What is on page SEO and why is it important?
Business is open! Your website is up and running, you have spent hours, weeks, months getting yourself ready to go – but where are your clients? Where are your online enquiries? Gone are the days where you can stand outside your shop door on the high street and entice people in – the pavement has been replaced by a virtual highway which can resemble a dirt track with tumbleweed floating on past you if you’re not set up properly. Why? Simple answer: On Page SEO. Of course, you can guide people to you via advertising, social media, email – however, the quickest, most efficient traffic driver is SEO – the whole reason people know you exist.
Let’s start at the beginning: What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The ever knowledgeable Wikipedia gives us the following definition:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.
SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (known as “natural” or “organic” results) and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement.
SEO may target different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
SEO can be divided into On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. The former can be totally controlled by you – so this is everything and anything on your website – content, images, links feeds etc… Off page SEO essentially is the growth of authority of your website / domain via links from other websites.
On-page SEO is vital to the success of your business and website launch – getting it right before you start can be the make or break of volume of visits. Even the mention of SEO can strike terror in people – it’s a minefield, it’s confusing, it’s yet another abbreviation in a techy world of trying to keep up to date with the latest ways of being an internet success. However, if we strip it back, there are just 10 elements that make up on-page SEO, all of which you can do yourself! Simple right?! Let’s start at the beginning…
Terminology – we know, it’s like a whole other language sometimes, however, before we go into the 10 ways to make sure the world knows you exist, we need to explain a little bit of history beforehand
E-A-T – Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness – essentially everything the reader wants from a website, as well as being an incredibly important point to SEO success.
Let’s break this down – don’t worry it’ll be over quickly, like ripping off a plaster!
Expertise – who creates your content? Are they the right person for the job? Ideally, your content creators need to have the correct knowledge to ensure they are imparting factual and educational content. Don’t get this confused with someone laden with degrees, masters and tons of letters after their name – we are talking about people who know their industry inside out, or the topic they are discussing inside out – an industry expert! The ever trusty Google explains this in the following way:
“Some topics require less formal expertise. Many people write extremely detailed, helpful reviews of products or restaurants. Many people share tips and life experiences on forums, blogs, etc. These ordinary people may be considered experts in topics where they have life experience. If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an ‘expert’ on the topic, we will value this ‘everyday expertise’ and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having ‘formal’ education or training in the field.”
This is Google’s way of saying that they want to ensure they are providing links to websites that have it right – people are coming to you (via Google) to find answers to their questions so make sure they’re factually correct.
Once you’ve written your guru worthy content, then it needs to be recognised by readers as just that – the voice of the industry. This manifests itself through Links – this is when your audience start sharing your content – the more links you have the more authoritative you will appear. Links can be recognised as forwards, shares, reviews etc…
You’ve got the experts, you are building the authority – but who are your content creators and are they credited? Trust is a huge deal in the online world – especially with the slogan “Fake News” so readily banded around. How does your audience trust your content? A great way to do this is to put the content creator up in lights – highlight their expertise, awards, accolades and endorsements. Trustworthiness is a big factor for Google in their rankings.
Now you understand E-A-T – let’s just touch on content. Quality should be your keyword here – not quantity. Forget the word count, it’s about creating truly impactful and knowledgeable content that your audience will find useful and beneficial.
Now we’ve nailed the history – and the acronyms – we can move on to the 10 ways to get you out there into the bustling online world of new business.
1. E-A-T – we’ve pretty much covered this, but don’t underestimate its power within the on-page SEO realm. This is one you really have to get right, so take some time on it and make sure your E-A-T is on point!
2. Title Tag – every web page has a title, otherwise known as a title tag or HTML tag which is relevant to the page content. You can find this in the head section of each page and is what you see when you look at the Search Engine results. On its own, this title tag doesn’t carry a lot of weight with SEO, however, if these titles are badly written, missing or duplicated then this is an immediate red flag so it’s really important to be mindful of how you are labelling these pages.
3. Meta Description – this is more detailed information about what the page consists of, these can be found in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Once again, this element isn’t vital for on-page SEO on it’s own, however, optimising meta descriptions can help with click-through rates due to better understanding of what the audience is looking for.
4. Headlines – don’t be boring! Stand out from the crowd. Blog titles can be the make or break as to whether the infamous “click’ happens. Know the difference between title and headline – create an exciting, impactful headline with a direct link to the article but creating enough intrigue for your audience to want to know more.
5. Header Tags – these are HTML elements that are used to identify headings and subheadings within your articles. Essentially, the importance of these tags is ensure content is easier to read as well as using vital keywords for search engines.
6. Search Engine Optimisation Writing – we’ve spoken about E-A-T, but part of the content creation must have search engines as well as the audience in mind. Do your research – why not ask Google?! What are the keywords or key phrases that are most often searched for within your industry? Make a list then use these SE Optimisers within the content – but remember – don’t just write for the sake of it, make it count.
7. Keyword Cannibalisation – sounds brutal doesn’t it? This is where you are overusing a particular keyword – logic dictates that the more this keyword is featured, the better the SEO. Sadly, this isn’t the case, this can cause a massively negative impact on all that hard work you’ve carried out identifying SEO keywords. You will only end up competing with yourself by using the same keywords across lots of different pages – keep it clean and non-cannibalised!
8. Content Audit – just the word audit sends shivers up the spine. We can get so caught up in creating new and exciting content, we totally forget about all the articles that are already sitting on our websites. ARE YOU RELEVANT? It’s really important that your articles are constantly and carefully curated to ensure any advice or statements are still valid and correct.
9. Image Optimisation – how many times have you closed down a site or moved pages because an image is too slow to load? We are an impatient generation and waiting longer than a few seconds to see an image just isn’t on our agendas. It’s vital that you optimise your images to ensure they are visible as quickly as possible. Choose images that are eye catching, relevant to the article and not just the first stock image you find that can also be seen on lots of other people’s sites.
10. User Engagement – this is something that we don’t have so much control over. The 9 points above are all things that we can do ourselves, this one is up to your audience, although, it is reliant on everything above! Interaction and retention is a huge on-page SEO plus. Maximise 1-9 and 10 should look after itself! We love it when a good plan comes together, and so does Google!