Let’s face it, SEO can be a tricky topic. There is so much to SEO, and it changes so frequently that it can be tricky to keep up. Google is constantly making updates to its SEO requirements. With everything else happening in the business, it can be a daunting task for a business owner to keep the site relevant and ranking compared to its competitors.
There are, however, a few things that you can do from your side to ensure that Google is correctly categorizing and ranking your site.
You see, Google will regularly scrape your site to know where you should be placed in the search results and how important you are. So, based on keywords on your site, it will know that you belong within your industry, and based on the authority and use of keywords, it will rank you on the search result pages.
But how do you make sure that you pop up in the top results of Google search? We looked at a few ways to ensure that your site is positioned in the top results of the search engines.
Start With an Audit
Before we start with the nitty-gritty that can drive your site into SEO glory, we have to mention how important it is to conduct an SEO audit of your site. This will provide you with an overview of your site’s general health, where you need to focus your efforts, and what is running smoothly already.
SEO audits need to be run frequently as your site is constantly changing. When new content is added or new images uploaded, Google will re-scrape the site to re-rank and re-categorize it. Not only that, but your competitors are permanently evolving too. So, if new keywords start trending or your competitor overtakes you in rankings, a quick audit can help you pinpoint what needs to be done.
Audits can also show you what is going wrong with your pages. Websites can be tricky creatures. Pages can break for no rhyme or reason and without you knowing. Google will pick up on this 404 page and penalize you for it. So, without you knowing, you can already start dropping down the results page. For a thorough audit annually or even bi-annually, consider seeking the assistance of on-page SEO services and SEO experts. These refined professionals can help you identify even the most intricate SEO aspect that you could be missing.
Content and Keywords Play a Huge Role
Content is really the holy grail of SEO. Keywords help guide Google as to what your site is about. So, say you are an insurance provider that services clients online, providing home and car insurance comparisons and quotes.
To be found in this highly competitive industry, you will need to make sure that you have the right, frequently used keywords on your site. So, in this case, things like home insurance, car insurance, affordable insurance, affordable insurance quotes will need to be used frequently on your site.
Be careful here, though! Do not stuff your content, and do not duplicate pages. Google wised up to that years ago, and you will be severely penalized.
Make sure you provide content on your site that is simple to read, makes sense, and educates your customer about your brand and industry.
But how can you know which keywords to use? Keyword research is a strategy that helps you find what absolutely needs to be on your site, what your competitors are using to rank, and what is trending. It also provides you with insight into how much you will pay if you wish to use paid ads for the keywords. If you put some money behind high-ranking keywords, Google will push you up to the top of the search result. But you should also know the most popular keywords that customers are searching for will cost more.
The use of long-tail and short-tail keywords also needs to be considered. Think about how customers would search for your products or services. This is also where blogs and articles are important. Short-tail would consist of “car insurance”, whereas long-tail would be something like “affordable car insurance for a Fiat 500 in London.”
Vital HTML Components
Apart from keywords and content, there are several other factors to consider for your SEO. Because they can be a bit more technical, we thought we would break them down individually.
Your images play a large role in SEO. Firstly, larger images slow down your page loading speed, which Google will penalize you for. So, make sure that your images are of high-quality but are compressed. It is also important for you to make sure that you have titled your image correctly. Keywords within your image name mean that Google can easily pick it up and rank it, and customers can find it.
Titles refer to the headings of the page. So, in the case of this article, it would be “Essential On-Page SEO Factors You Absolutely Need to Know.” Your title should contain the relevant keywords and be catchy and simple to draw attention to it. When you search on Google, the title is the blue text that pops up.
These are the excerpts of text that appear just below the title and describe what the page is about. Here, simple, to-the-point content is needed that contains the keyword. Keep it simple yet readable.
H1 and H2 Headings
These are the subheadings that appear on both blog articles and within landing page content. Optimization of these is important as Google can do quick crawls of your articles and pages to ascertain what else is important in the rankings. Look at this article, for example. We have mentioned SEO audit, Keywords, and HTML. That means that not only will Google pick up that this needs to be found when searching SEO, but those specific keywords too, broadening the search.
HTML or URL
Optimizing your slug is also important. Make sure you have the relevant keywords in your slug and focus on cutting it down to simple, searchable phrases. Leave out any unnecessary words like “an” “and” “on,” etc. It is also important to make sure that your site is secure. Google gives a big warning sign to potential traffic if you haven’t secured your site, increasing your bounce rate drastically.
If this seems a lot, do not stress too much. Some great plug-ins automatically help you optimize your SEO for you. Yoast is a great tool that works with WordPress and gives you the green light (literally) to go ahead with your posting.
In wrapping up, there are numerous more aspects to consider when looking at your SEO. Is your site mobile-friendly, what is your page speed, and what are your back-links looking like will all factor in. Once you start getting your on-page SEO techniques right, you can start moving to things like link-building and the authority of your and affiliated sites.
As mentioned, once you get the basics right of SEO, keeping track of the smaller changes and breaks in the pages will get easier and easier over time.