10 basic on-site SEO tips to get you started
16th January 2017
16th January 2017
For start-up companies it’s important to keep costs down, which is why you may not want to hire a company to look after your SEO in the first instance. Many friends and family looking to start up new businesses have asked for basic on-site SEO tips. Well, here are Moot’s DIY top 10 tips for on-site SEO…
1) Choose the right keywords
You should be conscious of placing appropriate keywords throughout every aspect of your site: your titles, content, URLs, and image names. Think about your keywords as search terms – how would someone looking for information on this topic search for it?
For start up companies, the best method to start your website ranking a little quicker would be to choose a local keyword. For example, choose ‘Web designer croydon’ instead of ‘web designer’. Or you could choose a longer-tailed national keyword such as ‘local seo consultants’ as opposed to ‘seo consultants’. As there is less competition on these local or longer-tailed keywords you will have a much better chance of ranking quickly.
You MUST be careful and put some consideration into this though. Putting ridiculous amounts of keywords on your website will get you labelled as a spammer, and search engine spiders are programmed to ignore sites guilty of ‘keyword-stuffing’. Be strategic in your keyword use.
2) Page titles and meta descriptions
A page title is one of the most important on-page ranking factors and should be treated with care. Your page title tag shows up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). It should include one or some of the keywords you have chosen for it’s page and it should make sense. Don’t list your keywords in one title as google won’t like this and you will be penalised for it. A page title should be no longer than 55 characters long.
The purpose of a meta description tag is to provide a brief and concise summary of your website’s content. Search Engines often display meta description tags in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). These descriptions provide an introduction to your web site that will likely determine whether a person decides to visit your page or bypass it. This is what people see on search engines like Google when they find your website. So it’s important you capture the attention of the audience. Again, don’t stuff this with keywords but do include them. A meta description should be no longer than 160 characters.
3) Use ALT tags
ALT tags are a way to ‘describe’ an image to those who can not see the image. The most important function of an ALT tag is to explain to a blind user what an image is displaying. Search engine crawlers also use ALT tags to decipher what an image is or what it is representing.
If you have images on your web pages that are not described by an ALT tag your HTML is not valid and you are not following this (and other) Google webmaster guidelines.
4) Create a sitemap
Add a site map to your website. This is a page listing and linking to all the other major pages on your site, which makes it easier for search engine spiders to search your site. I you don’t want to do this manually you can use an online tool to do it for you such as XML Sitemaps
5) Use search engine friendly urls
URLs describe a site or page to visitors and search engines. Keeping them relevant, compelling, and accurate is the key to ranking well. For example, if your keyword for a page is ‘SEO Croydon’ the page url should be /seo-croydon or if it’s ‘Web Design Croydon’ your page url should be /web-design-croydon.
The URL of a web page should ideally be as descriptive and brief as possible. If, for example, a site’s structure has several levels of files and navigation, the URL should reflect this with folders and subfolders. Individual pages’ URLs should also be descriptive without being overly lengthy, so that a visitor who sees only the URL could have a good idea of what to expect on the page.
6) Improve your website’s loading time
If this is the first time you are reading that page speed is important for SEO, then soon after reading this post you should do whatever is needed to improve the loading time of your website. If you have read about this before and have not yet done anything about it, you are making a big mistake.
Here are some things you need to do to improve your website’s page speed:
- Remove big images
- Use sprites instead of small images to minimise http redirects
- Move to a faster hosting provider
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service
- Run your website through Google’s speed tester – this will show you all the issues with your website’s speed
7) Include prominent call to actions
A call to action will encourage the website visitor to make contact with you. It’s all well and good getting traffic to your page, but you need to actually convert this. Having a prominent phone number and contact form (or link to contact form) on each page will increase your website conversions. Google and other search engines like to see this in place!
8) Link to external sites
Although you want people to look at your website, it’s still important to link other websites. The main reasons for this are:
- It makes your website a more valuable, scalable resource
- Search engines are likely to reward the behaviour algorithmically
- Linking out incentivises links in to your website
- Linking out encourages positive participation & contribution
9) Avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content is website content that appears in more than one place online. When there are multiple pieces of identical content on the internet, it is very tricky for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to the search terms used by the ‘searcher’. To provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show pages with duplicate content, which means the page will not be found by your potential customers.
10) Create landing pages
Landing pages are very important when it comes to on-site SEO because they help increase conversion rates. The main reason for this is that targeted promotion or product specific landing pages are focused on a single objective – generally this will be the keyword you have used for this page. Also, as this content is much more specific, it will have a better chance of ranking in search engines.
For example, if your keyword is ‘Web Design Croydon’, build a page that includes the keyword in the url, page title, meta description and website content. This page will have a much better chance of ranking the keyword than the homepage would. You are also capturing an audience that is specifically looking for this service.
Look at all your keywords and build a landing page for each! But be careful, don’t try to add the keyword as many times as possible as this will be seen as a spammy approach and Google will penalise you!
Our next blog post will include 10 basic off-site SEO tips to get you started. Keep an eye out for that!