On-Site Optimization & Improving Rankings

SEO Tutorials | January 21st, 2008 | 2 Comments

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It has been awhile since I made major changes on this blog with the purpose to show you that on-site optimization is as well important as the off-site (the link building). Since ever I build this blog I did not knew much about blogging and especially didn’t knew much about how the structure of WordPress was made, but that just gave me another reason to digg deeper into the functionality of wordpress and how it performs in the search engine rankings and what can be done to even improve the rankings. Even tho WordPress is pretty much seo optimized (kinda, sorta) out of the box, it has its weak parts, but thanks to the easy-to-use platform it is easy to fix that and manage to rank higher on the SERPs (if everything was just at that, then SEO companies would have closed doors long time ago, but at least I hope with this seo tutorial I will guide you in the right direction how to optimize your wordpress blog).

Since many relate SEO with Google search engine, I will try to mainly write this tutorial on that perspective, how to improve your Google rankings. What we do know about Google search engine is that they do like fresh and unique content and they do like trusted sites, sites that do have more votes or rather more backlinks. To determine a ranking on the Google SERPs they take in account

All the above mentioned points are valid and should be paid attention. But what lacks more is the on-site optimization that not many tend to talk about, except for the fresh unique content. Ranking higher on the SERPs for determined keywords can cost some real money if you relay only on off-site optimization. Google search engine and other search engines will give value to internal linking almost at the same value as they would give to incoming links from external sites or pages, so take this opportunity and use the power of your website’s homepage to spread enhance and power up your inner pages as well. To not make it sound just as empty words, let me explain to you what I did with this blog (even tho, to make the experiment last less I optimized pages for less competitive keywords, but yet keywords that do drive traffic to this blog).

On-Site Optimization

As you can see from the map here, the homepage of your website (or blog) plays the central role since it is the more powered up part of your website with external backlinks and Google does give more weight to the homepage rather than the homepage because of the incoming backlinks pointing to the homepage. What I did, and what you can do is, to use the power of your homepage to help your internal pages to improve their search engine ranking and I will not try to explain why I used that scheme (clockwise, from 12 o’clock up to 11 o’clock).

Unique and Keyword Rich Title

We do well know that search engines give a lot importance to the title tag of our page or website, as it is the part which describes what the content of that page (or website, if homepage) is treating. The role of your title is not only to be keyword rich and to help you rank on the SERPs, it is also the part of your website that is visible on the SERPs and that can get the attention of the visitors that surf on the search engine page results. There are two approaches you can take with your title

  1. Short and keyword rich
  2. Unique, descriptive and includes keywords

If the first approach will give you 100% keyword density in your title tag and it will most likely easily obtain better search engine rankings, the second approach is the one I would suggest you to go with as it is more descriptive and it can easily get the visitors attraction on the SERPs. You can read my website seo title article for some more informations regarding the title and optimization of the title for search engines.

Descriptive Meta Description

Just as the title can play its role on search engine rankings and to grab the attention of the visitors, the description meta tag plays the same role. Just think about when you go and buy a book, the first thing you read is the title of the book, then maybe the author’s name and you jump at the back of the book to read a brief description or a critique about the book, that brief description plays the same role with the description meta tag. Even tho many believe that meta description will not help your search engine rankings (and I will have my reserve on that regard) it still plays a very important role on the click through rate since the description is visible to visitors that surf the SERPs to find informations. One advice I would give you when writing descriptions is to go straight to the point, very descriptive and use alternative keywords than the one that are used in the title of your page. You can read something more about meta description tag as well on my previous article.

Keyword Rich Permalink

SEO – Keywords – Keywords – SEO, it is all around that when speaking about search engine optimization, keywords. Said this, i’d presume that having keywords here and there will help (well it does), even tho the value of keywords in permalink is not that big as it would be having keywords in the title tag or in headings of the article, yet, having keywords on permalinks can help. From other viewing point having keyword rich permalink can help also when people link to your articles through full URL path (rather then using anchor text, where the permalinks keywords will serve as anchor of the link).

Keep your content unique

This is a major issue with wordpress blogs since the platform repeats your article over and over as I have described this on the how to eliminate duplicate content article. We already have to fight with the content scrappers that burn our feeds into their website filled with adsense ads all over, why would we want to bugg about that if we haven’t taken care about duplicate content within our own blog? Keeping the blog as unique as possible we can will tell the search engine that the page where the content is placed deserves more attention for given keywords, instead of the category page or even the homepage of our blog.

Once I resolved the duplicate content issues with this blog I can tell you that the traffic bounced for 200% on my internal pages as well as the page views per user bounced too. It is obvious that landing visitors to the correct informations page benefits both, you as author and the visitor that is looking for informations. Interlinking with other pages of your blog that treat the same or similar issue will be most likely followed by the “hungry for informations” visitor and that increases

  • Page views per visitor
  • Time a visitor has spend in your blog
  • Build trust with your visitors as you provide them the informations they need

And on that last point i’d like to remind you how important can that be for a mediocre blogger. Building trust with your readers while giving them valuable informations can turn EXTREMELY important and into huge benefits for you in the near feature when you will want to recommend a website or a product through affiliate link. Just look at John Chow, whatever he recommends to his readers it converts like pancakes, and he can make money online out of it.

Internal Linking Structure

Phew, finally we reached that point where everything becomes so sweet and we start saving money on optimizing our website, when we don’t need to spend neither $10 to obtain good rankings for a internal page that we have most likely created for

  1. Increase traffic for long tail keywords
  2. Use as information rich landing page to increase trust with our readers
  3. Generate online revenue through affiliate links

I know this last point is more of interest for you, either is that to generate revenue through affiliate links or use that page to sell your own products. In either case, thats why we do SEO to increase revenue.

On my internal linking post I have explained how we can keep busy search engine spider bots through internal linkings and to get our website properly spidered, but aside that we want to know how that can help us increase our search engine rankings. Just as the external links, internal links are as well important of your site in both ways. Powering up your homepage and powering up your internal pages.

This blog is ranking very well for keyword Learn SEO and all the merit goes to internal pages I have that linkback to the homepage with anchor text learn seo, and of course the title of the homepage but the main role is the backlinks. Another example I could use the serps for keywords title optimization. Having two pages optimized for that keywords and interlinking one with each other made so that I get double listing for the same keyword and holding the #1 and #2 results of the serps for that phrase. As conclusion, I would that internal linking saved me tons of money if I wanted to optimize the site (and the pages) for their keywords and yet I obtained good rankings.

Power up with external links

In the graph above, I have marked this as optional technique when the homepage of our website or blog is not strong enough to push the page on the SERPs or if the keyword is a bit more competitive and it does require some help from external links too. Instead of spending money even for this, you can manage to obtain decent rankings by just using some free resources such as linking to the page with your keywords as anchor text in forums when you respond to a thread that treats the same argument, or just use your imagination how to enhance your internal pages from external links by not spending a dime (I know you have a method how to do that).

Thanks for reading this article, and hope you will subscribe to my RSS feed to read more seo tips.

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2 Responses to “On-Site Optimization & Improving Rankings”
  1. Thanks Astrit – internal linking is something I forget to do. Every now and again, I do go back and link some internal pages – but it would be a whole lot easier if I remembered to do it when I wrote each post.

  2. Hey, nice article buddy & thanks for the tips.