5 Practical On Page SEO Optimisation Tips For Webmasters
Much is written about SEO especially when another algorithm update is communicated by Matt Cutts or another Google spokesperson and big movements occur in the SERPs, however, the truth is to try and pay attention to the small but very important clues in their webmaster guidelines which if examined closely reveal quite a lot. What I am about to highlight is those non technical guidelines that webmasters and site owners can control themselves and of course is my interpretation and therefore subject to debate, however, it will hopefully help demystify what Google wants to Business owners, marketers, copywrites and web masters alike.
1. Pay “Close” Attention to Google’s Guidelines regards Thin or Duplicate Content
Read the highlighted text very closely. I can confirm from working on a client’s ecommerce site that when product pages with thin or duplicate content were removed from Google’s index using the “follow no index” meta tag the site’s category pages which contained useful unique content started to rank. There is always a great temptation to create identical landing pages which rank for lots of terms, however, be warned as this should be avoided.
The same goes for low quality blog posts as highlighted in the guidelines. How many times has it been said that continuously publishing content – even low quality content help a site rank in Google for its main keywords. This is simply not true, however, don’t take my word for this check out the highly regarded Blog Tyrant’s post on this very topic – http://www.blogtyrant.com/why-i-dont-post-regularly-and-why-you-shouldnt-either/
2. Specific On Page Content Optimisation tips: 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Review the Competition: In terms of length of content this can variously enormously depending on what you are doing, however, the more the better even if you are uploading a new product on an ecommerce site. One tip is to simply view those sites ranking at the top of Google to assess their content both in terms of length and also breadth. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all you need to do is copy. What you want to ensure is that your content is unique written and is better.
Step 2: Interest the Reader and give them somewhere to go: Where possible, try to internally and externally link to relevant resources that make sense and don’t be afraid to include media such as video and imagery to break up the content. Break up content with sub headings or chunk up. Not only will this encourage users to stay longer on the page, it may also keep within the site longer.
Step 3: Avoid keyword stuffing: For the simple reason that this could cause over optimisation issues with Google, instead include associated words otherwise known as LSI keywords. In other words if you are writing about a topic eg Oil and Gas Reserves in the North Sea, there is high probability that you would mention the main Oil Producers such as BP or the type of Oil eg Crude or the countries affected eg Britain, Scotland and Norway, perhaps key oil location servicing the North Sea eg Aberdeen or Bergen. All of these are words or phrases that Google may be looking for to see if the content stacks up and is relevant.
A simple tip to identify associated words is to type the main keyword into Google Search, scroll down the bottom of the search results to see searches related eg for the Phrase “Oil and Gas in the North Sea”, these are some suggested searches, note the bolded words!
3. How to Optimise those Images
Embed youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=701&v=h2Zaj0CAUoU
Images tend to be either forgotten or there is not enough time in the day to correct optimise images, however, follow these golden rules you won’t go far wrong;
1. Rename the file name of the image to incorporate the keyword and describe the image naturally
2. Include the keyword in the description in the Image Alt text
3. Optimise, optimise the image file size to make it the smallest possible file size
4. Improve Page Download Speed For Your Visitors
As the screenshot above shows from the Webmaster Tools Guidelines, page speed is vitally important and influences rankings because of the reasons given above, therefore, what can a website owner realistically do as they don’t control server hosting or website code? The biggest area is simply image optimisation. Most webmasters or content editors do not spend nearly enough time reducing the file size of an image to its optimum file size. The following tools can help diagnose whether you have an issue eg http://www.webpagetest.org/, https://gtmetrix.com/and https://developers.google.com/speed/, however, big images identified using these tools can be dealt with tools like this http://home.arcor.de/shld/thejpegreducer/ which will reduce the size of jpegs.
5. Why Regular Checking for Broken 404 Pages Matters
The larger the website is the chances are your website will have broken pages still indexed in Google. For ecommerce sites, this is a real issue because of the number of old products that may have been deleted. In other industries such as sales or recruitment where staff turnover can be high, ex members of staff profile pages are often deleted and not 301 redirected. Although there is no clear evidence that broken pages that do not carry external links or social sharing affect rankings, they are referred to in Google’s Design and Content Guidelines eg “Check for broken links and correct HTML” meaning this matters. There are many tools out there to check for broken pages including websites where you can simply enter the URL eg http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/ . It’s not a bad idea to check Webmaster Tools to see what Google states as the tool will also tell the live page that is linking to the broken page meaning you can fix the link on this too.
Now it’s your turn to Implement
Hopefully the above tips make sense and they should be easy to put into practice without too much difficulty. To reiterate I have tried to make them non technical allowing anyone with HTML experience to implement.