Many business owners are running their own websites without having an even basic understanding of what SEO is and how to implement it.
This is a significant problem primarily because the key way for websites to get traffic directed to them is through SEO. If you’re anything like most people, you’re in need of a good refresher and also some vital tips on how to optimize your SEO experience.
What is SEO?
SEO simply stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is where you construct your web pages and implement certain techniques to help you rank as high as possible on search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher your pages can rank on Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc. results pages, the more traffic your site is likely to get.
Onsite and offsite SEO, otherwise known as onpage and offpage SEO, are the two main components of the search engine optimization (SEO) process. For maximum exposure to the search engine results and for higher rankings, you need to understand the difference between the two and how to utilize them better.
Onsite SEO is the process of making your website search engine friendly. In simple words this means adjusting certain elements on your website so that search engines are able to understand the content and structure of your website.
The more information and data they can get from your site, the greater your chances of ranking higher in their index.
Vital Onsite SEO Elements
Before even tackling offsite SEO, you should be focusing on onsite SEO hardcore.
Onsite SEO isn’t difficult to do correctly. However, there are a few mistakes to avoid in order to make sure that everything is setup in the way it should be.
These are what we consider the most important on-page SEO elements:
Page Titles and Descriptions
This is what the search engines pick up first when crawling a page.
If your titles and descriptions are not optimized in the way search engine crawlers want, you’re making their task more difficult and that doesn’t work in your favor at all.
So how do you optimize your titles and descriptions?
The rules are simple, keep the title close to 60 characters and the description to no more than 150 characters. Avoid keyword cramming (adding keywords in the titles or descriptions that don’t make sense). Instead, try to give search engines and users a good idea on what the page is about.
Come up with titles and descriptions that are catchy and encourage users to click, but at the same time make sure that they are related to what people are searching (and that is relevant to the content of the page).
Here are a few great tips to help you optimize your titles:
- Think of search queries users may use to find your page
- Pass those queries through Google or Semrush to find out the search volume, keyword difficulty and what others are using as titles for those queries.
- Identify which keywords (preferably long tail keywords) are appropriate for your page
- Include those keywords in your titles while at the same time giving the title a friendly, inviting and interesting tone
Search Phrase: ‘benefits of spinach’
Keyword (after research): ‘spinach health benefits’
Title: ‘13 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Spinach Daily’
Description: ‘Did you know that eating spinach on a daily basis can give you thirteen amazing health benefits? You won’t believe what number 6 is! Read now to find out.’
A well optimized page should have only one H1 tag and several H2 and H3 tags. The H1 tag is usually the same as the page title (although it doesn’t have to be exactly the same).
The best way to find out if your page follows this rule is to right click anywhere on your page and select VIEW SOURCE from the pop up menu. Then click CTRL-F to open the ‘Find’ box and search for H1. If you see more than two instances of <h1> and </h1> ask your developer to fix it so that the page has only one H1 tag.
ALT Text for Images
If you use images within your text (and for most businesses, this is a fabulous idea), you need to make sure that the ALT text has a meaningful value that will give a good indication to search engines about the content of the image and how this is related to your page.
Every content creator should be a huge fan of internal links, whether using them sporadically or in copious amounts, because:
- They enhance user experience
- They help search engines discover more pages from your website
- They help you create content that is strongly inter-related
- They reduce a website’s bounce rate
- They help you guide readers to the most important pages of your website.
When you look over your onsite SEO, make sure that your pages have internal links that are useful for the users to see and click.
None of these techniques are useful if search engines cannot access your website. How do you make sure that you are not accidentally blocking crawlers from accessing your pages?
The best way to find out if you have an issue with accessibility is to register your website with Google search console and run the ‘Fetch and Render’ option from ‘Fetch as Google’ under ‘Crawl’.
By doing this test, Google will tell you if there is something that prevents them from indexing your website properly. In addition you can also use the ‘robots.txt’ tester under ‘Crawl’ to make sure that everything is ok.
Fabulous, fact-saturated, interesting and unique content is the most crucial part of the whole SEO process. If you don’t have content with these elements, there is no point in dealing with onsite or offsite SEO. Content always comes first and then everything else.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on the most vital things to know about Onsite SEO’s partner-in-crime, Offsite SEO, and how to use it to fully optimize your website’s online traffic.
Call us today to consult with us on improving your companies SEO as well as learning more about the importance of SEO.