3 On-Site Elements You Should Still Pay Attention To

by Alex Harvey September 22nd, 2011 

on-site

It's easy to get caught up in link building tactics and strategies. But overlooking these onsite elements can result in your entire link building work being fruitless.

1. Robots.txt

Web masters can give search engine spiders instructions from the robots.txt file located on the root of the domain. However, you can also use the meta element to give instruction to robots on a page by page basis. For those who don’t know, the robots.txt file is an exclusion standard that instructs search engine crawlers and other web robots which parts of the website it can and can’t access. This is great as you can prevent search engines such as Google from indexing certain areas of your website. However, if you set the exclusions incorrectly you could prevent search engines from indexing you home page or worse, your entire site, which is one of the worst case scenarios for any SEO.

As an example, the following code will allow all robots to access and crawl all files on your site:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

The following example shows how to prevent all robots from accessing your site:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

We can see that the only difference is a back slash between having your web pages indexed and not having them index. It’s that simple to get wrong.

The following example shows how to prevent robots for accessing specific folders and files:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /tmp/
Disallow: /private/file.html

For a quick and easy way to see the robots configuration on any website, the Firefox plugin Seerobots is a great tool.

There are many more nonstandard directives you can use to give instruction to robots visiting your website, such as referencing a sitemap, but that’s for another post.

2. <Title>

The title element is of course one of the major elements on any web page and it still plays a huge role in SEO. When optimizing title elements for SEO, it’s worth spending a little longer to get them right. A well formatted title element will include the major head terms that you are trying to rank the page for. It may also include the brand name or a clear call to action. When writing optimized content for the title element the general guide is to not exceed 70 characters. This will ensure that Google doesn’t truncate titles when they are displayed in the results pages and also will help to avoid diluting the head terms.

It’s also important to note that source ordering can also play a part in helping search engine robots to crawl and index your page effectively. By placing the title element as close to the top of the source code as possible, you are presenting the element to the robots as early s possible when crawling the page.

3. Content

It’s no secret that without content on the pages of a website, and without using your targeted key phrases within that content, your website will struggle to rank. But content is not as simple as it seems on the surface. For a start, writing content for human beings and not search engines will help you to create engaging content. The content you write also needs to be unique, so scrapping information off other sites is a big no. Having said that, if you need to include technical information from a manufacturer on your website then there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

It’s important not to overuse targeted keywords in the content that you write. Try to use the head term in the first paragraph and bold the word to make it more prominent. After that, include the head term as part of a long tail search variant. This will help to ensure you are targeting more long tail terms with your content.

The Google Panda update now makes it even more important for you to present rich and unique content on your website. Avoid displaying pages with no content as these types of pages serve no value whatsoever. Try to avoid overlapping and redundant articles and content that is designed to target keywords instead of humans. Avoid having a high ratio of ads on a page, if you must have ads then try pushing them below the fold. There are too many attributes to the Panda update to cover here, so taking the time to learn the ins and outs of the Panda update and then optimizing your content accordingly is very important.

Alex Harvey

Alex works for Fresh Egg, an SEO and multi discipline search agency. He has an extensive background as a web developer.

SEO & Web Design Blog

You May Also Like

One Response to “3 On-Site Elements You Should Still Pay Attention To”

  1. I recently came across a site that has only 8 pages visible to human visitors but has about 400 indexed pages on Google. When I looked at the listings, I found that all the other pages were on a subdomain that they used for login, paginations, and search queries. As it turned out, the site wasn't using any robots.txt file at all. Thanks for the reminder.