Sunday, October 21, 2012

What I Do for Onsite Search Engine Optimization



Onsite search engine optimization covers many different things.  If you own a website, be it personal or business purposes, chances are you have heard about SEO services (search engine optimization).  You may also know that SEO can be categorized into onsite and offsite as I learned not too long ago.  This means there are factors that are actually properties of your website and factors that are outside influences affecting the search rank of your site.  It is important to know both onsite and offsite SEO but I believe that onsite is overlooked by many website owners from my initial gatherings and experiments as to how much impact onsite can have for my websites.

A quick search around some SEO forums and authoritative websites will show you that onsite SEO refers to things like keyword density, headlines, descriptions, meta tags, photos and videos.  These types of things have affected onsite SEO since marketing on the internet became popular.  These things are all in your control since they are on your website.  Recently the best thing to do with onsite SEO is to not overdo it by creating a website just for search engines versus for your audience (I learned that the hard way).  

It is an easy way for Google to raise a red flag regarding your website.  If you have too many keywords or meta tags as well as a keyword rich domain name, Google may find your site curious. Upon further inspection search engines will look at how often your site is updated, how old it is and what it has for PageRank.  If Google saw all these red flags on a new site, it may receive a penalty, which is what I believe a few of my sites got placed with.  So the best policy is to create names, descriptions, tags, headlines and content that is genuine and of good quality, then you can organize your content to get the most advantage of onsite SEO.

It seems that search engines keep changing the algorithms they use, and one thing stands out as a constant, and that is organization.  Search engines love organization and it has opened the door to new onsite SEO tactics that I will be trying.  The great thing about using organization is that it is sure to be advantageous even in future algorithm updates and also to the websites visitors.

If you're wondering what this is and how it can be accomplished, I'll share a few things I've learned so far.  The first thing I try to do is organize the permalink structure (very easy if you use Wordpress), which is the path each website has.  For example www.yoursite.com/2012/July/how-to-sell-ice-cream.  You can make the structure whatever you like but the more organized it is the better it seems to be for search engines, especially if it contains your keywords.  The other cool trick I try to use is to maximize organization of pages.  Google loves to see (relevant) pages on your site linked together, so I create a structure of posts like this:

  • Article name
  • Introduction

  • Topic 1 content
  • Link named (Read more about Topic 1 here) which leads to another page that goes more in depth about topic 1.
  • Topic 2 Content
  • Link named (Read more about Topic 2 here) which leads to another page that goes more in depth about Topic 2.  Etc. 

From here you can make as many pages as you want, creating a hierarchy structure.  I also add pictures and make a small page that the picture links to.  This gives your site many more pages to be indexed by Google and makes them all easy to find.  Just make sure that any page or post you create has at least 300 words on it as I am noticing with reading newer updates that content count is very important versus a bunch of no content pages.  I have also received a little consulting from an SEO company and they also provided me with this advice, so my findings seemed to be correct.

I hope this sheds some light on some onsite SEO tactics that have been working for me.  It is not all about keywords and tags anymore.  It is about organizing quality content so search engines find it easy and have a lot of evidence that you are an authority.  I know I have a lot more to learn but this is fun and all part of the online world.  Actual readers also love this format making it easy for them to browse your site.  People also get bored easy so writing a little about something and then linking to more information is a sure fire way to get people to stay on your site and viewing more pages.  It makes sense really, algorithms are supposed to act like people, if people like it, algorithms will too.

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