The Title Tag
The title of the page is the first place you should consider using your keyword. As well as being the title of your page, it’s also the main title that will be show in search results. Titles should be unique and indicate the topic of the page. Keep the title under 70 characters.
This meta tag describes the contents of the page. Your keyword should appear in here. The description will also appear on the Google results so try make it informative for those who are reading it from the search results. These descriptions should be unique and keep them under 156 characters. Anything more will not be shown in the Google results.
Web pages should have informative names. For example, http://qwerty.ie/Web-Design/. To separate words, Google prefers the uses of a dash (-) over underscores or having nothing at all. The URL is the third item that will appear in the Google results. Having an informative name will not only please Google but it will make it easier for your users to remember the link.
Header tags can also be important for you keywords. Each webpage should have only one H1 tag which should contain your keyword. The rest of the header tags should be used as needed to break up the page and make it readable but they’ll have little or no effect on SEO other than improving readability which will lead to a more enjoyable user experience and increase the chance of the user returning or sharing your content.
Similarly, the website structure should be logical and easy to navigate. If the end of the URL is removed then the user should be taken to more information. For example, if we have http://www.qwerty.ie/2014/02/what-is-a-responsive-web-design-explained/ and then remove the last item ‘what-is-a-responsive-web-design-explained’ we will get http://www.qwerty.ie/2014/02/ which is still a working link which shows all posts for February. This not only makes your website easier to navigate, it helps Google crawl and index your website.
Google crawls the web to collect data but it needs your help so it can understand that data. Links are great for finding more content and the guidelines above will help identify what’s on the pages. Another way is to use the anchor text in a link. The anchor text is the text we see on the screen for a link. Using the previous example, we have a link http://www.qwerty.ie/2014/02/what-is-a-responsive-web-design-explained/ where the anchor text is the actual URL. But it’s not pretty and we’re not making the most of the Anchor text to describe the page. Better practise would be to use something like this… Learn about responsive web design. This tells you and Google that you might learn something about responsive design on the web page that links to.
Images are another example where Google can’t figure out what they are without some help. Again, naming convention of the file is important to Google. So if you have a photo of flowers in a vase then image1.png is not a good filename. You should use brief descriptive filename like vase-flowers.png. Google also uses the alt text to identify what’s in the image so in this example we could set the alt text to “A beautiful vase of flowers”. All images on your website should utilise the alt attribute.
Other Important Considerations
Making your website informative and easy to crawl not only means a better user experience but it will also help Google understand your web pages. If your webpages are optimised then this will help increase your ranking for the keywords you have optimised for.
Sitemaps – an xml sitemap contains a map of pages on your website. This can be submitted on Google webmaster tools which will help speed up the indexing process.
Robots.txt – This file is used to tell search engines what they should and shouldn’t index. You may have a private members area that you won’t want appearing in Google search results.
nofollow – The rel attribute of a link can be set to “nofollow”. This will tell search engines not to follow that link. If you are trying to build backlinks to your website by posting links on forums or other media websites then you should check if they are using this attribute. If they are then the links will not add any value to your SEO as search engines will be ignoring them.
Next Step – SEO Site Performance and Speed