In this blog entry, we show you how to optimize web pages for better SEO that improves your ranking on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Follow our ten-step checklist for each page on your website. This will optimize your pages and help you clarify your marketing goals.
Ever talk to a business expert about your business? Chances are high that they’ve said, “take time to get your head out of the trees so you can see the forest.” What they mean is this: think strategically. Pause from the day-to-day business regularly to ensure you’re going in the right direction. For marketing, look no further than your website.
A well planned website mimics a company’s marketing strategy. There is an overall theme to the site. That theme is broken into related segments. Each page in the site is then designed around a single, unique keyword or concept that support its segment or overall site.
In short, the website is your forest. The pages are your trees.
For this blog, we’ve created our five list of tasks marketers should handle for each website page. It’s not a complete list, but each page can be considered “aligned behind a keyword” if followed. In a future blog, we’ll show you how to optimize the larger site.
5 Step On-Page SEO Checklist
Choose One Keyword per Page
Ensure each page identifies a single keyword as its theme. By “keyword”, we really mean “key phrase” or a set of 2 or 3 words. It’s important to start with the keyword to ensure your content is built around a single theme.
Ensure your keyword isn’t repeated on another page. Ensure also that your keyword ranks well on Google. We like Google Trends to help test different keyword choices.
Write or Rewrite Content
Repeat Your Keyword One Time per 100 Words
Search engines should naturally see that your keyword is an important part of your content. Thus, it should be repeated often enough that it’s important but not so often that it seems spammy. By repeating your content one time for every 100 words, your hitting the right balance between valuable and spammy in your content.
Write at Least 300 Words
Since updates Google made to its search algorithm in 2016, quality filters set up by Google look at word count. While there are guidelines that set an ideal word count, feel safe if your minimum word count is between 150 to 300 words. Otherwise, your page may trigger Google’s low quality filters and fail to rank.
Note that some pages don’t need to meet a word count threshold. “Contact Us”, for instance, doesn’t need to rank on search.
However, most pages should meet this basic threshold. And it is basic. Ideal web content for SEO is growing in length, with the average ideal blog post now averaging 2,500 words, according to SnapAgency. Still, when time is tight and you have lots of pages to manage, 300 is still a good rule of thumb – for now.
Include an Image
Google doesn’t just search by words. It displays search for images as well. So, include an image whenever possible.
Your image should also include something called an “ALT” tag, or “alternative text”. This text displays if the browser cannot display your image. Include your keyword here and a description of the image. It will help Google rank your picture.
Ensure Each Page has One H1 Tag
Google uses the H1 tag to define the page. It’s critical that there is only one H1 tag per page and that it includes the keyword.
This should be a simple requirement; however, it could get complex if your designer decides to use the H1 tag as a design element. Some plugin developers do this as well.
Don’t let them do it. H1 should be reserved for the main page header and nothing more.
Include 1 or More H2 Tags
Like H1, the H2 tag is used to define the web page. However, in this instance, H2 is used for supporting keywords. For instance, if you’re writing a page with the keyword “webpage optimization”, add the H2 tag “The Page Optimization Checklist” to help capture similar search queries.
It’s also considered good style to have your keyword in at least one H2 tag as well, although there’s no real rule for this.
Include a page description that includes your keyword
While not a factor in ranking, the description meta tag is a factor in clicks. Thus, write a compelling page description if you want people to click your link.
For people who left the page description up to an automated service, generally they will see their click rates fall as well. A compelling description can correct this; however, do make sure you include your keyword in your description.
Include a Page Title
The page title is both a factor in clicks and a factor in ranking. It should include your keyword and should also be compelling to entice a reader to click. Keep your title to 70 characters or less.
If you have room, do include your branded name and business location. This helps reinforce your brand for both users and for Google ranking.
Add a link to Your Website
Google catalogs how you link to your own web pages to understand which pages are the most important. Show Google your important page by providing a link.
For instance, the “Contact Us” is a common conversion page. By providing a blurb at the bottom of the most pages, you can tell Google that “Contact Us” is important.
Include a Link to a Third Party Website
One of the most important factors in search engine ranking is the number of websites that link to your website. However, Google is increasingly looking at how you link out as well. Always consider adding at least one or two links to third party sites, as appropriate.
However, be strategic. If you link to a third party website, make sure your linking text includes your keyword. This emphasizes your keyword in your linking strategy. Also, make sure the site your linking to is relatively popular. It does nothing for your ranking if you link to a site no one visits. If you link to a popular website that also ranks for your keyword, then it also boosts your web page as well.
In our next article, we’ll discuss full website optimization. Going back to our initial cliché, site optimization is definitely a look at the overall forest. Since it also includes a review of technical issues, site optimization is also where you really apply your skills of technical SEO.
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