On-page SEO Basics
SEO has traditionally divided into two main areas:
- on-page optimisation, which covers what can be done on the pages of the website itself
- off-page optimisation, which covers activity that takes place elsewhere (e.g. link-building)
The majority of on-page SEO is not seen on by visitors to your website. Instead, the bulk of it is written in the HTML code of your site. Therefore, the majority of the tips, in this blog need to be undertaken by your web developer; however it’s still important for you, the website owner, to understand what is needed, in order to ensure that you are benefitting from the best possible on-page SEO practices on your website.
Content: This is the most important component of your website. Make sure that you have unique content on every page of your website. With so much competition out there these days, you need to ensure that your text easily and clearly conveys who you are and what your website is about, in a manner that is professional, well-researched and is of value to both your exisiting clients and potential new customers. Take the time to write, or have written for you, unique content that is well-constructed, informative and relevant to your business. If you are having your content written for you, take the time to read it carefully and make sure it’s saying what you want it to say - this content represents your business and so the quality of the writing and information is all-important.
Headings: Ensure that your headings have heading tags. You may wonder why heading tags are necessary when you could achieve the same effect simply by using a larger font. However, headings are pieces of HTML code that allow you to make certain words stand out on a page, and search engines pay special attention to these words.
Page title: When looking at a search results page you will see a blue clickable link. This is the title tag of your website. Your page title is written with both people and search engines in mind. Rather than having your Home page simply called ‘Home’, be sure instead to include your business name, and keywords that are relevant to the content of the page.
Meta description and keywords: Each page should have its own description and keywords. While less emphasis is placed on keywords these days, the description is still considered important. If you do not include your own description, search engines will often use the first line or two of the content from that page. This may not be the best indication of what your page is about, and so it’s important to take the time to include a short summary the page’s content in the meta description.
Alt image attribute: Make sure that you label all of your images with a descriptive alt attribute. Alt tags are used in the HTML code to describe images on a web page. Since search engines cannot see images, they use alt text (along with other factors) to determine what the image is and how relevant it is to the content of your site and to a particular search.
HTML sitemap: This is a sitemap intended for humans and is an easy way to supply your visitors with a snapshot of the structure of your website, allowing them to navigate quickly and successfully through your site. HTML sitemaps also help build up Internal links on your entire website (an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website).
As with anything that has to do with search engine optimisation, there is no one miracle step you can take that will see your site on page 1 tomorrow. SEO is much like baking a cake - it takes a number of ingredients, each as important as the other - to make it work. You need to do all that you possibly can to make your website competitive with others in your business or industry. However, if you can keep this basic checklist in mind, you will be heading in the right direction.
Written by +Denise Angus