In the world of search engine optimization we’re constantly battling competitors and changes in search algorithms to optimize our pages to secure at least one of the coveted ten slots available on the first page results. There are a number of things to be done on-page to improve search results that can make a big impact. Despite what you may have heard or read online – meta keywords are not one of those things (and search engines have been ignoring this information on your pages for more than five years now, though crafty SEOs can use this information to outrank you if you’re still publishing meta keywords on your site – but that’s a topic for another article).
Here are five quick tweaks to boost organic results.
Before you begin: benchmark! You can’t measure success if you don’t know where you currently stand. Take the time to measure current rankings for your targeted keywords using various webmaster tools so you can definitively prove success after implementing these SEO tweaks.
Optimize Title Tags
Hands down, the title tag is one of the most influential elements of your page when it comes to SEO. This little hidden snippet of code is designed to tell search engines what your page is about and is commonly used in their results for your page.
When optimizing title tags, place your targeted search term as close to the front of the tag as possible and limit your titles to 50-70 characters total.
Update Meta Descriptions
Another hidden gem to help with organic rankings, your page meta description is a critical indicator to search engines as to what your page is about and is commonly used as the descriptive text that appears in search results pages.
To optimize your meta description, make sure your target keywords have prominent placement at the front of your description and also be sure your description is less than 150 characters. Anything more will get replaced with ellipses (…) when it appears in search results. Also, be sure to use a unique description for each page in your website.
Check Heading Tags
Using heading tags serves several purposes, they visually break up your content into blocks, making it easier to read, and they are also used by search engines to gauge what the following content is about. There are a number of heading tags to utilize on a page ranging from H1 (most important) to H6 (less important).
To optimize, make sure all pages are making use of heading tags. The H1 tag should be used only once per page and give a clear indication as to what the page content is all about., and the H2-H6 tags used to identify content to support the page’s H1 tag. Similarly to Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, place your target keywords as close to the beginning of your headings as possible.
Create Great Content!
When it comes to SEO, Content is King. Your site’s content is the reason people visit your web pages. It’s up to you to give them a reason to come. Content should be relevant to the target terms you’re optimizing for and should be engaging to your visitors. Clever use of your target keywords also gives search engines more details as to which search queries are relevant to you site and guides them on where your pages should rank for specific search terms.
To optimize page content, aim for 250+ words, keeping your target keywords in mind and including them where appropriate in your content.
Images can also be a large part of your on-page optimization strategy. Search engines can’t “see” an image to know what it’s about, so to optimize these be sure to include targeted keywords in your filenames and be sure to include descriptive, keyword-rich text in the image ALT tags.
Bonus Tip – Page load times have become increasingly important to determining page rank. Search engines are focused on providing the best experience to the user and are now factoring in how long it takes a site’s pages to load in their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) algorithms. The quicker your site can deliver content to the user, the more weight search engines will give your site. There are a number of ways to reduce page load times – coding improvements, file size optimizations, page caching, etc.
You can also test your page load times using tools like Pingdom to get a real-world analysis of your site’s speed. tools.pingdom.com