How to Optimize Your Page Relevant to Search Engines and Users

Search engines have a goal, to find the most relevant content for a person’s search term. On the other hand, the mission of a user is to find exactly what he or she is searching on the Web. There is a one way to satisfy both and to make sure your page is properly indexed, by improving on-page optimization (On-page SEO), an important part of an effective SEO strategy.

Optimizing your page is rather important for search engines. In order to accept and show your page in SERPs (with information requested by users), search engines need to receive information first about a piece of content gathered by bots.

(Bots are programs which collect information about a page on the Web.)

More targeted information you provide, more chances for your page to be found / indexed. Users also need to have exact and relevant information they are searching for. Based on the information found on the page and its relevance, users will either engage, share the content and come back, or simply bounce. On-page optimization includes elements like content, HTML tags and keywords.

Search Engine Optimized Page

  • Keywords & Content – This is one of the most important elements of the website, particularly keywords. Keywords are useful for both, robots and users. Within the text on a page you should have specific keywords around which you form the content (keywords will also get attention of the crawlers). Spend some time learning which keywords work best for the particular page. Remember to bold and underline some of the keywords, one time each. As a rule of thumb avoid keyword stuffing. Make it look natural.
  • Title tag (at the top of the page) Include ONLY main keyword in your title tag and as close as possible to the beginning of the title. The length of your title should not exceed 70 characters.
  • Page headers or H1 Tags – Make clear headings to help users get an idea of what is the page about. Add header H1 tag. Remember, it should have the most important keyword.
  • Sub heading – Add H2 header tags. Here you can place your second most important keyword.
  • Meta description – This is a short description of your page which if done properly may induce clicks. Include keywords in your description. If possible add your keywords at the beginning of your text.
  • Image with Alt attribute – Properly including an alt tag to your images, it can improve your rankings.
  • URL – Make sure that each page on a website has a unique URL. If this part is not in order, your URL might look messy, needed to be fixed by redirects. Have the targeted keyword once in the given URL to boost your relevancy metrics.
  • Internal linking – A well structured, organized and meaningful internal linking will give positive signals to search engines and give truthful direction to users.
  • Site maps – Include sitemap.xml one for users and one for robots, they are like table of contents. Every page you consider, it will be indexed by Google.
  • Robots.txt Having robots.txt files you give instructions to robots about your site, such as which web folders to exclude from indexing.

Optimizing your pages is useful for both people and search engines. It will attract more targeted traffic, it will increase your online visibility, it will be more easy for search engines to index your pages, and it will become more accessible to your users.

Make sure your on-page (SEO) optimization is not overly optimized, but also it isn’t forgotten. Include keywords in your page title, header, have Meta description and have descriptive link text. This will not only help users find you easier online but it will also help major search engines show your article in SERPs for a specific keyword.

Article by Daliborka Krstic

Videos to illustrate how SEO works and tips for planning your AdSense

I have recently posted articles about SEO Ranking Factors and Google’s new Page layout algorithm. The purpose of this article is to show with videos how search engines work to rank websites and give tips how to plan your content and using AdSense.

The infographic about SEO ranking factors is very detailed. Maybe this video simplifies and helps to understand the very basics on how search engine algorithm works to rank websites:

The next video gives you some tips on how to plan your content and ads on your website to avoid getting penalized by Google because of the new page algorithm update:

You can read about the different SEO ranking factors more detailed from Search Engine Land’s infographic.

Brunch in Malta

Brunch in Malta – that is not very SEO related, or is it? In this case – yes, it is.

All started when I was looking for some brunch place for the weekend in Malta. I tried to Google “brunch in malta”, “malta brunch” and “brunch malta”. Nothing.

Is it really so that there is no brunch places in Malta? Or are the websites just so badly optimized that it’s impossible to find them by using search engines?

In case there are some brunch places in Malta, it wouldn’t be too hard to get #1 ranking in Google. This is what you need to do:

1. Decide what is the most important brunch-related keyword/ -phrase you want to focus on. This is done by using keyword research tools.

2. Optimize the page title for that keyphrase by using the keyword in the title, preferably starting the title with the keyphrase.

3. Optimize the site content by repeating the keyphrase and varieties of the phrase in the text. Try to use the keyphrase as early as possible in the text, you can even emphasize the phrase once. But don’t make the text keyword stuffed and remember that you are writing the content for humans, not for search engines.

4. If you are using an image/ images in the page, optimize them for the keyphrase using image alt -tag.

5. Even though search engines don’t really care about meta descriptions, I would anyway optimize them by making them selling, that potential customers want to come to your site. Meta description and title are the ones that are showing in Google’s (and other search engines’) search results.

6. Make sure that there are some internal links pointing to the brunch-page, preferably optimized links and links that can be followed by search engine spiders.

7. After all the onsite optimization work is good to do some link building for the site as well!

Need help with this? Just contact us!


Onsite SEO – Consolidation or Multi-Page Targeting

I saw a useful graphic in SEOmoz blog and decided to share it also in Nordic Search blog. The graphic is about whether to target two keyword terms/phrases on the same page or build individual pages for each.

onsite-seo-keyword-targetingA single page should be enough when targeting similar phrases or phrases that can work together and target the same intent for most users. If the phrases don’t logically work together in a title/heading, or if the intents don’t have a high likelihood to overlap, different pages need to be built and target the keywords separately.

This seems very easy and simple: just follow the graph by answering the questions “Yes” or “No”. In reality, it can be a bit more complex though, but this graphic gives a good guideline.

The graphic was taken from an article 4 Graphics to Help Illustrate On-Page SEO written by Rand Fishkin.

SEO Malta, or Malta SEO?

This blog post is about SEO in Malta. The title illustrates the first question I confronted when I started writing the blog post: should I use “SEO Malta” or “Malta SEO”. (the answer would be “SEO Malta”, because it has more search volume)

The most natural would have been to choose “SEO in Malta”, but that phrase doesn’t have any search volume in Google. Tricky.

The purpose of this article is not to compare different keywords or -phrases, it is rather to talk a bit about the current situation regarding SEO in Malta, or lack of that. The fact is that this is not unique for Malta, in the Nordic countries SEO consultancy companies have the same problem with uneducated customers, and here we are supposed to be frontline in regards to Internet adaption and SEO skills.

Maltese companies understand the importance of internet and they are willing to create very nice websites. The problem is that once the website is created and live, it will be “left alone” just hoping and trusting that people will find it. Other option is that they believe the web developers can handle the optimization of the site, and the result is keyword-stuffed titles that are too long and similar for each page, too long meta descriptions, also keyword stuffed, and all the main keywords placed in the meta data for competitors to benchmark.

Many of the Maltese companies love flash, and unfortunately often their site navigation is built by using Flash. No good nor search engine friendly.

There are a number of web development companies in Malta that are offering also SEO services. These companies usually don’t have much clue about SEO but the fact that they can offer everything (design, development and SEO) from one company gives them a unique selling point.

The problem with poorly optimized websites in Malta is not only bad thing for the companies, it is also a bit annoying for people who live in or come to visit Malta. It is very hard to find information from Internet, whether it is regarding ferry or bus schedules, beauty salons, or online shops.

One would think that Malta is an ideal place for SEO companies: a lot of work to be done and not that much competition. The problem is to make the local companies to understand what SEO really is and the importance of it.


Google Panda update launches internationally

Probably most of you already know what Google Panda is? Google made two major changes to its algorithm earlier this year, and this Panda Update was rolled out earlier this year. This time the update wasn’t targeted only to spammy or scraper websites but also low quality websites that are doing shady linking practices. The purpose of the Panda Update is remove all the low quality websites from the rankings.

The Panda Update was first launched in US in late February this year, and in April to all the English language indices internationally. Now recently Google announced, that the Panda update has been rolled out internationally in all languages (except Chinese, Korean and Japanese).

I read a good article written by Vanessa Fox and published in Search Engine Land. Vanessa wrote in the article how Panda has seemed to focuse on unique value and user experience:

  • How is the content quality of the site compared to other webpages with similar content?
  • Is there more than one page focusing on the same thing?
  • Is most of the content original or copied?
  • If the content is unique, is it credible and covering the topic completely, or is it only a superficial scratch?
  • Is the website user friendly and easy to navigate?
  • Are the design and goals of the website user-focused or revenue-focused?

Because Panda is now international, webmasters and site owners internationally have to take actions in trying to prevent the update to affect their sites. Good starting point is to make sure that your site is not having these 5 deadly content sins that Cyrus Shepard mentioned in his article about beating Google’s Panda Update:

  • Heavy template footprint: Template footprint creates a low ratio of original content.
  • Empty content: Is there pages that exist only to link to other pages? Eliminate these or add some good quality content on these pages.
  • Overlapping and redundant articles: Each page of a site should talk about a specific topic, not just writing about the same topic with slightly different keywords.
  • High ad ratio: Even though it would be about Google AdWords…
  • Affiliate links and auto-generated content: Build your website and add the content yourself, don’t use automated content. Human touch is important.

If your site has suffered from lost traffic and rankings due to Panda Update, and you do the changes mentioned and avoid the 5 deadly content sins, your rankings will probably get better, but don’t expect it to happen very fast.

Mistakes in keyword research

I recently wrote about analyzing SEO competitiveness and in that article I mentioned identifying the top keywords. Now I thought it could be good to write about mistakes one can do in keyword research. James Gate wrote a good article about keyword research in SEOmoz’s Daily SEO Blog and I will highlight some of the six mistakes he mentioned.

Being unrealistic

You start doing the keywords research and find immediately relevant keywords for your industry and website. Then you go and choose the ones that have the highest search volume. Unfortunately, that is not the way to do it.

Most often the high-competition keywords are out of reach in the short and medium reach. You should be realistic and choose keywords that are appropriate for targeting and take into consideration the age and current authority of the site, and future optimization.

Rather than very generic and one word keywords, choose more precise search phrases. Don’t take the most competitive keywords, even though I know it’s tempting to choose keywords with high search volumes. If you choose lower competition keywords (unfortunately also lower traffic) and you are able to dominate with these, you will get much more traffic from search engines than you would get from more competitive search phrase.

Targeting plural instead of singular

Often websites are targeting the plural version of a keyword. This is very common especially on eCommerce websites. The site owner is targeting naturally for plural keywords because they are selling more that one product within the same category. Targeting for a keyword “iPhone chargers” feels more natural than for “iPhone charger” because they have more than one charger in stock. The reality is that “iPhone charger” has significantly more searches.

Ignoring conversion

Often companies want to target a keyword that is bringing lots of traffic without looking at all the conversion. There is no point in focusing on keywords that are bringing in lots of traffic but are not converting at all. The focus should be on targeting on keywords that are actually converting, even though they wouldn’t bring in that much traffic.

You need to understand human search behavior and make conversion and language analysis a vital part of the keyword research. It makes sense that traffic from a keyword with a prefix “buy” should be converting well.

Selecting keywords out of context

Humanize the keyword research process and think about what a certain word means for a human doing a search. This is a thing most of the keyword tools are lacking of doing.

An example could be “glass”. You don’t know if a person is searching for a “glass” if the meaning is to find water glass, or wine glass, or even glass for window.

Because there is a big possibility for confuse targeting, you should choose keywords that are highly relevant and very focused towards the business you are offering.

Good way to find most relevant keywords is to search manually from Google with the keywords and see what kind of results are coming up.

You can read more about the mistakes in keyword research from James Gates article.