How to be a DIY SEO Superstar: Part the Second

Yesterday in Part the First, we covered crawling, finding your niche and a little bit about how to approach SEO. Today we’ll cover the basics of on page optimisation

Optimisation: The Bit You’ve Been Waiting For

Now you’re armed with your niche search terms (e.g. Fiat Car Spares London) you can make sure your site is optimised for them. There are a few places that we need to look at – this does require a little bit of HTML coding knowledge, or access to someone who has such knowledge (these people can often be bribed with beer/cider/wine/chocolate delete as appropriate.)

Title Tags

You can find more about title tags in general here, we’re going to focus on the SEO specifics.
Each page on your site should have a unique title tag, with the homepage having the most important of your search terms. Keeping with our car spares example, the title tag of the homepage could look something like this:
<title>Fiat Car Spares for Sale in London - Made Up Car Co Ltd</title>

If you have product pages, then the title tag for one of them might look something like this:
<title>Front Fog Light for Fiat Panda - Made Up Car Co, London</title>

It’s pretty simple, don’t you think?

Heading Tags

Heading tags are an important way of telling visitors and search engines what a page is about, generally the heading tag will be similar to the title tag, though shorter.

For our product pages, the heading tag would be the product name:
<h1>Front Fog Light: Fiat Panda</h1>

If you’ve got a lot to say about the front fog light for the Fiat Panda you might need to split the page with subheadings (much like I’ve done on this monstrously long post), so you might have:
<h2>Fitting Instructions</h2>

Only use sub-headings if you need them, they’re there to make it easier for people to read the page and filling it with unnecessary heading tags won’t help that.

Content

If you’ve spent some time looking into SEO you’ll doubtless have heard the phrase “content is king”, and it is. If your content isn’t actually readable, useful and related to your chosen topic, then there’s no point in optimising anything else.

As a general rule your search terms are going to appear somewhere within the first 100 – 200 words on the page. Don’t force them in there though (this is where a lot of issues have arisen in my experience) human visitors, who are the ones that will actually buy your products, have a natural sense of “spammy” text. If you try to force in multiple references to your search term, it will stick out like a sore thumb and will negatively impact on their likelyhood to buy. If visitors feel you are being spammy in your website, they’ll anticipate your business practices to be the same. In essence you’ll be perceived as less trustworthy.

Going back to our old pal the front fog light, here’s an example of spammy text:
The front fog light for the Fiat Panda is designed to replace the current front fog light in your existing Fiat Panda. Buy your new front fog light for the Fiat Panda now.

Instead focus on getting valuable information about the product to your potential customer:
This is a new, original Fiat part comprising the outer front fog light casing and fixings for all models of the Fiat Panda from 2000 onwards. Prices include VAT and exclude delivery, we have replacement, used, front fog lights for older models here.

Linking Out

When you link to another site on the web the search engines view that as an endorsement by you for that site and judge you by your recommendation. Be careful who you link to. If you link to questionable sites, very irrelevant sites or just plain pornographic sites, the search engines will hold that against you. When your site becomes popular and sucessful (which or course it will) you’ll get loads of requests from people and companies for you to link to their site. Some will offer you a link back in exchange, some will offer you money. Whatever the incentive, think very, very carefully about accepting. If you do accept, ensure that you make it clear that the link is an advertisement or other paid endorsement as you could fall foul of both the search engines and trading regulations.

Congratulations – you’ve just optimised your website, on Monday we’ll deal with link building but for now, I think you’ve suffered enough!