices, recommendations, and other relevant information for customers.
7. Tags and Categories
One of the best ways to quickly theme your page for search engines is to include tags – descriptive words about your page’s content – and categories. If you use a CMS like WordPress, this is as easy as creating custom tags and categories in the Dashboard.
As well as post tags and relevant categories, remember to add descriptions to your images. Use the ALT text section to include relevant information – preferably with your search keywords – about your on-site images.
8. Relevant Interlinking
Your website sells hard mattresses, medium mattresses, and soft mattresses. Every piece of content on your website is an opportunity to interlink to a different internal page, boosting your on-site SEO in the process.
On your ‘soft mattresses’ page, include a link to the ‘hard mattresses’ page in your copy. Not only will this give visitors a better idea of your product range – it boosts your internal page themes by giving Google a greater idea of each page’s subject.