When I wrote an article about guest blogging a few weeks ago, I pointed out it was one method of doing off page optimisation. I also briefly mentioned the other side of SEO – on page optimisation.
While off page optimisation involves the building of links to your site to raise its authority (and, thus, its importance in the eyes of Google) amongst other reasons, on page optimisation is the process of making any particular webpage relevant to the keywords you’d like it to show up for in the search engine.
It’s pretty simple when you look at it broadly; if you want a page to show up for a certain keyword or phrase, you should have some reference to this keyword or phrase on the page itself. Like the rest of SEO, it’s considerably more complex when you really look into it.
The search engines don’t look too fondly on pages that are over optimised or pages with duplicated content from another site, for example. Carrying out on page optimisation is a delicate process of writing copy that’s optimised, but not over optimised and (of course) still very much readable to humans.
Starting out on your page
On page optimisation begins with deciding on the keywords you’d like to target for the page you’re optimising. Once you’ve made your decision, you can start to write the page content – and you do this while keeping your keyword in mind. However, just because you’re writing the content with the keyword in it, doesn’t mean you need to keep repeating the keyword where ever possible as this will invoke the over optimisation penalty.
You really have to remember you’re writing this for a person to read it, not the search engine.
The same goes for all the on page areas you can optimise, such as the meta description and header.
What areas should be optimised?
The body copy, URL, images, page title, meta description and headers on your page can all be optimised for SEO.
The page title is the important one – the search engines put a lot of focus on this and it’s the bit that comes up above the URL in the search results, with the meta description appearing underneath. However, the quickest way to hit the over optimisation penalty is by simply filling this with keywords.
Images can’t be seen by the search engine robots scanning your webpage, so tagging these up correctly is vital. Appropriate file names and image descriptions will help, but remember that the descriptions are also used by people too.
Optimising the URL brings a number of benefits, as well as increasing your chances of ranking. Including the appropriate keywords in the URL gives anyone looking at the URL a better understanding of what page it’ll go to, for example.
Things to look out for
As I’ve pointed out before: the over optimisation penalty. Google are looking out more for over optimised pages in their quest to delivery better sites to the end user. If they spot you over using keywords, your rankings will be affected until you fix it.
Another thing to avoid is duplicate content. Using the same content on multiple pages of your site is bad practice, as it’ll not only confuse people and the search engines but it’s also a missed opportunity to target an additional keyword (or a set of keywords) for the other page.
Taking content from another site and putting it on yours will cause Google to filter the site it sees as less important out of the rankings.