SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) covers a number of factors that affect the ranking of a page. Within the search engines. These can be ‘on-site’ or ‘off-site’. On-site SEO is exactly how it sounds, SEO that can be done on your website without exterior elements. On the other hand, Off-site deals with elements based outside of your website. These are both as important as each other to achieve a perfectly optimized site!
So I’m going to look at the On-site elements. Here are some of the key factors in my opinion:
- SEO-friendly URL
- Title tags/ Meta tags
- Alt tags
- Internal links
- Social links
- W3C compliant
These are just a few of the factors that are said to affect the ranking of a site. In my opinion these are the most important and should be optimized within every site, and this is why.
The content of your site is by far the most important element of on-site SEO and the quality of that content is key. Why do you need good content? It’s simple, relevant content equals linkable material and happy users. If your content fills the demand of the viewers there will in turn be more links to your site and eventually search engines will begin to notice you and rank your website. Therefore without relevant content your site will fall through the gaps.
Title tags/ Meta tags
Title tags and Meta tags are also very important from an SEO point of view. This dictates how Google and other search engines will preview your site and link back to it. Keywords also play a big part in the optimisation of Title and Meta tags. This is an example of how Google would display the data it receives from each page within your site.
This can again be seen as one of the most important elements of on-site SEO. This is the first thing a user will see when searching for a topic and if your Title, URL or Description are not seen to be relevant, the user can be put off from the start.
This links back to the last point of keeping it relevant. Although some people are beginning to state that this is becoming less important, many studies still show that keywords within URL’s still play a massive part within SEO ranking. Although this may not have a massive impact on the sites ranking, I still believe that keeping the URL simple and keyword rich makes it easier for both the search engines and the users.
It is almost a given that the H1 of the page and Title tags should be the same, there have been a large number of studies to show that matching these is associated with slightly higher ranking sites. Although this does not make a massive difference from an SEO point of view I would almost definitely agree with this. As a user would expect to see the same title on the page as the one they just clicked on, however having slightly different will still achieve the same outcome and in some cases could work better. For instance giving a more detailed H1 on the page such as ‘How can you improve your Web Design?’ when the Title tag is ‘Web Design’ really helps the user understand what the page is about. In any instance just remember to keep both the H1 and Title relevant and true to the content of the site.
The Alt tag is an important tool from an SEO point of view. Keeping the file name and alt tag relevant, allows search engines to see the images on your page and give a clearer idea of the topic. This also helps for accessibility.
Internal links are simply a link that points to another page within the same website. Commonly used in the main navigation. This is very important as it allows Search engines to crawl and index your site, however we can begin to be smarter with this and increase the visibility and links to certain pages.
This is achieved through linking a popular page linking to a less popular page (as long as the topic is related).
This transfers some of the link juice (popularity) to the less popular page, thus increasing its popularity. Although, when trying to achieve this style of internal links you MUST make sure the pages are related.
Social signals are starting to become more and more part of Googles algorithm, allowing users to share your pages on their social networks also generates vital links and increases ranking.
There is a lot of discussion to whether sites should be 100% compliant to achieve best SEO and yes of course it is best to be. Although if the errors are only minimal there will be little to none effect to the actually site. However if there are large errors these should definitely be addressed straight away.
Although these are only a handful of the key features with in on-site SEO, I still feel they are vital to achieve a well-ranked page/site. Obviously there is a lot more to look at and add but the main point I want to make is to keep everything relevant to your topic and address the users needs.