There are certain actions one should perform when optimizing a page for Google. I am going to outline eight actions to follow when optimizing a page. Keep in mind that on-page optimization is page specific, so you will want to optimize one page per keyword phrase.

Many times, you can get to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) by following these simple guidelines

If the search term is highly competitive, you will also need to build back links to the page with the keyword phrase in the link to help move you to page one. Link building is a topic that can cover several blog posts, so we will save that for another day.

It isn’t just one factor that makes a difference; it is the combination of all of these factors that helps you move to page one in the SERPs for less competitive keyword phrases.

Below is the list of items to consider when optimizing a page:

  1. Page Name
  2. Title Tag
  3. Meta Description
  4. Meta Keywords
  5. H1 Tag
  6. Bolded Text
  7. Link Text
  8. 1% to 2% keyword density for Google

Naming your Page

When naming your page, use the keyword phrase you have chosen for the page name. I am going to use the keyword phrase “Registered Dietitian” as an example. So the page name is” I used a common misspelling in the page name to capture that keyword phrase also.

Title Tag

Your title tag is part of the HTML code in the <head> section of the page. Try to place your main keyword phrase in the beginning of the title tag as so:

<title>Registered Dietitian: New Fairfield, Connecticut, Danbury, CT; Brewster, New York</title>

Again, I am trying to capture several keyword phrases in one Title Tag:

  1. Danbury, Ct Registered Dietitian
  2. New Fairfield, Ct Registered Dietitian
  3. Brewster, NY Registered Dietitian

These are the three cities in which they have offices, so we want to capture searches for “Registered Dietitian” in these cities. It isn’t as important to be number one for the main keyword phrase “Registered Dietitian” as it is to be number one or on page one for the geographic location and the main keyword phrase because not many people will drive more than maybe 20 miles to visit a dietitian.

Meta Description

You don’t get a whole lot of traction for search using the meta-description, but where you do get the traction is using it as a mini sales pitch as follows:

<meta name="Description" content="Want to improve your overall health?
Visit Sue Ann Ciatto, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian who will create a
custom plan for you. Schedule an appointment today." />

Keep the length of the meta-description to around 150 characters and use your keyword phrase in the meta-description to increase the chances that it will be used on the SERPs. It has been my experience that the Search Engines (SEs) pull the description from around the keyword in the body text If the keyword isn’t in the meta-description.

Meta Keywords

Meta Keywords are probably the least useful of the on-page optimization strategies I am describing. Google, according to Matt Cutts, a Google Engineer, told participants of SMX Advanced 2010 that the keyword meta-tag is no longer used in the Google algorithm.

“Danny – talk about the annotation part of it, mentions meta keywords

Matt We don’t use meta keywords! ”

The best way to use the keywords meta-tag is to place your misspelled words in it if it is used at all.

H1 Tag

The H1 tag also helps the SEs understand what the page is about. Use the keyword phrase towards the front of the H1 tag. There should only be one H1 tag per page. If it is difficult to fit your keyword phrase into the H1 tag then place it in an H2 tag instead. Bottom line, it should be in one or the other.

H1 Tag Example

H1 Tag Example

Bolded Text

Place your Keyword phrase in bolded text on the page. It doesn’t matter where, just so it’s there. In the example above, the secondary keyword phrases are both bolded and links which seems to do the trick just fine.

Link Text

The primary keyword phrase is “Registered Dietitian” and then there are several subsets on the pages as well. These include:

  1. Danbury, Ct Registered Dietitian
  2. New Fairfield, Ct Registered Dietitian
  3. Brewster, NY Registered Dietitian

The reason for this is to gain traction for keyword phrases that relate to the main keyword phrase as you can see in these screen shots for the Google SERPs:

We do not show up in the top 10 pages for “Registered Dietitian”. We would need to do some targeted link building to improve our rankings for this term.

Google SERPS

Google SERPs

Google SERPs

1% to 2% Keyword Density

Tally up all the words on the page and divide by the number of keywords on the page to get your keyword density. In the image below, I have highlighted the keywords for you to see.

If I add up all the keywords on this page, I come up with 14 keyword phrases “Registered Dietitian”. The total count of words on this page is 550, 550 divided by 14 equals 2.5%, so I am a little bit over the 2%, but it doesn’t appear to be hurting me in this case because I am on page one for the three main keyword phrases that are important to me:

  1. Danbury, Ct Registered Dietitian
  2. New Fairfield, Ct Registered Dietitian
  3. Brewster, NY Registered Dietitian

Keyword Density Example

Remember, these are just guidelines and not hard and fast rules. I have been using these guidelines for about four years now and they seem to work pretty well for keyword phrases with low competition. However, the high competition keyword phrases require additional strategies to get to page one. My recommendation is to follow these guidelines first, then add additional strategies later once you see where that page settles in on the SERPs.