Best Practices for Keyword Density
This is one of the most important aspects of on-site optimization, but it is one where the specifics can change immensely over time. In the past, stuffing a website with pages of keywords was enough to shoot up the rankings. Even just a few years ago, having a high keyword percentage was a major part of getting to the top of major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. However, today that is a great way to make sure your website never even sniffs page one of the search engine rankings. If you hear an on-page SEO services provider mention using a primary keyword over and over again to get results, run for the hills.
Proper keyword density is a major part of on-page SEO services, and the general rule of thumb is that all major keywords should have a density of 2% or less. While some people try to adhere closely to the 2%, the better way to optimize is to use focused long content.
First, make sure that the main keyword appears in certain places throughout the post (see the Proper Main Keyword Use section for more on this). Then, include a smattering of related long tail and LSI keywords that are also scattered throughout the post at under 2%.
Keeping this density will be enough to help truly great content rank while avoiding any of the over optimization penalties from Google.
Best Practices for Using Correct Keywords
Doing great keyword research and using proper keyword density isn’t enough when it comes to true SEO onsite optimization. Proper use of the keyword throughout the post also matters. This is all about structure and the use of the main keyword at strategic points. There are a few places where the main keyword should always show up:
- In the title
- In the URL address (this should automatically take place if your URL structure is properly optimized with your titles)
- In the first paragraph (earlier is better but not an absolute necessity)
- The very last sentence of the post
Assuming the post is a decent length, the main keyword should ideally also show up in one of the sub-headings, and a few times throughout the post as seems natural. Just make sure at the end that all these keywords are at or under 2% keyword density for each post.
Best SEO Practices for Page Layouts
Layout of a post matters a lot when it comes to on site SEO, and a few minor changes can often lead to major optimization benefits. One thing to always remember is user experience. No one likes giant walls of text, and you want every post to be as engaging and eye-catching as possible. Don’t forget that average time on site for each visitor is a major SEO factor that Google and other search engines look at as well. So having easy to read/skim content with good multimedia placement can make a huge difference in increasing the average time while boosting rankings as a result.
Each post should have good clear pictures (no pixelation) that have captions and are formatted with text wrap around. Sub-headings, short paragraphs, and bullet points are always a good idea as are occasional bolded, highlighted, or underlined words to set the text apart (where appropriate). You want all these posts to be as interesting as possible, well formatted, and easy to read. Great formatting also makes sure you are in a position to pass all visual inspections.
Best SEO Practices for Using Tags
Tags come in three main forms for your content, and you want to make sure that you have the best practices in effect for all of them. The first is title tags. If you use WordPress, you don’t have to worry about the post title. But when you use sub-titles throughout your content, you want to make sure they’re not just bolded – you want actual header tags around them to get an additional SEO boost. This helps tell search engine spiders that these words are especially important in regards to the post.
Meta tags used to be a major part of on page SEO but that really isn’t the case anymore. There’s no benefit to spamming them with keywords, but a website can be penalized for having no meta tags or duplicate content for meta tags. You do want to avoid these penalties.
Finally, every photograph should have alt tags to indicate what the picture is about. These should not be keyword spam or lists of keywords, but a short brief description of what the picture is showing. A basic keyword is okay if it directly relates to what is in the picture.
Optimizing these tags on each page is something all the major search engines like to see.
Best SEO Practices for High Quality Content
Google has said for years that the most important single factor to them is high quality content. Now more than ever, they have the ability to back that statement up. So what is “quality?” While this can be a somewhat nebulous term, there are a few definite qualities that good content (in the eyes of the search engines) all have in common.
Make sure all posts:
Are written by a native speaker
Are informative and carry authority, yet are easy to read
Flow well and with a good writing style
Are well organized
Are 100% original (no duplicate content – which creates a penalty)
Link to relevant reputable resources to support information
Are as long as possible without sacrificing quality
In some ways the terms “good” or “high quality” are subjective. The basics listed in this section give all the information necessary to be able to understand what it is that Google and the other major search engines look for out of a truly good blog post or website page. By starting with that framework and staying true to the idea of producing the best possible online resource for the reader, you will be on the right track in creating the type of content that search engines want to see. These onsite SEO services and great content will ensure the search engines will be willing to rank you higher as a result.
Best SEO Practices for Inserting Multimedia
Especially in this age of low attention spans, you want to use quality multimedia with your blog posts. High resolution photographs that have captions and are properly tagged should be in every post. These can do wonders for improving the layout and making the overall aesthetic appearance of a post that much nicer. In addition to this, a video or two can improve average user time on site (especially if you’re good at choosing a strong video to add in), and break up walls of text.
When using the embed function for videos, it’s a good idea to make sure there is a title to the video, a caption, or even a paragraph talking about what it shows. While Google’s technology to read what is on the page is impressive, it still relies on keywords, captions, and surrounding text to understand what types of pictures or videos are in a post. Helping out the search engine spiders are only going to improve your overall rankings.
Best SEO Practices for Updating Site Content
This is a huge one, especially for websites with older posts. Remember Google Caffeine? We do. We’ve been doing this a while.
Google Caffeine wasn’t touted as an update when it first rolled out back in summer of 2010 so much as a “new infrastructure” for helping to deliver fresher content to the user. People saw some minor changes and then generally forgot about this update, but the thing is, it didn’t go away. Some webmasters were thrown off because older trustworthy content from authority sources still ranked extremely well, and they didn’t see a big change with those websites.
However, there was one area outside of news stories and other time related posts where Caffeine had a huge effect and that’s with updating old content. In many cases, this seems to bring together the SEO bonus for trusted and aged authority content with the Caffeine “boost” that comes from new content. If you have old posts where the old content is still good, but you can easily add “Updated Current Year” and toss on several hundred (or even thousand) more words, then that should absolutely be put high on the SEO list of things to do.
Updating content shows search engines that it is timely, that you continue to add more value to your website, and it builds both trust and authority with the search engines. Both factors have been named as being important for future SEO work and ranking. Updating old posts is often even easier than writing new ones since the heavy lifting has already been done. You just get to add a little more content, make sure it’s formatted correctly, add some on page optimization services tips, and then reap the benefits.
Best Practices for Internal Links
Internal linking is a major element when it comes to proper optimization. Not only do links from pages on your website to other pages pass juice and strengthen your site (and those specific posts) in the search engine rankings overall, but internal linking is the one type of linking where exact keyword anchor text needs to be used. Having more than 10% of backlinks from other websites as keywords now tend to raise the spam flags and get many websites penalized, however with internal links these are expected to help search engine spiders figure out what each page should rank for.
So while many backlinks from other websites will be your website name, your URL, or something basic like “Click here to learn more,” all your internal links should be EXACT KEYWORD A, EXACT KEYWORD B, etc. Internal linking also helps reduce the bounce rate of your website by encouraging readers to visit more than one page at a time, making it a winning on page SEO practice all the way through.
Best Practices for Outbound Links
While many website owners are sure to focus in on getting links with their off-page SEO efforts, they all too often overlook outbound linking from their own website. Part of this may stem back from years ago when Page Rank was a major part of Google’s SEO formula, and linking out too much passed on Page Rank “juice” that then made it harder for a website to boost their own rankings. This led to the habit of hoarding, which made sense back then. Now, outbound linking should take a holistic view toward helping each other out. Perhaps links to some of your customers, a mentor, or a scientific study would be appropriate. Use authoritative, relevant links for a better user experience.
Social Media’s Role in SEO
Social media matters more than ever, and it’s important to make it easy to share your content. This not only helps build trust and authority with the search engines by increasing your social media footprint, but at this point in the online world, websites are expected to have active social media accounts. Having easy to spot buttons to make social sharing as simple as possible just makes sense in our socially connected world.