Welcome to my “quick and dirty” guide on proper on-page SEO. Before we get started it should be stated that there are MANY differing opinions when it comes to on-page SEO. Some people will say one thing matters while a different group will completely disagree and there is really nothing that can be done about this.
The simple fact of the matter is that no one really knows for sure what goes into the Google algorithm so you end up with widely differing opinions as to what really matters to the Google bot.
The approach I take in this article is one of moderation – I don’t recommend taking on-page SEO to the extreme like some, but I don’t recommend not worrying about it at all and just relying on off-page SEO like others!
First and Foremost – META and TITLE Tags
META and TITLE Tags are HTML tags used to tell the search engines what your website is all about. Basically there are 3 main tags you should be worried about:
- <meta description=””> – This is simply a short description of your website and is also what Google uses to display on its results pages. You should try and have your keyword once in this description.
- <meta keywords=””> – Keywords that are relevant to your website, I recommend having your main keyword along with a few long tail keywords that are related to your website.
- <title> – This is what is displayed as the link to your site on Googles results page. This should include your keyword along with a catchy title that is designed to get users to click on your page instead of another.
There are many differing opinions on the importance of META tags and it’s very true that they don’t hold a lot of weight in terms of pure ranking value. But they will help to ensure that Google knows exactly what your page is about and you should definitely be using them on every page you create!
Keyword Density – The 1000 Pound Gorilla When It Comes to On-Page SEO!
While almost every expert will agree that proper use of tags is a good thing for any site, the topic of keyword density is enough to make otherwise civilized individuals start acting like 5 year olds on various internet marketing forums!
Keyword density is simply how many times your keyword is used throughout your meta tags, title and entire article body.
At one point back in the early days of search engines keyword density was VERY important which is why I think so many people still cling to it so dearly. Savvy marketers found out that by “stuffing” their keyword many times into an article they could rank better for that term. The more times they put the keyword in – the better they ranked.
Of course this lead to huge problems with people stuffing keywords at the end of documents etc… and the search engines soon got wise to this and started to devalue keyword density in their ranking algorithms. This is why we now have off-page SEO as the dominant ranking factor.
Despite this however, many ‘gurus’ will still tell you to make sure that your article contains at least a 3% keyword density in the body.
To put it plainly, this means that a 500 word article will end up with FIFTEEN instances of the keyword. To put it succinctly, this means that the article will read like absolute CRAP!
Unnaturally putting instances of a keyword or phrase into your writing purely for the sake of SEO will just make your articles read poorly and turn your readers off, however not having it at all will make it harder to rank your article for the phrase…
So where is the middle ground? For a 500 word article make sure that:
- Your keyword/phrase is in the first sentence
- Your keyword/phrase occurs naturally 2-3 times throughout the article
- Use a few long-tail keywords as well if you can make them look/sound natural
- Try and use the keyword/phrase in the last paragraph or even better – the last sentence
Now before you jump up from your keyboard screaming, WHERE IS THE PROOF?!?
There really isn’t any other than this is what I’ve used time and time again to rank my articles and it works for me. Off-page SEO (link-building) is the dominant factor when it comes to ranking anyways so provided you use my method and employ proper off-page SEO I think you’ll have no problems ranking those articles!
Hope you enjoyed this quick guide on Proper On-Page SEO!