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by Alec Sharratt on 15th June 2011
Hello, my name’s Alec. I’m a search specialist here at Koozai, and today I’m going to be walking you through a few basic SEO on page elements.
As you can see from the diagram behind me, I’ve a basic web page that contains all of the on page elements that you’d expect to see or could see on a web page. I’m going to walk you through what these are, how to use them, a few dos and don’ts and the relevancy of this to optimising your website.
If we look at the top of the page, we have the company logo. This is normally situated in the top left-hand corner of a web page. Site visitors expect that to be a link to the home page. This is a useful navigational tool. If someone gets lost within the site, they can always find their way back to the home page.
The company name. Now if this is text at the top of a page, it should not be styled with an H tag. It should be styled with HTML or CSS or whatever particular code it is that the website’s constructed in.
Moving on to H tags, you would normally have potentially six on a page, although you’d expect to see at most one or two. H tags are titles. They should contain the keyword that you are targeting for that particular page and should be relevant to the text underneath them. They should not be used
for styling a page. CSS or HTML, as previously mentioned, should be used to style a page. H tags are a specific on page tool that SEO consultants will use to help create keyword focus throughout a page.
Moving down, keywords and content. This makes up the bulk of the page. Most pages should have at least 250 words of content on them. Keywords should be used throughout the content, normally mentioned once within the first sentence, within the closing paragraph, and in a few other places throughout the page. They should not be used in such a way that they are keyword stuffed. They should be readable and not break up the flow of text on a page. They should not appear to a user or site visitor as if you’re just stuffing keywords in, in order to feed the search engine robots.
Moving down the page, we have links. Internal links are a valuable asset in your SEO arsenal. Site links or internal links are used to promote other pages throughout the site. If we sell, for example, widgets, it would be very relevant to have a page with a link that says “widgets,” rather than something like “click here” or “read more.” Make those links relevant to the page they’re promoting. This will help create overall relevance for those pages.
Images. Images are used throughout a site for a number of different reasons. They should always have Alt tags. An Alt tag is essentially a description of what the image is of. Again, we shouldn’t keyword stuff here, but the description should be relevant to the picture. If you have a picture of a widget, then fair enough, call it a widget. But if it’s not, don’t use it just because it’s a keyword. Every image should have an alt tag associated with it. Most search engines, in fact, can’t read pictures very well. They won’t know what it’s a picture of, and they’re not really trying to understand what it’s a picture of. They will instead use the Alt tag to decipher that. Additionally, many browsers cannot display certain images or may use time downloading them. An Alt tag can be displayed in place of that image.
Moving up to the top of the page here again, the meta title. Now this will appear in the tab of any internet browser that you’re using, be it Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. The meta title also appears as the title in the organic listings. Should you be lucky enough to get listed for the keyword you’re targeting, this is what will appear as the link to your page from, say, Google.
There are a few other on page elements which aren’t as obvious. The Meta description, for example, can’t be seen without looking at the source code of a page, but this description will be what is listed underneath the Meta title within the organic listings. If you do not specify a Meta description, it will use the first lines of text on the page to describe what the page is about. This may or may not be the most relevant. In order to control that, it’s very highly suggested that you use Meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions should be no longer than 155 characters. Google will not display anything over 155 characters. They should contain the keyword that you’re targeting for that page. Another useful trick is to capitalise the first letter of each word, something that’s been proven to be successful in the paid listings. Many people carry this over to the organic listings. Meta titles should be no longer than 65 characters, as again, they’ll be cut off after that point.
This gives us a basic overview of all of the on page elements, ones that you can see and ones that you can’t see. The idea here is that we’re targeting one keyword per page, and we have that keyword mirrored throughout the H tags, the Meta title, the Meta description. We have it in the footer, and if you have an image of the product, you have it in the Alt tag of the image. This builds relevancy of the page, and also the internal links that link to this page should use the keyword that that page is targeting. This will build the relevance of that page to the keyword and will help in being listed for it.
There are a few other on page elements that are worth mentioning here as well. First of all, the sitemap, there should be an XML sitemap on every website. A sitemap has a link to all of the pages that you would like indexed, and it is also the place where Google and other search engines will go to identify what pages it is that you want indexed.
Another very important feature of a website it the robots.txt file. It’s called a robot file because the search engines have programmes which are referred to as robots. The first file that they look for on a website is the robots.txt. Within this, you can allow or disallow the indexing of specific files or file types or directories, and you can control how the robots then index your site. But also, very importantly, you have a link from the robots.txt file to the sitemap as this is the first place that a search engine robot will go to identify what you want indexed. It would also specifically look for the location of the sitemap within this file.
Other useful on page elements can include things like geotags. If you’re a local business or you provide your services exclusively to the local area, you’ll want to get into the local listings. A good way to do this is to use a geotag. There are many free generators out there that will be able to generate geotags for you based on your location. They simply tell Google, or any search engine, this is where we’re located or this is where we provide this service or product this page is about. Geotags can be used on multiple pages and can vary from page to page. They don’t have to
be the same on every single page. For example, if you had a taxi company that targets different areas, you’d use a geotag on each page to target that particular area.
Also another on page element which can be used, often in a gap just underneath the header, is a breadcrumb trail. This is a structured link to the page that you’re in. If you’ve gone from a category page to a product page, you would have the category page dash product page here. Now, this is very useful for site visitors to continue navigating a site and also creates internal links which are contextually relevant promoting those pages.
These are the basic on page elements of SEO that you would look to optimise on any website. If you’d like to know more, please visit Koozai website at Koozai.com. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thanks for your time.