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SEO rules for a correct internal web optimization.
2017 On-Page Search Engine Optimization guide
This guide outlines a to-do list designed to emphasize relevancy signals that are picked up by search engines. Stay within best practices and use it with creativity, but never trade value for better search rankings, never try to deceive users or search engines – in the long run – your efforts will make it worth your while, as long as you are using your judgment and know when to break the SEO golden rules described below…
Home Blog SEO Guide
How SEO works
How SEO works and how to make a perfect on-page optimization.

The first and foremost rule in search engine optimization is to offer value, but that is subject to feelings and emotions, hence – it’s always biased. In order to rank well within search engines – you have to provide clear signals that your pages are better than those of your competitors. There are a lot of strategies, tactics and best practices of how to achieve this, but the most important thing you can do is – optimize your content, make sure that everything you own and control is simply excellent. Also, remember that search engines will rank the most important of the most relevant pages. This means that, for a search query, they will first pick up a set of relevant pages and then display them in result pages according to their importance and notoriety.

On page optimization workflow

On-page SEO is all about Creating or Enhancing relevancy signals for a webpage with respect to the search query. Having some experience in optimizing and promoting websites, we were able to deduce few rules that are essential and that helped us to prioritize our work process and increase our results. We hope these rules will help you too.

Keyword research

Before you start writing any piece of content (including title, meta description, image name etc.), you should know which problem you’re trying to solve, that is – what are people really looking for and which expressions have most search volume. You should also take the competition into account and choose the perfect balance between the most searched keywords and those with less competition.


You can do this research using plenty of tools, but the most popular ones are offered by Google (Search, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, AdWords, Trends etc.).


When analyzing the competition – start by googling for the super-keyword and pay attention to their title, meta description, URLs and headlines and then make sure to create better versions. It is of utmost importance to have great URLs, titles and descriptions, as these are the things that make a search engine result snippet.



SEO
rule
#1
A webpage should be tailored around just one family of keywords.


One super-keyword
Good text amount
One keyword family
it should be optimized around one keyword (let’s call it the super-keyword), and all the connected keywords (variations, synonyms etc.), wich will be connected to each other
this is the page you wish to rank for with all the search queries in the same family, hence you need to have a decent amount of text that covers the topic well
relevancy signals should only include keywords in the targeted family, to avoid competition between different pages, which is also known as “keyword cannibalization”
One super-keyword
it should be optimized around one keyword (let’s call it the super-keyword), and all the connected keywords (variations, synonyms etc.), wich will be connected to each other
Good text amount
this is the page you wish to rank for with all the search queries in the same family, hence you need to have a decent amount of text that covers the topic well
One keyword family
relevancy signals should only include keywords in the targeted family, to avoid competition between different pages, which is also known as “keyword cannibalization”

Referring to keywords location, remember:



SEO
rule
#2
Use keyword variations (instead of just the super-keyword) in prominent locations.


The usage of keywords variation is less riskier (because of “over-optimization” penalties). It will help you to cover as much of the semantic field as possible (more long-tail keywords). Also, it’s good to know that long terms are better than short terms (it would be easier to rank for the super-keyword if we used it everywhere)


With the above in mind, it is important to prioritize keywords (based on their estimated search volume).

URL

The URL address should describe as closely as possible what the page is about. Users should be able to understand whether the page will fulfill their needs without loading it in their browsers. The URL address suffix (the last part, not including the domain name or parent folders) should be the shortest summary of the page. The URL address prefix (domain name + parent folders) should provide context.

How to correctly optimize your url adresses.

Try to meet the following requirements:

  • keep URL length under 100 characters
  • include the super-keyword
  • separate words with dashes (-) rather than with underscores (_)
  • be descriptive and memorable for the user
  • avoid keyword stuffing
  • avoid dynamic parameters (sortBy, sessionID, lat, lng etc.)
  • avoid words without search potential (info, tag, article etc.)
  • avoid special characters (except for languages such as Russian, Chinese etc.)
  • make the URL shareable (same content should load no matter who, where from or when loads it)

As a conclusion, we can deduce the following rule:



SEO
rule
#3
The URL is the shortest summary of the page.


URL (the Uniform Resource Locator) is an address to a resource on the Internet. This element is important for On page optimization.

Target keyword
Give accessibility
The correct length
The URL should contain the target keyword, that will be relevant and representative for all page content. It is recommended for better crawl and good user experience. Always follow this rule!
Do you like how your URL looks like? It should be clear, readable and accessible for users (because the easier a URL is to read for humans, the better it is for search engines – it is an evident fact!)
Of course, there is no fixed rules, but you should take into consideration the following factor – a short URL is better that a long one, because it looks more accurate, natural and is easier to remember.
Target keyword
The URL should contain the target keyword, that will be relevant and representative for all page content. It is recommended for better crawl and good user experience. Always follow this rule!
Give accessibility
Do you like how your URL looks like? It should be clear, readable and accessible for users (because the easier a URL is to read for humans, the better it is for search engines – it is an evident fact!)
The correct length
Of course, there is no fixed rules, but you should take into consideration the following factor – a short URL is better that a long one, because it looks more accurate, natural and is easier to remember.
Page title

Your title tag appears at the top of the browser and as the headline in search engine result snippets. Social networks also use it as part of the post when someone shares that URL. For these reasons it has both a huge SEO value (it’s one of the most important ranking factors), and a “clickability” value (it serves as an incentive for people to click). You should try to find the perfect balance between excellent SEO and excellent user-friendliness.

Optimize your page title according to the SEO rules.

Some tips:

  • keywords should be closer to the beginning
  • length between 50 and 60 characters
  • should be unique
  • should be compelling
  • use the brand name (at the end) only if it will increase the click-through)
  • avoid words without search potential
  • avoid keyword stuffing
  • avoid special characters (except for languages such as Russian, Chinese etc.)
  • make the URL shareable (same content should load no matter who, where from or when loads it)

Considering the above tips, remember the next rule:



SEO
rule
#4
The title tag is the second shortest summary of the page.


Title tags are the document definitions, that you can see in various places around the web, including the tab in your web browser. That elements and are used to tell search engines and visitors what any given page on your site is about.


It should be concise, reflecting the content of the page, attractive and memorable for users.

Headings

Usually they are implemented as HTML H1, H2… H6 tags, but in fact nowadays search engines are getting better and better at interpreting CSS and Javascript, so headings can really be implemented as anything. It’s a classic scenario when size matters.


These are emphasized text pieces (titles, subtitles, etc.) which show human visitors and search engines the most important “takeaways”.

Learn how to write and to optimize all page headings.

Spiders pay a great deal of attention to the words used in headings, that’s why they should always accurately describe the content below.


The H1 tag (the biggest headline) ,b>should appear at the top-center of the page and should be the first thing people see when they land on it. It should be tailored as a “synonym” (instead of the same text) of the title tag, hence – include the super keyword, or some close variation. There is no limitation to the length, but they should not be too long and should usually fit inside one or two lines.


Some tips: Headlines should clearly communicate the subject of the page they are introducing.

Remember that the page headlines are another reflection of your content.



SEO
rule
#5
The headline (H1) is the third shortest summary of the page.


The heading should be useful and informative, specific and relevant. Try to think beyond the conventional and make it unique and original.

Meta description

Meta description is a summary of the page and appears as part of a search result snippet, below the page title. It helps people decide whether to click on your site, or other sites above or below. The key is to experiment until you get satisfying click-through rates.

Optimize your meta description according to the SEO tips.

Try to meet following requirements:

  • length of 150-160 characters, but preferably no more than 156
  • include the super keyword once closer to the beginning and some variation / synonym after it, in conversational format, user-friendly and easily understandable
  • provide valuable, compelling information to make people visit this page
  • should be unique within the domain (but also the whole WWW)
  • avoid keyword stuffing
  • Also note that sometimes it’s a good idea not to write a meta description at all, but this is subject to experiments. When search engines don’t find a description – they will generate one and use that inside the snippet. This is sometimes better because the auto-generated description uses content pieces that contain the search query, thus is relevant and compelling to the user. It’s important to understand that search engines don’t use meta description as an SEO ranking factor. At all. It merely serves as an incentive for users to click on this search res ult, and not on others so there’s absolutely no need to stuff it with keywords.

    The meta description essence it is reflected by the following rule:



    SEO
    rule
    #6
    The meta description is the fourth shortest summary of the page.


    Meta description it is the HTML attribute that provide a brief summary or an explanation of the page content. It is used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page. Even if it hasn’t a significant role for SEO, it is an important factor of user-friendliness. It should compelling, super-informative and atractive for the visitors.

    Content

    We can say that content runs the site. Or that content is King. This is what ultimately drives people to the website, keeps them happy, makes them share it and spread the word.

    The user searched for something, then reviewed a list of search results, analyzed URLs, titles and meta descriptions etc. then decided to visit your page. Here is when things really get interesting.


    One important rule to keep in mind is that a user will spend 2 or 3 seconds to decide if what they searched for is actually here. This is a critical time frame and everything in front of the user should be crafted to ease that decision.


    The headline is the first thing they will see. First paragraph is second and only then will they decide whether or not this page is a good fit for their needs. If they bounce back to the search engine result page (“pogo-sticking”) – your rankings will be hurt. If they stay – the content still has to prove itself worthy.

    Learn how to write a good content for your website.

    There are no strict rules of how to write great content, but it indeed needs to be great. One thing to remember though – the look and feels should be designed in such a way that the user shouldn’t need to read every single piece of content in order to get the basic ideas. Instead – he or she should just be able to scan the page and easily extract the most important takeaways. You can achieve this by playing with headlines, bolded texts, internal table of contents, ordered or unordered lists of elements, etc. as long as you just need to read these and get the idea.


    Here are some tips and tricks:

    • write content for people, not for search engines
    • write at least several hundred words
    • make the first paragraph a summary of the page
    • place your targeted keywords at the beginning of the text
    • begin the content with text only, then feel free to add other formats as well
    • avoid Flash banners
    • avoid ads
    • include at least one image to make the content friendlier
    • add at least one link to another excellent page, especially if the visitor would get more details there
    • provide unique value, relevant information, expand on the title, be interesting and informative for the potential visitor
    • place the most important takeaways at the beginning and then elaborate on that
    • people usually scan the page, so write short paragraphs which expose one idea only
    • use the super-keyword just 2 or 3 times throughout the page
    • use variations and synonyms of the super-keyword a few times
    • don’t care about keyword density – just work on creating excellent copy
    • don’t stuff keywords, but mind that keywords will get indexed and will bring traffic
    • include at least one list of ordered or unordered elements (instead of paragraphs or enumerations), no more than 7-10 points, make list items short – it helps people to remember them
    • group paragraph and include sub-headlines with important keywords
    • include a table of contents at the beginning, link to the sub-headlines
    • use text in bold, italic or underline to emphasize keywords and important ideas
    • check the content for typos and spelling errors before placing your content on the page

    We can deduce the following rules:



    SEO
    rule
    #7
    A webpage content should be unique and valuable


    Obviously, it should be able to stand on its own (valuable and different from other web pages) and easily solve “the problem” (provide information/answers, take action etc.)


    Basically, in order to achieve on-page SEO nirvana, you have to design the content in such a way that it will be clear to anyone (both humans and bots) what they are about. The way you can do this is to insert targeted keywords in prominent locations, i.e. – those areas that users are most likely to pay attention to:



    SEO
    rule
    #8
    The first paragraph is the fifth shortest summary of the page


    Remember that the first paragraph is a key-element that can capture user attention. Make it carefully and think about your potential visitors – what they expect from you? How can you convince them to read the following text and stay on your website?

    Be original
    Be clear
    Be relevant
    The first paragraph is the mirror of the entire text and the bridge between you and your visitors. This is why, it must be unexpected, containing phrases that will attract the users attention and gain their sympathy.
    Obviously, people do not have time. This is why, the first words of your article or content should be very clear, concise and logically structured, in order not to scare and not to complicate the user experience. Pay attention to this!
    Despite of the desire to impress you potential visitors by using specific formula, the first paragraph should remain very relevant and informative, contain a brief content plan and the most important keywords.
    Be original
    The first paragraph is the mirror of the entire text and the bridge between you and your visitors. This is why, it must be unexpected, containing phrases that will attract the users attention and gain their sympathy.
    Be clear
    Obviously, people do not have time. This is why, the first words of your article or content should be very clear, concise and logically structured, in order not to scare and not to complicate the user experience. Pay attention to this!
    Be relevant
    Despite of the desire to impress you potential visitors by using specific formula, the first paragraph should remain very relevant and informative, contain a brief content plan and the most important keywords.


    SEO
    rule
    #9
    The body content is the longest “summary” of the page


    We know you’ve heard this a hundred times, but if you have interesting, valuable, informative and funny texts, you’ll attract traffic naturally. Everything in SEO is based on this simple truth.


    As mentioned above – search engines will first analyze its URL, then the title, headline, description and so on. Optimization is just making sure that these elements are very suggestive and accurately reflect your ranking intentions.

    Images

    All pages should have images as they are important in search ranking. They have an opportunity to show up in an image search, but they contribute to regular SEO as well. It’s considered good user experience to have cheerful, good-looking pages and professional graphics can easily add the missing ingredient. Advanced search engines can also interpret texts within images, but it’s not recommended to hide perfectly crawlable keywords inside them. When optimizing, use the most important keywords for the first image, next ones (synonyms, variations) for the second image, long tail keywords for the third and so on.


    Image optimization should meet following requirements:

    • filename should closely match the URL suffix
    • separate keywords inside filename with dashes (-)
    • use only lowercase characters in image filename
    • don’t use special characters in filename
    • make sure to use high quality images
    • use the right resolution
    • make sure image file size is as small as possible (use gif, png, jpg appropriately)
    • provide an ALT attribute – alternative text displayed by the browser when the image cannot be loaded; it should closely match the meta description
    • provide a TITLE attribute – the name of the image, it appears as a tooltip when holding the mouse over the image; it should closely match the page’s <title> tag
    Optimize your images according to the SEO rules.

    Links are very important for SEO. It’s considered good user experience to link to other excellent resources the cover the topic further. They are also usually (and should always be) highlighted within the text so they ease the process of scanning through the document.


    When optimizing links, consider the following best practices:

    • keep the number of links low (< 10)
    • link only to excellent resources
    • bold, italic or underscore if you want it to carry more weight
    • provide a TITLE attribute, it appears as a tooltip when holding the mouse over the link and should accurately (but concise) describe the page the user is going to land on after clicking on the link
    • use keywords with search potential as anchor text (not just the URL or “click here”
    • use an absolute path for the referenced URL
    • don’t use redirects for the referenced URL
    • don’t use Javascript or other technologies to produce the link
    • avoid keyword stuffing in the anchor text or title attribute
    • link to pages you want to rank higher