With an average of more than 2 million Google searches a day, it’s clear that most people’s online experiences often start with a search engine. Out of all those searches, the first 10 results receive the vast majority of clicks, so ranking on the front page of Google can be the deciding factor between the success or failure of your business.
The concept of Search Engine Optimisation improves your web pages to increase your ranking on search engines like Google so you will have more traffic on your website. By concentrating on technical, on-site, and off-site SEO elements that have been deemed important by search engines, you will have the best chance of increasing your ranking in searches.
There has been an increased focus over the years with SEO techniques like building backlinks and other off-page technical elements. I was recently involved in a debate hosted by SEMRush on if external links are still relevant today. Of course, we arrived at #itdepends because while they do help your overall ranking, their effectiveness will usually depend on the type of backlink. Besides, the reality is that even the very best backlinks from the most reputable and trusted websites online won’t be much help at all without high-quality on-page SEO.
The reason why on-page SEO is so important is that it has the most influence on the volume of traffic sent directly to your website from targeted organic searches. Acquiring visitors organically using on-site SEO is also far more cost-effective compared to paying for ad traffic, providing a fast return on your investment that’s both quantifiable and trackable. It’s also easy to accomplish because you obviously have complete autonomy over all aspects of your website.
There are a variety of different ways you can utilise on-page SEO to influence where you rank in search results. Keywords, for example, are a central aspect of SEO. But you also need to have other elements such as superb quality content and technical excellence to really have a positive effect. Below I will go through my top 5 golden rules for optimising your web pages for maximum online visibility.
Website Architecture & URL
Website architecture plays a critical role in the effectiveness of on-site SEO, which affects the overall usability of your website in general. Good architecture with a straightforward structure makes the content of your website much easier for search engines to access and navigate while ensuring visitors can also find what they’re looking for. Remember if search engine crawlers or bots are unable to access or understand your website, it can cause some major issues for your online presence.
When it comes to naming your URLs, the most important thing to remember is they should be created using readable keywords describing the content of each individual web page, rather than cryptic characters or numbers. You should also be sure to keep each URL as short as possible, using only lower case letters, and with the minus symbol separating each word.
Title Tag Optimisation
The title tag is the HTML tag located in the head section of every webpage, which provides some context and information about its subject matter. The title tag is prominently featured in the browser window as well as in the clickable title link returned in all search engine results. While Google has hundreds of different ranking factors, the HTML title tag is still extremely important for your website’s search engine Optimisation. That means if any of your web pages have poorly written, duplicated, or missing title tags, it can have quite a negative impact on your SEO overall.
User Focused On Page Content
Google always wants to direct its users to websites that have the most accurate content that is directly related to their search terms. That means content is still king, as they say, which is why it remains as the starting point for all aspects of successful SEO. Remember the visitors to your website are most likely looking for an expert they can trust and rely upon. So you need to produce the greatest possible content that provides your audience with valuable and accurate information, while also demonstrating your authority on the subject.
Mobile First Design
The number of people who access the Internet using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets has been steadily increasing over the past decade. In fact, well over half of all online searches over the past year were done using mobiles. Not only will user experience be subpar if your website hasn’t been optimised for mobile, but Google and other search engines will penalise you. In fact, Google has recently announced all websites will be crawled using mobile-first indexing by September 2020. It is therefore essential your website has been created with a responsive design that has been optimised to adapt to whatever size screen it is viewed on.
Like many other aspects of SEO, page loading speed will have an effect on user experience. Long web page loading times can have a seriously negative effect on your conversions, so every web page should load as quickly as possible on both mobile and desktop. Google recently conducted research into industry benchmarks regarding loading speeds which showed bounce rates dramatically increased whenever a web page takes more than 7 seconds to finish loading. Page speed is another one of Google’s recently announced ranking factors, so assuming all other factors are equal, if your competitor’s website has faster loading pages, they will most likely have an advantage.
The Last Word
Google and other search engines are key to ensuring your customers are aware of the products and services you offer. That’s why I wrote an article on improving your on-page Search Engine Optimisation which should be prioritised continuously as an essential aspect of your digital marketing strategy. That way, as long as you meet or exceed user expectations, search engines like Google will reward you by delivering valuable traffic onto your website.
Don’t forget the SEO landscape is always evolving along with advances in technology, so it is vital your on-page SEO always remains current. Ultimately, ensuring your website is search-engine friendly is vital for your business because if you are ranking highly, you’ll almost certainly be getting more traffic, which should also increase your sales. It really is that simple.