According to online publication, The Search Engine Journal, “The question of the importance of SEO rears its head at least once a year as folks scramble to understand what the channel means to their business and decide what they should invest in the coming year.” And their answer is to that question is unequivocally “more than last year.”
Natural search traffic is a key source of visitors to most websites. Attracting targeted visitors to your website will increase your visitor to customer conversion rate, and add significant value to your web operations. However, optimizing your pages to maximize this resource can be a significant undertaking, and many companies simply don’t have the capability to track whether their carefully crafted SEO strategy is actually being deployed across their websites. Before I share some Tips and Tricks to improve your SEO, let’s cover off quickly on WHY on-page SEO still matters and how to give searchers what they want. On-page search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher in search engines and earn more relevant traffic.
What exactly are we talking about when we say “on-page” versus “off-page” SEO?
On-page SEO refers to both content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized. Off-page SEO refers to links and other external indicators weighted by search engines. Although off-page factors are more heavily weighted by the search engines, on-page properties are still absolutely critical. Besides the standard on-page SEO signals you’re probably already familiar with, Google also factors in how long visitors stay engaged with your site. So, part of your work is to give users the content they want, not just content that drives traffic. If you use shortcuts to generate high traffic volumes, but don’t hold users’ attention because of a lack of relevancy, it can damage your rankings. To create content that meets visitor needs, conduct research to determine the personas that make up your target audience, and make sure that you’re providing them with content that’s valuable and useful. It should help address their challenges or add another perspective.
Here are 5 tips to consider for improve the SEO performance on your site:
Improve Page Loading Times
Google has stated that page download speed is a ranking factor, and recommends page loads of no more than one second. Today, both B2C and B2B audiences are increasingly relying on mobile devices to access website and content. So if your site and pages aren’t designed to accommodate a wide range of display sizes, you’ll not only lose visitors, but you’ll damage your search rankings.
Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead (Source: McKinsey & Company)
Speed up the page loading time of your site by optimizing your images. Ensure that you optimize every image so that its file size is as small as possible without unduly sacrificing image quality. Large images will slow page download time, which can be particularly frustrating for users who may abandon your site and go elsewhere, affecting the time spent on that page, another ranking factor that tells Google how relevant your page is to visitors.
Using (BUT NOT ABUSING) Keywords
At one time, keywords and keyword phrases were the most important factor in SEO. Today, search algorithms are written to penalize “keyword stuffing,” among other black hat SEO practices. Keywords in text still matter, because how else would Google know what your business does? But it’s not their frequency that search engines are interested in anymore. There’s no longer a relationship between your search ranking and the total number of times you’ve used a keyword.
Google is looking for more than keywords: it’s now analyzing all the content on your site to draw its own conclusions about the value your business offers. It’s looking for meaning, not just language.
- Think in terms of phrases, not single words. Phrases let you be more specific and improve search relevancy.
- Use keywords and phrases that are familiar and common to your target audience. You want to rank for terms that people actually use to search for your product.
- Identify the most popular search phrases by using keyword research tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Google Trends, and Neil Patel’s UberSuggest
- Use phrases that directly reflect a page’s content and purpose
- Use them in meta information and page headers.
Best Practice for Tags
Scattering keywords throughout the page will help establish your content has relevancy. So place them (judiciously) in the following places:
- Title Tags
- Meta Description Tags
- H1 – H2 Headers
- Anchor Text Links
How to Use Links
There are three types of on-page links that help with on-page SEO:
- Navigational links can include menu links, sidebar links or breadcrumb links.
- Footer links are used across the entire site as a sitemap.
- Editorial or contextual links are in the body of a page and are embedded in relevant content or copy.
External links should be used sensibly because you’ll risk losing your visitor’s engagement with your page, and you pass along valuable link juice. But linking to relevant external content can also reinforce the authority and value Google sees in your content.
- Don’t use text such as “click here” or “link” for a link on your site.
- Identify and fix broken links.
- Use a reasonable number of internal links.
- Have external links open as new tabs or windows.
Alternative text (alt tags) appears on pages when the image is waiting to load, or fails to load. Since search engine spiders can’t see your images, they look for alt tags to help them determine more about your page, including what your image represents. Alt text can
also be read by screen readers, which helps people with disabilities that visit your site. Having images on your page is highly advisable, because they’ll aid readability and a page’s overall “stickiness” with users. When tagged properly, they can also rank in Google Image searches, driving more users to your website
Best practices for using images:
- Avoid large images that can slow page download time.
- Provide alt text with all images - Alt text should contain more than one word and be no longer than 100 characters.
- Use equivalent text that expresses the meaning of the image, rather than a description of the image.
- For purely decorative images, always apply empty text alt tags. <alt="" >. This allows screen readers to skip right over them.
- The image title must not be an exact duplicate of an image’s alt text.
Crownpeak’s Digital Quality Management (DQM) solution incorporates SEO management tools into its offering, allowing digital marketers to centrally monitor, flag and correct issues and opportunities quickly, before or after pages are published. DQM platforms can verify optimal on-page SEO by making sure your content is reviewed for SEO compliance both before publication, so adjustments can be made by the content development team, and after publication.
If you have your own internal SEO standards, you can even add custom rules to address them. This enables you to ensure broader awareness and compliance with your corporate SEO priorities. By crawling pages on a daily basis, Crownpeak DQM provides reporting on errors, broken links, spelling mistakes, inconsistencies and more, in an easy-to-digest format that can be automatically emailed to team members as often as you choose. Identification of specific errors on a page-by-page basis enables changes to be made across multiple websites in a fraction of the time a manual quality check would require. So your SEO game is always on point, no matter how busy you or your content authors get.
Learn how Crownpeak customer, Toyota, is ensuring Digital Quality across multiple markets to protect the DNA of their brand.
Sr. Director - Customer Success
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