Sorry I’ve been a little lazy about updating the blog lately. We’ve had deadlines after deadlines and I couldn’t really squeeze in the time. Things are a lot more settled now and you should be expecting a more steady update on the blog. Moving on…
Once you have finalized your keyword research, it’s time to put them to use. At this point, you should have a list of keywords and their respective search volumes.
Most SEO experts agree that on-page optimization only accounts for about 20% of SEO efforts, so it’s definitely not the MOST important thing to do. However since it’s the EASIEST thing to do, most people start with on-page optimization. For me, these are some of the “low hanging fruit”, so I start every project with these:
Domain & URL
When search engines follow links on a site, it looks for the actual text that is clickable (e.g. ‘click here’, ‘www.domain.com’). And when most people copy and paste a link on their site, it usually is just a link with the URL as the clickable text (e.g. www.domain.com). This is why if you do not have a domain name yet and are looking to buy one, it’s important to consider using main keywords in the Domain. Of course you would have to weigh your options in terms of using a domain that will focus on the brand vs keywords.
If you already have a domain name or do not want to change it, then you can still optimize the URL using URL rewrite. Many CMS and frameworks allow you to change the URL of each page the way you want. Make sure you include your keywords in the URL for each page. For example, this URL: www.domain.com/mens/shoes/sneakers/nike/Air-Max-II is better than this: www.domain.com/?pid=123.
The second most important step in on-page optimization is the Title Tag. This is the actual text you see on your browser (at the top bar) when you are on a website. It’s also the text in the actual search results. The best thing to do is to come up with some sort of a formula for the title that will contain all the necessary keyword of each page. For example, if you set your title as “Product Name by Product Brand | Company Name” it will generate something like: “Air Force II by Nike | ABC ShoesTM”. (Note: it’s important to have your company name in the title tag for brand recognition. Once a shopper does a few searches and see the same company name repeated, it will be more memorable.)
This part will take a considerable amount of time, so you might want to do this over time. Basically, go through the content of each page and figure out the keyword density for the main keyword of that page. For example, if your main keyword is “Sneakers”, make sure this phrase repeats around 3-5% of the time on that page. If you are using keyword phrases, such as “Nike Sneakers”, make sure each word has about the same amount of appearance on that page.
In my opinion, this has almost no affect in terms of SEO, but since it’s so easy we do it anyway. Enter in the Meta Keywords and Meta Description for each page. For more information on how to implement Meta tags, see http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/meta-description.
This covers on-page optimization. Again, these are just the basic things you can do to get a kick-start in your SEO efforts. This will not get your site ranked #1 overnight.