On Page SEO - Head Elements

Title Tag

The most important on-page element is the title tag and you must ensure that the keywords/phrase that your site is targeting is included within the title tag of your homepage. This should be written in natural English in a non-spammy way so that it is useful to both users and search engines and shouldn’t simply repeat variations of keywords that the site will be targeting.

Make sure that the text is as concise as possible, for example “Plumbers in Derbyshire” would be more effective at ranking than “Lots of really good and trustworthy Plumbers in the County of Derbyshire” (unless you wanted to rank for those extra keywords).

On deeper pages in your site, it’s good to take a reverse breadcrumb approach to your title and use:

Page Title – Section/Category Title – Site/Brand Name

This helps to first and foremost target the keywords for that page but then also ensures that category key phrases and brand searches are possible.

Meta Description

The major search engines do not use meta description to rank web pages but it still has a major role to play in SEO. Depending on the users search term, Google will attempt to show a snippet from the page which relates to their query in the SERPs. If Google cannot find a snippet in the page then it will attempt to display the meta description.

Therefore the meta description is a websites opportunity to entice users viewing the SERPs to click their link rather than one of the competitors.

In the same way that text within a banner or text within a PPC campaign can encourage users to buy a product, the meta description can have the same effect when used correctly.

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords were once extremely important as they were the method used by search engines to rank websites. However, over the past decade they have been abused to such an extent that the major search engines no longer use them within their ranking algorithm.

However, it is still worthwhile including your meta keywords within your HTML document for a couple of reasons:

  1. Some of the smaller search engines do still use meta keywords and any free traffic is good
  2. It keeps you focussed on the keywords that you’ve researched and expect to deliver traffic

Meta keywords are something that shouldn’t take up too much time as it should usually be a case of copy and pasting the list of keywords that you’ve already gathered and are targeting with your on page content.