When a newcomer enters the world of Internet Marketing, everything is… well… new. Some come with a very specific idea of what they want to accomplish. Others come with their main thought being simply “I wanna make money!”, but they don’t have a clue how or where to begin. Whichever the case may be, there is one thing that seems to stump them all, and that is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
When it comes to SEO, their brains shut down – not because they’re incapable of understanding it, but because of the sheer volume of information out there. This one says this, that one says that, and the next one insists that you have to fly all the way to the moon if you want to even begin to rank.
Before we go any further, I just want to note that I will be covering on-page optimization in this article, as opposed to off-page optimization. On-page optimization is what is done within your own website. Off-page optimization is what is done outside the scope of your website – for example, creating backlinks and such-like.
The truth of the matter is, there’s nothing really mysterious about search engine optimization. You don’t have to jump through hoops, and you certainly don’t have to fly to the moon.
When I started out online, things were a whole lot more simple. It didn’t take much to get into the hot zone – or the top 3 – in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). As long as you implemented a few SEO tricks, you could be pretty sure you’d get there.
Things have changed a lot since then, and the Internet has become much more complicated. Strangely enough, one thing that has remained fairly constant is on-page search engine optimization.
Now, before you gobble me up, allow me to explain why I wrote that.
I have always worked from the stand-point – and still do – that simple is best. And that’s what I believe Google likes as well. Granted, they’ve been forced to change their algorithm miscellaneous times over the years because there are always people out there with an agenda. But fundamentally, Google’s way of selecting who goes to the top and who doesn’t hasn’t changed all that much.
Essentially, all they’re looking for is something to serve their users that will benefit them and provide them with a solution. That’s why they’re so strict on unique, quality content.
One has to remember that Google’s main goal is to provide a service for it’s users. Nothing more, nothing less. In providing a satisfactory service to their users, they are able to display relevant ads – Google Adwords – which is the source of the bulk of their income. In other words, when their users turn away, their fountain of cash dries up.
By now, you must be aware of the importance of keywords. Those are the words and phrases people punch into Google when they’re looking for information. So, before you can begin churning out content, you need to give those keywords your full attention. They are the at the core of your search engine optimization.
Assuming that you already have your main keyword or key-phrase selected, there are only 7 simple rules that are an absolute necessity when it comes to on-page optimization.
1. Your Domain
I would highly recommend that you get a domain that contains your keyword. This way, Google knows that you’re serious about providing something that is very specific to the topic. If your keyword is a key-phrase, then you can try to include the main word in that phrase, if not the entire phrase.
If you can’t get a Top Level Domain with your key-phrase, I would suggest that you either get a subdomain, or create a sub-folder using your key-phrase. The point is to get it included in the link itself.
2. The Meta Title
This is the part that is located in a section called the “head” of your website’s coding. It’s not visible to humans when they browse your site, but it’s the first thing that the search engine spiders see when they visit you. So it’s only natural that you’ll be wanting to include your key-phrase here.
A trick I learned a long time ago, and that actually works quite well, is to include your key-phrase twice in your Meta Title. For example:
Key-Phrase | Find all the answers to your questions on Key-Phrase
3. The Meta Description
This is also only visible to the spiders, and is another good place to include your key-phrase. Just a short sentence with your main key-phrase included once will do the trick. Even though many people say this meta tag isn’t important, this is the part that Google will show their users on the SERP. If you have your key-phrase here, it will definitely boost your chances of ranking.
4. The Meta Keywords
Again, this part is visible only to the spiders. The keywords in your keyword meta tag is, I believe, not as important as what many would like to think. This part doesn’t seem to interest Google all that much.
However, there are many smaller search engines that take their data from Google’s servers, and many of them do take an interest in the keywords listed here. This is why I would still recommend that you include relevant keywords here. Just 4 to 5 or so should suffice – and of course, no repetitions. Remember to keep everything nice, clean and simple.
5. Your Main Headline – the H1 tag
Contrary to the above, this part is visible to the humans visiting your website. This is the main title on your page, and it stands to reason that you should include your key-phrase here. In addition to being beneficial to the human reader, the spiders are also on the lookout for what your main headline is about.
6. Your Secondary Headline – the H2 tag
This is another place that you will want to keep in mind when writing. Generally, the H2 tag, or secondary headline, will contain your secondary key-phrase. When I’m stuck for a good secondary key-phrase, I just take one of the words in my main key-phrase and include it here.
For example, if you’re writing on “dog shampoo”, you can use “shampoo”. It reinforces the fact that your content is specifically about shampoo, and since your main key-phrase already states it’s for dogs, you don’t necessarily have to reiterate it here.
7. Your Content
There are many Search Engine Optimizers that speculate on the percentage of keywords your content should contain. Personally, just thinking about percentages is way too much hassle for me. If you’re writing about your main topic – which will most likely be your key-phrase – you will naturally include those words throughout your content. And I believe that’s enough. Just write naturally.
One rule you should keep in mind when writing – any kind of writing – is to use different phrases when writing about the same thing. This is exactly what LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) is about. Don’t use the same key-phrase over and over. Say it using different words or phrases.
Just like SEO, there’s nothing mysterious about LSI. Simply try to please the reader and Google will love you for it.
And that’s about it. Those are the rules I started out with, and I still use them to this day. And they have served me well.
By the way, it never ceases to amaze me when I see how few websites actually implement SEO. With just a wee bit of effort on your part, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.
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