Search engine optimisation represents a set of best practices and actions to be taken on a website to increase its visibility and findability on search engines (most importantly, Google). These best practices and actions are separated into two main categories:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
Today we will focus on what you can do, as a website owner, to improve your web pages in order to make them more search engine friendly. These are the on-page SEO strategy actions and you can easily implement them from the control panel of your website – especially if you use WordPress as your web building platform.
There are many SEO plugins available which help you implement all the on-page SEO strategies we will discuss below, by supplementing your standard article editing window with supplementary text fields and buttons.
Without further ado, these are the most effective ways in which you can optimise your web page to make it more Google friendly:
- Optimise Your URL
Any web building platform allows you to edit the URL for each page of your website, but many webmasters leave the default version. This is not acceptable, not when it is so easy to replace the existing URL with a keyword rich one.
One of the first elements of your website which search engine spiders index is the URL of each page. This first information is very valuable in making your website visible to people who search for your keywords.
- Add Qualifiers to Your Keywords
The title of each web page or article contained on it must also include your keyword. It should also be found across the text (more on this later in this article). What we want to stress here is that you should try to vary and enrich it with modifiers and qualifiers such as “guide/guidelines/how-to”, “2017” (or the relevant year), your location (such as “best ice cream in Melbourne”).
These qualifiers, added to the main keyword, help you rank for long tail keywords. These are more specific keywords with less searches than the main ones, but also with less competition.
- Use H1, H2 and H3 Tags
These tags are used for titles and subtitles. Visually speaking, adding a H1, H2 or H3 tag will not change the aspect of your headlines and subtitles: the typeface, font and style remain the same. However, these tags will let search engines know that they need to “read” these titles, because they are relevant for the content of the web page. Of course, you must use the keywords you want to rank for across all these tags.
- Understand How Many Times You Can Use a Keyword
There was a time when Google indexed pages depending on how frequently a certain keyword appeared in them. This led many unscrupulous marketers and website owners to stuff their texts with keywords, making them unreadable.
The rules have changed since then. Now your website will be penalised for keyword stuffing – that is, exceeding the 1% keyword density (5 times for a 500-word text). The key placements for keywords across the text are:
- In the first paragraph, preferably in the first sentence of the article;
- In at least one subtitle;
- In the last paragraph, preferably in the last sentence.
- Meta Description
The meta description is the two lines of text that appear under the URL for each Google result. It is not only useful for SEO, but also to convince people to click on your link. Therefore you must craft it carefully to contain your keywords and to comply with the 172-character limit imposed by Google (although the limit for desktop viewing is 200 characters).
Last, but not least, remember to update your website frequently with fresh and relevant content and to make sure that it complies with the rules of responsive web design. These two factors are becoming more and more important in Google’s algorithm for ranking pages.