On-page SEO is still one of the fastest, easiest and most directly controllable ways to get into the search results for your target words and phrases.
If you’re in a competitive search niche, publishing more pages helps to increase your total search presence, while reinforcing through careful repetition the words and phrases you most want the search engines to associate with your website.
In less competitive topic areas, even a single well written page with the right words in the right places can shoot you to the top of the search results – so how do you let the search engines know which words are relevant to your business?
Google’s own guidelines for good SEO suggest thinking about your audience and the types of search terms they might use, and then including those phrases on your pages in a variety of places.
Meta title and description tags
These aren’t really part of the on-page text, but if your website or blog template gives you the option to specify the title and description tags for a page, make good use of it.
The title tag will normally appear as the title of your search result, so keep it to around 55 characters at the most so the full thing displays on Google.
Description tags are still an excellent starting point if you want to improve your SEO, as Google still sometimes use them directly as the summary of your page in the search results.
Most guidance pre-2018 will suggest a limit of around 160-165 characters for description tags, but as of March 2018, Google started using anywhere up to between 230 and 320 characters in its search results – giving you more to play with when writing well optimised meta description tags for SEO value.
You can also use keywords meta tags, but those are hardly used anymore – but it still doesn’t hurt to include them if you have the option.
It’s good to divide your page content up using headings and subheaders – and to make sure these are given the right level of attention by the search engines, ensure you use <h1> and <h2> HTML tags and so on.
You should make sure you only use heading tags for actual headings though – don’t format entire paragraphs this way, as when you emphasise too much text, it effectively removes the emphasis from it all.
Don’t use an image button for navigation where you could use text instead – the search engines much prefer plain text.
If you must use images for stylistic reasons, consider adding an ‘alt’ and ‘title’ attribute to them. This is good practice wherever you use images on your page, as it helps the search engines to know what they are looking at, and an accurate description can help visually impaired visitors to your site to use screen reader software too.
Hyperlinks count double, so make sure you use them wisely! They not only help to flag up a keyword or phrase on your page, they also tell the search engines that those words are relevant to the target page of the link too.
Again, use them in moderation – and don’t format them so that they look the same as the rest of your text – but sensible linking where relevant can be good for SEO across multiple pages.
Other page elements
Other on-page formatting all helps too, either as a way of including extra mentions of your key phrases, or to help break up solid paragraphs of text to make them more digestible for the search engines and human visitors alike.
You might want to consider using:
- Bullet point lists
- Plain text image captions
- Bold, italic and underlined text
Don’t overfill your page with SEO phrases – they should account for only a few percent of your total word count – and always write for a human audience.
But by including sensible, relevant phrases in all of the places mentioned above, and prioritising the top and left-hand sides of your page, you can tell Google what you are writing about – and directly influence your rank in the search results for words and phrases you choose yourself.
Want to find out more? Contact The Contact Marketing Team to find out how we can create engaging content that your customers will fall in love with…