Let’s get one thing clear –
You could have the best looking, most flash, well-designed site – but if you don’t have the basic on-page search engine optimisation nailed – nobody will even be able to find it with a Google search.
Converting your customers online is essential. But having users find your site in the first place is even more critical.
We’re here to help take you through the fundamentals of the basics of on-page SEO – if you can nail these every time you push publish, you’ll be in a much better spot for increasing your potential search traffic.
What is ‘on-page’ search engine optimisation?
Ok, so let’s break this down.
On-page search engine optimisation is how we can increase the discoverability of your website by focusing on your website content (as well as some of the data that sits behind that content).
Here’s the checklist we’ll take you through:
1. You Page Content
2. Page Titles
3. Your page layout
4. Your chosen URL
5. The images you’ve added to the page
6. Your META data
7. The links to the page, both internal and external links.
Following this checklist will give you a good start in allowing Google to crawl your page and understand the content you’re sharing.
Google then uses this data and matches your content with the relevance of the searcher’s intent.
Making it easier for Google (and your readers) to understand your content, the better chance you have of achieving top search rankings, which leads to increased traffic, and conversions.
So let’s run through this fundamental SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) checklist to ensure your website is achieving the best on-page search engine optimisation it can.
How the content of your page affects your website SEO
Content is a biggie.
If you don’t have high-quality content, you’re not going to attract new, qualified users (or Google Search Bots) to your website.
We say this in many of the guides that I’ve written and videos that I’ve shared – and it sounds cheesy, but it’s true – content is king.
You need to ensure your content is relevant to your audience. It uses the searcher’s keywords (just don’t overdo it and ALWAYS write for humans first), it answers the searcher’s initial intent, and has enough depth to provide the reader with actual value.
Gone are the days when you could use ‘Black Hat’ (aka, dodgy) SEO techniques to get people to view a one-paragraph, poorly researched and poorly presented article or user guide on your website.
Let’s break this down even further…
When you’re reviewing the content and pages on your website, make sure you focus the content on specific target keywords.
The keywords you believe that searchers are using to find information about your product or service (or the keywords you’ve researched).
The more relevant you can make your article, the more likely you’ll get users to read your article, answer the searcher’s intent and provide actual value to the reader.
Again, the top tip here is not to overdo it.
You simply can’t stuff your content with keywords, hoping to rank. Always write for humans. Never write for Robots – that simply won’t work with SEO in 2022.
Before you hit publish, make sure you ask yourself:
Does this page satisfy and answer the searcher’s intent?
What answers does the searcher expect to find?
Am I presenting these answers clearly?
Finally, think about the length of the content on your page. Is it thorough enough?
There’s no hard rule on content length. However, we recommend aiming for around 2000 words. Minimum.
How to optimise Page Titles for better search engine optimisation
We’re starting to get a little bit more technical.
We need to ensure that Google clearly understands and can read the page title and that it’s optimised o encourage a click from a searcher.
When I’m auditing a site, the title tags are the typical first mistake I see the majority of businesses doing wrong.
You’d be surprised at how many websites we review where the title tag on a business’s homepage of the website is simple titled ‘Home’.
Your title tag is your opportunity to sell your business on a Google search.
Why should a Google searcher choose your website over the ten other websites (plus advertising) presented after performing a Google search?
What makes your page and content more enticing to the searcher?
Put this as your title tag.
Include your top keyword (again, don’t overdo it), add some branding and a call to action.
Plus, make sure that you keep it under 70 characters so that it doesn’t get cut off in a search result.
How to optimise Page Titles for better search engine optimisation
Your pages ‘meta descriptions’ are the short description of your page’s content and details of what users should expect to see on that page.
Make it complement your title tag, and make it enticing to the searcher (but again, don’t stuff it with too many keywords).
Keep your meta descriptions to about 150 characters (same reasons as above).
How about your meta keywords? Ignore them.
Google has acknowledged that they don’t use these tags, so don’t waste your time.
Does Page Layout affect your website’s SEO?
Your page’s payout and hierarchy are driven by your pages ‘Heading Tags’.
We call these your H1 (through to H6) tags. Essentially your H1 should be the main title, and then as you drop down the page with your subheading, the tag should also drop with every new heading (H2, H3, H4, and so on).
Google uses your heading tags to determine and understand what content you have on your website. It allows Google to understand your main topic (so make sure you include some keywords in your headings).
How a URL affects your website’s SEO
Is your chosen URL (aka web address) a ranking factor?
Short answer, no. But a well structured and tidy URL gives a business better credibility.
According to Google’s Jon Mueller:
“I believe that is a very small ranking factor. So it is not something I’d really try to force. And it is not something I’d say is even worth your effort to restructure your site just so you can get keywords in your URL.”
Think about it like this. A friendly, tidy URL simply creates a better, more professional user experience for your site’s visitors.
Remember the rule of thumb that if your site visitors have a good experience, so will Google.
When putting your URLs together, just remember to keep them concise. Use actual words and remove any unnecessary code or jargon.
And PLEASE don’t include a space in a URL. They’ll simply look ugly when you publish by adding numerous ‘%’ signs.
How about your website’s images? How are they going to affect your SEO?
The main image we encounter across many websites is simply their size.
Reducing the file size can help increase the speed of your website (by decreasing the load times). Increasing the speed of your website then ensures that your site loads faster and mobile devices (also, think mobile first!).
Reduce the file size of your images by using an online service like tinypng.com.
When uploading your images, think about the image file names (add in a relevant keyword) and add an ‘alt image’ tag and caption.
Building your Link Profile
Link Building is a craft and deserves an entire article (if not multiple articles) to cover.
But here’s a quick run-through:
‘Internal linking’ (linking words and portions of your article to other pages on your website) allows you to provide further information to your wites visitors and encourages them to stay on your website for longer. It enables you to build more authority in your niche and is a great way to increase the time someone remains on your website.
Provide external links if relevant (linking to other websites and resources). Google wants to see a ‘natural’ link profile that includes internal linking to make your site easier to navigate and external links that help provide more answers to a user.
Rule: Focus on mobile-first and make your site FAST!
I’ll repeat. When creating content for your website, always be designing, writing and sharing content with a mobile phone as your focus is on how people will interact with your page.
- How fast is your website loading on a mobile device?
- Are the fonts easy to read?
- Is the font size big enough?
- Are the buttons big enough for thumbs to click?
Test your site now – try a Google PageSpeed Insights test or run a Google Lighthouse report – they’re both free and will quickly tell you how you’re doing.
Above all else – have relevant content, focus on your keywords and remember before you push publish, go through this list and just remind yourself, If Google can’t see it – is there any point?