Two of the most frequent questions we get asked by potential and existing clients is a variation of “How does my website look from an SEO perspective?” or “How can my website rank higher on Google/Yahoo/Bing/Yandex/SearchEngine?”

In most cases, especially with local or small businesses and charities the answer is, quite simply, onsite SEO. Not link building, social media, elaborate affiliate campaigns or voodoo rituals, not that those don’t matter, it’s just that it’s the basics that count the most, especially, if you’re just starting online activities.

To put it into perspective- if you’re ranking in top 10 for ‘yellow socks’, you’re already doing stuff right on your site and you need the stuff mentioned above (apart from the voodoo ritual.. probably) to rank higher. But if you’re ranking on page 9361 of search results, then there’s something missing from your own site and no amount of whitehat SEO (more on that later) off site will put you on 1st page faster than getting your yellowsockextavaganza.com in shape.

Yellow Sock Extravaganza

Template from: http://www.templatemonster.com/oscommerce-templates/24286.html

There are a number of things that can be done on your site with varying degrees of impact on your ranking or visitor experience or click-through rate, once ranking, so I’ll try separating them into groups:

Useful SEO actions:

Content optimization for keywords

What this means is that each page should be about something and that fact should be represented in the usage of words when creating the page. The best practice is that the relevant keyword appears in the text of the page with frequency of about 2-8% of the total text.

The golden rule here is not to go over the top so the content is unreadable- it should be readable, but with a frequent mention of your keyword.

Bad Example:

Welcome to Yellow Sock Extravaganza- your one stop shop for all of your yellow sock needs. Our yellow socks are the best yellow socks you will find in the yellow sock industry, including such leading yellow sock brands as YellowSock Inc. and GelbSocken GmbH…you get the idea.

Better Example:

Welcome to Yellow Sock Extravaganza- your one stop shop for all of your sock needs, as long as they’re yellow.

We’ve been in the footclothing™ industry for over 2 years and been supplying internationally since last month. We got over 20 outlets across the UK and 42 overseas- check out our shop finder to find a store near you.

Buy our yellow socks, as they’re the best!®

Internal Link Anchortext

Internal links are often overlooked as a good source of SEO benefit, especially if your site is rich with content- then you can go for Wikipedia style interlinking. It is essential to make the links with good anchor text though.

What’s anchor text? Anchor text is the text that is used as a link, or in other words, the blue underlined text that you click on. Example: charity marketing.

With Yellow Sock Extravaganza (YSE further on), they could be using links to raise category pages (baby socks, toed socks, sport socks etc). Again- don’t overdo it, because pages with lots of outgoing links tend to rank badly and it just looks weird if you’ve got so many links in the text;

Bad Example:

Our store is selling all kinds of yellow socks: toed socks, baby socks, football socks, sport socks, rubber socks and other kinds of socks. So visit our sock menu and choose a sock for you.

Better Example:

YSE tends to every taste and style of sock, so whether you’re looking for information about socks or sport socks, we’ve got it all. If you fancy buying a sock or two, visit our sock store.

Page Titles and URLs

Page titles and URLs are essential for all of the previously mentioned purposes- they can help you rank, attract attention when you’ve ranked, and even increase your sales, donations, subscriptions or whatever you’re objective is.

What’s a title or a yooarel?

page title and url optimisation

yooarel – get it?

What they should consist of is mostly keywords. Even if you want your title to be only a brand name, chances are, Google will grab a heading from the text of the page and use that as a title – so what search engines (Google, at least) are saying is that your page titles should consist of keywords and maybe a brand name.

Page title best practices:

  • Title should be about 65 characters long (including spaces)
  • Title should contain the keyword as near to the start as possible
  • Keep it as short as possible
  • Keep it as relevant as possible

With URLs, it’s fairly simple:

Worst:
www.unrelated.com/default?id=26s1r2U6#cont_… (dynamic url’s)

Bad:
www.unrelated.com/keyword

Good:
www.related.com/keyword

Best:
www.keyword.com

Heading tags

Heading tags are tags in text that identify portions of it as titles of the following paragraphs. These are identified in the code with <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc., where the number represents the level of the heading, so, for example, text in <h1>text</h1> would classify as the highest tier heading and <h2>something<h2> as something with lower importance.

The obvious use of this as an SEO tool is giving keyword rich lines of text more importance on the page. Moderation in keywords is always a good thing (I know I’m sounding like a broken record by this point, but seriously, I’m not joking).

Bad Example:

<h1>spam spam spam egg and spam</h1>

<h2>spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam</h2>

Better Example:

<h1>spam and eggs</h1>

Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

Other stuff

To those of you thinking ‘A-ha! He didn’t mention meta tags or consistency or loads of other things that should be done on site in order to rank better’, here’s the ‘other stuff’ section.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are, basically, descriptive text inserted into the code of your site. If you open up your browser and press Ctrl+U, it should open up a page full of machine code. In that code near the top you can see some lines that look like this

<meta name=”…” content=”text here”>

Find the ones that are “keywords” and “description”.

The “keywords” tag was a vital part of SEO in the days when video games were for children not housewives and smartphones were called ‘desktop computers’. It’s gradually lost its value over time and all but ended with Google  excluding them from their algorithm and most SEO’s seeing them as a waste of time. I, personally, tend to drop an odd word in there, just in case. Keep it short, separate by comma and don’t

Spamdy Spam! Wonderful Spam!

what you shouldn’t do

The “description” part of the meta tag is also of dubious SEO value at the moment, but it still can and is used by search engines as the descriptive text beneath the link to your site. Fill this in and keep it beneath 150 characters or you’ll get “…” at the end of it. So if you’d have the title of the page as “Yellow Socks – a Yellow Socks Extravaganza page” and the description filled in as <meta name=”description” content=”Yellow Sock Extravaganza- your one stop shop for all of your sock needs, as long as they’re yellow.” Your Google result would look something like this:

Yellow Socks – a Yellow Sock Extravaganza page
Yellow Sock Extravaganza- your one stop shop for all of your sock needs, as long as they’re yellow
www.yellowsockextravaganza.com – Cached – Similar

Consistency

Keep consistency throughout the site.

  • In links:

Check if all the links to the same page link to the same URL. Example: www.yellowsockextravaganza.com vs www.yellowsockextravaganza.com/index.html

Check if the anchor text links use the same kind of anchor text to link to the same page.

  • In titles:

If you start by doing a ‘brand | page | keyword’ or ‘Keyword | brand > page’ structure, stick with it

  • Keywords:

If you’re targeting ‘yellow socks’, there’s no use in including pages that target ‘brown socks’ or ‘yellow boots’

Overall rules of onsite SEO

  • Keep within a set of keywords you’re targeting
  • Start small and grow up slowly
  • Do some research on what are the top10 rankers doing and try to do better.

Spam

  • Don’t. You will never win!

This turned out much longer than expected so I’ll do the second part in one of the next updates… Subscribe so you don’t miss it.

If any of this seems too complicated- Passion Digital is there to help with your online marketing needs.
[schema type=”person” name=”Mike Grindy” jobtitle=”Commercial Director” url=”https://passion.digital/about-us” email=”mike@passiondigital.co.uk” ]

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