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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a bit daunting to think about, especially if you’ve not had much experience with it. How do you make sure your blog article or site page is getting found in your ideal buyer persona’s search results? We’ve created this quick guide to help you get set up to succeed in on page SEO.
On page SEO
On page and on-site optimisation is only one part of the overall Search Engine Optimisation jigsaw. It can be seen as one of the simpler ones as, usually, you have full control over the website; however this doesn’t mean it’s any less important.
Remember, all efforts on the website should be focused on the visitor, not the search engines. Google (and the other search engines) wants you to build an amazing website that provides visitors with:
- Unique, valuable, high-quality content
- Coupled with authenticity and authority
- Delivered in an easy to use way that works across all device types.
1. TITLE Tag
The HTML <TITLE> Tag is probably the most important on-page factor within SEO after the overall content of the page. It is not only a strong signal to the search engines but it also appears as the main link within SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) so strongly influences Click Throughs to your site. It is also often used as the title and link text of socially shared links.
The TITLE tag should tell visitor and the search engines what the page is about. It should be unique across the site, be meaningful in isolation and include the main topic/key phrases you are targeting the page at. The TITLE should ‘make sense’ and be readable by a human. Research has shown that words at the start of the TITLE tag carry more weight than those at the end.
Google will show between 50 and 60 characters (including spaces) of the TITLE tag, or 512 pixels width. Aim to keep your TITLE tags below 55 characters as this will mean around 95% of your TITLEs will not be truncated within the SERPs. Whilst the length of your TITLE tag is important, you should focus on creating TITLEs that promote click-throughs and conversions.
This tool from Moz helps you test the length of your titles:
Avoid punctuation unless absolutely necessary to ensure the TITLE makes sense. Use the hyphen “-“ or pipe “|” as a separator if needed.
Apart from the TITLE tag on the homepage, it is usually not necessary to include the name or brand of the site.
Example Title tag structure:
Primary Keyword meaningful sentence including any Secondary Keywords | Brand Name
Brand Name | Primary Keyword meaningful sentence including any Secondary Keywords
2. Meta Description Tag
The Meta Description tag is not used as a ranking factor by the search engines. Its job, therefore, is to support the TITLE tag and entice the visitor to click on the link when they spot it in the SERP.
Meta Descriptions should be written like ads aimed at the visitor whose need is going to be met by your page. Confirm to the reader that your page is going to be the best page for them to click on.
The Meta Description should contain the primary topic/key phrase for the page, your brand where it makes sense, and a strong call to action encouraging the visitor to click. Each page should have its own unique Meta Description tag that is accurate to the page, be meaningful in isolation and makes sense to read.
Meta Description content should be no more than 156 characters including spaces.
If the brand of the site has not been included in the TITLE tag for a page, it’s important to ensure the brand is used within the Meta Description tag in order to visually support any branded queries.
3. HTML Headings (H1-H6)
The content held within Headings tags is no longer seen as a strong search engine ranking factor. However, they’re very important for visitors to the page as they help confirm that the page they are looking at is about the topic they were searching for. They’re also important for any page you are using as a landing page from AdWords PPC campaigns as they are used within the Landing Page element of the keyword quality score.
Heading tags should be used correctly within the structure of the content (H1 > H2 > H3 etc). Your H1 tag should ideally include the primary topic key phrase for the page.
There should only be 1 <H1> tag on each page.
The journey from the User Search Query, to the SERPs (TITLE & Meta Description) and then onto the page of your website (Headings and content) should be aligned, consitent and seamless.
Images should have a meaningful, descriptive alt tag. This is to help those with accessibility needs using screen readers and other suchlike tools.
Once accessibility needs have been met you can further focus the alt tag by including a relevant key phrase for the page. This shouldn’t be squeezed in at the expense of a meaningful alt tag.
The actual filename of the image can also help by being descriptive of the image. For example, this image of a green apple could have an alt tag of “green apple with droplets of condensation” and the filename should be greenapple.jpg rather than image_032.jpg.
So there we have it! A quick guide to on-page SEO that’ll help you get started. Feel free to save this article to send to a colleague, or refer back to whenever you want! And don’t hesitate to ask any further questions, of course.