1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

A Complete Idiot's Guide to On Page Optimizations for your Website (Newbie Guide)

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Taktical, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    3,228
    Occupation:
    Jr.Executive VIP
    Location:
    USA
    So for the past few months, I've been working with GeorgeBG in running a white label service for BHW members who have SEO clients. We do all these crazy link types and on site reports, we do full link reports and we track ranks. Basically we've been handling everything for our customers and their clients. (Shameless plug and link to the service thead here).

    But I've noticed that despite our customers' understanding of SEO, for some weird reason many of them never seem to optimize their sites the right way and as a result, they never get good rankings (and then we get complaints). People need to know that it doesn't matter how awesome the links are, if your on site optimization sucks you might as well pack in your shit and call it quits.

    As a result, I was forced to write up a document on the basic how-tos of optimizing a page. I figured I'd share it on BHW also to help out the new guys or people who just can't figure it out.

    Mind you this is SUPER SIMPLE stuff. Basic 123's so if you're a pro, dont bother reading on.


    -----
    CAVEAT: While this covers things that need to be done, it is by NO MEANS a complete guide. For that, please download "Google Best Practices". Its a little dated, but its pretty damn comprehensive and this stuff is still pretty accurate. (If anyone has an updated version please send it or post it here, I'll update the OP!). Please everyone, help add to this list.

    Also, I'm including links to some good worpress plugins to use. If you're on wordpress, you can find my thread last year, a complete list of the best Wordpress plugins to use here.
    -----


    ==========================================================================================


    VITARANK'S ON SITE OPTIMIZATION GUIDE:


    A Word on Google's Algorithm:
    Google ranks pages, but gives authority to websites. This means you have to do optimizations both on a site wide basis and one a page by page basis. The following guide will start with the website optimizations, and then carry through the Google optimizations.


    OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE


    Webmaster Tools:
    Google offers a powerful SEO toolkit called webmaster tools. Sign up for this and verify your site according to the instructions they set forth. Once you've verified, set up the following parameters:

    WWW vs non WWW and Country target:
    Found in the ?Website Settings? section by clicking the gear on the top right corner of your browser.

    You can choose your URL to be viewed as http://www.website.com or as http://website.com. It makes no difference which you choose, but you must choose one and STICK TO IT! This means all internal links and and external links should follow the same format for optimal results.

    3WOky.png

    If your company targets customers in a particular region, make sure to set this country as your sites target to optimize results in that country.


    XML sitemaps:
    Found in the left side menu under Crawl > Sitemaps. The Add Sitemap button is on the top right.

    An XML sitemap is a file that gives google a virtual map of your website. Since google may not catch all of your pages using its normal crawler (googlebot) a regularly updated sitemap will help google find more pages. If you have Wordpress, you can install the "XML sitemaps" plugin. If you aren't using Wordpress, visit http://www.xml-sitemaps.com to have a free one generated for you (page limits apply).

    Make sure to update these once per quarter year. Click here to learn more about XML sitemaps



    Fix 404 errors:
    Found in the left side menu under Crawl > Crawl Errors.

    As your website grows, pages will be deleted or change. Sometimes people will link to pages that just don't exist. This will cause dead links, also known as 404 errors.
    Luckily for us, google will warn you about these errors so you can fix them. They will not be available immediately as google will slowly find them as it crawls the Internet. Make sure to check a few weeks after you set up webmaster tools to discover these dead links. Follow these instructions to create 301 redirects in order to send those links to appropriate pages. If no appropriate page is evident, just send them to your homepage. This is the best way to fix your site and preserve all link juice from old pages

    Click here to learn how to do a proper 301 redirect


    Robots.txt
    Found in the left side menu under Crawl > Blocked URLs

    The robots.txt file is a document on your website that gives instructions to googles crawlers and others about what pages should be ignored. This is vitally important for avoiding duplicate content (discussed more later). It's also useful for having google ignore test pages, hidden pages, login pages, and other things you don't want showing up in googles search.
    Read here for more information on how to set up a Robots.txt file.


    Other Website optimizations
    Besides the webmaster tools fixes, there's more you can do to optimize your website for google rankings.

    Internal Link Structure:
    Just like external links pointing to your pages gives it authority, so too do links that point from pages on your website to other pages on your website. This means that you should be pointing links from other pages, blog posts, and most important from your homepage to your target pages to signal to Google that these pages are important. Make sure to optimize these links with your keyword as the anchor text. There are wordpress plugins like Smart SEO Links that can handle this for you. If you don?t have wordpress, an easy trick to find out where to place the links is to do a boolean search in Google for your target keyword on your site. It looks like this: site:yoursite.com, ?keyword in quotes?

    This will load up the top 10 pages for your keyword on your website only. Google is actually telling you what pages on your site it thinks matter for this keyword. Now all you have to do is point links from all of these pages to your target page!

    Checking for Duplicate Content:
    Having copied content from another website can cause a Panda penalty. To avoid this or to recover from one, make sure you have unique content for your website. Run your URL through copyscape.com to check. Even if your content is unique and SOMEONE else copied you, make sure to change it up. Its not worth the risk if Google thinks you?re the one who did the copying. You should recheck every few months.

    Page Load Times:
    Page loading speed affects your conversion rate, that much is obvious. But did you know it can also affect your SEO rankings? Use Google Analytics Site Speed reports to check your sites load times. You can upgrade your server, use caching methods or shrink the image sizes to get your site to load quicker. In general the faster, the better. If you're using wordpress, use the W3 Total Cache Plugin

    Adobe Flash:
    No Adoble Flash. Ever. No Exceptions.

    Having a Blog:
    Blogs help maintain fresh content for your site, which Google loves. Even if you aren?t posting keyword rich content, you should be posting SOMETHING. Minimum of 3x per week is recommended.





    OPTIMIZING YOUR PAGES:

    ***A word on LSI Content:

    Google has long since frowned upon using repetitive keyterms over and over again on a web page (sometimes referred to as "keyword stuffing"). Google?s algorithm now uses a technology that understands similar words and groups them. Because of this, the best way to fill your site with keywords is to use what are known as "latent semantic keywords". This is just a fancy way of saying "use similar phrasing". The power of this is multiplied if you use LSI keywords throughout your site. It's much more difficult to rank one website for two totally different keywords such as "Santa Monica Plumber" and "Cheap Lampshades" than it would be for two keywords that are related.

    SO, instead of repeating your keyword 10 times on a page, instead use related keywords in a more natural fashion. Example: ?Santa Monica Plumber? as the title and ?Best Plumbers in Southern California? for the H1 tag. See?

    --

    Each page of your website will rank individually from the others. This means that you should be optimizing each page of your site for different keywords that you wish to rank for. We normally recommend 2 or 3 keywords per page, any more than that and you won't be able to fit the keywords into your content areas.

    One exception to this rule is if your keywords are very closely related, such as ?plumber in santa monica? and ?best plumber in santa monica?.


    Title:
    The title tag is the page name you see at the top of your browser bar when loading a webpage. Its also the name shown in big blue letters on a Google search. It?s arguably the most important spot for keywords on each page.

    The best practice here is to lead off with your keyword(s), then follow AFTER that with your company name or page name.

    E.g.: ?Plumber in Santa Monica | Services | SA Plumbing Corp?

    3WNvy.png

    Please note that Google has a 70 character limit on what they will show, so some of your title may get cut off. Its also important to mention that there is a non-SEO marketing aspect to your title. Its what people see as your website name in the Google searches, so make sure your title is something that people will want to click on! (Yes, the number of clicks you get affects your rankings!!).

    URL:
    The URL of your page also has an effect on what keywords it will rank for. While it's unlikely or impossible for most people to have "exact match" domains (domain names that match perfectly with their desired keyterm) you can match the page name with your keyterm (of course this is not possible on the homepage).

    Use an LSI keyword in your URL and separate individual words with dashes with a limit of 3 dashes. (Eg:http://website.com/key-term-here)

    If your website has categories you can make use of those as well to further specify keyterms.

    H1 Tag
    The primary header tag, also known as the H1 (for its HTML code signifier, <H1>) is the headline of your page. Its what tell google the subject of your article. While less important than your title tag, it is nontheless something you should be optimizing on each page. Include a variation or partial keyword here. Dont duplicate what you wrote in the title.
    Also, H1 tags MUST be visible (no hidden stuff!), do not place them on images, only use 1 H1 tag per page, and place it as close to the top as possible.

    Read more about H Tags here

    H2, H3, h4 tags:
    Lower tags matter less than the H1, you can still place keywords in them if you wish but they matter less and you can use them more for user experience than usual keyword placement.

    The only rule here is that you keep them in semantic order. Do not place H3 tag before h4 tags etc. (use as many of each as you like though).
    Read more about H Tags here

    Content:
    The days of Keyword stuffing are long gone. These days, optimizers usually just place keywords into the content at a rate about 1% to 2% per 100 words. Focus more on good content rather than jamming keywords in.

    Content on each page you are trying to rank should be around 700 words with a minimum of 500.

    See the section on LSI content to learn more about keyword usage.


    Image and video optimization:
    The more multimedia you have on each page, the better. In addition, you can also optimize each piece of multimedia by placing LSI keywords into the image file name, the alt tag and/or the the caption underneath. (Don't overdo it!)



     
    • Thanks Thanks x 136
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  2. Georgebg

    Georgebg Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,681
    Likes Received:
    774
    Home Page:
    TL : DR

    This Guide right here + high quality White Hat SEO = Rankings ;)
     
  3. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    10,883
    Nice work :D
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. AutoBlogger

    AutoBlogger Power Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    780
    Likes Received:
    928
    Occupation:
    IM, AutoBlogging and Urban Planning
    Location:
    The Global Village
    That's some real Taktical info. Rep added :)
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    3,228
    Occupation:
    Jr.Executive VIP
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks buddy!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Emp1!

    Emp1! Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    167
    Thank Taktikal, you always post detailed information.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. Bupler

    Bupler Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Taiwan/North Carolina
    Would keywords instead of LSI in h2 tags and alt text be overkill?
     
  8. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    3,228
    Occupation:
    Jr.Executive VIP
    Location:
    USA
    When in doubt, stick to LSI
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. commenting shop

    commenting shop BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    273
    Very good info. Thank you Taktical :)
     
  10. zenlagor

    zenlagor Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    184
    Occupation:
    Virtual Pimp
    Location:
    Colombia
    Home Page:
    Thanks for this post, it confirms a lot of stuff I've been doing through trial and error. I always find another idea is to look at the top pages ranking for your keyword, I was lucky enough to find a really good site with very natural keyword density and lovely LSI's which I am now trying to emulate across my niches.
     
  11. rkt13

    rkt13 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    69
    Occupation:
    webpreneur
    Location:
    Georgia
    I found the plug to this thread while following bluematter's adsense thread. This is really useful, thanks! I bookmarked it so I can come back to it for each of my sites and make sure I am doing everything the right way. Thanks for the share!

    Thanks & Rep given as well ;)
     
  12. Goal Line Technology

    Goal Line Technology Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    2,157
    detailed post Taktical
    +reps for effort :)
     
  13. looie89

    looie89 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    55
    Also came from Bluematters adsense thread. Seems like very straightforward and solid advice. Bookmarked and thanked!
     
  14. Peter Ngo

    Peter Ngo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    1,463
    Occupation:
    I browse BHW for a living
    Location:
    The Internet
    very very informative and detailed on page guide.
    Honestly, most SEO guide focus too much on off page, and forget about the importance of on page. you just kill it.
    You have my deepest thanks

    Regards
    Peter
     
  15. aprilmay

    aprilmay Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    642
    I really appreciate your post. Thank you!!
     
  16. Tonygand

    Tonygand Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    24
    Occupation:
    babysitting phones on graveyard
    Location:
    California
    Very detailed and good guide.
    bookmarked and rep+
    thanks Taktical
     
  17. pathart

    pathart Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Dublin - Ireland
    Nice read, always good to brush up on this stuff.

    +Rep
     
  18. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    3,228
    Occupation:
    Jr.Executive VIP
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for all the love and rep guys!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  19. RushingWind

    RushingWind Elite Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2,416
    Likes Received:
    3,333
    Had a great time reading this. Thanks for the awesome OP.
    +rep and +thanks,
    RW.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  20. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,093
    Likes Received:
    3,585
    Occupation:
    Local SEOist
    Location:
    TEXAS (you have to yell, its the law.)
    I usually roll my eyes when I see someone's take on SEO, so many people think SEO is backlinks. Even when they talk about on page, they have no idea what the hell it involves, or they minimize its importance due to their own ignorance.

    In fact, there are very few people I will bother with even reading their onpage seo posts.

    Your reputation precedes you though, so I though I would see what you were dishing out, to see if your rep was deserved, and I wasn't sure what I was going to read.

    I was very pleasantly surprised with your post, and although i think you left out a few important points, this is by far the best post about on-page SEO I have seen on BHW.

    Well done sir! I see your rep was earned, not given.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1