When you invite someone over to your house, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re anything like me, you spend a few frantic minutes cleaning up. Or if you’re anything like my wife, then you spend a day or two making everything perfect. But either way, the point is the same: you get your house in order before having guests and visitors.
The same wisdom applies to your online home: your website. Before you launch into an intensive link-building SEO campaign, it is best to have your house in order. Because nothing is worse than having guests show up when there are still piles of laundry on the couch. So, we always start our SEO efforts with on-page efforts. The best strategy is always to finish the house cleaning before moving to off-page tactics. This ensures that visitors will have a positive experience on your site.
Off-page efforts of link building and content marketing may be sexy, but the nitty-gritty of on-page optimization should come first. There’s a clear hierarchy of needs in the SEO world, and on-page always comes before off-page. Just like cleaning your house always comes before inviting friends.
So, what does on-page SEO look like? There’s an entire world of options, but we’ll look at the six most important. Getting these six elements in order means you’re ready to invite some friends – even if you have more work to do.
1. Title Tags
Title tags are found in the head of your website and tell search engines what your page is about. They will also serve as the clickable link from a search engine result page. Title tags should come in right around the 70-character mark and include your targeted keyword. Because title tags influence search engines and users, they are the most important on-page SEO element. Check out this post for more tips on writing title tags.
2. Meta Descriptions
Like title tags, meta descriptions find their home in the head of your website code. But unlike title tags, their goal is less about search engines and more about users. The meta description will appear under your title tags on search engine result pages, and so it should feature strong, action-based copy. The ideal length is roughly 156 characters and should feature your targeted keyword at least once.
3. Quality Content
As your house needs furniture, your website needs content. Creating high-quality content isn’t easy, but the payoff is huge. Informative, keyword-rich content provides the double benefit of pleasing both search engines and real users. Search engines see quality content as providing value to searchers. Customers see quality content as evidence of a trustworthy business. Working on SEO without good content is like inviting guests to a house without furniture.
I’m not talking about link-building here – it’s still too early for that. First, we need links built into the website itself. The best SEO strategies include both internal and external links. Internal links help search engine bots to crawl and index all your pages. While external links (in moderation) show that you have a genuine interest in providing answers – even if they appear on another website.
5. Header Tags
Header tags are an organizing tool for your content. I could have included them under the content heading, but they are worthy of their own section. Header tags break content into easy-to-digest sections. In this post, I’ve used H1 tags for the title, H2 tags for the main headings, and H3 tags for sub-headings. The use of header tags clarifies your content to search engines while making it easier to read. Header tags should include targeted keywords whenever possible.
Images make a website look appealing. But that’s not all. Within the code of your site, you can establish image alt tags that tell search engines about the images. Alt tags don’t do anything for the user experience, but they are vital for the search engines to better understand your content.
Search Engine Optimization
The world of SEO is always shifting, but some things never go out of style. The above methods will help your site to rank better – and will never backfire (unless you go crazy with some keyword stuffing). There are countless SEO tools, strategies, and practices; but every SEO company on earth is going to start with something like this list. Fusion Group USA offers SEO services for all stages of optimization – from initial audit through backlink strategies. If you’re ready to grow your business through the intelligent use of search engine optimization, contact us today to set up a free consultation.