What to Optimize on a Web Page to Get the Page Found by the Search Engines
Web Page URLs
One of the most important components of a web page, from a SEO perspective, is the page’s URL or file name. Putting keywords into the url’s name is a powerful way to give the search engines information about the subject of the page. Files can be placed in directories or folders that provide further context for the search engines.
An example of a good url might be…
A bad url might look something like this…
The bad url contains database queries. Which url do you think is easier for the search engines to read? This is a missed opportunity to optimize your web page. If your site uses bad urls, have your developer create rewrites and rename the urls. Notice the hyphens between words in the url. These help to separate the keywords and Google prefers hyphens to underscores.
A small fix of the url names on your web site can potentially have a large impact on your site’s ranking in the search engines.
The title tag is possibly the single most important component in SEO. It is intended to describe the content of the page. It typically appears at the top of a page’s HTML code.
The title tag appears in the page’s browser bar, the tab for that page, the browser’s history list, and will be used as the default bookmark title. The search engines use the title tag to rank the site. They also use it as a link on the search results page. It needs good keywords for the search engines. It also serves as a sales tool.
Title Tag Tips:
- Don’t use the same title tag on each page of your site. Each page’s title tag should describe the page and have the top keywords for that page.
- Keep it to 60-70 characters, including spaces.
- Don’t start the title tag with your company’s name. The words in the title tag are weighted by the search engines. Put your most important keywords first.
- Capitalize each letter of your title tag. This makes the title easier to read and scan.
- Throw out words that don’t matter and keep the title focused on keywords and the most important words.
Meta tags are stored in a web page and are intended to be read by machines, not people. They should be added to the top of each web page’s source code. You can view a web page’s source code by opening the page in a browser, right-clicking on the page and selecting “View Source”.
- The most important from an SEO perspective is the “description” meta tag.
- The “keywords” tag is being used less and less by the search engines, but it’s still a good idea to place your keywords in this tag.
- The robots meta tag can ask search engines to not index a page or follow the links on a page.
- Geo tags are useful if you are focused on specific locations and have a local business.
Description Meta Tags
The description tag is used to provide text in search results and appears under the title tag.
Google states that it does not give any weight to the description tag, however, testing shows this to be untrue. It does use it to some extent. Bing and Yahoo! seem to ignore the description tags. You’ll still want to include keywords in your description tags. If you don’t have a description tag, the search engines will grab text from the body of the web page and will try to determine the keywords on its own, which could result in non-relevant information being served up to searchers.
- Only text that appears in the first 130-155 characters will be displayed.
- Try to use enough text to take up two lines. Be descriptive. Short descriptions tend to get lost among the other search results.
- Capitalize each word of the description and important words.
- Remove meaningless words.
- Remember, the description tag should be all about the benefits of visiting your site.
- Make sure to use keywords in the description tag.
Keywords Meta Tags:
The keywords meta tag isn’t very important from a SEO standpoint. It used to be very useful, a decade ago! Still, most experts believe they should be used even if the search engines don’t give the tag a lot of weight.
- Use the keywords meta tag, but don’t spend a lot of time on it.
- Keep it under 150 characters.
- Include common misspellings of keywords.
- And, then move on.
Keywords Should be Placed in the Heading Tags:
Your page should include your keywords in the H1 heading tag.
Use Keywords in the Page Content:
Pages should have between 300 and 700 words of descriptive content that contain the keywords specified in the keywords meta tag for the page. These keywords should appear in the first paragraph on the page, and also be those that occur most frequently on the page. The keyword density for a web page should be approximately 4%. So, for every 100 words, the main keyword for the page would be mentioned 4 times.
Make Sure Your Web Pages are Clean and Uncluttered with Unnecessary Code
Uncluttering your web page’s code makes it easier for search engines to read them and may help the search engines to index your pages more efficiently. A web page with uncluttered code also makes the pages load faster.
Monitor Your Rank
Give the search engines a few days, then check to see how the page is ranking with its intended keywords.