How to optimise your website pages for SEO
23 October 2016
If you aren’t sure how to optimise your website content for SEO and rank better in Google, I have some basic tips to get you started.
Below I cover some of the basic steps you can take to optimise your website. Follow these simple steps to help your website rank better and get more organic traffic. Read on to find out exactly how.
Just to be clear, here I am talking about on-page optimisation. This is often overshadowed by off-page factors. By getting on-page SEO right, you’re putting down a good foundation to build upon with other optimisation activities. Google uses the on-page content in order to work out what the page is about, It analyses each page and works through the following elements within it. Google then decides where it ranks your page in its search results in accordance with the pages relevance to the search term used.
Let’s look at which parts of the page you need to pay extra attention too.
Optimizing URLs for SEO
The URL should always incorporate your keyword. It forms part of the ‘advert’ which appears for your website in the organic search results. The ‘advert’ often determines whether people choose to click your link. Keep in mind that Google shortens longer URLs. Don’t make them too long. If you use a plugin called Yoast to optimise your content, it will give you a guide on how much to write. Most importantly remember you are writing for humans, not robots, make sure your URLs are easily readable.
WordPress use a numerical default for URLs, meaning that when a page is created it is assigned a numerical code. Always make sure you change this in the permalink settings to display the name of the page. This will help with readability.
Categories and site structure
The location of the page on the site has an impact on how relevant Google deems its content to be. This is done through the site structure, with content placed in categories which are also relevant to the search term ranking better. Naming your categories and sub-categories utilising keywords will not only benefit those pages but also the pages listed within them. Try to arrange categories logically for your visitors. Think of them like chapter in a book.
Underscore or hyphen in your URLs?
This is often a point of debate amongst SEO experts but according to Matt Cutts, who is head of Webspam for Google, hyphens win. Listen to what he has to say on the subject here.
Optimizing page titles
This one caught me out and I ended up with lots of errors on my Moz report. Google has a maximum character limit on what it can display in the results. The limit is 69 characters so make sure your titles fit within that. Don’t forget to include your keyword in your title
How to optimize meta descriptions for a better Click Through Rate
Make sure to use the FAB principle (feature, advantage, benefit). This is a classic sales copy technique. Don’t forget to also include a CTA (call to action). Get people clicking through onto your site.
Optimising page headings for SEO
Each page of your site should include a H1, H2 and at least one H3 tag. It’s important to include your focus keyword in each of these headings. Try to write naturally and avoid just stuffing it in for the sake of it though.
How to optimise your content
The biggest, most important, on-page factor by far is the content. This isn’t just about using the right keywords but also writing content that’s natural and of a high quality, in other words, stuff that people will want to read, share and link to. Crack this and you’re most of the way there. Try to ensure the basics are covered by paying attention to things like spelling and grammar. You can use this hand tool called Grammarly to help you. Again, if you are using Yoast, it will give your content a readability score and tell you how to improve it.
I have written a separate post on the importance of writing good website content, check it out.
The content length should be a minimum of 350 words but the ideal amount is around 500. Google likes content so if you can write 1000 or 1500 words, go for it! Just make sure you don’t waffle and repeat stuff.
Content isn’t just about words. Ensure you include images (with alt tags) and links within your copy. Outbound links to external sites as well as inbound links to your own content are great for SEO.
Usability is becoming an increasingly significant part of SEO, with dedicated parts of the algorithm looking at things like mobile responsiveness. It makes sense from Google’s perspective as a poor user experience means people disliking the search experience. This results in a potential loss of business for Google. It’s good practice to ensure your website is mobile responsive.
Finally, page load speed is a big SEO factor for much the same reason as the above point about usability. No one likes waiting. Users don’t wait for a slow website to load, they simply click off elsewhere. If your page takes an age to load, it’s going to create a poor experience for the user and Google doesn’t like that. Google recognises that slow pages provide a poor user experience and therefore incorporate load times as a ranking factor.
Google mentions in its developer guidelines that a score of above 85 in its page load speed (within their Page Speed Insights tool) indicates the page is ‘performing well’. It’s a reasonable assumption therefore that there is a threshold to page speed you need to pass, rather than incremental gains in rankings across page speed. If you can get your page speed score to 90 or above then you are doing great.
If you need help optimising your website content, contact me today.