Whether you’re building a website on your own or hiring someone to do it, learning about on-page search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to ensuring your site’s success in attracting the audience you want. After all, nobody knows your product, business, or brand better than you do and expertise on SEO essentials can deliver the audience.
Who hasn’t fallen down that search engine rabbit hole when you start out with a clear goal and then, instead of hitting on the page you want right away, you start scrolling through the links that pop up until you’re not sure what you searched for originally. You don’t want searchers doing that when they’re trying to find your page.
On-page SEO is built from the ground up for websites. There are many technical, behind-the-scenes SEO building pieces. The SEO experts at IntoClicks have gathered a few simple steps that can help anyone building the content of a website to improve their SEO like a pro.
What is On-Page SEO?
For starters, you need to know what on-page SEO is. On-page SEO refers to everything on a web page on your website. This includes headings, subheads, content, images, reviews, and more. It’s everything used to make a website structure and content its very best.
Notice the subhead above? That’s an example of on-page SEO. That phrase can be captured by a search engine so that someone who wants to learn about on-page SEO will see this blog. On-page SEO is a way to optimize websites so they will rank higher in search engines. What that means to you is that your business is easier to find with the right on-page SEO.
Most of us don’t search past the first page of sites we get when we’re looking for a source. Keep that in mind when producing your content. You don’t want to lose a big chunk of your target audience because you’ve ranked on the third, fifth, or 40th page of a search. With better SEO, you can rank higher in the search results organically (without paid advertising) on various search engines which, again, means your website is seen by more people.
On-Page SEO Requires Relevant Content
Google and other search engines are pretty secretive about exactly what they look for when they rank websites, but one thing is clear: Relevant content is crucial. If you’ve embedded keywords and phrases just to attract a general audience, you could find your website is locked out of the rankings because that’s not what people are looking for. Be sure to use key terms in your headers, subheads, and throughout your content that are relevant to your business and the page you’re working on.
In addition to being relevant, content should be thorough, original, and clear. You’re the expert in your field or industry through your business. Share your knowledge with your target audience on your site by providing a thorough overview of your business, services, and/or products. Make sure that your content is original and you explain why your business is best at what it does. Tell people what sets you apart.
As you craft this content, incorporate key terms and phrases as they relate to your business. The more you utilize the right on-page SEO with keywords, original content that’s relevant, and a number of other practices, the higher ranking your website will have during an internet search.
Creating relevant content is more than just about writing. It’s about writing the right stuff and putting it in the right place through content formatting. Content formatting falls into five categories: blog posts, product, category, landing pages, or videos.
Blogs can cover many areas. Blogs can be informative, such as this one on “how-to” do something; listicles such as “20 Tips to a Better You”; news articles; opinion pieces, or reviews. Blogs can also be written to entertain or tell a story relative to your services or product.
Be aware of the angle your content takes and ensure it’s geared toward your audience. Someone looking for an Italian restaurant in Pacoima, Wash., doesn’t need to see one set in New Jersey. Or if you sell products so people can brew beer at home, you want to make sure your website doesn’t drown in bar websites.
To avoid these issues, think where, when, how, who, what, and when it comes to identifying key terms and phrases. For example, key terms for targeting the where would revolve around where your business is located, even if there are several locations. An example of when might apply with an event your business is hosting such as a holiday like a Memorial Day sale. When it comes to your target audience, it may be mothers if you sell infant products or home brewers if you sell home brewing kits.
Relevant Content Beyond Text
Original content can also include eye-catching product photography, attention-grabbing product descriptions, and customer reviews.
These tips will help you create content users will love to read:
- Use bullet lists for those who like to skim content (see what we did there?)
- Use descriptive subheads
- Use images to break up the content
- Write content using simple words everyone can understand and avoid technical jargon or industry speak
- Use a large font so readers don’t have to strain their eyes including using easy-to-read fonts (avoid all caps – they’re hard to read in long blocks)
- Keep it short – “edible text” as some call it
- Write your content so it’s conversational
Keep in mind that you want content that targets user search queries, is fresh, and conveys expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Searching for the Right Keywords
There are a slew of free, online resources to help you find the right keywords for your website including Moz’s Keywords and Keywords Research and Google’s own keyword planner. You can also plug in keywords into a search engine to see where you and your competitors rank. If the keyword someone else uses isn’t relevant to your page, though, don’t use it. Relevance, remember?
Pay attention not only to the list of websites that pop up on a search, but the ancillary searches such as “People also ask” boxes. You can cull some crucial keywords and phrases from those features.
Images Boost SEO
Not only are images great to break up the copy and catch the user’s eye, but they can help boost your ranking by capturing Google’s image search. Captions should be descriptive and fit the image, but don’t forget about the filenames and descriptive text. You’ll appear in more searches if your photo’s filename is happy-puppy-with-boy.jpg than IMG_090909.jpg. The description should also say something about the image (i.e. couple-kissing-by-eiffel-tower.jpg).
You can also use internal and external links. If you’ve got subject matter on one page that you want to refer to on another, link it. If you find an online site that you’ve quoted or want your users to see, link it. People used to think using exterior link hurt SEO, but that’s been debunked. Adding internal links can boost your SEO analytics and keep people on your website longer.
Best Practices for On-Page SEO
Once you’ve created content that includes on-page SEO, there are other technical tools such at title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions that will contribute more to your on-page SEO. In brief, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Create a simple URL address
- Post well-targeted content to capture specific searches
- Optimize keywords, using relevant keywords in relevant places
- Optimize images with descriptive names and descriptions
- Create readable content that your audience will understand
Here are some things you want to avoid:
- Never post spam (do we need to say more?)
- Avoid creating manipulative, misleading links (posting clickbait won’t boost your brand)
- Don’t post unoriginal or plagiarized content
- Forget overstuffing text with keywords (don’t make your content read like a list unless it’s a listicle)
- Never use hidden text or links
- Skip creating long, complex URL addresses
- Avoid including false, misleading, or offensive content
This blog post has been updated to include a part 2 for additional tips. For more information on how to create on-page SEO like a pro or for assistance with website design, hosting, or other online services, contact IntoClicks now at (520) 333-3374. T