On-page optimization for your websites is often overlooked and is also the easiest way to rank for keywords in search engines completely free. These are the top ten factors that you should be considering when writing content and constructing an optimized layout for all of your websites. Do not feel the need to check off all of these factors but be sure that you take them into consideration. Don’t sacrifice readability and appearance for the sake of optimization because it will affect the visitor’s experience and that is what really matters in the end. Proper on-page SEO will get you ranking for very low competition keywords without the aid of any off-page work.
Importance of Content
Add lots of content – as much as possible wherever you can. Google and search engines love long content and it gives them more to work with. You can think of it this way: the more content you have on your page, the more keywords Google (and others) can associate your content with. Simply put you will show up for more long-tail searches. Unique content – don’t copy and paste from other sources of the product if your reselling (i.e. Amazon). It’s easy to do but will not give you good results. I already mentioned this but I cannot emphasize it enough.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Try and customize whatever framework you are using as much as possible whether it is WordPress, Joomla or any of the other many standard frameworks. You can usually get away with merely customizing the theme that you are using in conjunction with the framework. It is a lot of work to create unique content, but it is absolutely worth it in the long term. Duplicate content is quickly figured out and penalized leading to short-term results that won’t endure the test of time. Duplicate content “can” rank, but it is not a good strategy because it doesn’t tend to last long. This is speculation based on a number of case studies that I have performed and observed.
This has lost it’s importance over the time but it’s still a must to do. Title & Description – Provide intriguing descriptions of your content! This will not only help your rankings in search engines but will additionally help increase click through from the search engine results pages.
Don’t use URLS that look like this: website.com?p=123 (example). Instead create URLs that look like this:
This is easier for your visitors to read and will help search engines identify what your content is really about.
Learn more about implementing them in wherever you can. The code aspect of these is out of the scope of this article, but there are numerous guides online that you can look at. If you still haven’t found a theme, try and find one that supports these by default. Google is weighing these factors more all of the time.
Rich snippets include (but are not limited to):
- Reviews – (1-5 stars)
- Picture (author, product)
- Video thumbnails and music
Get People to Leave Comments
If you have a comment section on your posts or website be sure to get people to leave comments. This will add to the content on your page and will have you showing up for even more search terms. Provocative content really helps create conversation. You can even start it yourself by posting the first comment.
Improve Website Performance
Use plugins that help with caching to help reduce load on your server and decrease wait times for visitors.
Optimize CSS by compiling all of your CSS files into one. There are usually plugins that can help with this, depending on your framework.
Compress images as much as possible. Don’t sacrifice quality too much but be aware that images use up a lot of bandwidth for your server and usually affect page download times the most.
It is debatable whether improving page speed actually helps rank your websites better in search engines, but it most likely does and will also result in increased conversions and visitor confidence. Nobody likes a slow website.
Create Sitemaps for Your Website
Sitemaps (often in XML format) help search engines crawl your website. You can submit your sitemap to Google through Webmaster Tools – sign up if you haven’t already, it takes 5 minutes. There are many plugins that will automatically generate a sitemap for you every time you update your content. For example, WordPress has a great free plugin called “Yoast SEO Plugin” that will make this process automated. Be sure to include pictures and videos in the sitemap.
Put Products / Categories on the Homepage
This helps share authority with product pages and trickles down the authority of your homepage to your other pages. This specific example only really applies to e-commerce websites, but you should be linking to your other pages from your homepage regardless of what type of website you are creating.
Put related content on posts and pages. These include recommended products, popular content, etc. This will not only help share the “link juice” around all of your pages, but it will also help keep visitors engaged. Offering related and popular content on your website has been proven in many case studies to increase the number of page views per visitor.