Having high visibility in a search engine’s organic results is critical to your business’ online success.
People use search engines to find solutions to their problems. And if your product or service isn’t visibly ranking in search as a solution to their problem, that’s a massive missed opportunity for your business.
So what can you do to improve your rankings and where do you even start?
Start by focusing on optimizing your on-page SEO. On-page SEO is one of the most important processes you can use to achieve higher rankings organically and start showing up in front of your target audience.
Because the search landscape is constantly changing and evolving, it’s imperative you make sure your on-page SEO knowledge is up to date. Here are five critical on-page SEO factors that every business should be thinking about.
Focus on your H1 headings and H2 subheadings
You need to use H1 and H2 tags. These help Google understand the structure of your page. Your headline should become an H1 heading. Your sub-points should be H2 headings, and bullet points can help organize information under each subcategory.
While this strategy for organizing content makes it easier for readers to skim and settle on the information they’re looking for, it also helps Google to better understand your content.
Use your target keywords at the beginning of your pages
An old-school on-page SEO tactic that still works today is to use your target keywords in the first 100 words of your article or page. Google puts more weight on the terms that show up early on your page—it helps Google understand what your page is about.
2. Page Speed
Slow pages are a no-go. Page speed has been cited consistently as one of the leading SEO ranking factors for years. Slow loading sites provide a bad user experience. Search engines prefer sites that are going to show users the answers to what they’re looking for as fast as possible.
You can improve your site speed by reducing your number of redirects, compressing files, implementing website caching, reducing your page size, removing third party scripts, and many other steps that can speed up load time.
3. Mobile Friendliness
Today, we live in a mobile-first world. More people use mobile devices than desktops to browse the web. And because of that, Google has made it clear that your pages need to be mobile-friendly.
Google has a mobile-first index. On pages where content is not easily accessible for users on mobile, it’s unlikely that you’re going rank high in search results.
Google takes into consideration what the user’s experience is when they land on your site. Your site needs to:
- Be responsive and automatically resize to fit whatever device your visitor is using
- Use large fonts for enhance readability on a small screen
- Have easy navigation—that means having accessible menus is a must
If you have any doubts whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing tool to see how your site stacks up.
4. Domain names, extensions and URLs
Your URL helps Google understand what your page is all about. And having the right kind of URL can improve your organic CTR.
Using the right kind of URL is important—every URL on your website should be short, sweet, and keyword-rich. It needs to be a URL that Google’s bots can easily reach and crawl. But the theme here is: keep things simple. Keep the URLs as short as possible, write them in plain english, avoiding number or letter sequences that might only mean something to your team, and use relevant keywords tastefully—don’t just throw in keywords just for the sake of it.
Domain names and extensions
Domain names and extensions do impact on SEO—however, the approach has changed over the years. The major factor that leads to website ranking is hosting valuable content and getting valuable backlinks from authoritative sources. But when you add a keyword-rich domain name and relevant domain extension, it’s icing on the cake.
Let’s take a look at this example.
Say we have Website A with the domain name and extension of www.plywoodstore-london.com and Website B with the domain name and extension of www.londonply.store. Both can rank just as well as the other. However, the latter will garner more trust and will help the business get more on-topic backlinks for the keyword search of ‘London plywood store’.
Your domain extension is an opportunity to communicate what you do—coming up with your domain name gives you the opportunity to be uniquely relevant to your business, and you can get creative while boosting your SEO ranking.
Consider choosing a domain name based on your business type. Here are a few ideas:
- If you’re in technology or IT, you could go with .TECH
- If you’re in retail or eCommerce, .STORE could be a good choice
- If you’re a journalist or publisher, try .PRESS
- If you’re building your personal brand, then you can use .ONLINE
5. Internal and external links
The web is built on links—so links are a crucial SEO ranking signal. A well-optimized page will include both internal and external links.
Including internal links to other pages with relevant content can help Google to better understand how all of your content is related. When you include internal links, make sure the anchor text has keywords in it. This can boost your rankings with search engines.
Some people hesitate to include external links for the fear that doing so will just drive traffic away. This isn’t the case. You want to show that you’re creating quality content for your website visitors. When you link to other relevant, authoritative sites in your niche, it creates a better user experience and is good for SEO.
If you have a business with an online presence, on-page SEO has to be a focus to compete and stay relevant today in search. Thinking about SEO on each page individually instead of just collectively as a whole gives you the greatest chance at standing out in SERPs on multiple pages.
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