Beneficial On-Page SEO Factors

Introduction
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a means to promote a website that is relatively inexpensive, certainly compared to other methods such as PPC, and can generate exceptional results in the best circumstances. However, with Google and the other major search engines regularly changing their algorithms to match their mood it may seem difficult to truly stay on top of the latest techniques. Fortunately, there are certain things that search engines are almost always looking for. These are the things that will help you to generate a lot of search engine traffic but it can take time for the full effects to be seen.

On-Page And Off-Page SEO
SEO can be broken down into on-page and off-page factors. Off page factors generally center around the inbound links that point to your site and the pages they are on. Anchor text has become increasingly important in these cases. However, we are going to look at the on-page factors in this article. As well as giving some general details about the things that search engines will almost always look at positively we will also cover some more specific examples. You may hear mention of Google with alarming regularity, but this is only because they are the largest search engine and optimizing a website for the benefit of the Google bots is generally considered very good practice.

General On-Page SEO Points
On-page SEO tends to concentrate on keywords. Important and well-discussed points include keyword density, the inclusion of keywords in the various tags of your site, even the formatting of keywords within your text. It is likely that all play an important part in the optimization of your site. To fully convince the Google algorithms that your site is worthy of a high search result finish, you should try to include many of these points without getting carried away.

Keywords
When a search engine visitor searches under a particular word or term, the query they use is called a keyword. This can be one or more words and the query will display a result of the sites that the search engine believes to be the most relevant to that particular query. Relevance is judged based on several indicators.

Keywords – URL And Page Titles
Generally speaking, it is best to have as short a URL as possible. This is easy for customers to remember and easier for search engines to index. The inclusion of your primary keyword in the main URL of your site is also known to give benefit. In some cases, websites can be displayed near the top of the results because their URL perfectly matches the keyword in question, despite using very few other optimization techniques.

Also of importance is the page title you assign to each page. Again, the inclusion of keywords will benefit your SEO efforts. Use hyphens to depict spaces but be sure that you don’t use too many. An over abundance of hyphens generally indicates to search engines that they have found a spammer and your site may be penalized accordingly.

Keywords – Meta Tags
Meta tags are a topic of some debate. The reason for this debate is that while many of the major search engines do not use meta tags for identifying keywords some of the smaller ones still do. Even if you are concentrating on the major search engines it is still advisable that you include the Keyword and Description meta tags. Even though the big search engines don’t use them now, they may do in the future and you might also start to receive traffic from the meta search engines that you wouldn’t otherwise receive. Some argue that while Google and similar search engines do not offer any weight to the inclusion of keywords in these tags, they may still penalize for the over inclusion or inclusion or irrelevant words.

The description tag need not be longer than 200 characters and should contain one or two keywords near the beginning. The keyword tag should contain the relevant keywords for your page but only those that appear on your site. Do not attempt to cram keywords into either tag because some search engines will view this as spam.

Keywords – Title Tag
The title tag should contain around 30 or 40 characters including the major keyword for that page. Make sure the title is relevant and, again, do not attempt to include too many keywords too often. You will almost certainly be penalized. The title tag is considered important and major search engines almost certainly consider the content of the page title.

Keyword – Image Tags
Alt tags are used as a display when images are not shown for any reason. It had become common for some sites to stuff the alt and title tag with numerous keywords. This is not considered good SEO and penalizing is the least you should expect for this practice. The alt and title tags should be used only to describe the image and give it a title. If you can’t reasonably include a keyword then don’t.

Keywords – Density
Keyword density is viewed as being one of the most important aspects of SEO. While it is certainly important, search engines are trying to move away from content that has been optimized with the perfect density rate and encourage natural content. However, it would possibly be a little premature to assume they have managed this completely. The best keyword density is believed to be as low as 1% to as high as 6% for individual

keywords or key phrases.
It is becoming commonplace to include derivatives, inflexions, and stems of keywords in order to show a definite link between your page and that particular topic. It is highly likely that Google and other search engines will view this as being positive because it would certainly imply more natural content than the consideration of only a single keyword variation.

Keywords – Heading Tags
Including keywords within the H1, H2, and H3 tags indicate that these words are of particular importance. Search engines, therefore, give keywords in the heading tags more weight than if they didn’t appear. Exactly how much weight is offered is unknown at present but there is a very real chance of being penalized for including too many keywords, using keywords too often, or including large bulks of text in heading tags just to gain the benefit for your keywords.

Keywords – Font Format
Strong, bold, and italic offer some power to your keyword inclusion. All are given extra weight, and it is commonly accepted that strong and bold offer more weight than italic and underline. Again, formatting your entire site in this way will have an adverse effect on your search engine rankings so avoid this completely.

Keywords – Proximity And Word Order In Key Phrases
When there is more than one single word that makes up a key phrase there are two factors to consider. The proximity of the words is vitally important. The fewer words between the components of a key phrase, the more benefit a site receives against that phrase. Also, the order of the words within the phrase is important. Try to pre-empt search engine visitors and determine which way round they will include the words.

Keywords – Prominence
Keyword prominence is how soon the keyword appears within the text of the page. Generally speaking, the sooner the word appears the better. You should certainly aim to include one or two keywords within the first paragraph. It is also argued that including them in the final paragraph offers advantage too.

Internal Links
Search engine spiders must be able to follow all the links that appear within your site if you wish for every page to be indexed. However, this isn’t the only important factor. If you use a flash menu or other style of menu that is difficult for a bot or spider to follow then include a sitemap that is made up of only text links.

Google, in particular, are keen on the use and regular updating of sitemaps.
Interlinking between pages within the content of those pages can also promote your site. Ensure that you use keywords in the anchor text when you do this to get as much benefit as possible. Don’t include too many links on a single page and only use keywords that are relevant to the page you point to and the page on which the link appears.

External links
External links are judged in the same manner as internal links. Direct visitors to sites that give genuine value and information. Use the appropriate keyword. This gives you benefit and the site you are linking too benefit as well.

File And Site Size
The size of any page should not be so large that it takes a considerable time to open. While broadband has become incredibly popular not everyone has a fast broadband connection and those using a standard modem and phone line connection will quickly become impatient with your site if it takes too long to load. Search engines also take into account the size of your pages.

The size of the site itself is important. Search engines look for sites that offer value and information to customers. Therefore the biggest sites are the ones that get looked on most favorably by the search engines.

Keep It Fresh
Fresh website content is one of the most important things to search engines. Fresh content shows that the site is still active and providing good information to visitors as and when it is required. Adding new pages will help to increase the size of your site, allow you to target more keywords, and show search engines that you are offering fresh content. Updating the existing pages of your site also offers some leniency in the eyes of the search engines. Regularly update and add content to get the best results.

Also, the more often you do this the more often that search engines will index your site. The more often a site gets indexed the greater the opportunity to add more content and have it quickly recognized.

Is SEO Worth It?
SEO is vital, and while there is a lot of information to absorb it will offer excellent dividends when traffic is being directed from the search engine result pages directly to the pages of your website. These on-page SEO factors are among the most important aspects of SEO but there are new factors being added and discovered constantly. You should try to keep up to date as much as possible with the latest developments.