On-Site factors are those parts of a web page that directly impact how well you rank on search engines.
The first step in optimizing your website is understanding your site’s structure, architecture & code. These are important factors given a lot of significance by the algorithms used by search engines and enable us to make firm recommendations on how to improve your site’s relevancy and in targeting the best performing keywords for your industry and location.
When we have completed the audit of your website, we will detail the changes recommended to improve the site’s performance ion search engines’ rankings. These changes can then be implemented by our in-house optimisation team or we can collaborate with a third-party provider to ensure all proposed improvements are executed correctly.
If you purchase one of our SEO packages our organic search experts will regularly verify that the on-site components of your website – including your code, content and choice of technologies are well matched to aid search engines to crawl and index your site effectively. All changes will be recommended first, and only implemented once you have approved them.
An on-site audit of your website reviews the state of the meta tags, content and other on-page elements to identify opportunities to optimize the site for better search engine penetration (see below for an overview of the key areas covered in on-site SEO optimization).
What is included in on-page SEO?
Getting the Meta Data Right
Meta tags are used to give search engines the information they’re looking for from your website. Used correctly, meta tags are one of the most powerful tools you can use in search engine optimization. They are are added to the <head> section of your website’s HTML. Warning: If you fail to specify your meta tags correctly, search engines will just randomly select text content from your website and use this to display under the search term, which could end up losing you visitors.
Each page of your website needs a title meta tag, which is shown at the top of the browser window. You can also think of it as the heading or introduction to the search result. Despite the constant changes to Google’s algorithms, your title tags are still the most important factor in on-site SEO. The title tag is part of the meta data for your web pages, and the <title> element is essential in getting the page validated as html. Each title tag must be contained within the <head> of every page on your site and should be coded as shown: <title>insert title tag here<title>.
Where you place the keywords in your title though is essential to crafting pages that humans and search engines respond well to. In simple terms, if you place your keyword close to the start of the title tag, search engines will give this more weight and push you up the rankings.
The Description Meta Tag displays the description of your site in the search engine results, underneath the Title Tag.
Meta descriptions offer great opportunities (via search results pages) to convince people into clicking on your link. If your meta description tags are poorly written or incorrect, you could see your click through rates go down! Although meta description tags do not directly affect your search engine rankings, they do impact other factors that are measured by search engines to rank websites.
Originally, keyword meta tags were powerful tools used by all search engines to determine the results shown on each search results page. Now however none of the major search engines consider meta tags in the algorithms they use to determine search results. But it is still worth ensuring your keyword tags are not causing your site to appear as a spammer because of overstuffed keyword tags.
Alt tags describe an image to search engines crawlers (because search engines can’t read images, only text) and vision-impaired visitors about the image displayed. All images used on your site should include Alt tags otherwise your HTML will not be considered valid by search engines, and, as a result, you could lose out free traffic to your site (by not adhering to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for images).
You can easily check to see if the Alt tags you’ve used so far are correct using the “site:” operator mode in Google search. To do this go to Google and type in: site:www.yourwebsite.com’
Validating a website will help you to make sure your website complies with minimise any coding errors and to fix broken links, among other non seo benefits. This is a part of our work in optimizing websites that you may not notice but which can have a dramatic effect on how well your site ranks in the major search engines.
Validating your HTML and CSS code impacts the success of the SEO process indirectly. As the result of such validation is to make your site render better in different browsers and to make it more accessible to users on different devices, effective validation can improve your website’s popularity, traffic levels, the natural links to the site. All of which results in a better ranking in Googleyou’re your website.
Google itself recommends using w3c validator to validate your site code (W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium – a community dedicated to developing open standards that ensure the future growth of the world wide web).
Getting the Content Right
There are two vital points to remember when writing your website’s copy:
It must meet the needs of the people visiting your site; and it needs to fulfill the requirements of the major search engines, i.e. it should be of high quality (clear, unique and understandable), and it must satisfy Google’s keyword density and placement recommendations.
So, although search engines have no direct way of determining the quality of your copy, they do have plenty of tools to assess quality indirectly, in particular with these user-experience metrics:
- Repeat Visitors
- Bookmarks in Chrome
- Time Spent on Site
- Dwell Time (more on that here)
Keyword Density refers to the ratio of a keyword or phrase to the overall number of words on a webpage, and as such keyword density has a major influence on how your site is optimised for search engines.
Once we have audited your site, we will provide you with our recommendations on how to improve search engine ranking by optimising your keyword density across key pages of your site.
Typically, you should aim for a keyword density of approximately 2% to 8%. Over-filling your pages with keywords is known as “keyword stuffing”, and beware of this as search engines regard stuffing as spam and will penalise your site and how it ranks in search results. And this can result in lower visitor levels for your website.
Website copy that has been optimized for search engines places keywords and phrases towards the top of the page (ideally they should appear in the first 100-150 words of each page on our site. It is also advisable to include the main keyword in the final paragraph of the copy.
As part of our optimisation work, we will review the key pages of your site and amend the keywords and their placement in line with current SEO best practices as specified by Google and the other major search engines.
High quality copy that’s been fully optimised is a great place to start, but by adding relevant, engaging images, videos and graphics you can reduce your website’s bounce rate (the percentage of users who click thru to your site and then leave almost instantly) as well as increasing the amount of time they spend on your site: and these are the two critical user-interaction factors in how your site ranks on search engines.
Multimedia can give the user-interaction signals that Google uses a real boost. Plus, images, videos and graphics can really increases the perceived value of your site’s content. And that means people are more likely to link to it!
Once your website audit has been concluded, we will provide you with suggestions for which types of multimedia content could be added to your key pages for optimum effect.
Reach Out to Others
Outbound links (links from your website to another site) to related pages with similar content is a vital relevancy signal that tells Google about the subject matter on your pages, and it shows Google that your page is one of good quality content. Not linking out might be the #1 on-page SEO mistake that I see people make. I usually link out 2-4x per 1000 words. That’s a good rule of thumb for most sites. Keep in mind that the sites you link out to reflect on you. So make sure to link out to authority sites whenever possible.
How Fast Do Your Pages Load?
Google has made it very clear that the speed with which your pages load is a an important signal within SEO rankings. There are lots of ways you can improve the speed of your site, such as using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), by compressing images, and switching to faster hosting.
Remember, the faster your pages load, the more likely it is that people searching for what you provide will stay long enough to read/watch/engage with your content.
Our specific recommendations for your site will be included as part of the website audit we conduct on your site. Once approved, we will implement these changes to boost your website’s page loading speed.
Are you sociable?
At the moment, social signals aren’t an important component of the Google algorithm). However, social shares on networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can result in small improvements in search engine rankings, and with each small improvement, you win more visitors to your site.
But first of all, you have to make these social options clear and easily accessible via your core content. In a study carried out by BrightEdge the conclusion is that prominent social sharing buttons/links can increase social sharing by 700%, and that could mean you get your content in front of a lot of new potential clients.
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