The Basics of On-Page SEO by John Jants Read more in Duct Tape Marketing
A great SEO strategy focuses on getting your entire website ranked well. Instead of using common keywords on all your pages, you can optimize your SEO page-by-page, giving each individual webpage the best shot at performing well in SERPs.
That’s what on page SEO is all about. When you focus these SEO elements on each page of your website, you can spread SEO wealth and work to achieve multiple page rankings for specific, targeted keywords. Here are the elements of on-page SEO that every business should be thinking about.
Create a legible URL
Every URL on your website should be short, sweet and keyword-rich. Setting up keywords for your homepage and main product pages is usually straightforward. Your homepage will probably be the name of your business. Your product pages can contain the names of specific products. Your contact page should say just that in the URL.
Things sometimes get a little more complicated when creating URLs for content pages. How do you name each blog post? Which is the best URL for your latest podcast episode? The same basic principles apply here.
Keep the URL as short as possible. Write them in plain English, avoiding number or letter sequences that may represent behind-the-scenes dates or something mean to your team, but that will be read as nonsense to an outsider. And include relevant keywords in a way that makes sense. Don’t just put keywords into the URL to hit the arbitrary keyword goalpost.
Create a keyword-rich title
Each page of your website should also have its own title. Don’t confuse your title with the title of your blog post; They are two different things. Your title is what appears at the top of your post, while your title is a feature that affects your search engine rankings.
A headline is the blue header that appears in Google search results, so you want it to be genuine and include a relevant keyword. While blog post headlines should be created to captivate and attract the reader, your headline should cut right for the chase. What Is This Page About? The title will be read by both human prospects and customers, as well as Google’s robots, who want to understand the content of your page.
There are many tools designed to help you create an effective SEO title for each page of your website. If you have a WordPress site, I highly recommend the Yoast plugin.
write a catchy description
Your description is the second part of your SERPs metadata. While your title is the blue link that Google searchers click to visit your page, the description is the blurb below that gives them more information about what they can expect to find on the page.
As I said above, your title must be genuine; This is the kind of detail where you can be creative and work to really engage the reader. I like to think of the description as an advertisement for the page. In old-time SEO strategies, people tried to put as many keywords in the description as possible, thinking they would trick search engines into ranking the page higher based on their keyword-heavy word salad.
In fact, it is the description that is written for your audience, not the search engine bot, that will win. When your description attracts readers, they click on the blue link. And the real attention of real readers is better than stealth attempts to cram keywords where they shouldn’t be.
Description is another metadata component that the Yoast plugin can help with. The plugin allows you to change the description for each page, so you don’t get stuck with general information that Google pulls from your site.
Include SEO Elements in Image
Images can do more than just add visual interest to your website. By doing a little bit of behind-the-scenes work on your images, you can make them work for your SEO strategy.
Whenever you include an image on your website, give the file a keyword-rich title. If you run a lawn care business and are including a photo of a garden you worked on, instead of leaving the image file as the date the photo was taken, change it to something like “[Business name] Garden Care Denver Colorado.”
The same approach should be followed when including Alt text on images. Alt text is designed to help search engines understand what the image is about. A rich Alt text description that includes relevant keywords is another way to indicate to search engines what this specific page of your website is about.
Focus on H1 Headings
When you think about how you want to organize your on-page content, you should consider both human and robot audiences.
Think about how to divide the content in a way that is easy for readers to understand. Let’s return to the lawn care company example. Let’s say you are writing a blog post on how to eliminate common lawn and garden pests. Prepare an outline before writing a post. Where do you need to start when it comes to explaining this topic? For those who know nothing about lawn care, what are the basics you should cover? Consider the most sensible order in which to present the information.
With the lawn pest example, you might start by outlining the signs that a reader may have a problem with their lawn, with descriptions and photos to help them figure out what type of pest their particular issue is. could be the cause. Then, you can detail specific courses of treatment for each type of pest.
Once you’ve decided to segment your content for reader usefulness, you’ll want to think about how to organize that information in an SEO-friendly way. Your title should become an H1 title. Your sub-points should be H2 headings, and bullet points can help organize the information under each subcategory. While this strategy of organizing content makes it easier for readers to view and organize the information they are looking for, it also helps Google better understand your content.
Include internal and external links
A well optimized page will include both internal and external links. Including internal links to other pages with relevant content can help Google better understand how all of your content is related. When you include internal links, make sure the anchor text contains keywords. Which can increase your ranking with search engines.
Some people are hesitant to include external links on their sites: “Won’t this just drive traffic away from me and someone else’s business?” In fact, high-authority external links create a better user experience and are good for SEO. When you can create a connection between your brand and the page of a well-established and respected business, it benefits you both in the eyes of your prospects and the search engine’s algorithms.
On-page SEO is an important component in your overall SEO strategy. It’s a good thing to have broad SEO goals for your site, but you also want to optimize each page individually to give it the greatest chance to stand out in its niche in the SERPS.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to SEO.