The ultimate on-page SEO guide
You may be free to run your website as you please but Google holds the key to your success…
While we all probably think that it should be the case that a solid product or service offering would be enough to boost your website to the top of Google; it’s really not that simple.
You see, Google’s bots don’t follow a human thought process and will never look at your product in the emotional way that humans do. They rely purely on logic based around your website composition and determine the subject matter of your website through content analysis.
This is annoying as people won’t usually analyse a website in this way & it’s highly likely that Google’s algorithm is effectively excluding millions of websites with some very valuable content.
So, in short, you need to be accepted by Google. Let’s begin…
Lay the right foundations
I often consider SEO work to be like building a house, you’ve got to start with a solid foundation, upon which to build your online presence. Here are the things I suggest you do to deliver a solid baseline to work from:
Know that content is king
Optimizing your website didn’t used to be such a struggle, there were some very basic things you could do (like updating your Meta tags). Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as meta tag analysis is too easy to manipulate through keyword stuffing.
So, it’s all got a little bit more complex, but let’s try to break it down.
First off, you need to determine the keywords that you’re going to be aiming to rank for in Google. You can use the Google Keyword Research tool to find out how competitive certain keywords are – you can then use this to select 5 keywords of varying difficulty to target.
Once you’ve selected those keywords, you need to start injecting them into your web pages:
- Make sure that your keyword appears in your H1 tag – you should only have one H1 tag per page. Make sure you don’t just stuff keywords in where they don’t belong, it has to be understandable by a human.
- Make sure that you have Alt tags, descriptions and captions on all your images, try to slip a keyword in here where it makes sense to do so.
- Google now favors longer content, so try and write sizable product descriptions, including the keywords you’re targeting.
- You need to also make sure you’re regularly adding new content to your website. A regularly updated website is considered to be an ‘active’ business & therefore is ranked highly. You can achieve this via a weekly blog on your website.
Remember to never copy and paste other people’s content. From an SEO standpoint, this can only serve to hurt your Google ranking.
Make sure you’re blazing fast
There is nothing worse than waiting a lifetime for a website to load and Google knows that. They have therefore added load times as a ranking factor, so make sure you’re running on a good web host & optimize your website for optimal speed. This includes:
- Image compression – using tools like compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com, you can reduce image size (in terms of MB’s) by up to 80%.
- Caching – using tools like WPCache & WP Super Cache (if you’re a WordPress user) can help significantly improve load times of your website.
- Use a CDN – If you’re on WordPress, you can use Photon to deliver your images from a CDN, else, you can use a free account from Cloudflare to speed up your site.
- Minify your files – this is something that can be easily achieved using WP Minify for WordPress, if you’re not a WordPress user, I wouldn’t advise attempting this unless you’re completely confident.
There are lots of other ways to speed up your website, but these are my top tips!
Get mobile friendly
Being responsive to mobile devices is now a ranking factor. If you have an established website, which is not responsive, don’t worry, this won’t cost much! Assuming you are using a CMS (like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5, Shopify, etc..), you can download theme from www.themeforest.net and apply it to your website. This will give you a professional looking site and most themes are now responsive too.
Other on-page housekeeping
There are a few boring bits and bobs when it comes to your site ranking factors. Firstly, make sure you have an XML site map & submit it through Google Webmaster Tools – it helps Google to ensure that all your webpages have been indexed, which is good for you!