Search engine optimisation can be separated into two key categories, those being On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. On Page SEO relates to how someone can maximise the performance of their site in keyword searches based on the actual ‘on page’ content.
Put simply, On Page SEO regards the content and format of text on websites. Through the editing and optimisation of this content, it can help to increase your visibility on search engines when users search using keywords or phrases.
The main focus of On Page SEO is to look at the quality and content of your text, but the structure of your site is also vital to having good On Page SEO. This means that the way your content is laid out in the hierarchy of your site. Search engines respect structure a huge amount and by seeing what’s important to you higher up in the site hierarchy, they can assess the importance and attract you the visitors that you want.
When looking at a site, search engines will focus on particular aspects. These include structural elements, such as headings, sub-headings and HTML tags which distinguish the importance of certain features. Also integral to the analysis is how content is linked to sources both within and external to your website. This means that the core text, or content, is linked to other relevant articles or pages when the opportunity presents itself. The final point of focus, and perhaps the most important is the actual information which is presented, which must be relevant, detailed and useful to an audience.
In the 1990′s, at the birth of search engines, things were a lot more simple. The technology, being of a much less sophisticated nature, meant that even very basic forms of On Page SEO was capable of allowing the engines to differentiate between the relevant sites, based on how useful the information contained within the page was.
There was also much less information available on the Internet in those early years as well, but with the vast expansion of information, search engine providers needed much more sophisticated processes by which to generate results. As SEO providers and webmasters began to grow smart regarding the processes of the search engines in order to keep their material at the top of the page, search engines continued to develop their systems to ensure they remained one step ahead. The hardest task for these search engines was in the differentiation of ‘spam’ sites from sites of real relevance.
There are certain rules that can be adhered to when dealing with On Page SEO so as to rank high in search engine result pages (SERP’s) but whilst following these rules can produce success, it is necessary to combine On Page, and Off Page SEO and strike a balance between the two in order to have success in search engine optimisation.
The start to being successful with On Page SEO is to find the most commonly searched keywords that apply to your particular area of work and then use them throughout your documents in a relevant way. However, the key is to strike the balance between simply keyword-dropping and maintaining copy of the utmost quality. Both paths must be taken for optimisation.
Furthermore, each page of your site should be seen as an individual of its own merit. The page must have a ‘unique title tag’, which will ensure that the content is easily determinable from the tag alone. Also, the keywords must be included in the domain and sub domain names, with your page and folder URLs included the keyword as well. The purpose of this is for the search engine spiders which will determine whether your site is relevant or not, and so, the process is essential.
Header tags play a vital role in On Page SEO, with optimisation using a main keyword for the singular H1 tag and secondary keywords being included in the following 3 or 4 H2 tags. By using this sort of technique, your site will continue to move up through the ranking as seen on SERP’s and grow substantially.
As mentioned previously, whilst your website must be search engine friendly, the text, or copy, will be read by an audience comprising of people, not search engines drones. For this reason, it is essential that it reads well and that the keyword density is not too great. Using keywords is great, but overdoing it will make your text unreadable and irritating to most who read it. As well as looking at keywords, one of the greatest criteria for search engines is the reputation of the website, as in how users rate the content and how many people link to it from external sources in a positive way.
Not only is it the users of your website that will penalise you for overusing keywords, but search engines will also now do so. Their complex algorithms now analyse the keyword density of a page and if they deem it to be too dense, will rank your website poorly. The limits to which this is taken depends entirely on the individual search engine and is speculative (although accurately so).
If search engines find a high density of keywords (7+%) they class it as a site practising ‘spamming’ and immediately blacklist the site. This means that by following Black Hat SEO techniques such as the use of hidden text or mirror pages can lead to extensive penalisation from the search engines, thus destroying your ranking in SERP’s for the long term.
SEO requires much more than what is detailed above but it is evident that On Page SEO is, without doubt, one of the key components that could help a website reach commercial success.