Is your business’s website struggling to rank higher on Google? It’s hardly surprising. With so many sites out there and new ones being created every day, the competition for Google search dominance is fierce.
Regardless of your sector, optimizing your site for SEO is essential to gaining organic traffic and growing your online presence. Why is this important? Organic search results receive the lion’s share of clicks, much more than pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, which only account for 2.8 per cent of online traffic!
Setting yourself up for this kind of success isn’t an easy task, but you can make things a whole lot easier for yourself if you know what to focus on. It all starts with optimizing your on-page SEO. From layout considerations to producing quality content, there are several different facets you’ll need to consider.
We’ve compiled 7 essentials tips that are guaranteed to improve the visibility of your website and help your business rank higher in search engine result pages (SERP).
Difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO
Before we dive in any further, it’s important to differentiate between on-page and off-page SEO. Simply put, on-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web page content for search engines and users (i.e., content, internal links).
Conversely, off-page SEO is optimizing everything that happens away from your website (i.e., backlinks). You shouldn’t neglect either, as both are important, but you have more control over what happens on your site. Make sure the information you post there is relevant and contains the same keywords as people’s search queries.
1. Research keywords and use them wisely
To have an effective website that attracts the right kinds of visitors and potential leads, you need relevant content. We’ve listed the keywords for this article at the bottom and populated them throughout (see if you can find them) to illustrate how this is done.
To find the right ones, we needed to do some homework. You must pinpoint the keywords people are searching for and see if your site addresses them. Ask yourself the following questions during this process:
- What is your website about?
- What kinds of words and phrases are associated with the topic you talk about on your site?
- Will these keywords target the audience you want to attract?
Once you have your keyword phrases, the fun doesn’t stop. You’ll need to strategically sprinkle them throughout your content – in your headings, subheadings, URLs and wherever else you feel is appropriate. A good rule of thumb is at least 4 times. Including a keyword at least once in meta descriptions is also a good idea, as studies have shown that it boosts your organic click-through rate (CTR).
But avoid getting too keyword happy. In fact, you’ll be penalized by Google, pushing your site down the site rankings. Don’t bury your keywords either – the first instance should be within the first 100-150 words of your article.
2. Don’t overlook image optimization
When including images on their sites, many businesses add them haphazardly. This is a mistake. Setting them up correctly affects not only the user experience, but how search engines view your site.
Overly large images bog down the performance of your website, slowing……………. down…………………. the speed…………………………………………………………. of your………………………………………………………………….. pages. This will frustrate users to no end and deter them from returning. Avoid this fate by compressing your images.
Search engines also appreciate image optimization, as they do not view them the same way as users. This is where alt tags come in. These descriptors help search engines identify the purpose of your image(s). When using these, make sure you include keyword phrases and separate your words with dashes instead of underscores while avoiding any non-alpha characters (i.e., &, %, ^).
3. Write SEO-driven content
Beyond structuring your content correctly, what you write matters. Google search loves website content that is relevant, unique and authoritative. Follow these guidelines:
- Your content should be relevant to what people are searching for. Go back periodically and update it to avoid getting buried by newer pieces in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
- Make sure it’s unique. Delivering original content means not only providing new tips and information that people can’t find elsewhere but utilizing different formats, including case studies, listicles or infographics.
- Whenever possible, publish your content under an authority figure. This gives it instant credibility. Imagine, would you take advice on hitting a baseball from a professional player or your next-door neighbour who happens to play recreationally on the weekend? Chances are you’d go with the former. The professional has done this before, at a high level, and as such, is much more credible (that’s why we published this article under Peter Vamos’ name, our managing partner, even though it was actually written by our Content Marketing Manager, Andrew 😉).
4. Optimize the website structure for easy reading
People have short attention spans and levels of patience, even less so when they’re browsing on the internet. That’s why it’s crucial that your website is intuitively structured, so that people can find what they’re looking for and easily digest your content.
How do you do this?
When laying out your website, make sure to use plenty of visuals. More people search by images than you might believe – they could easily stumble upon one of your blog posts before venturing through the rest of your site.
Follow the three clicks rule. All your information should be reachable within a few clicks. If it’s a maze, visitors will give up and leave, especially if they’re new to your site. It’s also important for SEO, as search engines comb through your site for links and index the pages.
In terms of your content, don’t be afraid to use white space. Readers generally scan through articles at first to see if it addresses their concerns – make this as easy as possible.
Use bolding and bullet points when appropriate to set words apart and break up large blocks of text. Keep your paragraph length to a minimum; ideally, they should be longer than three sentences. Use this article as an example.
5. Leverage the power of voice search
With so many smartphones and voice-enabled devices out there (i.e., Alexa), voice search is on the rise. If you want to take advantage of this, try creating content that leverages this demand – FAQ pages are ideal for this, as Google loves to pull voice search results from these.
6. Incorporate internal and external links
We touched on this before, but your content should include plenty of links – internal and external links. External links help Google understand your page’s topic as well as giving your site authority, pushing it up the search rankings. Just make sure you’re linking to related, high-quality content as we’ve done throughout this post.
For the purposes of this article, internal linking impacts your on-page SEO. Linking from one page to another simplifies user navigation and how much work search engines must do to index your pages. Just make sure to use keyword-rich anchor text.
7. Create SEO-friendly URLs
Make sure your URLs are optimized too. Keep them short and descriptive, with your keywords whenever possible.
Whether it’s through Google search or another provider, your business website is the first thing that consumers see on SERPs. If you want to rank higher in search engines, you need to make a strong first impression. Make it a good one!
Truth be told, even with this optimization, you won’t see results overnight. The SEO landscape is continually evolving. But it’s a good first step. You’ll want to read our insight into perfecting your overall SEO strategy, as well as the intricacies of business blogging (notice that these are internal links).
Need more help? Contact the Mike Agency today and our team of experienced professional will take care of all your SEO and digital marketing needs!
Keywords: SEO, on-page SEO, SEO optimization, Google Search