We’re happy to feature a guest blog post from Victoria Greene.
When it comes to on-page SEO, every website needs a unique strategy to get the best results. By laying the foundations correctly, you can tell search engines and users what they need to know. Become a trusted place for other sites to link to in the future.
If you are building up a new site from scratch, on-page SEO should take precedence over off-page SEO. There are no hard and fast rules to dominating SEO, but there are a few winning tactics. Read on to find out more about these seven SEO wins you’ll be indebted to us for revealing.
Content Overhaul And Strategy
A website with scarce content prevents Google from finding out what you’re all about. A content-rich site can rank well on its own, before you take into account the number of outbound links and social shares. Make sure you have an in-depth content marketing strategy to ensure visitors have all the information they need to purchase.
Keyword research is the best place to start for building a robust strategy. Look for commonly searched keyword terms and come up with ideas for blog posts, resources, guides and printables, etc. Internet users will look at a few sources before deciding. Your priority should be making your content memorable.
Audience research and Google Trends insight will help you build up a bank of information that is highly relevant. You have to build up an awareness of your target audience’s knowledge of your subject, the types of content they like and share the most, and the medium they prefer to digest it in.
This could mean video, pictorial posts, long articles over 2000 words in length, etc. Aim for a mix of several preferred content mediums, as this will provide Google with a richer outline of the content held within each page of your site.
You could also look to influential social media users in your chosen industry. These ‘thought leaders’ will provide you with a source of inspiration for future content, as well as a means to promote it. Build a relationship with authoritative voices and send over some examples of your material in the hope their audiences will give your site a closer look.
Link To Your Product Pages From Your Homepage
SEO is all about making your site as user-friendly as possible. Site developers that make an effort to go in deep with their UX and information architecture strategies often yield the best results. Imagine if you were a website visitor looking for gardening equipment online. Upon arriving at a homepage, wouldn’t you want to see the product listings right away?
Many brands fall short in their site structures for merely missing out on these simple user experience considerations. Some may hide their product links a few clicks away from their homepage. These extra steps can negatively affect the site’s Page Rank, as site crawlers have to track that little bit further to bring the user the results they need.
Dig Into Your Site Search Logs
First of all, if your site doesn’t have a search bar, get one installed on your homepage immediately. If visitors can’t find what they’re looking for from your site, they will go to a competitor site to get what they need.
But further than that, if you have already had one up on your site for a while, analyze the search logs and look for ways you can improve the structure of your site – and its offering.
For instance, if you notice that often your logs show people searching for secondary landing pages, such as ‘blog’ or ‘sizing information’, take note. This will indicate that your viewers want to see these options linked prominently from your homepage.
Step Up The Pace – Site Speed Is Vital
Site speed is still an important factor in search rankings. Do what you can to make your pages load quickly, as a sluggish site will turn people off.
There are many ways to ensure that you are up-and-running fast:
- Use an image optimization tool to make your images smaller
- Use a CDN (content distribution network): these distribute your content across a network of servers, thus enabling your pages to load faster
Make Meta Tags Great Again
Every single meta description on your site needs to be written for human eyes. This means that all text should be unique and should describe the content on the page. Include keyword terms sparingly, but first and foremost, make sure they sound natural. Use your audience’s vernacular and avoid jargony terms. Further, if you can offer users a call to action or incentivizing offer (like ‘free shipping’), then include these words too.
If you’re creating an online store, software such as Shopify can generate meta descriptions for you automatically. Take these suggestions as your starting point and look for ways you can enhance and entice searchers to click through to your site. For inner page and blog posts, use a tool like Yoast SEO (for WordPress users) to make sure all of your text is ‘greenlit’ for titles, meta tags, keywords, paragraph structure, etc.
Share The Love With Links
No website is an island. You need to make sure that you are including backlinks to high authority sites within your copy. Linking out ‘fuses’ your site with related content online, helping you to rank higher than sites that don’t include links.
You should also link internally to related pages within your site. Be cautious and ensure that these internal links present an ‘easy path’ back to your homepage. As a guide, you want to ensure that your visitor is never more than 2 or 3 clicks away from home. Set up sidebar navigation links to your main category pages. If you are linking to a blog post within a blog post, use a keyword-rich hyperlink rather than “click here”.
If You’re Not Optimized For Mobile Yet, Do It Now
Your site’s layout and design on mobile will only become more crucial as time goes on. But optimizing for mobile platforms should also be considered from a content and user perspective. For instance, could your services work on an app that is dedicated to making transactions easier?
Clothing brand Zara, for example, includes a barcode scanner within its shopping app. This tool allows customers to scan items in their stores and save them for purchase at a later date.
On a smaller scale, you should also consider the fact that mobile screens are smaller in size.
Therefore, users are looking for a streamlined app design. In some cases, this may mean specific restructuring tasks for your mobile service offerings to present a less cluttered mobile experience. Multiple levels of nested store items is a good place to start.
Think carefully and research your audience’s preferred means of product categorization. Conduct card sorting exercises in focus groups to help you plan a simplified mobile categorization structure that makes sense to your customers.
If you are not using an SEO tool suite to help you monitor your site and backlinks, invest in a program today. You need to ensure that you are running regular SEO audits of your site and testing and making improvements as you go. Always keep your users at the forefront of your site design and do all you can to present them with all the information they need, instantly, while doing your best to avoid overwhelming with options.
Victoria Greene is a branding expert and writer for Victoria Ecommerce. Here, she shares vital tips to brands looking to improve their website’s content and functionality.
KC SEO Group. Our thoughts.
Victoria makes some great points that we think will be really helpful in your SEO efforts. We would like to add some additional information on ranking in the 3 pack or the “Snack Pack” as its affectionately known. The two major things we are noticing lately have to do with your Google My Business account set up and getting your map embedded on good quality websites.
Recently we have been doing some consulting work for a local dental marketing firm, so we’ll use some dental examples to help illustrate our point.
1) Google My Business:
It is absolutely vital that you set up your Google My Business account the correct way.
-Go through all the steps necessary to get the Google postcard mailed out to you so that you can verify ownership of your business in the eyes of Google.
-Make sure to fill out all the categories, but don’t go crazy or you could end up with a suspended or unverified account.
-Make sure to upload good quality brand images as well as images of your business and your staff. On a side note, make sure to obscure any personal information when you are posting images of your staff.
-Google My Business is the foundation for your local search presence. Take the time to set it up properly and you’ll reap the benefits of more traffic and visibility.
Lately in the SEO community there has been a lot of discussion and arguing about “keyword stuffing” your Google My Business name. As an example, one of our clients is Black Hills Area Dental.
Based on the name alone, its easy to see that they are a dentist office. So rather than changing the title to something like Rapid City Dentist | Black Hills Area Dental, its better to just leave it as a brand name. Google likes consistency and they encourage companies to establish themselves as an entity. The same can be said for another of our clients located here in Kansas City: Perfect Smiles Dental Care. Rather than add in additional information or change it to something like Perfect Smiles Dental Care | Overland Park Dentist, we chose to leave it as the company/brand name.
Keep it logical and above board and you’ll see good results.
2) Map Embeds
In addition to making sure that you have a consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) its important to seek out opportunities to embed your businesses Google My Maps into high quality websites.
Where possible, reach out to other site owners and ask them if they would be willing to embed your map on their website. Additionally there are a lot of citation web sites like Yelp, Foursquare etc that may allow map embeds. Below are two examples of custom built Google Maps.
To embed your map, go to Google My Maps and search for the business you are trying to rank. Once the listing loads, click on the share button.
Then grab the embed code and paste it into your website or send it out for others to embed for you.
Let us know if you have any Search Engine Optimization questions or comments.
Black Hills Area Dental.
Perfect Smiles Dental Care