Search Engine Optimization Factors that You Control and have a High Impact on Your Ranking
There are a lot of factors that search engine providers consider when determining where your website will appear in the search rankings. It’s everything from how many links you have to your site, to your social media buzz, to how soundly your website is coded, to how legitimate your business would appear to another human being. In fact, there are 100’s of these factors. And truthfully nobody in this world, except for a very few privileged search engine employees, know exactly what all of these factors are. Fortunately, industry experts have tested, experimented, and discovered what many of the most important elements are to your search engine success.
I’m about to share with you 5 of the most important on-page search engine optimization (SEO) factors known today. The great thing about on-page SEO is that you have complete control over these elements. It’s literally what you put onto your website and how it’s coded. All of these things are completely under your control.
This is different from “off-page” SEO factors. Off-page factors are SEO influencers outside of your website such as links to your site, social media buzz, traffic volumes, and other popularity metrics. These elements are much further outside of your direct control.
Now, we’re not all web wizards. And while these factors are under your control some of them may require some technical expertise to implement. Regardless of your technical level these are worth knowing if you wish to improve your search ranking.
The Top 5 On-Page SEO Factors
5. Use Your Keywords in Your Headlines. Your website should have headlines. If it doesn’t, add them right away. Make sure you include your most important page keywords in those headlines. Keep in mind that you are writing informative and useful headlines above all. It’s a bonus if you can work one or two of your best keywords into it. In other words, don’t “keyword stuff” your headlines just because you want to rank better in the search engines. Trying to manipulate the search engine providers will only hurt you.
As in any essay or document, you might have multiple levels of headlines. It’s the same with your website pages. Think of each web page as a new document. Each page should have a single top level headline. Then perhaps a few second level headlines. And so on. Keywords in higher level headlines will have greater impact than those in lower levels. So, a keyword in your top level headline will have the greatest impact. While a keyword in a sub-sub-sub-headline will have less impact.
4. Create and Link Social Media Profiles. Websites that have a Social Media profile will rank higher than those who do not. Be sure to interlink your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and all others to your website. Make sure there’s a link from your website to your social media profile, as well as a link to your website from your social media profiles. That’s so the search engine providers can make the correlation. If your website is a business site you should avoid using your personal accounts. Additionally, creating a blog on your domain is also a very positive factor.
3. Use Keywords in Your Web Folders and Page File Names. Every page on your website has a unique URL (Internet address). You should use your best and most related keywords when naming your web directories/folders and pages. There’s essentially 3 components to your URL. The first is your domain name. That’s the very first part with the .com, .net, .org, etc… The second isn’t always used, but it is the directory your web file is contained in. Finally, the last part is your actual website page name. That’s the very last part (sometimes ending in .html, .php, .asp, etc…).
Look in your browsers address bar for this page. The domain is “devedge-internet-marketing.com”. The web folders are “/2012/03/09/” (the date this article was written). And the page file name is “seo-top-5-on-page-factors/”. It’s no mistake that we’ve named our page and directories this way. The keywords for this article are “SEO top factors on-page.” Search engines and readers are given further detail about the relevance of this article by the date in the folder names (eg: in 3 years, this article will be less relevant than it was the day it was written).
Likewise, your website should utilize keywords in it’s directory and file naming structure. Have you ever seen a website that the URLs end with things like “?p=123”? Perhaps your website does this right now? This is bad because it adds no keyword value or indication about your page contents. One final tip on this factor… Don’t let your page names and directories get too long. Try to keep them succinct while still utilizing your keywords.
2. Use Keywords in Your Page Titles. You may think we’ve covered this factor above, but we haven’t. Your website page title is different than it’s file name or top-level headline. The page title is actually the name that appears on the browser tab/window when viewing the page. It also, just so happens, to be exactly what the search engine results page shows as a hyper-link to your website. Your title is incredibly important because it’s the FIRST thing somebody will see after searching your keywords. The following image shows where the page title element, as well as a couple other elements, appear on your website listing in the search engine results page.
The title is a special HTML tag that appears in the head section of each website page. Often there are easy ways to edit this tag if you are using software like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. Otherwise, you may need to edit the web page code or hire a web company (ahem :).
1. A Keyword Relevant Domain Name. The biggest search impact comes from your actual domain name. That’s the part with the .com, .net, .org, etc… Domain names are one of the trickiest things to get just right. They have to be short, easy to type in, memorable, and contain important general keywords about your website. Not too mention branding. Not too mention its hard enough to find an available domain name once you think you’ve got a name picked out.
There’s a trick I’ve learned: buy more than one domain name. Ok, maybe that’s just common sense. But if you buy a really easy to type and memorable domain name, you can set up your web server to properly forward everyone who types that domain directly to your keyword strong domain name. Then put this easy to type domain name on all your print material, business cards, stationary, or pretty much anywhere that you cannot simply click a link. That way, the search engines benefit from a keyword strong domain name and your visitors don’t suffer from a hard to remember/type domain name.
It’s still important to get a fairly straightforward domain name though. Search engines will penalize you for long and keyword stuffed domain names. So still, try to keep it simple and stick to maybe one major keyword.
What do You Think?
Do you agree with my list? What do you think? Have you experienced something different than me? Or do you agree with my top 5 on-page SEO factors? Let everyone know!!! Join the discussion below and help us all learn from each other.
Of course, I hope you would consider devEdge Internet Marketing if you need any further advice or service in your website SEO.