Learn what On-Page SEO can do for your website and important mistakes to avoid so you can rank better on Google
Keeping up with constant Google algorithm updates can be quite a challenge if you are trying to keep your SEO strategy on point. Fortunately, there is one strategy you can always rely on if you don’t want to risk not showing up on important searches: on-site keyword optimization. The BizLeads team shares some key secrets and things to do to stay ahead of the curve and generate results on your website using targeted keywords – as well as mistakes to avoid.
You will want to have your list of hot keywords ready before you can implement the suggestions we will make in this article. If you don’t, go ahead and do your keyword research to find out what your prospects are looking for, what questions they are asking, and what search terms they are using. Include long-tail keywords as well and be as specific as possible.
Optimizing your website will bring you results such as better visitors, and higher conversion rates that will lead to more sales. Let’s look at some important things to know to get you started.
What is On-Page SEO and Why Should I Do It?
On-page SEO is a process that includes creating relevant and informative content that aligns with what Google search users are looking for. If a customer wants to know “what is the best way to train my dog?” and your website has an informative article that lists the 5 best ways to train a dog, the Google algorithm will grab your article and show it under its search results because it offers the answer to the user’s question.
By creating value-adding, keyword-driven content, you are telling Google that your website has good quality information that is worth displaying. Besides the content, you will also need to optimize the HTML source code to be search-friendly.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to gaining authority and trust by having other websites linking back to yours and building external links that tell search engines your site is real and can be trusted. An example is to have a news outlet website mention your business and link back to your page, or a blogger posting a positive review of your product and adding a link to your e-commerce page.
Your best bet to attract the right visitors to your website and show search engines who you are and what you do is to improve your on-page SEO. This also helps you rank higher in organic search results and thus generate more organic traffic to your site.
The Top 4 On-Page SEO Tips to Help Your Website Rank Higher
Now that you know a few On-Page SEO basics, let’s dive in the 4 best strategies to stay on top of your SEO game. These are some of our favorite strategies to employ with our clients:
- Do an SEO audit of your website.
This is important if you are just starting with implementing SEO strategies and already have numerous pieces of content published on your website. Performing an SEO audit will give you a clear picture of how SEO-friendly your website is, and what areas you need to work on. You will be able to replicate results you got from your highest-ranking pages and eliminate issues (such as duplicate content) that might harm your search ranking.
You will also check to see if your website is being blocked by search engines, ensure your XML sitemap is working properly, monitor and improve site performance, and check your site’s popularity and trustworthiness.
Here’s a quick SEO audit checklist:
- Export all of your site pages into a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets.
- Sort pages by traffic – from most frequently visited to least frequently visited.
- Classify each page into a keyword category and add that category as a new column on your spreadsheet.
- Now add another column where you can add even more specific keywords that you wish to add to that page. Keep the keyword(s) relevant to the content on that specific page as well as aligned with what your audience is searching for.
Now that you have a clear picture of the areas of your site that are performing well, it is time to help the areas of your page that are not ranking well by adding relevant keywords. There are some “hot” areas on your website where adding those keywords is not only essential but will yield the best results:
Make sure that these areas are optimized on every page – this goes for both old content and future content. It will take some work to go back and fix all your old pages to be optimized the right way – but it will pay off in no time. And as you create new content, remember to optimize it before you post.
This is the HTML element used to describe the topic of a webpage as seen below:
A well-crafted title has a positive impact both on search rankings and on click-through rates. Keep your title short (under 70 characters) to ensure it won’t get cut off on search engine result pages, and include one of your target keywords towards the front of your title – this avoids getting your keyword cut off and tells searchers that your content may be relevant to what they are looking for.
Meta descriptions show up in search results right below the title and URL. This area does not affect search engine rankings as much as it affects click-through rates. This is where you will want to use more target keywords and phrases to make your content appealing and relevant to the viewer to generate more clicks.
Headings & Content
You will want to use your keywords in your headings and content so that visitors can see that the terms they searched for are present and that the content in front of them is what they were looking for. And, yes – you guessed it! Google loves that, too.
The presence of keywords that are naturally incorporated into your headings and content will favor your search engine rankings. Don’t try too hard to stuff keywords all over your text – simply focus on creating content that matters to your audience and add keywords without making the text sound unnatural, as that may backfire on you.
Image Alt Text & Titles
The same rule applies to your images – image alt texts and descriptions are prime real estate that often goes unnoticed and unexplored by most sites.
Both alt text and titles are attributes you can add to an image tag in HTML. Here’s an example of a complete image tag:
style=”font-family: ‘courier new’, courier;”><img class=”alignCenter shadow” src=”image.jpg” alt=”image-description” title=”image tooltip”/>
The alt text of an image tells search engine crawlers what that image is about, and that helps the image to be found in search results. If your image cannot be displayed, it will show up in its place, and will also help those with vision disabilities who are using screen readers.
An image title tag is shown when a user hovers their mouse over the image, and while it may not directly impact your search rankings, it is worth the extra minute to add something accurate and descriptive to that title tag instead of a cryptic file name such as “IM2348.JPG”. Here’s an example of alt text for the image below:
If your business relies more heavily on blogging, optimizing your URL to include important keywords is also an important step. Choose keywords that accurately describe the content of your page – but be careful not to overstuff your URL with keywords, as that is frowned upon by search engine algorithms. Keep it to businessname.com/topic-topic and ensure your URL makes sense to human visitors as well by being readable.
Some people still use outdated SEO black hat practices that are no longer effective and can generate the opposite of what we want and make your page rank lower in search results. No matter your industry, you will want to avoid doing the following:
Do Not Hide Keywords. Hiding keywords behind images or using the same font color and background color, or concealing them to the side using CSS is an old-school technique that can easily be caught by today’s search engines and should be avoided. Do Not Overstuff Keywords. That will not only make your content incredibly annoying to read, it will make your page look spammy. Unnecessary, out-of-context keywords hinder your user experience and can be detected and penalized by search engines. Do Not Force Keywords Where They Don’t Belong. If you are unable to use your keywords in your content, it probably is time to reassess if your content is aligned with your ideal client. Content that aligns with your ideal client should easily allow for keywords to be inserted naturally. SEO is not about incorporating as many keywords as possible, but it is all about producing value-adding content topics relevant to your target audience.
4. Great UX (User Experience) Is Still King
Your page must be mobile-friendly, with a modern design that matches your brand and easy-to-navigate menus. Display your contact information on the top of your page and make it easy for visitors to understand what to do if they want to take the next step and work with you.
There is no point in having a super-duper-SEO-friendly website and working on directing traffic to it if once your visitor lands on your page, it looks clunky, outdated, and hard to navigate. They will likely not take more than 5 seconds and click away.
We hope this short guide has been helpful to walk you through some of our team’s preferred on-page SEO tactics. The truth is – there’s a lot more to it, but if you start with these four things, you will be way ahead of your competitors who have not done anything with their SEO efforts. And of course, the BizLeads team of pro digital marketers is always here to help – if you decide you’d rather have someone else handle it all for you, let’s talk. Click here to schedule your free marketing strategy call to get started!