On-Page SEO Best Practices

December 3, 2015

Want to show up in search engines for what you do? Of course you do! There is no doubt that search engine optimization (SEO) is very important, and that having a successful online presence and digital marketing strategy requires careful planning - but what’s the best approach to SEO? The term SEO is so broad and encompasses many different approaches that often times business owners are unsure of where to start. Most people have heard terms like “white-hat SEO”, “black-hat SEO”, “content marketing”, “pay-per-click” and other strategies that promise to push websites to the top of search engines in a jiffy. The fact is, there is a lot of competition out there, and it is critical to employ SEO best practices to create meaningful traction on your website and to attract and keep the attention of major search engines like Google.

On-page SEO is an easy and practical place to start to make sure your website is optimized and set up as Google-friendly and user-friendly. There are a number of on-page factors that can improve your website’s search ranking - below are eight on-page Denver SEO tips and tactics you can implement to help your website show up in search results.

SEO-friendly URLs

Utilizing relevant keyword phrases in your URLs is helpful for customers and appeals to search engines. Instead of using the default URLs that the content management system generates, create simple URLs that are easy to read and naturally include the keywords you are targeting. As with blog content, the first words in a URL (or article) are given more weight by Google than later words. This makes perfect sense! Make sure it is easy for search engines to “read” your URLs – don’t make them dig for this valuable information. Include keywords in the first 3-5 words of your simple URL.

Keywords in Titles

Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past and no longer fools search engines, but it is still extremely important to include keywords in appropriate and readable ways. Possibly the most important on-page SEO element for search ranking is the title tag. By including the relevant keywords in a title you can help improve your SERP results as well as compel customers to click on your link over the many other search results. As with content and URLs, use your keywords early in your title.

Use H1 Tags

Once you have your intriguing keyword-rich title, you should make sure to use the H1 (headline) title tag around it. Utilizing title and sub-heading tags on your page not only make the content much easier for customers to read, it also tells search engines how the content is structured and which keyword phrases are most important on the page.

Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the 150 characters of copy that show up on the search engine results page. This is an opportunity to tell a search engine what your page is about. It is important to be concise and to include proper keywords in your meta description. Consider that search engines and web browsers don’t intuitively know what your page or website is about. Use language that makes sense and gives an accurate snap shot of your business, service, or product.

Internal Linking

Carefully including internal links in a natural, helpful way is a good way to get customers and search engines clicking deeper into your website. When adding these internal links, use either a call to action or keyword phrase as your anchor text, rather than a lengthy, gibberish link. To learn more about SEO and DWD’s success stories, click here. (See how I just did that? J)

Optimize Images

Whenever you use an image on your web pages it is crucial to rename the images using descriptive names. And do not forget to add relevant keywords to the image alt text as search engines read and weigh this information when ranking your web pages. What is alt text? It is basically an alternative information source for an image. If images are disabled then the alt text offers an explanation of what the image is in plain text. If the image does show/ is enabled, having appropriate alt text still allows search engines an opportunity to read what the image is supposed to convey.

Content is King, and Length is Strength

When creating any content for your website, the most important factor to keep in mind is quality. No amount of optimization will help content that is lacking value or overly stuffed with keywords. Make sure your content is readable, uses natural language, is free of spelling and grammatical errors, and is original. This will not only decrease your bounce rate but will also show potential customers the value your business offers. 
There is also something to be said about content length. While quality is critical, length is also important as the longer an article the higher the possibility that it is offering an in-depth explanation or solution to the audience. Most people can write a few hundred generic words about any given topic, but to truly delve deep and show your expertise, more is generally better. Do not sacrifice quality for length, but consider spending the extra time to establish your credibility in your field – you won’t be sorry you did!

Social Share Buttons

There is some debate as to whether social sharing buttons (think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) actively affect a site’s search ranking, and while the positive results may not be absolute, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Perhaps most importantly, including social buttons on your site makes it easier for browsers to share your content with their social networks. This is beneficial because sharing helps to increase your content’s reach and shows search engines that your content has value. The more people “share” and “like” your articles, the more attention Google pays to that content. If lots of people are reading and sharing your excellent content, there’s a chance even more people are looking for the same kind of content in other web searches. There is a growing understanding in the content marketing world that the first step to creating business traction through content is to create great content, and the next step is to market (share, link, promote) that content.

So, Now What?

A consistent pattern in the above on-page SEO best practices is that they appeal to both your site’s browsers AND to search engines. Google is sending a strong message that it rewards sites that are user-friendly, easy to navigate and contain relevant, useful information. Google’s goal is to return the best and highest quality search results possible to users, and if you help make Google’s job easier by employing these on-page SEO practices on your website you will be rewarded.

SEO is tough, and it’s not a perfect science, but Denver Website Designs is here to help you weed through do’s and dont’s of SEO and digital marketing to help give you the competitive edge you need to make your business shine online. If you are ready to improve your website’s search rankings and to learn more about our professional services including web development, content marketing, SEO, and email marketing, give us a ring today. 
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