Getting Started with On-Site SEO

March 2nd, 2012No Comments »

It’s extremely important to make sure you have a solid off-site SEO strategy, but you shouldn’t neglect the on-site SEO, because in its own way it’s just as important. While off-site SEO takes place across the internet on other sites, your on-site SEO needs to happen right at home, on your own website.

For the most part, this includes optimizing your site content, titles, URL, image “alt” tags, and sub-headers. We’ll look at what all that means in just a second.

The main idea with on-site SEO is to get your keyword density right; that’s all that matters in the end. Too few keywords, and your site gets missed by search engines, but too much and you might get flagged for keyword stuffing.

Choosing Your Main Keyword

The best results come from optimizing each page for a specific keyword. You can have several pages optimized for the same keyword, but try not to have too many keywords stuffed into one page. It sounds confusing, but look at this example: Let’s say you want to optimize your Home page for the keyword “cheap auto loans.”

You would then place that specific phrase – cheap auto loans – into the text as many times as it makes sense. That’s important; some site owners make the mistake of compromising the flow of their content so they can stuff the keyword in as many times as possible. Search engines will spot that in an instant and boot you down in the rankings.

Another common mistake is trying to rank for multiple keywords on one page. With the same example, you might throw in “cheap car loans,” “best auto loans”and“car loan help” in addition to the main keyword on the same page. Search engines see this and have trouble figuring out what the page is actually about, and as a result it ranks poorly for all of the keywords.

So where do you put the keywords on the page? Here are the most important areas of your site to focus on:

Content – Self explanatory really; all the normal written content on your site should be optimized for keywords.

Titles – The main header on your page uses the <h1> tag, which is where search engines look first to determine a site’s relevance. Whenever possible, put the keyword right in the title or header.

Sub-headers – It’s a good idea to place sub-headers throughout your site content for two reasons: 1) It’s easier for visitors to read, and 2) The header tag (<h2> or <h3>) will be picked up by search engines.

URL – Whenever you add a new page, most hosting interfaces will automatically make the URL the same as the title, with the option for you to change it. For example, the Home page on your site has a URL of If you have a page dealing mostly with cheap auto loans, change the URL to for better search visibility.

Image “alt” tags – Since search engines can’t see images, they read the “alt” tags instead, which are a description of the image. Whenever you upload a picture, go into the HTML and change the “alt” to one of your keywords (as long as it matches the picture).

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