On page optimisation, without doubt, has the greatest impact on your search engine ranking. I can offer a clear illustration of this from my own personal experience. My domain www.hardmanagement.co.uk has for a number of years been in the top 5 (at least in the UK) for a search on “finance for non-finance managers”. Yet when I developed this site (I have since rebranded – www.finance-for-managers.com in case you’re interested! Note the use of the keyword phrase in the domain name.) my SEO knowledge was extremely limited. Creating search engine friendly pages using the tips in the bullet-points below was about as much as I knew. Yet this was enough to achieve a high ranking that has been maintained over several years with virtually no other SEO work.
Example of Creating search engine friendly pages using keywords
Context is important
Here is what Google themselves say:
“Google’s technology analyses the full content of a page and factors in fonts, subdivisions and the precise location of each word. Google also analyses the content of neighbouring web pages to ensure the results returned are the most relevant to a user’s query.”
Keywords and the science of creating search engine friendly pages
The work that you did in finding niche keywords is about to pay dividends. Each page that you create should target one or two phrases. Note: if you are targeting a particular phrase, make sure that you use it “precisely”. Thus, “search engine friendly pages” and “pages that are search engine friendly” are different phrases. Here’s how you should use your keyword phrase:
use your keyword phrase when you name the page – have a look at the title of this page in the address bar and the title of the page in the screenshot above (you may also wish to place the file in a directory that has a keyword name)
the page title should begin with your keyword phrase – not your company name
use your keyword phrase in the first heading and use the HTML <H1> tag – you can customise how this looks in your CSS file. Use similar phrases or individual keywords in <H2> headings later in the body of the content.
keyword density – your keyword phrase should appear in your opening and closing paragraphs and possibly once more on the page. If you overuse your keyword phrase you may be penalised. As I mentioned on the SEO Basics page, a search engine’s reputation (and revenues) depend on it returning results that are valuable to humans. A heavily keyword-stuffed page smacks of being prepared for a search engine rather than a human. The longer the keyword phrase, the more likely you will be penalised for repeated usage.
alt tags for images should include your keyword phrase
use your keyword phrase in your META tags – specifically, the DESCRIPTION (aim for around 50 – 100 characters) and KEYWORDS (limit to 10 to 12 words, separating phrases / words with commas)
emphasise your keyword phrases – like this, creating search engine friendly pages or through italics. When appropriate use capital case.
put your keyword phrases in bullet lists
recognise that your keyword phrase must fit with the rest of the content on your page. The search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This process looks at the other words on your page to determine how your keyword phrase is being used – ie is it natural. The more ‘connected’ words there are, the higher you will rank. For example, one would expect a page on buying advice for laptop computers to include words such as hard disk, memory, battery life etc.
You may wish to review the keyword-usage of the pages currently ranking highest in Google. If you use Firefox (and you should, if only for some of the SEO add-ins), then you can install the (free) Quirk Search Status Add-in, you can, amongst many other things, check on the keyword statistics for any page. Here are the results for my number 3 ranking page for finance for non-finance managers:
use of keyword phrases
You can combine this with the work you do with Market Samurai.
How to Increase PageRank™
Let me quote again from Google (my italics for emphasis):
“PageRank performs an objective measurement of the importance of web pages by solving an equation of more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank then assesses a page’s importance by the number of votes it receives.
PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results. Google’s technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance. There is no human involvement or manipulation of results, which is why users have come to trust Google as a source of objective information unspoiled by paid placement.”
Read our straightforward practical tips on how to increase page rank.
Use CSS menus and Internal Links
You may not realise it but the links within your site are important in determining a page’s ranking. Search engines rank pages, not domains. So you should be linking to other pages within your site.
The menus on this site are CSS menus because the links to the pages are ordinary hyperlinks that are recognised by search engines. You can see this by viewing the page source – have a look at the source of this page. (most browsers will allow you to do this by right-clicking and selecting the View Page Source option).
Ajatix CSS Menus
Ajatix CSS Menus for DreamweaverIf you use Dreamweaver or Expression Engine, you should have a look at Ajatix Purce CSS Menu. Click on the thumbnail to see larger image.
You can fool some of the search engines some of the time …
There are many ‘tricks’ that people try to achieve a higher ranking. For instance, because a browser and a searchbot communicate their identities to the web server it is possible to serve up different pages for the same URL – in other words to show the search engine one thing to achieve ranking but show different content to a human. The usual reason for doing this “cloaking” is to hide affiliate links.
My thinking on any of the many ‘tricks’ is that the search engines are well aware of what goes on and no doubt monitor all the forums where such tricks are discussed. Any loophole is unlikely to last for long – and when it’s closed, you could face being de-indexed.