You might think that SEO techniques involve some kind of trickery, or maybe some top secret steps that only the search engine optimization professionals are aware of. In fact, search engine optimization isn’t extremely difficult, it simply involves following a few simple rules. There are a few very easy steps that even a novice webmaster can take to search engine optimize his website.
I’m not saying SEO techniques are so easy even a caveman can do it (yeah, I know, bad joke). Because even though the rules are basic, following them does require some knowledge and technical skills. But anyone with beginning web programming skills can certainly do their own elementary search engine optimization.
If you’re ready to get started, you can have your first web page optimized in under an hour. Because the first steps in any SEO project begin with on page factors. Unlike off page SEO, on page SEO is easy for a novice webmaster because it only involves changing or updating elements that are actually on the web page – elements within your control. Let’s take a look at the most common on page SEO techniques.
** Create Keyword Rich Title Tags.
I need to point out that web page title tags and headlines, header tags, and filenames, are not the same thing. The title tag is the phrase that appears in the upper left hand corner of your web browser. Your title tag is only visible in your page code. You can take a look at your page code by hovering your mouse on your web page, right-clicking your mouse, and then choosing “view page source”. Somewhere toward the top of the code, you should see a Meta title tag.
Being shown in the browser window is one thing, but the real reason your title tag is so important is because it’s shown on the search engine results pages. When a web surfer enters his search term into Google and Google gives him a list of web pages to visit, the blue underlined text in that list is taken from the web pages’ title tags. Because this is the first information that web searchers will see about your web page, you need a title tag that will entice your prospects to click through to your website.
Also, your title tag indicates to the search engine robots what the content of your web page is about. So you want your title to contain your keywords to give Google some idea of what your web page should be ranked for. And you want to use a unique title tag for each one of your web pages.
** Create Enticing Meta Descriptions.
Now that your web page titles have been updated, let’s take a look at your Meta description tag. You won’t be able to find your description tag in the browser window anywhere. Or anywhere on your web page either. The only way to see your description is to view your source code, just like we did to view your title tag. Once you’re in your web page’s source code, look for “meta description” to see the contents of your description tag.
Even though your description is not seen anywhere on your web page or in the browser window, and even though it is not technically factored into your search engine ranking, optimizing it is still one of the most important SEO techniques. Your description appears in the search engine results pages below your title tag. Without a compelling page description, you won’t get many click throughs to your website.
Writing high-quality title tags and Meta descriptions is a definite art form. It’s actually similar to writing classified ads. You need to pack a big punch in a little space. Your title tag should be no more than 60 characters and your description should be no more than 160 characters. When you create your titles and descriptions, put your keyword phrases as close to the beginning as possible. When your listing appears in the search engine results pages, the search terms will be shown in bold.
** Create Headlines that are Headlines.
Now we want to take a look at your headline tags. It sounds silly, but headline tags can be tricky. You might think it’s a headline when you look at it, but Google might not agree. Your text might be bold, and it might be big, but if it’s not contained within a headline tag, it doesn’t count as a headline as far as the search engines go.
If you’re not sure about your headline, you can check it out in your web page’s source code again. Take a look at what your headline says; you might even want to highlight it with your mouse and copy it. Just like you did for viewing your titles and Meta descriptions, you simply need to place your mouse somewhere on your web page, right click your mouse, and then click “view page source” in the pop up menu.
Once you’ve got the web page source code open, click Edit, then Find from the menu bar and type in the text of your headline. When you find your headline in the source code, you’ll want to look at the very beginning of it. The beginning tag should say H1. You might see a “p” tag in place of an “h1? tag, which indicates that your text is a paragraph and not a headline. For maximum search engine optimization, you want your headlines contained in headline tags and not paragraph tags.
Replacing the “p” tags with “h1? tags is the first SEO step you’ll take with your web page headlines; next you’ll want to look at the actual content of the headline. You need to include your keywords or keyword phrases within each of your headlines. Using “Welcome to My Website” as your home page headline is pretty weak as far as search engine optimization goes.
** Always Use Images ALT Tags.
And the final on page SEO factor you want to pay attention to is the image ALT tags. The ALT tag is the text that is shown when a browser has the image display set to off. Basically, your ALT text describes in words what the image is about.
The ALT text isn’t specifically for SEO, it’s for usability. However, it can also support your search engine optimization efforts. You don’t ever want to put keywords into your ALT text if the keywords do not actually describe the graphics, or your website usability will suffer.
Even though these on page SEO techniques are easy to overlook, they will have a definite impact on your search engine rankings. However, if your website does not include keyword based, unique content, all the on page SEO tweaks in the world will not help your SERPs position. In addition to addressing these on page factors, the most crucial SEO technique is to publish keyword based content that your target market will find useful.