Search engine optimization is not all about gaining inbound links. For a small business, your on page strategies are equally if not more important than your off page activities. These six areas are not difficult to work on, even in blog posts. For WordPress, you may need one or two plugins to make it a little easier; otherwise, everything can be completed from within the writing window.
So what are the six areas that need attention?
Title tags are as old as HTML. They were one of the first attributes used to optimize a web page and despite several decades of optimization change, this tag still holds a lot of importance. For bloggers, you may need a plugin that allows you to write a page title; otherwise, you’ll need to manually include it in the page’s header section.
The title tag is, as the name suggests, the place where you put the title to the web page. Every page should have a unique title, and it should be relevant to the page’s content. Think of it as a chapter title in a reference book. It will promise a subject, and your content will then deliver on that subject. Use your keywords judiciously in this attribute, preferably as close to the start as possible. You only have 70 characters so use them well. It is also considered a good idea to repeat the page’s title in your content, preferably at the top of the pages as an H1 heading.
It used to be that the more keywords you had on a page, the better. Now it’s all about relevance and placement. Keywords in your page’s title tag, in the visible page title, and sprinkled throughout the content is the best approach. You should also consider subtle variations on your keywords for variety.
There are two forms of on page linking to consider. The first is linking to an external site, and while the argument has often flowed regarding the leaking of ‘link juice’, if you link to authority pages, you won’t harm your rankings at all.
The second set of links are your internal links. These should be well structured. Rather than linking to every page, each page (apart from your front page) should link to the front page, sales related pages (shopping cart, checkout, products), and related pages on your site. Think of your internal link structure as being a road guide for your visitors.
If you include images, then these two should be optimized. Again, think of your visitors first. The Alt tag is used to describe the image if it doesn’t appear on the page. The Title tag is used to clarify the reason for the image. The contents of this tag appear when the user places their mouse on the image. Use keywords carefully – these tags are for users and search engines now look at them from a user’s perspective.
A page’s slug is its url. The aim is to keep the slug as clean as possible, preferably using just your domain name and the page title. For example, http://yoursite/pagetitle.
There is still dispute about image file names. What we do know is that having a keyword optimized file name wont hurt your site’s rankings.
Once you have published your web page, be sure to add it to the sitemap (both the user and search engine sitemaps). Search engine sitemaps are regularly checked by the search engines. Newly found urls are then visited and indexed by the search engines. If your page doesn’t appear in the sitemap, or you don’t have a sitemap, your page will be indexed eventually once the search engines find them.
Optimize those six on pages sections and you’ll be giving your web pages the best start in life.