One of the biggest Internet Marketing Strategies is Search Engine Optimization, which is the the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via "natural" search results for targeted keywords.
The earlier a site is presented in the search results for respective keywords or the higher it "ranks" in the SERPS (search engine page results) the more searchers will visit that site. One of the best SEO tips is to make sure that several on-site factors are correct.
On-site search engine optimization involves optimizing your site for the keywords that you are trying to rank for in the SERPS. Use this checklist to optimize your on-site search engine optimization and let the search engines know which keywords your are targeting on your site.
1. Meta Tags
- Customize for each page of your website. See the full guide here: Simple Guide to Meta Tag Optimization.
2. Image Alt Tags
- Your images should be described via ALT tags with the keywords you are targeting. The search engines cannot read images when they crawl your site and so the title tag is essential in relating your images with the keywords you are targeting.
Image Alt Tag Example:
<img src="http://wwww.realestate.com/californiarealestate.jpeg" alt="California Real Estate" />
- For more information on Image Alt Tags view this video tutorial: Google Webmaster Blog - Using Alt Attributes Smartly
- Sitemaps are essential to present the organization of your site to search engines and it allows them to find and index your internal pages. The sitemap presents the complete internal structure of your website and gives search engines instant access to all the pages within it.
- Submit your site map to Google when you submit your url from within your Google Webmaster Tools Account and also link to the sitemap from your home page as it also helps your visitors navigate.
- This file allows for control of how the search engines crawl and index your site. For example, you do not want to index admin, scripts or theme sections of your website. Also, to avoid duplicate content issues, you want to deny the search engines access to duplicate pages within your site, like print versions of sub pages. Learn more about customizing your robots.txt files at: Robots.txt Org.
5. Home Page
- Domain. You don't have to have your keywords in your domain, but if you don't you will have to increase your external links by the thousands to compensate.
- Site title. You should have your website main keywords in the title of your site. For example, if the main keyword is real estate then the title can be "Real Estate World", "Real Estate Made Easy" or "Real Estate Concepts" etc. This will also greatly help when you work on your off-site Search Engine Optimization link building, because when other sites link to you they will likely use your site name in the anchor text.
- Home Page Keyword Density. You want your website's main keywords to appear at least 6 or 7 times throughout the home page. For example, in the title, headline, welcome message and footer.
- Footer Link. Link back to your home page with your main keywords in the footer, and of course the site name will always be in the footer, for example, © Real Estate Concepts.
6. Sub Pages and Content
- Make sure to research the best keywords for each of you website sub-pages because you want each of your pages to rank for different keywords, not just the home page, and this way you will be all over the SERPS!
- Titles of Sub-Pages. Use keywords in titles and in the subheaders within the content for new paragraphs.
Title tag attributes:
h1 - most important; h2 - second in importance
h3 - third in importance
How to Buy Real Estate - Main page title (h1)
How to Buy Real Estate in Michigan - Sub header paragraph title (h2 or h3)
How to Buy Cheap Real Estate - Sub Header paragraph title (h2 or h3)
- Sub-Page URL's. Sub-page url's should be the titles of the pages and without a lot of characters, the best is to use dashes between the words.
Search Engine Optimized URL:
- Written Content. You must have at least four or five paragraphs of informative text on the sub-pages of your website, preferably more than 275 words, absolute minimum of 100. Be sure to include the keywords in the first paragraph of text. Content is not only crucial for search engine optimization but for your visitors as well.
- Keyword Density for Content. Keyword density is crucial for search engine optimization. 5% is excellent and will not risk a spam flag. This means that if you have a content page with 500 words then 25 of them should be some variation of the keyword your are trying to rank for on that page.
- Internal Link Building Within Content - See the full guide here: Internal Link Building for On-Site Search Engine Optimization
Here is a great cheat sheet for Search Engine Optimization by SEOMoz: SEO Cheat Sheet