Onpage Optimization: Essential for Effective Offpage Optimization

Onpage optimization is the process by which various elements on an individual web page are structured so that the web page can be found by the search engines for specific keyword(s) or keyword phrases.

Onpage optimization will not guarantee any top rating within a search engine, only offpage optimization can offer that guarantee. However, offpage optimization is far more effective WHEN onpage optimization is in place.

Onpage optimization is not difficult. It does however take time to make sure all the pieces are in place. Onpage optimization should occur not only on the main web page of a web site, but on every single content page within that site.

The very first question to ask when seeking to optimize a web page is: What keyword(s)/keyword phrases is this page targeting? This article will not explore how to find keywords, it assumes you already have keywords chosen.

For this article, the following phrases will be used as an example: designer argyle socks, plaid socks, paisley socks. Of the three phrases, "designer argyle socks" will be the primary phrase used for optimization.

Below is a list of onpage elements in which the keywords need to be placed:

** Keywords in the TITLE tag(s)

Every page should have TITLE tags. TITLE tags appear on the status bar above the menu bar in a web browser. The TITLE tags for the main page of your web site should look like the following:

TITLE Supersocks.com - Designer Argyle Socks | Plaid Socks | Paisley Socks /TITLE

Generally the formula should be: website name - keyword|keyword|keyword. Avoid using articles and conjunctions like a, the, and. Use the pipe(|) or dash (-) to separate keywords.

Do not "stuff" your title by repeating your keyword phrases over and over. Search engines will ban sites for such practices.

** Keywords in H1 or other headline tags

Somewhere near the top of the page place your primary keyword phrase within h1 tags.

H1Designer Argyle Socks/H1

The combination of the TITLE tag and H1 tag effectively act as titling tags for your page. The search engine spider will begin to see pretty quickly what your page is about if these two tags are in place.

** Keywords in the body copy

Use your keyword phrases throughout the copy of the body of the web page. Use them in natural ways. Do not overuse your keyword phrase. Avoid using hidden text. Try your best to include your primary keyword phrase at/near the beginning of your copy and at/near the end of your copy. Once, and only once, make sure your primary keyword phrase is bolded.

** Keywords in ALT tags

Many suggest that the alt tags on your images should contain your keywords. Be careful. Some search engines see that as spamming. If you do it, don't over do it.

** Keywords contained in the URL or site address, e.g., http://www.keyword.com/keyword.htm

If the primary phrase of our web page is "Designer Argyle Socks", then the name of the actual HTML file would be designerargylesocks.html, designer_argyle_socks.html or designer-argyle-socks.html

** Keywords in the META NAME="DESCRIPTION"

Meta tags are getting used less and less by the search engines. However, it is still good practice to use the Description and Keyword meta tags if only for your own reference.

meta name="description"Supersocks.com is pleased to offer designer argyle socks at low discount prices. In addition see our selection of plaid socks and paisley socks. /meta

** Keywords in the META NAME="KEYWORD"

Search engines like Google no longer look at the Keywords meta tag. However, still include your keywords here. They can serve as a point of reference for you in the future.

meta name="keyword" keyword, keyword, keyword /meta

Do not "stuff" this meta tag by repeating your keyword phrases over and over. Search engines will ban sites for such practices.

Paul Stefanski develops Recommended Web Tools, an online resource for web design beginners. Visit his website to find out more about onpage optimization.

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