You’ve probably heard a lot about Search Engine Optimisation and how quality SEO can potentially help your business rank well, and ultimately increase conversions. But the real question that comes to mind is “Where should I start?”. Should I start building quality links by creating great content? Should I push on my Social Media activity? Maybe I should make some changes to the design of my website? Where should I start…? Okay, let’s stop here, take a deep breath and let’s analyse things carefully.
The first step that you’d want to make is to look at your On-Page SEO (Internal SEO), and identify parts of your website that can be improved and/or changed internally (i.e. directly on your site).
So, we’ve decided to compose a list of 15 ways to build a solid On-page SEO foundation.The important thing to keep in mind is that these techniques will help both, search engines and users. All Google genuinely cares about is an experience that users get from visiting your website.
Well, enough of the introduction, let’s get into the business. As an example, we’ll be using a company that offers legal services in Milton Keynes.
1. Navigation & Structure
Ensure that your navigation is clear by using top level pages and subpages where applicable. Users wouldn’t want to waste their time by trying to find that “hidden” page. It shouldn’t take more than three clicks to get to the desired page (unless you have over 100,000 pages or so).
For example, if you are providing legal services, and offering more than 20 different services, you would want to avoid listing all of that as top level pages (i.e. in your main navigation panel along with home and contact us page). More efficient way of doing that will be to categorise these pages by relevance and list them under “services” tab.
2. URL Structure
Your URL structure should clearly illustrate the hierarchy of the website. A Bad Example of URL Structure:
A Good Example of URL Structure:
Also, using your target keywords in URLs can provide you with a little ranking advantage over sites that don’t.
You need to make sure that every page of your website contains at least 300-400 words, and that your content answers searchers intent/query. Remember, relevance is the key.
4. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a big thing, especially for large websites that have different paths to the same information. You can use “rel: canonical” tag to direct search engines to the page that you’d want to be treated as an original piece of content.
We recommend that you check your Robots.txt file and make sure that it doesn’t block or “disallow” search engines from crawling your website. Your robots.txt file is located under “www. yourwebsite.com/robots.txt”. If it doesn’t say “disallow: /googlebot/” then you are fine.
6. Title Tags
Every page on your website should contain a unique and descriptive title tag. The title tag is the top snippet that you see when Google results come up. The title tag is considered to be one of the major ranking factors.
For example, for a law firm you might want to use something like this: Legal Services in Milton Keynes | YourLegalFirm
7. Meta Description
Meta Description is the text that is displayed just below your website’s link (see image above) in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Meta description should tell users what this page is about. Recommended length is between 100 and 155 characters.
8. Image Alt Tags
Google is pretty poor when it comes to reading and crawling images. Every image contains an “Alt Tag” which specifies the title of an image. Although it is a minor ranking factor, it is a good practice to add an “Alt Tag” to every image on your website.
9. Use of Heading Tags (H1-H6)
Every page on your website should contain a single H1 Heading Tag, which simply describes the page in few words. H2-H6 should be used for the content area.
10. Social Media Links
Ensure to link your social media profiles with your website, and other way around. You can add social media links to the footer or the header of your website (or even both).
It is vital to have a well-designed website that will attract visitors and enhance your user experience. Poorly designed sites usually scare people off. There are tons of great & well-designed websites where you can “borrow” some excellent ideas. Alternatively, you can hire a website design agency for a relatively low price.
Some researches indicate that people wouldn’t wait more than 4 seconds for your website to load. There are number of things that you can do to speed up your site (e.g. compress the size of your images)
Test your website load speed here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
14. 301 re-directs
If you have made some changes to your URLs, ensure to redirect the old ones to the new pages. This also applies if you have a brand new website and the old one is no longer in use. Make sure to address your re-directs to the most relevant pages on your new website. Re-directs will pass the majority of the link juice to the new website.
15. 404 Error Page
In case you’ve missed some re-directs (don’t worry, not a big deal), ensure that you have a well designed 404 page that can at least direct users to your home page.
We consider our 404 page to be quite creative, tell us what you think?