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SEO Audit Checklist: Part 1. On-page optimisation guide

By Chris Soames 11 Aug, 2010
Essential
On-page optimisation

An introduction to on-page optimisation for SEO

Many of the posts or articles on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that you find on the web today will talk about emerging trends or the latest tools to manage this or analyze that, it can become too easy to lose sight of the core building blocks that help shape a successful online business.

Working closely with Dr. Dave Chaffey, we have created the first of many 'back to basics' guides that we hope will help companies who lack outside or internal expertise review their own digital marketing effectiveness - a DIY approach.

You can download the on-page SEO template at the end of this post.

We hope that anyone who writes or reviews copy who isn't an SEO expert will find the guidelines and examples useful.

What is on-page optimisation?

On-page optimization is an essential tool in your natural search-marketing toolbox. Each page of your website is an asset you can use to help your business rank higher in the search engines. On-page optimisation often involves applying a simple set of guidelines to ensure every page on your website is working hard for you. Though quite a simple process, some areas are often overlooked or forgotten due to the million other things we have to remember / do.

Why is it important?

The pages and content of your website are arguably the most important part of search engine optimisation. Some would say links from other websites are everything, but if you don"€™t have good content in the first place, links are hard to attract. Search engines use each page to determine the subject(s) of your website and to also identify the keywords your website maybe relevant for. On-page optimisation ensures that all the appropriate signposts are used to aid Search engines. Essentially getting it right can determine the difference between position 5 and position 1. On-page optimisation will also help with your websites structure & readability for users (the primary people in the whole experience)

How can on-page optimisation go wrong?

We see that on-page optimisation can go wrong in a number of ways. Usually mistakes fall into three categories:
1. Trying too hard and expecting too much
2. Lack of knowledge / experience
3. Not thinking about the user

In the first instance, site owners have usually read that SEO will "€œskyrocket your sales"€ or similar. However they interpret this to meant to them, that if you use your main keyword over and over again (more than your competitor does) you are bound to rank No.1. Unfortunately this is not how it works! At all...

The key to the all SEO is to be natural, practical and not get into keyword stuffing or link farms.

The second is no fault of the person building or editing the site as a rule, it"€™s simply that they"€™re unaware of the aspects of writing the page that have the biggest impact. They also don"€™t realise the importance of researching the keyphrases they"€™re targeting based on what their customers are searching for.

Your content also needs to target the right keyphrases your visitors are looking for which will help support your business goals. You have to attract the right audience. Undertaking keyphrase research will help this. This guide also describes some tools and a keyphrase research process:

Key issues covered in the template

This guideline covers common questions & key areas of on-page optimisation such as:
1. How should I structure my page title?
2. How many times should I use my keyword in the page?
3. Should I use Meta tags for SEO and how effective are they?
4. How should I best use H1, H2 & H3 tags

On-page Optimisation Guide

We hope the guide will be helpful for digital agencies and consultants alike, but its main aim is to help smaller businesses, bloggers, copy writers, designers & online marketeers review their own sites. We recommend following the guide when creating or editing any page on your website and we especially recommend a half yearly review of your on-page optimisation. You can view the guide below or download it in word format here : On-page Optimisation Guide

On-page Optimisation Guide

Tell us what you think?

We"€™ve developed this based on our combined experience of digital marketing practice, please help us improve it and add to the comments commenting on what you like / don"€™t like, or even drop us a line about other templates you"€™d like to see.

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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