Most clicks result from the first page of a search engine results page (SERP). Naturally, this means that you want your business to show up on the first page and as close to the top of a SERP as possible. The question is how you make that happen when there are multiple other businesses in your area that offer similar services and a search engine could judge that their web page is more relevant to what the user is looking for than yours. On page search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to help push your company’s page above your competitors’ on SERPs and improve the possibility that the page a user clicks on is one of yours. We’ll go over some of the basics of on-page SEO and describe how they benefit you.
Keyword Density and Keyword Placement
When search engines first started, keyword stuffing was everyone’s go-to SEO strategy to get their pages to rank higher than their competitors. Alt-tags for images would have laundry lists of keywords relevant to the page in hopes that a search engine would read them and think that this page was the most relevant possible result to the user’s search query. While the algorithm’s of search engines like Google and Bing have gotten more complicated and keyword stuffing is now more likely to harm your ranking than help it, keywords are still really important to getting your page to rank well on SERPs.
Where keywords are placed in the page, rather than trying to get as many keywords in the page as possible, affects SEO much more now than it used to. For example, having your main keyword appear early on in the title of the page helps a search engine determine that your page is relevant to what a user is looking for. Formatting your title like this also has the added benefit that a user is more likely to click on your page because they think that it will have what they are looking for. More user clicks reinforce Google’s ranking algorithm. The more relevant your page is to a particular search query, the better you’ll rank. Using the main keyword as the first header in the body of a page also helps because the first thing a user will see when they click on your page is a term that is relevant to what they’re looking for.
Internal Links and Crawling
“Crawling” refers to how search engines discover new content on the internet. A team of digital crawlers, often referred to as spiders, is sent out to find new content and update SERPs. The way that these crawlers find new content is through following links that they find and then logging the URLs of those pages into a search engine index which can then be displayed when someone uses the search engine. What this means for SEO for your site is that by including internal links (links to other pages within your own site) you can make your site easier to crawl which in turn makes it easier for search engines to display your pages in SERPs.
Making your pages easier to crawl won’t improve your ranking automatically, but it definitely helps with the search engine’s being able to display your page at all. For example, say you have a new page about a service you are offering. The page is well written and has the keywords that your target customers are searching for, but your new page isn’t linked to from anywhere else on your site. This makes it very hard for crawlers to find your page because there’s no link path for them to follow from your home page or other pages in your site. Building a sufficient amount of internal links into your site is a major part of on-page SEO and helps ensure that your pages can be found by search engines.
Formatting Pages For Readability
This aspect of SEO might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked as less important than keyword density or link structure. With on-page SEO the number one goal should always be to make a page as useful as possible to a user and that includes the readability of the page. A few ways to increase the readability of a page include:
- Well defined headings – Breaking up your page with relevant headings can go a long way to making your page easier to read. An enormous wall of text on your web page can overwhelm or confuse readers as well which badly affects a user’s experience
- Relevant media content – Videos or images, when it makes sense to include them, can improve a user’s experience and help increase your pages rank.
- Bolding or italicizing text – A user’s eyes will automatically be drawn to bold text in the page so it can help to bold keywords so that a user will automatically know that your page is relevant to what they’re looking for.
- Bulleted lists – Lists break up chunks of information and make it easier to understand. This can lead to a more valuable experience for a user which can contribute to SEO
Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and URLs
The title and URL of your page are very important, not only because the search engine will look for keywords there, but because they have a major impact on making a user click on your page. Users that you want to click on your page are already scanning the SERP for the keyword that they submitted so if your page has that keyword in the title, meta description, and the URL it can reinforce that your page is relevant to what they need. Most of the battle is getting a potential customer to click on your page over a competitor’s which is why a user perceiving your page as the most relevant is crucial. Your page could be the most relevant, but if your URL for your page for plumbing repair in Irvine is labeled:
then a user might choose a different page over yours because the URL of a competitor’s page reinforces the relevancy of the page.
The algorithms of search engines are constantly changing and learning which means that the world of SEO is constantly changing as well. Dedicated SEO experts are constantly adapting to these changes to make sure that their clients consistently rank at the top of SERPs.