Thousands of books and articles written about optimizing web pages so that your website has the best chance of achieving high rankings in the search index. We routinely follow a set of rules when optimizing our client web pages. There are onpage SEO (search engine optimisation) and offpage SEO tactics. While it may seem that we’re giving away big secrets in this onpage SEO checklist, you can find these SEO tips plus more in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Guide.
This checklist covers onpage SEO rules.
1. If possible, label the url for the page so that it includes the primary keyword phrase (examples: yourdomain.com/primary-keyword-phrase/ or yourdomain.com/primary-keyword-phrase.html)
2. Include the keyword in the “meta title” information for the page. Also, include a secondary keyword phrase in the meta title. (For example: Primary Keyword Phrase | Secondary Phrase) Note: Google recommends that you don’t exceed 60-80 characters for the title. Always put the primary keyword phrase first. If the target audience for our website is local, then consider adding the phone number, city or other regional reference. Just stay within the 60-80 character limits.
3. Use the “meta description” tag and include your primary keyword phrase and one or more secondary terms. Note: Make your “meta description” irresistible so that people want to click on the link to find out more information. Optional – Add “meta keywords” to your page. If you do, include all your targeted terms and maybe a couple of others. I’d try to stay to five or six terms max per page… don’t overdo it!
4. Use your primary phrase inside of the actual onpage content that is read by visitors. It’s best if it is used (a) Towards the top of the page and encased in an h1 tag (b) Used a time or two more in the actual content and again near the bottom of the page (maybe as an anchor text link if possible)
5. Make your onpage content read well (don’t just keyword stuff the page thinking that’s going to help) and don’t forget to include a call to action to the most important action for your reader. I realize that’s not really an SEO thing, but it’s important none the less. People may not be ready to buy, but if you get them on your email list you can keep in touch with them. Build a relationship with them so that one day, when they are ready, they will buy from you.
6. Keep each page as “light” as possible regarding its file size and the time it takes to load the page. More and more, search engines are taking page load times into account when indexing pages.
7. Keep your pages attractive… easy to read… and easy to navigate. You want your visitors to stay on your site for as long as possible. Search engines can track your “visit duration” and also how many pages a visitor looked at before leaving. The longer someone is on your site, the better your SEO AND the more likely the visitor will contact you!
8. Add a sitemap.xml file to your site. While this is not mandatory, this can help search engine spiders crawl your content. This is very important if you have a lot of pages on your website. Don’t have a clue how to do this? No problem. If your site is a static html site, you can generate your sitemap here (http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/). If you are using WordPress then I’d recommend using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin found here:http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/