SEO Best Practices

SEO Best Practices

So you want your website to rank on Google? As you may or may not know, there are some on-page SEO best practices that you need to incorporate if you want to see big increases in organic traffic. On-page SEO is the single most crucial piece you will want to take advantage of in order to have your site rank appropriately on Google.

Now you may be asking yourself: I’ve heard of on-page SEO, but I don’t exactly know what that means. Let’s take a look.

Layout matters

No matter what your website is about or what the purpose of it is (i.e. inform, sell a product, offer a service), you will have some sort of action you want people to take. The way your website is laid out is just as important as what you’re trying to say. Every website should have:

  • A navigation bar with your important pages listed in a clean and concise manner
  • Contact information included in the upper right corner
  • Clearly visible and visually appealing contact forms or call to actions.
  • Large buttons that draw the eye to get you conversions.

On-page content and keyword usage

Everyone has heard about keywords. Few people know how to utilize keywords appropriately.

  • Research keywords according to your website content / topic in order to attract relevant traffic.
  • Utilize on-page content that is natural and relevant to the page you are on.
  • Use at least 250 words per page.
  • Include keywords intermittently, while maintaining a natural voice.
  • Update content periodically to remain fresh and ever-relevant.

Appropriate landing pages

An individual coming to your site wants to land on a page that is relevant to their search query. If you sell a variety of clothing types, and a customer searches for “shoes,” you better make sure that the page they land on is dedicated to shoes. The easiest way to increase bounce rate is to have a user land on a page irrelevant to their search. For this reason, it’s key to strategically design and implement landing pages for each component of your website. Each of these landing pages should have content specific to the particular product or service the page offers. Remember: calls to action and contact info are essential!

Blog

Google loves rich, unique content. Google loves new content. The easiest and best way to include new content on your website is through a blog. If you have a blog on your site, and are posting to it at least twice a month, Google will love you. Google treats each blog entry as new content. Blogging doesn’t need to be something where you’re constantly scratching your head for ideas. You can blog about anything. New products, reviews, advice pieces are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blog content. Make sure your blog is directly linked to your site and is accessible from the navigation bar.

Internal link structure

A website can have thousands of pages. Whether you have a large website like that, or something with just a handful of pages, having a clean internal link structure is key. An internal link structure means your pages link cleanly and efficiently to each other. Not only is this easy for users while navigating your site, it’s something Google looks for specifically, as are most of the items on this list.

Meta tags and descriptions

Each page needs a solid meta title and meta description following Google’s recommended best practices. A meta title is essentially the heading of this page to Google, and the meta description is a summary of what the page is all about. The meta title and description should be specific to the page they reference and should utilize keywords. A meta title has a maximum of 65 characters, while a meta description has a maximum of 160 characters. Tell people about who you are and give them a call to action in a succinct manner.

ALT tags

Every good website uses images. Imagery can tell a story that words often can’t, and can engage and compel users to make decisions. However, images cannot be deciphered by Google. Google knows an image is there, but doesn’t know what it’s about. That’s where ALT tags come in. ALT tags are not visible to users, but give a 160 character description to Google, which will allow Google to index the photo so it shows up in image search results.

Social media links

Google+, Facebook and Twitter are more important to your online presence than ever. While we won’t get into what to post on each of these media here, it is important that your site links to your social profiles. Social media is a clear indicator to Google that you are engaging your audience. And if you are looking to engage your audience, adding links to your home page is critical. Social links are best placed on the top of the page, but can commonly be found in the footer, as well.

Now that you have an idea of what Google is looking for, it’s time to get moving. While each of these items will help you get where you want to go, there’s still a lot that plays into Google’s algorithm. Off-page SEO and social media engagement are also important. On-page, however, is the foundation of everything you want to accomplish in SEO. The time has come to pour the concrete of that foundation.

About Jon Searle
Jonathan Searle is the SEO / SEM (PPC) Practice lead at the Pedowitz Group. He has been heavily involved in the field of Search Marketing for 13 years from Organic and Local SEO to advanced analytics and site analysis. Jonathan has helped several companies either start or turn around everything from rankings and getting out of Google’s sandbox to consulting and setting up Internal Search Agencies for many companies.

Related Resources

  • Posted by Jon Searle
  • On 08/16/2016
  • 3 Comments
  • 0 likes
Tags: Google, search engine optimization, google search, SEO best practices, onpage SEO

3 Comments

munchhausen
Obviously, there are more best practices than these to consider when you’re structuring an SEO campaign for the future, but these blanket concepts will help you understand your main priorities.
David
Great tips! I think for most of us small business owners this is so complicated that it is much easier (and cost effective) to just hire a digital marketing agency like Yellow Pages Digital to do your SEO and PPC.
Conor
Great article highlighting what I have believed to be the 8 most important SEO factors to use. I have been an SEO for 10 years and can never stress enough to clients the importance of 'Layout or UX/UI' for conversion rate optimisation and ensuring that your user has the easiest/best possible experience in finding what they want from your site. Covering these 8 factors puts you in great stead to go forward with an outreach/off-page campaign.

Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *