An Introduction to On-Page SEO
April 14th, 2020
If you’re thinking about getting a new website, you may have come across the term search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re not familiar, this is the practice of making a website look good to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. If the search engines “like” your website, then there’s a higher likelihood they’ll show it in the search results for a relevant query. There are three types of SEO. These are: on-page SEO, technical SEO, and offsite SEO. Each plays a role in how search engines rank your website. Understanding each is valuable for improving your ranking.
Today’s article is an introduction to on-page SEO and ranking factors like key words and page titles.
What is On-Page Optimization?
On-Page optimization refers to the content on your website. Think text, titles, page names, and images. When search engines find your website, they crawl the content and source code to learn what it’s about. If you have a page about GFCI outlets and another page about residential electrical repair, a search engine might categorize you as an electrician. In contrast, a plumber’s site might have a page about hot tub installation and a blog article on the different types of pipes under a sink.
Keep in mind: the goal of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant result for their query. If I search “ceiling fan installers near me” but the results show installers in another state, then the search engine isn’t doing a good job. To provide the best results, search engines use complex algorithms that look for key words or key phrases on pages.
How to Identify Good Key Words & Phrases
Let’s say you’re a home remodeler who wants to attract more business through your website. You create a page on kitchen remodeling. However, kitchen remodeling is a competitive key word. There are multiple kitchen remodelers in your area who already have websites ranking for this key word. While you might compete with them one day for these words, it will require more time and effort.
Through research, you find a specific key phrase to target: small kitchen remodeling on a budget.
You decide to write a page or blog on this topic. While fewer people search for this phrase, the ones who do are likely to be high quality leads. You’re also more likely to rank faster for a key phrase that targets a niche service or product since there's less competition for it in your area.
How to Provide Value to Your Site Visitors
Creating valuable content for visitors isn’t just common sense, it’s also part of the ranking algorithm. Google measures time on site and bounce rate. The longer a visitor stays on your website and interacts with it, the more relevant your site appears to the search engine. If Google shows your website for a query, and a lot of people click it but immediately click back out (known as a bounce if they don’t go to any other page), then it’s a signal that your content isn’t relevant for that query.
You can create high quality content by putting yourself in the shoes of potential customers. Think about the problems your customers have and how they might search, then target related key words and key phrases. Consider the type of information a person expects to see for that query, and gear your content toward it.
If you need inspiration, look no further than River Pools & Spas. Hit by the recession in 2008, the owner refocused on a niche (fiberglass pool builders) and wrote targeted blog posts to improve website traffic. Not only did his business survive the recession, his website became one of the most popular in the world for pool related searches.
Understanding searcher intent can help you gear your content appropriately. When looking at key words and phrases, consider the intent behind the query. For example, there are:
- Informational Searches
- Navigational Searches
- Transactional Searches
Informational is when a person wants to learn something. For example, “How much is a flat screen TV installation” or “How do I install a carpet?” Even if you’re a carpenter, this is a great opportunity to get traffic to your website and explain everything that goes into the process. Depending on your notes and instructions, you may convince a DIY visitor to hire you instead. What’s important is that you answer the searcher intent and provide quality information that keeps visitors reading.
Navigational is when someone looks up a specific company or service. They might be looking for your website after a word of mouth recommendation.
Transactional searches imply the person is ready to make a purchase or take an action. For example, “schedule a handyman” or “get a quote on new home construction” both imply the person is ready to engage with you for business.
If you think about searcher intent when creating your content, you’ll be on the right track to keeping visitors on your website.
Page Names & Meta Data
What you call your page is also important. If you have a page on wallpaper installation but the URL to your page is mysite.com/wall, you should consider using mysite.com/wallpaper-installer instead. You don’t want to keyword stuff your URL, but if the service or product is concise and accurate, then it makes sense to use it over a shortened version that could be confusing to a search engine. In this instance, the page name wall is so general it can mean anything: a firewall, a brick wall, a gallery of wall photos. Your want your URLs to be search engine friendly.
You can also optimize your meta data. This is what the search engines show when they display your website on a search results page. Here’s an example of a meta title and meta description for a fake business called Daring Dream Kitchens:
Kitchen Cabinet Installation Scranton PA | Daring Dream Kitchens
Schedule your kitchen cabinet installation and enjoy an organized kitchen with a place for everything.
One note: Your meta description isn’t a ranking factor with Google, but it affects click-through rate. If a person likes your description and sees a key word in it, they may be more inclined to check out your page.
These are a few items you should keep in mind as part of your introduction to on-page SEO. The world of search engine optimization involves many best practices that evolve as people change how and where they search.
At OneBuilder, we know how to identify searcher intent and dig up key words and phrases that you may not think about targeting. If you need help with on-page SEO, we’re happy to assist. Finding the right terms might seem easy at a glance, but it can take time in a competitive market.
A bonus? In addition to your website, you can use these key words and phrases in ads with Google and Facebook.
That will be covered another time.
Thanks for reading,