Without being too complex, this article serves as a comprehensive guide to search engine optimisation. This guide is broken down into steps that must be completed for good search engine rankings. This article only describes the on-page factors that will affect your search engine rankings.
Step 1: A Working Website
The first step it to actually have a website. I’m going to assume that you already have a website setup, domain sorted, hosting sorted and the design complete. If you have any “under construction” pages you do not have a complete website. You must have a fully working website before implementing search engine optimisation. You’re wasting your time if you don’t.
Step 2: Keyword Research
For each page of your website you must research your keywords. How do you know what keywords to use for your website? You’ll probably want to use keywords that users are actively searching for but do not have too much competition. The best way to research your keywords is to use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to establish a keyword or key phrase that has a good number of searches per month. Once you have some keywords that have a high number of monthly searches go to the Google search engine and enter into the search box: “allintitle: your Keyword” (obviously, replace your Keyword with the keyword you are researching ). This search query will tell you how many other web pages have your chosen keyword in the title of the website.
Why “allintitle”? Some websites might mention a certain keyword but might not be actively written or based around that specific keyword. If a website has a certain keyword in its page title, chances are the page is strongly focused around that keyword.
So you have a list of keywords, but how many users are searching for the keywords each month and how many other websites are completing for that keyword. Which keyword do you go for?
Using the demand satisfaction ratio is an effective way of establishing if a keyword is worth competing for. The demand satisfaction ratio consists of two values; R = the number of results for a given keywords (number of competing websites) and S = number of user searching for the keyword each month.
To calculate the demand satisfaction ratio divide R by S so; R/S = demand satisfaction ratio. Generally; the lower the number, the less competition. Demand satisfaction ratio is a very useful time saving calculation that will determine a good keyword.
Step 3: META Tags
Optimise your websites META tags. The three most important META tags that we’ll be focusing on are; title, keywords and description.
Your title tag needs to contain the keyword that you are using for the web page and must be the first ordered tag on the page. Your home page, or index page, needs to contain your primary keyword and each page within your website needs to then contain your secondary keywords targeted for the page. Your title tag should contain no more than 90 characters.
The keywords tag needs to contain your no more than three of your core keywords. Don’t over load this META tag with too many keywords. For each page on your website use the keywords you have researched for that specific page.
Finally, the description tag is what will appear on the search engines results page. The description needs to entice people to click on your website whilst also describing what the page is about. Most search engines will only show the first 150 characters of your description tag.
Step 4: Headings
Make sure to keep your heading tags logical i.e. H1, H2, H3 etc. Ensure the primary keyword for each page appears in the H1 heading.
Step 5: Page Body
The body of your website needs to be a minimum of 200 words. Make sure there is about a 2% keyword density. So for every 100 words on your web page your primary page keyword should be appearing twice.
Step 6: Image alt tags
All the important images on your web page must contain alt tags. Each alt tag should accurately describe its image, just in case the user of your website can’t see the image (they might have images disabled, or the image may not be found). Alt tags are also a great way to increase keywords density. Place your primary keywords for you page in as many alt tags as possible. But remember, always ensure your alt tags make sense to your users and don’t over cram alt tags with keywords.
Step 7: Frequency of updates
Search engines thrive on fresh, new and unique content. If your website is updated regularly (at least three times per week) and contains content that cannot be found anywhere else on the internet; you’ll be rewarded with very good search engine rankings.
But, you must research all your keyword before you base a page on any keyword. Ensure there are an adequate number of users searching for your keyword each month and crucially that there is fairly low competition. Use the demand satisfaction ratio (R/S) to establish keywords that users are actively searching for and will bring in targeted traffic, without too much competition.
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