By Michael Fleischner
After you've selected the keywords you want to optimize your website for, you need to focus on what is called on-page optimization. On page optimization is what you do on your website pages to improve organic rankings. The good news is that through years of research and experimentation I have identified the most important on page factors for improving organic rankings.
There are variety of optimization factors to consider when optimizing your web pages. I have found three factors in particular to have more of an impact than others when correlating them to search engine rankings. In particular, meta tags, URL structure, and page load speed all have a direct impact on search engine rankings for particular keywords or keyword phrases.
Meta tags are important to web site rankings because they provide some basic information to search engine spiders. Meta tags need to be formatted correctly to enhance search engine rankings. My research as shows that meta tags by themselves cannot radically improve rankings. It is my belief that meta tags may be used to verify other aspects of your website and are important for getting users to click through from search engine results.
The best formatted meta tags should include a title tag that includes the keywords that you are trying to optimize for. It is recommended that the size of the title tag is sixty or fewer characters as this is the limit shown on Google search results. The second meta tag is the description tag which should be limited to fewer than one hundred and fifty characters and repeat your keyword phrase no more than two times.
The last meta tag worthy of description is the keyword tag. I see this tag misused all too often and it may actually be hurting your search engine rankings. When using a keyword tag, focus on only a dozen of your most important and highly trafficked keywords. Search engines should know that you are an authority site and worthy of top rankings. Do your research and only include the keywords that truly matter. You can also evaluate the sites in the top positions and model their keywords as long as they are included on your web site or blog.
Once you have your meta tags within your web page code it's time to focus on the next on page optimization factor. The load time of your web pages matter a great deal to Google and other search engines. Not only does your web page need to be formatted correctly but it needs to load quickly. Fast loading web sites mean a better user experience. Search engines like Google reward you for providing the right information quickly to web site browsers. Keep load times to a minimum and continually work to improve the speed at which your site loads.
The third and certainly one of the most important factors is URL structure. It is true that having your keyword in the URL helps but it is not the only or the most heavily weighed optimization factor by Google. There are plenty of examples of sites that include the keyword in the URL being outranked by other web sites. If you can purchase a URL that has your keyword in it though, consider it advantageous. If you are unable to do so, consider adding a folder or page to your site that includes the keyword you want to optimize your site for. A good example would be www.sample.com/keyword. By doing so you are placing your keyword close to the root and giving it more value. Also consider a sub domain strategy.
Before you begin any search engine optimization effort, evaluate your web site, landing page, or blog from the perspective of meta tags, load speed, and URLs. There are additional on page factors we'll discuss in the next lesson, but the three mentioned herein are vitally important to your search engine optimization success.
Michael Fleischner is an SEO consultant and author of SEO Made Simple, revealing strategies guaranteed to improve search engine rankings. Learn more about Michael's hands-on SEO training program, Internet Marketing Forum, and SEO consulting at MarketingScoop.com or contact him via the Marketing Blog at http://marketing-expert.blogspot.com.