On Page SEO
You know you need to be at the top of Google, but you just don’t know how to get there. We get that. You are not alone. Most of the clients we work with had been in the same position as you before they called us. Maybe this story will help describe what we do in more detail, and what we do when it comes to on-page optimization.
We recently had a client that had been through the ringer many times with several so-called “SEO Experts”. He tried to work with small companies that promised the world, only to not deliver any results. He then went to the big agency to fix his issues, only to be disappointed once again, and this time, it cost him a lot more money to get lackluster results.
Our new client called and said he wasn’t going to spend a ton of money and was burned in the past. He wanted to work with a company that would not only get him great results, but could also measure and define what was working. Before we went any further, we took a few hours to look at the on-page optimization of the site and explained in detail why his website was not ranking. We also explained what was preventing him from moving to the top of Google. Here are a few of the factors we pointed out. It is important to note that nearly all of the clients we bring on board have the same mistakes on their site.
Poor URL structure
The URL is the way Google sees each page of your website. Your home page is a URL, www.examplesite.com. An internal page of your site is also a URL, www.examplesite.com/blue-widgets. The URL’s within your site are critical and carry a lot of importance when it comes to ranking. The better your URL’s are defined, the easier it is for Google to identify and rank your site.
In this case, the client had several URL’s that were very similar, and this created mass confusion to the Google spiders when crawling the site. Remember, your website is being crawled by computers, so we need to make sure we make it as simple as possible for these machines to move through your site efficiently.
The client also had several pages of the website without a clearly defined purpose. If you don’t explain to Google what the page is about, you will not rank for the keyword you are targeting.
We changed the URL structures to match the keywords we wanted to target, and made only one page the most important for each area we were targeting. We now had laid the foundation and the structure for the search engines to follow. We then moved on to the titles and description.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
Our client was using a plugin that added the name of the website to Meta title on every page. So in our client’s case, his Meta Title was:
About | The Blue Widget Company
Contact Us | The Blue Widget Company
Products and Services | The Blue Widget Company
Frequently Asked Questions | The Blue Widget Company
While it is important for Google to know your brand, it is not necessary to use your name in every meta title on your site. It is overkill, and you want to take advantage of the meta title to display the keywords you are targeting. You will also wish to make use of LSI keywords and synonyms in this section. You can learn more about using LSI keywords here.
So we made changes to the title and included much more relevant information for the search engine spiders, as well as the user.
We also changed the descriptions allowing us to inform users about a page’s focus. In case you didn’t know, the Meta Title and Meta Description are displayed when you do a search on Google. The description gives the searcher a clear idea regarding the webpage’s topic. If you have excellent descriptions, you will have a higher click-through-rate, a factor that Google desires in all websites.
• If you have poor meta titles and descriptions on the pages of your site, you will not rank well. A simple fact, but overlooked by most “SEO Experts”.
Content On Each Page
Our new client was also missing one of the biggest factors when it came to ranking on Google……content. In this case, it wasn’t about our client not having good content, it was about not having enough content.
If you have very little content on your homepage or any internal page of your website, it is going to be difficult to rank for specific keywords. The Google Algorithm is designed to find relevance. They find this significance by either reading the content on the page and by gathering data from the traffic and links to your website. A site like Amazon doesn’t need to have a lot of content on each page because they have tons of traffic daily, and they are linked to by so many sites on the web. If you are not a household name or don’t have a ton of great links pointing to your website, you need to have content. Good, keyword rich, readable content that both visitors and spiders will understand.
Our client had pictures all over the home page of his site and very little content. He had a few paragraphs here and there, but nothing that carried any substance. In the little content he did have, he repeated the keywords he was targeting over and over and over again. So in this case, our client had 350 words of content but used his primary keyword ten times on the page. OVERKILL! It didn’t look natural, and Google penalized his rankings for it.
Each page of your website should have good, readable, keyword rich content. Note, I am not saying the same keyword over and over, but keyword rich content, and be sure to use keywords that relate to your topic matter. On this particular optimization, we used statistically improbable phrases and some semantically related expressions to improve his rankings. These phrases are those that statistically, don’t appear in conjunction with any other subject online. If we have more of these keywords in our content, Google will connect the dots and quickly identify a page’s topic. It is fair to say that 99% of SEO’s have no idea what statistically improbable phrases are, yet they are a HUGE RANKING Factor.
There were several H1 tags on our clients site, but they all said the same thing again. These are simply the Headlines on the page. They make scanning content easier for the viewer. An H1 is the biggest; then they get smaller as they go down the page – H2, H3, H4, etc. Optimizing an H1 is crucial to ranking effectively.
NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number
You can read more about this in the Google Local section, but NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Google wants legitimacy, and a real business has a unique name, address, and phone number on the footer of the homepage. Our client had three addresses on the home page of his site, and two of them were PO Boxes that his former SEO told him to use. This is simply a way to game the system, and Google caught on. If you don’t have a real address, then don’t make one up to rank. If some “trick” is working today, it will be figured out shortly. We put the legitimate address on the home page, and some other internal pages, and within weeks he was ranked in the Maps section of Google.
Silos and Sales Funnels
Before we discuss silos, I just want to point out that you don’t need to know how we do all of this; however, some people wish to dig into the technical stuff.
The SILO is the architecture of your website. How people can find related content on one page, and then click a link to another page that is relevant to that topic. The better you layout your silo, the easier it is to rank. It also helps with any links that flow into your website because it helps carry “link juice” throughout the site.
Our client offered some different services but wasn’t able to get people onto the proper page of the site. We adjusted his SILO, and each page had a link to a very helpful page close by.
This relates to SILOs but simply stated, it is a link from one page of your site to another. This can be achieved with an internal link in the content like this one here that directs you our home page, or it can be reached by having links on the sidebar that you see up to the right. The sidebar link is part of this SILO, and you can learn more about our Social Media Management, or Google Local by clicking one of those links. Having the wrong internal linking kills potential rankings. Our client had a major issue no other SEO could figure out.
Our client wanted to rank for a few specific keywords, but he was linking to them with the wrong anchor text. He wanted to rank for “blue widgets”, but he had multiple pages of his website that he linked to with that same phrase. So in his blog he linked to the home page with “blue widgets”, he then linked to an internal page of his site with “blue widgets”, as well as to his contact us page. Google couldn’t figure out what was the most relevant page for “blue widgets”. Want to know what happened……..none of the pages ranked for blue widgets because Google was confused. Internal links provide use because they can help visitors easily navigate your website. By fixing our clients internal link structure, we were easily able to move him to the front page of Google for his most coveted keyword phrase.
What You Need To Know
This example is very common, and we see it day after day. There are so many factors that go into each page of your website, and the on-page setup is crucial to your success. Would you spend thousands of dollars to paint your car if the engine wouldn’t make it another month? Why invest in social media, link building, and all the other shiny objects if your on-page SEO is broken. We can be your on-page mechanics, and fix the issues you may not have even known you had.
As a certified Google Partner, we know what needs to be done on each page of your website, and can diagnose nearly every issue. We make the adjustments necessary to help you rank at the top of Google. If you are ready to take that next step and get your business on the front page of Google for your most relevant keywords, give us a call or fill out our discovery form to learn more. We want to use your website as our next example.