On site seo (Search Engine Optimization) is very simple, does not take much effort and should be done if you intend to rank well in the search engine results pages. If you are using WordPress it is very easy however if you make your own websites or use a template system that does not have all the bells and whistles that WordPress does you will in fact need to know a little HTML.
The first thing you need to think about is what exactly do you want to rank in the search engines for. If your website is about cars then you will want your site to show up in the results when someone types in “cars” at a search engine. This means that the word cars is your keyword and you will be targeting that word on your website in such a way that the search engines will know it is what your site is about. There are many factors that determine where exactly your site shows up in the search engines, page 1 or page 10,001, but that is beyond the scope of this introduction.
Cars is a bad example and unless you are an expert, no matter how optimized you site is for cars, it might show up… on page 30,324. However, cars is easy to type and will do just fine for this introduction. One thing to keep in mind is that you will want to optimize each page of your site individually. Your site may be about cars but not every page will be about such a general topic. You will probably have pages about car doors or steering wheels, paint jobs, gas mileage, so on and so forth. So, for example, let’s say you’re making a page about car doors and therefore your target keyword is car doors. You will want to place your keyword in several specific places on the page in order to let the search engines know that this is indeed what your web page is about. At the very top, left of your browser you will notice that there are words that describe the site and/or the page you are viewing. This is the TITLE of the page and this is perhaps the single most important part of on-site page optimization. The title of a web page is found in the HTML code title tag. Using the tool bar of your browser look under the “View” option and you will see “Page Source”. Select this and a new window will pop up that shows the HTML code that makes the page you are viewing. Near the top of the code you will see < title > Some Words and then </ title >. The words between the two title tags is the title of the page you are on and as such they show up at the top, left of your browser. The search engines look here first to determine what the page is about after which they will continue to read the rest of the page content, image names, and the alt tags used for those images (more on this later) . Then, using a mysterious mathematical algorithm, they can determine what the page is about and what keywords (the words people type in when searching for something at a search engine) the page will be placed under.
Back in the dark ages (90s) it was possible to repeat a keyword a hundred times on a page a get a high rank for it at the search engines. This is no more because the mathletes at the search engines have figured out that this does not necessarily mean that the given word is relevant to the site or pages content. There is also the concept that you can stuff a ton of keywords into the keyword meta-tag (in the HTML code at the top near the title tag) and hope to get ranked for all of them just because you put them there. This is not a valid technique either. The actual content of the page and it’s relation to the title is the key to on page optimization.
Next you need to place your target keyword in the title of the post. This is not the same as the page title mentioned above. For example the title of this post is “On Site SEO” and that is exactly the keyword I am targeting. This is accomplished by using the < H1 > tag as the first thing on the web page.
I have heard it said that not only do you need to put your main keyword in the HTML title and the post title but you also need to repeat it several times in the content of the page as well. This is not really true. The mathletes at the search engines have word relationships all figured out as well so if your page title is car doors and your page content is indeed about car doors BUT you never once state those actual words in the content, the search engine is smart enough to know what the page is about and will rank the page just the same. They know that paneling and electric windows and automatic locking switch all relate to car doors and will indeed consider it relative to the title of the page. Still, some believe it is a good practice to repeat the keyword once at the beginning and once at the very end, just to be sure.
Using the bold tag on your keyword in the content can help to emphasis the subject matter further. The HTML for bold text looks like this, < strong > bold text < /strong >. In WordPress all you have to do is select the text the click the B button at the top, left of the post box.
That’s all there is to it really. Select the right title and stick to the subject at hand in the content. If you’re using WordPress, when creating a new post or page all you need is right there, put your title in the title slot and stick to the subject at hand in the post or page slot. WordPress by default will insert the post or page title into the HTML title, then a pipe ( | ) and then the title of the blog. This is a preferred way to let the search engines know what the page is about AND how relevant it is to the site as a whole.
In review, on site seo consists of placing the target keyword;
- in the HTML title
- in the post/page title
- once at the beginning of the content
- once at the end of the content
On site seo is the easy part of achieving a good search engine listing, the hard part comes after the page or post is written and published. On site seo will not propell your site to the first page of Google though it will condition the web page to be indexed properly. Off site seo is the real powerhouse behind achieving a good search engine listing and it is where you will find the good, the bad, and the really bad techniques of seo.