Site Renovators Part #2 – SEO On-Site Optimization

SEO On-Site Optimizations

This is part two in a series of posts dedicated to the Midphase Site Renovators contest in which one person won a website makeover from a group of marketing and design professionals at Midphase.

There are two parts to getting a website to show up in the search engines; you need to make sure the pages can be indexed and you need to make sure the page content is optimized.

Site Indexing
With Hermann Communications, I first looked at how optimized the website was for getting its pages indexed. To do this it is important to get all the information about how Google crawls your website. That information is available in Google Webmaster Tools. Once you have an account and verified you’re the owner or webmaster of your website, Google will give you lots of information on how they are crawling you site and any problems that they might be having. You can also give Google more information about your site, through submitting an XML sitemap to Google, inside your Webmaster Tools account.

  • What is an XML sitemap? An XML sitemap is a list of the pages of your website in XML format. It should be saved in the root directory of your website and submitted to Google inside your Webmaster Tools account. You can also submit the XML sitemap to Bing inside a Bing Webmaster Tools account. You can use free online tools like to help create your XML sitemap.

Another file that influences how search engines can index a website is the robots.txt file. This file is where you give instructions to search engine crawlers on what pages of your website you want to be crawled and indexed. You can tell crawlers not to crawl parts of your website that you don’t want indexed. You can also tell crawlers about the XML sitemap by adding a line to the robots.txt file that looks something like: Sitemap:
Content Optimization
The content of your website is what search engine crawlers use to determine if a page is relevant to a search query; therefore it is not only important that the content is about your targeted search terms, but it is also important that there is sufficient content to let the crawler know that your page should be considered relevant to a search query. To optimize Hermann Communications we would make sure that each page has sufficient content and the content relates to our targeted keywords for the page.

  • What is the optimal keyword density? There really is no magic formula or optimal keyword density to get your page to rank well. Search engines are very good at grouping like terms together and understanding what a page is about. The best practice is to write content that your website visitors will want to read; not try to cram keywords in your content a certain number of times. If your content mentions your keyword a couple of times and also includes additional similar keywords then search engines will be able to figure out the purpose of the page.

To further optimize the pages of Hermann Communications we would also include keywords in the following HTML elements of each page:
Title Tag: We would optimize page title tags to be no longer than 70 characters in length and to include our main targeted keyword phrases. Title tags should be a well written sentence that says what the page is about and shouldn’t be a string of keywords.
Meta Description: This HTML element is important because when it is optimized, search engines like Google may choose to display it as the description to your site that appears in the search results. With Hermann Communications we recommend writing descriptions that included the targeted keywords and described what the page was about. They should be about 150 characters in length and include a call to action.
Headings and Sub-Headings: Content should have headings and sub-headings using H1, H2 and other heading tags. We would optimize Hermann Communications page content with main content headings in H1 tags and any sub-headings in H2 tags. The headings and sub-headings would include targeted keywords where they are relevant to the related content.
It is important that content is of value to the site visitor. Generic content with very little value to a website visitor is not going to help much with search engine rankings. Page content should be unique and it should also include relevant images, videos and other forms of rich media.

About the Author: Dustin Williams is a Search Engine Marketing expert and the Global SEO Manager for Midphase, a domain registration and website hosting services provider. He has been practicing SEM and optimizing websites since 2004. Follow Dustin on Twitter: @WebGazelle.