26 April 2011 by Web Bureau
The majority of website traffic comes through search engines, therefore it is vital to consider the structure of your web pages when designing or updating your site.
The following on-page SEO tips could help to make your website much more search friendly.
Unique TITLE Tags
The TITLE tag is a powerful ranking factor! Pages that you want to rank need unique, descriptive and keyword-targeted TITLE tags. If you have a huge site, there are many ways to populate TITLE tags systematically from data. Writing good code will fix this problem. You can track exact duplicates in Google Webmaster Tools. You can find it under “Diagnostics” > “HTML Suggestions”.
Short TITLE Tags
Long TITLE tags can weaken the SEO impact of any given keyword and turn off search visitors who skim results. Often websites will add their home-page title to the end of every other page, making the tag very long once you factor in long product names, categories, and sub-categories. This also dilutes the first few and most important keywords for the page and makes every page compete with your home-page unnecessarily. It’s fine to use your company name or a shortened version at the end of all of your TITLE tags, but don’t repeat core keywords on a massive scale.
Put Keywords first in TITLE Tags
On large e-commerce sites, it’s common to list category and sub-category information in TITLE tags but every TITLE tag on the site ends up looking very similar and the most important and unique keywords for the page tend to get pushed to the very end. Research has demonstrated that the first few words in a title or headline are the most critical for search usability and are also likely to increase your search click through rate (CTR).
Write Unique META Descriptions
Although the META Description tag has little or no direct impact on ranking these days, it usually determines your search snippet and impacts CTR, making pages look more valuable. META descriptions can be generated from data, including using snippets of product descriptions. They should be meaningful to visitors, and not overloaded with keywords.
Put Keywords in Anchor Text
If you’re trying to rank your category page for your keywords, your internal anchor text should reflect this. Use labels people understand and be specific.
Add Direct Links to Top Products
On sites with large numbers of pages, you naturally take a hierarchical approach where products are 3- levels deep which is often fine, if the paths are clear to crawlers and visitors. However, it can leave critical pages with very little ranking power. One solution is to pull some of your top sellers to the home-page and link directly – this effectively flattens the architecture and creates greater opportunities for more links where needed. A “Featured Products” or “Top 10 Sellers” list on the home-page can really help boost important deep pages.
Canonicalise Internal Duplicates
Many sites make the same content available via different URLs. If you have a product site, a number of your product pages may be accessible through several different URLs, especially if you use session IDs or other parameters. While there may not be a duplicate content penalty, if search spiders see a new URL for the same content they’ll see a new page. To gain more control over how your URLs appear in search results and to consolidate properties, such as link popularity, you should canonicalise these pages, i.e. pick a canonical (preferred) URL as the preferred version of the page. When the duplicates really are identical, you can indicate your preference to Google in a number of ways. Using the canonical tag or a 301-redirect is often the best option. If you don't indicate a canonical URL, Google will identify what they think is the best version.
Remove Low-Value Links
If most of your inbound links are coming to the home-page, then your site architecture is the single biggest factor in directing linking to deeper pages. Find 10 links on your home-page with low priority for search or that visitors never click on and remove them. Focus on boosting your most important pages.
For further information on on-page search engine optimisation or help planning your search engine marketing strategy, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.