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Here we’re with the first post as well step in web business.  ’Search Engine Optimization’ is a very broad field with different on-site and off-site techniques for specific aspects of your site. To be effective, any SEO strategy has to incorporate these different methods so that no corner of your site is left unoptimized. A sticky distinction to be made is one between on-page and on-site optimization. Though many have even taken to using the terms interchangeably, the two are far from synonymous but with a teeny difference.

search engine ranking optimization

See the Difference: On-Site and On-Page

That difference can be explained in terms of points of view. On-page optimization deals with the nitty-gritty and working with individual pages. On-site optimizations, meanwhile, take a ‘big picture’ approach with the whole website including on-page within this.

Tasks like meta-tagging, formatting text and image optimization would thus fall under the former, while items like site structuring, interlinking, mapping and navigation together with on-page optimization are categorized with the latter. So let’s start with on-page optimization.

Title tag optimization

Title tag is the first and most important element that attracts searcher’s attention. It needs to be short yet appealing, relevant and descriptive. Within 60 characters (9-10 words), you need to please searcher as well as search engines. This is what you can do to make your title tag outstanding.

1. Include your site name or business name. It helps branding your business too.
2. Use one or two of your most targeted keywords in a smart manner.
3. Don’t write a sentence. Use of words like is, am, are would be waste of your 60 characters wordlimit. Let the title look like a title only
4. Don’t write in all caps. Write only title caps. EXPERT SEO AND MARKETING COMPANY may prove hard to your searchers’ eyes. Expert SEO And Marketing Company looks soothing to eyes.

For example, for, a nice title may look like-

Health Niche – Authentic Health Information Resource Online

Meta Tag Optimization

Though many SEO experts don’t find it as important for on-site SEO as it was before, but an alert webmaster will not ignore any aspect of optimization. It may not be very relevant for search engines today but it is the second most important element that attracts your targeted audience. Meta tag can be an impressive description of your website/ webpage while covering some good keywords within 200 characters (35-40 words).

You can take note of following points to make a good meta tag structure-

1. Don’t be too dull and boring in your meta tag description. You can write a call-to-action description about your website with your unique selling points. Let your searchers know how you’re better and why they should click you.
2. Adding your contact id or phone number gives a good advantage in meta tag. It can a direct call-to-action idea.
3. Using keywords is a good idea but stuffing the description with keywords will disappoint the searchers. Write what looks good, relevant and digestible.

Remember, you never get a second chance to make first impression.

Image Optimization

Search engines can’t read images so use of alt text comes in scene. Moreover, because of slow loading, even human readers may not find the images. Alt text optimization help them know what’s the image is about. These points will help you in image optimization.

1. Write a short and relevant description in alt text (alternate text). This text will appear when you rover your mouse over an image. Use of targeted keywords can be a good idea in alt text. If the image doesn’t appear because of any reason, alt text appears.
2. Giving title to your image is another nice thought. It would appear as a tool tip when you move your mouse on the image.
3. Prefer giving a relevant name to your image rather than “DSC7689.JPEG”.
4. Always use images of moderate size. Too big images may increase the loading time as well as page size that may affect your search engine rankings too.

The example code for image optimization can be

[img src=”http://sitename/imagename.jpg” alt=”Image description” title=”Title of the Image”]

Keyword Optimization – Good Research and Balanced Density

Search engines can be a hard bunch to please. Tailoring your site to their demands will improve your ranking, but overdoing it could just as easily harm your position. A balance must be struck between implementing enough of each strategy to get noticed, but at the same time not enough to get penalized. Find yourself a keyword density analyzer (usually called a KDA), as it will be your best tool for sticking to the right amount of keywords.

By the time you get on-page SEO and keyword density part, you should already have a list of keywords to use. If you’re entering a hotly contested market, it’s a good idea to target less popular keywords or variations of ones already used by bigger players. Don’t waste your time, money and energy by working on random keywords. Keyword research tools like SEObook keyword research, Google adwords, Wordtracker are good. Recently, I got to know about that actually gives more of Google adwords result but still an easy and quick keyword research option.

1. Keywords should make up about 2% to 5% of all the content in each page. A 500-word content, for example, should have anywhere from 5 to 20 instances of your keyword. Too few doesn’t mean you’re under-optimizing; but too many may hurt your search engine ranking.
2. Compound your keywords. Instead of using ‘mountain bicycle’ and ‘bicycle parts’ separately, use ‘mountain bicycle parts’ so that you’ll cover both while typing less.
3. Feel free to use synonyms. It works really great. First, your content doesn’t look spammed with keywords. Second, your searchers may try different synonyms to get more and more relevant results and you got the chance there.
4. Use as many longtail keywords as you can. They’re not only easy to use but also easy to rank for. is one of the great sites for longtail keyword ideas. Moreover, you can use words like best, free, cheap etc. with your keywords.
5. Use singular and plural forms of your keywords

Fine-Tuning Your HTML Tags

Of all the on-page optimization strategies, formatting is easily one of the simplest and easiest to implement. All you’ll need is a basic knowledge of the various HTML tags.

Search engine spiders determine which words and strings are most important on a single page, and use a simple method to do so. A string of text that’s formatted differently from the text around it is presumed to be emphasized, and therefore more important than the rest. The more prominent a block of text is, the more important it’s assumed to be. The ultimate goal of on-page SEO is to show search engine spiders what each page is about.

Here are some things you should remember about SEO-friendly HTML Tagging:

• Use headings when possible. Search spiders give the most attention to heading tags (<h1> to <h6>). You can’t, however, use these tags at every turn. They’re a good idea only in titles and subheadings. The most important header tag is h1 that is actually your site name or title.
• h2 and h3 work as page titles or post titles. That is why we emphasize using keywords in titles or page names.
• h4 and h5 can be used best in form of bold subheadings within your post or pages.
•  Make optimum use of bold, italicized and underlined text wherever possible. The <b>, <i> and <u> tags are the easiest to use in paragraphs because they don’t affect the formatting of adjacent text. You can use <quote> tags if picking up some content snippet from some other source.

I personally liked the post on use of header tags nicely. Give it a read.

Using Internal Links and Outbound links in On-site optimization

Inbound links are most often discussed in SEO, but internal links are of equal help and importance when optimized correctly. This is an area that many webmasters overlook, and one that you can easily turn into your advantage with a better navigation for your visitors and search engines.

1. Do PageRank sculpting. This is one of the most discussed topics among SEO experts lately. I’d rather like to quote from -

PageRank sculpting refers to the act of using nofollow tags on internal site links to focus page strength or link strength to the pages and anchor text that a site owner wants in a search engine.

I may come up with a article on pagerank sculpting very soon but for now, there cannot be better read than  views of 10 SEO experts on pagerank sculpting and Matt Cutts recent article on Pagerank Sculpting.

2. Give descriptive anchor text. You can use “Click Here to know more” for all your links, but you’re missing out on an optimization opportunity. Seize the chance to get your keyword in and give a link vote, all in a single string. Instead of just “Click Here,” use specific words like “car rentals in New York” or “hotels in California.”

3. Link content to other content. Turn simple keyword phrases in Article A into links that point to related Article B. Not only will cross-linking your content give a link vote from one related page to another, but also keep visitors reading your content i.e a better stay time.

Keyword Positioning Can Improve Rankings

The position of text and keyword also has a big influence on how the spiders will prioritize a string of text. Keywords, when placed at the very start of an article on a page, will have more weight than the same keywords in, say, the middle or toward the end of the same article. Putting keywords in the title and subheadings, therefore, would give the most weight.

Although you should definitely scatter your keywords throughout your content, it’s still a good idea to put at least one or two instances of your keywords as high up and to the left as you can. Combined with appropriate formatting, this will clue the spiders on the priority of your keywords in your content.

Adding Site Maps

Adding a site map to your website is a simple but very effective on-site SEO strategy. Now, there are three ways to implement a site map – one for readers (HTML sitemap), one for spiders (XML sitemap) and a third that covers both. You’ll obviously want the third on your site.

Visitors to your site will need an HTML site map that’s literally a listing of all the important pages on your site. In case of wordpress blogs, HTML sitemap plugin is all you need to set up. For sites, it’s a good idea to simulate this listing first on paper or in an Excel file so that you can make sure it looks intelligible visually.

1. List all the categories of the content on your website. Instead of categories, you could also opt to use tags, as in blogs. For larger sites (i.e. upwards of 100 pages), make sub-categories and subtopics as well.
2. Place each page in one category. If a page belongs to more than one category, place it under the more relevant one; don’t double-list it.
3. Convert all the text into links. Use the text you made as anchor text for links that point to the corresponding pages. Make as much of your site map clickable as possible.

Spiders, on the other hand, require a more technical solution. You’ll have to do a bit of coding to do it, so start reading up on syntax.

1. Create an XML file that contains links to all the pages on your site; you can do this manually with a text editor or use one of the many XML site map generators now available on the web, especially for blogs.
2. Upload the XML file to your site’s root directory. Take note of the complete URL.
3. Update your site’s Robots.txt file to let the spiders know about the site map’s existence. Add a “sitemap:” line in your site’s Robots.txt file followed by the complete URL of your XML site map. 4. Update your sitemap in Google webmasters’Tools.

Do both and you should get something for both visitors and spiders alike.

Many pages use some sort of graphical site map that, while helpful for human visitors, is unintelligible for search engines. For any graphical elements on your site, always provide a text equivalent – alt text or descriptive anchor text, say – for the engines to read.

Site maps minimize the risk of orphan pages, lone pages with no link to any other part of your site. Secondly, internal links establish which pages are most important in the site. Lastly, the network of links keeps your site in the W3C standards on site structure.

On-Site Optimization for Blogs

Because of its unique function, on-site optimization for a blog can be tricky. Your home page is dynamic, always changing with each new post. A new post for one keyword, for example, might get displaced when a new post for another keyword is uploaded.

The best strategy for optimizing blogs is to blend static and dynamic elements. Though your home page changes with your posts, you can set it to show more than just those. Adding static areas in the home page can address the SEO difficulties of most blogs.

  1. Place a short blurb or introduction with keywords at the top of the page. It’ll keep critical keywords visible on the home page.
  2. Design a header with appropriate keyworded alt text. You could even use it as part of the blog template itself, as long as it’s on the home page.
  3. Keep a static list of keywords on a different part of the home page. This is most often done with a list of tags or topics, usually paired with a navigation bar at the top or side of the page template.
  4. Be religious with tagging. Each of those tags are keywords too.
  5. Stick to just one or two topics per post. As tempting as it is to write an epic about anything and everything, keep your posts focused on just one or two items. The search engines will end up ranking the page higher than its coherence.

If you don’t want to keep a static homepage, then All-in-one-SEO plugin in wordpress does all the job for on-page optimization or in other words, optimizing your blogposts. All you need to put title, post description and keywords in the fields while you write your post.

The plugin lets you optimize your homepage with a good title, description and keywords from its general settings

Alias for page title Plugin does the similar job in Joomla.

Whichever strategy you decide to use, remember to keep your keywords visible. You’ll be good to go as long as your keywords on your home page are readable by the spiders.

Static Sites and On-Site Optimization

Doing on-site SEO for a static site is a little different from optimizing a dynamic site like a blog. It doesn’t, however, come without its own set of obstacles.

  1. Implement all the on-site strategies above. It sounds simple, but there lies the difficulty: ensuring you didn’t leave anything out. It’s a long list of jobs to do, and is daunting for a large site with more than a few pages.
  2. Maintain a clean site structure. That is, see to it that all the pages are properly linked to each other. This can get difficult, especially if you add pages piecemeal.
  3. Check each one. Measure what you can – keyword density, keyword positioning and text readability, among others. A single page that violates the spam guidelines of any search engine can detract from the ranking of your entire domain.

Having a good system on a static site makes on-site SEO easier. Make site map that you can easily update so that your site is always inter-linked, regardless of new pages. Always be conscious of which pages are important so that you know where to use NoFollow tags.

Working on robots.txt

Robots.txt is used to restrict and allow the search engine bots/crawlers from accessing different pages/ parts of your sites. If you don’t have robots.txt file, then create one from your cpanel.

You might need to restrict search engine crawlers to access admin folder of your site as it contains no information. In that case, you need to do following –

User-agent: *
Disallow: /admin/

Similarly you can disallow crawlers for other folders too like

User-agent: *
Disallow: /administrator/
Disallow: /cache/
Disallow: /components/
Disallow: /editor/
Disallow: /help/
Disallow: /includes/

user-agent: *  – implies here that none of the crawler should be allowed to visit the following destinations.

Similarly you can allow  the crawlers to visit any location. Though it is redundant to do so as crawlers by default access all information

User-agent: *
Disallow: /administrator/
Allow: /searchhistory/

Also, If you have created an XML Sitemap for your site you can specify the path to the Sitemap in your robots.txt file.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /administrator/
Allow: /searchhistory/

To make your blogposts or site pages in-links do-follow, you need to put the following

User-agent: *
User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

To have no-follow inlinks, you may want to do the following

User-agent: *
Disallow: /
User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

Or you may want to try advanced robots.txt generator at

A Quick SEO Checklist

You may have noticed by now that good on-site optimization for any website doesn’t require a special technique or software. It’s about knowing where you can optimize and optimizing consistently. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s doable for sure. Make sure you don’t forget to…

• …fill up all possible Meta, Title and Alt tags in your HTML code
• …keep keywords between 2% to 5% of your total content
• …give special balancing and attention to your keywords
• …place keywords as early in your content as possible
• …maintain as clean and compliant a site structure as you can
• …fix your robots.txt file according to your needs

If you think you need a more explicit guide to optimizing your own site, check out your competition. Though it doesn’t fall clearly into on-site but getting your website W3C Complaint is the last yet important step to close the job. Get analytical SEO tools like KDAs and then use them on the top 5 or 10 pages for your keyword. That should be an excellent clue about what – and what not – to do for your own site.

Keeping an eye on other pages, however, won’t likely be enough to get you high rankings. The secret to making the check-and-coy stratagem work is to always put in something extra – more and better tags or another optimization, for example – so that you get an actual edge over the competition.

That’s all for now about on-site optimization, however, I may add or edit if I get to know something more relevant in future.

See you all on the next DYN series post – SEO Copywriting


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6 Responses to “DYN1 – The A-Z of On-site Search Engine Optimization”

  1. [...] here to see the original:  DYN1 – The A-Z of On-site Search Engine Optimization | Sulumits … Comments [...]

  2. After reading this article, I just feel that I really need more info. Can you share some resources ?
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  3. Jajal says:

    Wow, that’s a bunch of good stuff on SEO here, Sunita. Thank you for sharing this with us. Going to read it word per word now.

  4. [...] readers. I hope you already enjoyed the first DYN guide on on-site search engine optimization. Here we move ahead with the next step – SEO [...]

  5. Lots of SEO stuff there! You’re holding strong in this contest :)

  6. [...] retsambew dedication – After summing up advanced guides on on-site optimization and SEO copywriting, we’re ready for the third step – Directory Submissions. [...]

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