When it comes to your website — whether you're creating content for a new page or writing copy for a specific landing page — on-page SEO best practices are a must.
But what do you need for effective on-page SEO? In the first of our SEO blog series, we'll go into what three main categories on-page SEO fall under.
As the name implies, content elements are everything on your page that allows Google and other search engines to crawl your content.
Things to remember when it comes to writing quality content for search include:
• Utilizing short and long-tail keywords. Don't just focus on writing about "butterfly migration" on your nature page. Think about how YOU look for content: what language do you use to search for answers to your questions? Use that same practice when crafting copy for your page. Work in phrases that people using voice search would use, such as "why do butterflies migrate?" or "what is the migration pattern of the Monarch butterfly?"
• Use relevant and engaging visual content. Let's stick with the nature page example. If your page includes information on butterflies, make sure your imagery is high-quality butterflies with examples of what you're discussing whenever possible.
• Write for your audience. Know who you're writing for when you start building your page. Are the people visiting your site educators? Nature preservationists? Butterfly enthusiasts? Ensure the terminology and language you use matches with the people who will be consuming it.
• Solve your audiences' problems. Your visitors are coming to you for education: learn something, find out how to do something, etc. Ensure that you offer solutions to those problems with your content, even if those solutions are links to information outside your site.
• Create shareable content. The goal of your content strategy should be to create things people want to share with others. Whether that means including social share links on your page or embedding Instagram posts on your site, offer copy & images that encourage engagement.
• Optimize for conversion. Conversion doesn't happen in a vacuum — you need clear CTAs, so your visitors know what action you want them to take. Don't just include it in one spot on your page — sprinkle it throughout your content and a compelling graphic to encourage conversion.
Now that you know about the content elements, next, we're going to cover HTML Elements.
HTML is the skeleton that makes up the backbone of your page. Just as there are specific things you need to build a home — walls, floor, ceiling, insulation, etc. — so too are there HTML elements you need to create an SEO-friendly web experience.
Here are just a few HTML elements you want to be mindful of as you build your page.
• Page Titles. These are some of the most important SEO elements of your site. A few things you should keep in mind include:
Keep it under 70 characters, so it isn't cut off in search.
Don't keyword stuff your title - it just comes across as spammy to users (and search engines).
Make it relevant to the content on the page.
Don't use all caps.
Include your brand in the title
Also known as body tags, this helps break up the text on your page, so it is easier to scan. Make sure you include keywords in your headers, but don't always use the same ones that are part of your page title.
• Meta Descriptions. These are the short paragraphs that show up on search engines underneath the page/website's title. There are a few best practices for crafting a fantastic meta description, including:
Keep it around 160 characters or less if you want all of it to appear via search.
Include your keyword or phrase.
Use complete and compelling sentences.
Avoid using alphanumerical characters if possible.
• Image Alt-Text. Alt-text is SEO for your images, and just as important as proper SEO for your website. Here are some essential things to remember when implementing alt-text.
They need to be descriptive and specific.
It needs to be relevant to the page content.
It should not exceed 125 characters.
Don't keyword stuff - use keywords sparingly.
• Structured Markup. Also known as "structured data," this is where you "mark up" your source code on your website, so it's easier for Google and other search engines to crawl your site for content.
Site Architecture Elements
Site architecture refers to how you structure your website and site pages. Depending on how you set them up, it can help or hinder how search engines crawl your content.
What follows is a list of elements you should set up correctly as you lay out your site.
• Page URLs. When setting up your page URLs, the methodology you use should be simple, easy, and stay consistent across all of your pages. Some tips for setting up your pages include:
Eliminate unnecessary words.
Only use one or two keywords.
Use HTTPS whenever possible to garner a favorable ranking.
• Internal Linking. This process is where to link to other pages on your site, which is not only excellent for SEO but is also an ideal strategy for keeping users on your site by showing them helpful information.
• Mobile Responsiveness. More and more users are on their mobile devices when searching the website, so you have no excuse not to have a mobile-friendly website. Google and other search engines favor websites that are mobile-optimized over ones that are not.
• Site Speed. Your visitors must have a great user-experience when they visit your site, and a big part of this is load time and site speed. If it takes forever to load your site, it's going to reduce your ROI significantly.
Now that you have an introduction of what on-page SEO is and how to set it up, we encourage you to download a copy of our Web Accessibility Checklist to audit your content.
Stay tuned for our next post in this series, covering how to crawl your site and improve its performance.
Interested in seeing how your website is currently performing? Sign up for a FREE SEO Health Check to learn how we can help you improve your on-page SEO.