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Visible On-Page Factors
The visible on-page factors covered here are the following:
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Page title
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Page headings
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Page copy
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Outbound links
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Keywords in URLs and domain name
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Internal link structure and anchors
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Overall site topicality
Page Title
The page title is a string of text, defined by contents of the
<title>
element in the
<head>
section
of the HTML document. The title is visible both in the title bar of a browser window, as well as the
headline of a search engine result. It is arguably one of the most important factors in search engine
optimization because it is both an important factor in search engine rankings, as well as a critical call
to action that can enhance the click-through rate (CTR). Vanessa Fox of Google states, “Make sure each
page has a descriptive
<title>
tag and headings. The title of a page isn’t all that useful if every page
has the same one.”
One of the biggest mistakes web developers make is to set the title for all pages on a web site to the same
generic text. Frequently, this text is the company name and/or a slogan. In this case, at best your pages
will be indexed poorly. At worst, the site could receive a penalty if the search engines see the pages as
duplicate content. Be sure all pages on a dynamic site have unique and relevant titles.
When writing titles, it is also wise to insert some targeted keywords. You should not lose sight, however,
that a title is also a call to action. Even if a title successfully influences a search engine to rank a page
highly, that ranking effectiveness is then multiplied by your CTR. Keyword stuffed titles are not always
effective for CTR, though they may rank well. As a reminder, these keywords should also appear in the
document’s copy.
People will also frequently use a page title for the anchor text of an inbound link. Anchor text is an
important off-page factor, and its beneficial effect is discussed later in this chapter.
Page Headings
Page headings are sections of text set off from web page copy to indicate overall context and meaning.
They are usually larger in size than the other copy within the document. They are typically created using
<Hx>
tags in HTML, where x is a number between 1 and 6. They have been abused in the past to manip-
ulate search rankings, but they are still an important on-page factor, and they also serve to help the user
navigate a page.
Page Copy
It is intuitively clear that a page that contains the keywords that a user is looking for should be relevant
to his or her search query. Search engine algorithms take this into account as well. Keyword insertion,
however, should not be done in the excess. Mentioning the keywords in various inflections (plural,
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Chapter 2: A Primer in Basic SEO
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