If you are a brand new business and looking to expand your presence beyond the referrals from your friends, colleagues, family etc; your website's Homepage is perhaps the place to start from. I am going to share few simple basics which will help your on Page SEO. In between, I am going to share few insights which i have gathered through my experience while working on some assignments.
On Page SEO - It Matters to Google
Lets start with the basics which can help your business move up the Google Ladder for On Page SEO:
1) Keyword Analysis - Do a detailed analysis of the keywords which cater to your business and its offerings. Think how someone who is a prospective client will put in his query in search engine. Google keyword tool, HubSpot and SEOMOZ keyword tool are worth checking. I suggest to choose keywords which have high searches and a medium difficulty to start with, may be 40 should be the limit. Also, I would suggest to look at a combination of Phrase and Exact Match for your keyword selection. Select one Primary keyword and one or two Secondary keywords for each page.
2) Page Title - Each webpage should have a title from On Page SEO point of view. This title has to be unique for all pages. Primary keyword has to appear first and then secondary keyword should appear, separated by pipe. Title can be max 70 chars. There should be max 2-3 keyphrases per title describing what the webpage is all about. Please note that only the Homepage and Contact us pages can have business name in their title.
3) Meta Description - This is the text that you see along with the link in Google Search Results. In other words, this description is your first impression to the user which will help him decide whether to click or not. So, give your best shot while writing this. The effort you put in now really pays off in the long run.
The length of meta description should be >100 chars and <150 chars. It should contain your Primary keyword and One Secondary keyword. Page description should be written in a conversational tone, a brief summary of what the page is all about. We must try to use the 150 chars length maximum to our benefit but should not exceed the limit.
4) Heading Tags - H1, H2, H3...yes, those are your heading tags. Each one has a different importance to Google or any Search Engine for that matter. Each page should have only one H1 tag. This is your main heading on the page and must include Primary Keyword. It should also align with the page title and URL of the page. Then, you could use H2 and H3 tags also. They are your next level headings which can contain primary and/or secondary keywords.
5) Page URL - Other than homepage, all the page URLs must include primary keyword. However, excessive keyword planting should not be there making URL too long. This does not bring a pleasant experience to the reader. Use small case words only separated by a hyphen.
6) Internal Links - Internal links can be designed using keyword rich anchor text. Its best to use mostly text links for navigation as google can easily crawl these links.
7) Images - Name and ALT Text - Most people ignore this. I recommend that you take it seriously. It really helps. The most important image on the page should have primary keyword in the filename separated by hyphens. Alt Text should be file name in normal sentence case. ALT Text is important to give a better user experience as this is what is displayed to the user when image fails to load for any reason.
8) Page Content - Page content should clearly talk details about what the page is about. Primary keyword can appear a few times in the page. Try to use Primary keyword in the first paragraph of text. Its helpful to make it bold or underline at least once. Content should make sense to the reader and keyword should not repeat much. A keyword density of 1% - 2% is ideal (You can google to find out how to check keyword density of your webpage). Secondary keyword/s can also be planted in the page content. Avoid duplicate content across pages. Google doesn't like duplicate content.
Well, these were a few tips which i learnt on my assignments. Please feel free to ask questions, if any, in comments. Also, feel free to share your valuable insights.