“How do I build the perfectly optimized page?” Unfortunately, there’s no cut and dried answer, however, there are sets of best practices we can use and sharpen to help get close.[pc-pvt-content allow=”33″ warning=”1″ message=”This content is for clients only.”]
Best Practices for Optimizing Pages
The following sections list our best practices for optimizing the following on-page SEO elements: head tags, URLs, body tags, internal links, and page architecture.
Here are our suggestions for using HTML head tags to help optimize your pages.
Title—The most important of on-page keyword elements, the page title should employ the keyword term/phrase as the first word(s).
Meta Description— Although meta descriptions are not used for rankings by the major engines, the meta description is an important place to use the target term/phrase because bolding that occurs in the visual snippet of the search results. It’s important for boosting click-through rate, thus increasing the traffic derived from any ranking position.
Meta Keywords— No value for search engines
Rich Snippets and Structured Data Markup—Embedding rich snippets into your pages and taking advantage of structured data markup can tell the search engines what they are about, as well as make them stand out in the SERPs.
Keep the following recommendations in mind for optimizing your use of URLs.
Length—Shorter URLs appear to perform better in the search results and are more likely to be copied/pasted by other sites, shared and linked to.
Keyword Location—The closer the targeted keyword(s) are to the domain name, the better. Thus, site.com/keyword outperforms site.com/folder/subfolder/keyword and is the recommended method of optimization.
Word Separators—Use hyphens for page urls, not underscores. For example – http://mydomain.com/website-design/ not http://mydomain.com/website_design
NOTE: This should not apply to root domain names, where separating words with hyphens is almost never recommended (for example, webdesignfairx.com is a far better choice than web-design-fairfax.com).
How should you use body tags to optimize your page? Here are our best strategies.
Number of Keyword Repetitions—It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact, optimal number of times to employ a keyword term/phrase on the page, but a general guideline is to use the exact match keyword a few times in the body of the copy. The same goes for partial match keywords.
Keyword Density—While it’s true that more usage of a keyword term/phrase can potentially improve targeting/ranking, it’s also true that over-usage of a keyword/phrase can potentially incur an over-optimization penalty.
Write good, relevant content about a subject that includes your keyword/phrase—content that will actually help someone and help your conversion rates.
Keyword Usage Variations— Varied keyword usage throughout a page can help with content optimization. Employ at least one or two variations of a term and potentially splitting up keyword phrases, and using them in body copy as well.
H1 Headline—The H1 tag has long been thought to have great importance in on-page optimization. Use targeted keyword term/phrase for your headline tag.
H2/H3/H4/Hx—Subheading tags carry some SEO value in terms of keyword rankings, use targeted keyword term/phrase for subheadings.
Alt Attribute— Use keywords in the Alt attribute.
rankings in image search.
Image Filename—Because image traffic can be a substantive source of visits, employ target keywords for image file names.
Internal Links and Location in Site Architecture
Here are a few recommendations for handling internal links to optimize your page.
Click-Depth — General recommendation is that the more competitive and challenging a keyword term/phrase is to rank for, the higher it should be in a site’s internal architecture (and thus, the fewer clicks from the home page it should
take to reach that URL).
Number/Percentage of Internal Links—More linked-to pages tend to result in higher rankings and thus, for competitive terms, it may help to link to these pages from a greater number/percentage of pages on a site. Linking
repeatedly to the same page with the same anchor text, though, is not helpful for SEO.
Keyword Location—We advise that important keywords should be featured in the first paragraph of a page’s text content. The engines do appear to have some preference for pages that employ keywords sooner, rather than later, in