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Friday, 27 January 2012

5 Important Onsite SEO Elements

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Onsite elements are becoming more and more important if you want your site to rank, that’s not to say they haven’t always been but as Google pushes more and more ‘usability’ algorithm updates through your site needs to sparkle these days if you want to have any hope of getting to the top of the SERPs and staying there.

Content


We’ve always known that content is allegedly king but if there was any doubts in our minds last year’s Panda update really hammered the point home. You can’t just have any content; you need fresh, unique content which is often easier said than done.
Unique
A lot of ecom sites struggled with this one. Most their products had manufacturer standard copy which no longer cuts it, if ten thousands sites are describing a pair of Nike trainers in the exact same way and you’re site number ten thousand and one you’re in trouble. Every piece of copy on your site needs to be unique to you.
Fresh
If you’re looking for something, a product, a service or just a piece of information then you don’t want an out of date site being served up. The information might be out of date, the product might be discontinued and you wouldn’t want to buy a service off someone who can’t keep their own website up to date. If the copy on your site hasn’t been touched in years, try re-writing the copy of a few of your core landing pages, or even have several variants of that new  copy and rotate it every few days and you’ll more than likely see an increase in rankings.

Internal Linking


Your internal linking is like a spider web, it’s what holds your site together and it’s what helps the spiders crawl your site. The deeper into the spider web your pages are the harder the spiders have to work and the easier they’re going to get fed up and leave. A good internal linking structure will help ensure as much of your site as possible gets crawled and it’s also the first inclination to what the page is about so make sure all internal links are clearly labelled.

It’s just as important your sitemap is up to date and isn’t reporting any crawl errors too. Make sure you’re checking your Google Webmaster Tools account on a regular basis and fixing any crawl errors as and when they’re reported.

No Excessive Ad Sense


This is Google’s latest brain child and it hasn’t gone down well with all those who believe Google should be leading by example. When was the last time your typed any vaguely competitive keyword into Google and got a glimpse of any organic listings above the fold? The odd one will creep through if you’re lucky but for the most part the top half of any Google results page will be dominated by Adwords ads but if you keep trying this on your own site you’re going to start getting penalised (as are the sites you’re relying on for those all important links).

From now on ‘excessive’ above the fold advertising will count against you in the search engine results pages so you need to make sure you’re not serving too many promotions on the top half of your site.

Titles and Headings


This is an oldie but a goodie, well written page titles and heading tags can go a long way in optimising your website. They tell the search engine spiders exactly what the main themes and topics of your page are and the eye of your visitors will be drawn to them too.

The page titles need to be as optimised as possible, these are not only going to help you rank, they’re also going to help get those all important click throughs when you do rank. They need to be descriptive whilst also being concise and using as fewer stop words as possible. Don’t waste valuable title real estate with words like ‘home’ and ‘our products’

Headings help separate a page, they make copy easier to read and break it up for your site traffic. Ideally each heading should only be used once, (one H1, one H2 etc) but if there is any penalisation for using one heading throughout the page it’s not enough to do too much damage.

URL’s


URL’s can be very powerful, just look at the amount of exact match domains that rank for some of your top keywords. Your domain will have been chosen for your business not your SEO but there’s still plenty you need to be doing with your URLs.

Make sure they’re search engine friendly (SEF), this means there’s no illegal characters in them and they simple contain the relevant keywords and not a long string of random characters.

Keep them as short as concise as possible; don’t have any words or characters in there that don’t really need to be in there. Things like product codes (unless they’re universal) aren’t needed in the URL.
Keep your important keywords as close to the first forward slash as possible, the common default URL structure is to have the category followed by the sub category then the product. If it’s the product you’re trying to get that page to rank for, it needs to be right after the first forward slash.

Jess is a writer and is currently working for RAMUK who are experts in medical equipment software and depreciation software for fixed assets.
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