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The Basics Of Good On-Page SEO Practice

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If your business has a website, you will almost certainly have come across the term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Despite sounding complicated, SEO pretty much means what it says on the tin. It’s all about optimising your website to make it more visible to search engines – without having to pay. Paid search is different and involves bidding for the top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs).

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What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of website structure and content – anything that is on the page (as opposed to off-page SEO).

Why do search rankings matter?

Well, there are around 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone and, of these searches, the top (non-paid) result gets 31.5% of the clicks. This drops to a meagre 6.5% share of the clicks by the 5th result.

Essentially, the higher up the page you are, the more likely it is for new customers to click through to your website. And the lower down the list your website is, the higher the chance of being overlooked. Good SEO helps get your site further up the list ahead of the competition.

How to improve search rankings?

Search engines use the content of your website to determine its relevance in relation to the keywords and terms your target audience is searching for. So the first thing you need to do is find out what words people are searching to locate businesses like yours. Once you have your keywords, you can set about making sure your website is optimised for them.

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Let’s explore some of the basics of good on-page SEO for your website…

Title tag

The title tag is the title that will appear at the top of your page and in the preview on SERPs, linking to your site. It should contain the key term, preferably at the start of the sentence, and it should be less than 70 characters.

Meta descriptions

Although Meta descriptions don’t directly count towards your page rankings, they should be filled in with relevant content that contains your keywords. A page’s Meta description appears in links and on the SERPs page and tells a user if the page is relevant to their search.

Headings

The headings and sub-heading tags on a page contribute towards its ranking. Use the H1, H2, H3 etc. tags on your page for relevant headings and include your key term in the H1 tag. This helps search engines read a page and find out what it’s all about.

Content

The content of your page is one of the most important things to get right. Your keyword or phrase should appear naturally several times on the page and it’s best to include it in the first line or paragraph of your copy, as well as the title.

Don’t be tempted to try and cram it in as many times as possible; this is called ‘keyword stuffing’ and search engines will penalise your site for it. Instead, write clearly and with the end-user in mind, making the copy digestible, informative and relevant.

Word count

Search engines like rich, informative web pages that help end-users find the answers they need. Longer content ranks higher than shorter, so try and keep your pages to 300-500 words or more. But be careful!

Relevant URL

A page’s URL displays in the browsing bar at the top of the page and is a part of the link address of that page.

Optimised images

Including images on your web pages makes them more engaging to your audience. A great tip is to upload images with a short caption that includes your desired search keyword.

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Follow these guidelines, and you’re on your way to on-page SEO success…

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