Just about every day I get asked how to Analyze On-page SEO Attributes so I figured to make things easier I would write this post in an effort to save time and breath. This is a comprehensive, super easy step-by-step, checklist of how to make sure your site is fully optimized. I am hoping that this page will serve as an On-page SEO Tutorial or at least a prerequisite to further conversations. That being said, not only have I written about it but you can also use this post as a shining example of a completely optimized page.
Keyword Research for On-page SEO Attributes
For starters, you need to pick your keywords. Use one keyword per page and when selecting the right keywords, compare the competition level with the number of monthly searches. You can use Google’s keyword tool for this. Find this tool here, keyword tool or by searching in Google, using the search term keyword tool. In case you haven’t noticed, the keywords that I have chosen for this post are On-page SEO Attributes.
Meta Content for On-page SEO Attributes
Now we have our keywords selected, here’s how we implement them. Start adding On-page SEO Attributes by including the keywords in the page title, meta description, and tags. The title should be catchy, the description should be 250 characters and you should use around 3 to 5 tags and make sure they include the main keywords and that the other ones are relevant. Meta keyword tags are no longer read by Google but many of the other search engines still use them so you might as well include them. Lastly, very important On-page SEO Attributes are to make sure that you do not have any duplicate tags anywhere within your site or you will see a warning in Googles Webmaster Tools telling you to uniqueify them(yes, uniqueify is a real word now).
Optimize Images for On-page SEO Attributes
Next, upload an image or two and use the keyword as the image file name, image title, image description and most importantly the images alt text. Not only is this considered good bot food but you would also be surprised how many clicks you can get from having your image show up as the first result in Google’s image search. For an example of how I optimize images for On-page SEO Attributes, just check out this HTML image to the left. Even download this image so you can see the file name I gave it and the other attributes.
On-page SEO Attributes Keyword Density
Now we are ready for the textual content, which is probably one of the most important On-page SEO Attributes and the HTML code that you use to format the text. Each page should have a minimum of 250 words but you should really try to at least write 500 words or more. Then make sure the keyword is mentioned around 2% of the time within the text so if you write 500 words then the keywords should be listed around 10 times. Any more than 2% and it will look very spammy in the eyes of Google, any less and the page may not be picked up by the bots at all. This is called keyword density. I like to use this online text analysis tool but when writing on my WordPress sites, I also use a cool little plugin called SEOpressor. It’s best to just write your article without thinking about the On-page SEO Attributes and after you have finished, just go back over it and squeeze the keywords in later.
After you have your article written and the keyword density at 2%, you are ready to make your keywords stand out more. You do this by adding the following formatting features. Mention the keyword in the first and last sentence of the page. Put the keyword inside h1, h2 and h3 tags. I went a little header tag crazy on this page as you can see if you view the source. The h stands for “header” which is just a type or text formatting that puts your headers in a larger font. The tag looks like this <h1>. Bold your keywords using the strong tag like this <strong>On-page SEO Attributes</strong>, don’t use <bold>! Next, underline and italicize a few of your keywords as I have done on this page.
HTML & CSS On-page SEO Attributes
As for HTML, you can use this validation tool from W3C that will point out errors. Other than that, be sure to use <div>tags instead of tables <tb>. Tables are super old school and actually give the search engines trouble while trying to crawl and index the text within.
Next is the navigation. The bots should be able to follow your navigation so it can go to the other pages on your site but a lot of people make the mistake of creating a flash or java based navigation. The best and most crawlable solution is a pure CSS navigation using list items for all the links within. The list item tag looks like this <li>. W3C also has a sweet little validation tool for CSS so you should check that for errors as well. Another great tool that checks for clean CSS and much more On-page SEO Attributes is this Web Page Analysis tool. You want to keep the code light and clean to increase load time and crawlability.
Siloing On-page SEO Attributes
Siloing was first written about by another veteran SEO, Bruce Clay, who claims this is one of the most important On-page SEO Attributes. You can read what he has to say about it in this article Bruce Clay Silicone but while his theory is widely respected, I personally don’t agree with everything he has to say about it. The On-page SEO Attributes of site siloing work like this. If you have a site that sells fruit, then keep all the content about apples on the apples page and all the oranges on the oranges page. You will never want to assign or optimize a page to fit into more than one category and furthermore, you don’t want to link these pages or categories together. Instead, if someone is on your apples page, then they should have to go back to the homepage to get to the oranges category. You can also prevent these silos from getting mixed up by using the controversial <nofollow> tag. This sounds simple enough but it is easy to get your sites silos mixed up.
URL Structuring for On-page SEO Attributes
Just look up in the address bar and notice that the keyword is also in my URL. Don’t use capital letters, always separate words with the dash not underscores and especially not spaces. If you see a URL with a question mark or equals sign, it is what’s know as a query string URL which means that page doesn’t actually exist in a static form so every time someone goes to visit that page it must be generated on the fly aka dynamically. On-page SEO Attributes with URLs are critical. Since the content for this page dynamic and is actually stored in a database most search engines simply cannot index it and the ones that can index it like Google and Bing still have a hard time doing so.
On my next On-page SEO Attributes post, look out for more details on siloing, internal link structure and my new and exciting flash optimization techniques.