Optimizing On-Page Elements of a Website by Clint Horner on 03/26/2012 By optimizing on-page elements of a website, we provide the structure for a successful SEO campaign. Search engines do not see web pages as we do. They don’t see nicely formatted text and graphics, but instead they see only the source code. How this source code is formatted can have a significant effect on how highly a website will rank in search results. URL Structure: A website’s URL structure should be kept as simple as possible. The website’s content should be organized so that URLs are constructed logically. URLs should be kept short and when possible, should include keywords. Keyword phrases in URLs should be separated with hyphens. Titles: One of the most important elements for keyword placement is the <Title> tag. The title of each page on a website should be unique and descriptive of the information found on the page. Keywords or phrases should be included within the first few words of the title and the title should ideally be around 60-70 characters in length. Meta Descriptions: Meta Descriptions are an important place to include keywords because of the ‘bolding’ that shows up in search results. Search engines match a user’s search query to corresponding words in a meta description, and this can indicate to searchers which sites are the best match for what they need. Keywords in the meta descriptions can therefore increase click through to a website when a page shows in a search engine’s search results for a particular keyword query. Canonical Tags: A canonical tag allows you to tell search engines which version of a URL is the preferred when you have multiple pages displaying very similar content. The most common use for this tag is when you have a page where you’re listing products. You may allow your users to sort those products by date or price and from a search engine’s point of view those are two different pages even though it’s the same content just ordered differently. By using the canonical tag you can consolidate your efforts into one page rather than diluting it across 2 or more. Headers (H1/H2/H3): Header tags are used to break up content on a webpage and provide an outline for both readers and search engines. Search engines read heading tags top to bottom and left to right. Headers should be organized in a hierarchy with the H1 appearing above the content. This H1 should be relevant to the content on the page. The H2/H3 tags can follow with keywords related to the H1. Body Text: Having unique and intriguing content is a very important part of SEO efforts. The first sentence in the body text and the first words in each sentence are the most important. We can also use bold and italics to raise the importance of keywords in the text. Keep in mind that overusing keywords can cause search engines to penalize your site. Keywords should appear 2 to 3 times on short pages, and 4 to 6 on longer ones. It is also good practice to use different variations of the keyword or phrase. Images: Every image should have an Alt Tag. An Alt Tag is where we describe an image so that search engines can understand what the image is. They can’t “see” the picture like you and I do, they can only “read” the Alt Tag. Without the Alt Tag, search engines would not be able to determine how an image is relevant. We also suggest including keywords in the filename of the image, as well. XML Sitemap: An XML Sitemap is a list of the pages on a website that are accessible to crawlers and users. An XML Sitemap should be submitted to the major search engines to give them an outline of your websites hierarchy. We want to be sure that this sitemap is constantly being called up to the search engines. Share the Love Related posts: Tips for Optimizing On-Page Elements of an Ecommerce Website Optimizing for Google Places, Part 1 5 Easy Steps to get a Website Set Up, Running and Ranking in Google SEO Tips for On-Page Content Clint HornerSEO Developer|Clint has worked at Eyeflow as an SEO Developer since 2011. Before joining Eyeflow he worked as a web developer at a studio in Pittsburgh. Outside of work you can find Clint doing stuff outside, such as camping, skiing, white water kayaking, and climbing rocks. Clint just bought a new white water kayak that he is pretty pumped about. 2016 Digital Marketing Essentials Learn how to improve your search engine performance dramatically and do more business online! Check it out!