Despite back linking and off page optimization far outweighing the power of on-page optimization, it should still have a relevant part to play in your SEO plans. Although you can never get high rankings for competitive keywords by just on-page optimization, by following the basics you can achieve good rankings for hundreds of long tail keywords on a single site.
I often attach a blog to any website I create because I have found that I can use it to target long tail keywords as and when required.
So what on page optimization should you focus on? Here are three areas on your site which have the greatest affect on your rankings:
The title of your site has the biggest
effect on your ranking. Not only that, but it's what the searcher will see in a
whole list of results so your title has to serve two purposes, for the search
engine and to get the visitor to click through to your site. The title should
be short and include the keyword at the very start, but also entice the user to
click through so it's worth spending a few moments to create the perfect title
for each page.
The URL Structure
With so many sites using database driven scripts to serve up the content you have to make sure the URL's are rewritten to include the keywords you are targeting instead of using computer variables. To get a better idea of what I mean, here is a URL example of what a default installation of a Wordpress blog might look like:
The part after the ? Means the page is dynamically generated and it doesn't look like a real page to the search engine. Fortunately Wordpress allows us to rewrite the URL to something more friendly so the dynamic page above can become
This also has the advantage of reinforcing to the searcher that they are about to click through to a relevant page because the URL looks just like a real page
An XML Sitemap
Although you should have a static sitemap, you should also use a sitemap generator to submit an XML map to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Center. This enables the search engines to find and index all your pages much easier. You can tell the search engines how much priority each page has and approximately how often each page is updated. In my experience a website with an XML sitemap outranks a website without one.