Here is everything you need to know about on page SEO and website optimization, from designing your website and picking your domain name to submitting it to Google and other search directories for it to get noticed.
Picking Your Domain Name
It is helpful to choose a domain name that is a keyword. A keyword is a term that people use to search for your product or service on the internet. If they search for that term and see that your domain is an exact match, it will give you credibility. It is also helpful for google to know what your site is about and will slightly help with search results but does not weigh heavily in the end. There are other factors discussed below that have a stronger impact.
Google is becoming increasingly more competitive, and if you do pick a domain name that is not a keyword, that will also play in your favor. It’s a great idea to make a brand that people will search for where there is no competition and other companies fighting for that same term.
When picking a domain, use three words or less and make it short. If you need to use a hyphen because the domain you want to use is unavailable, use only one hyphen. Google doesn’t like more than that.
In the end, pick a keyword if you want that extra immediate advantage and choose something unique for a long term benefit and more substantial branding opportunities.
Doing Keyword Research for on page SEO
There are a couple of other ways to do keyword research. One option is to use the Google Search Console and see what you are currently ranking for.
How to Find Your Keywords in the Search Console
- Go into the Google Search Console and click on the “Start Now” button
- You may have to set up your website in the search console, if your website designer or developer hasn’t already. Follow along with the prompts to do so. It’s been awhile since I’ve done it from scratch but if you get stuck, call me and I’ll help you.
- After your site is set up in the Search Console, click on the “Open Report” option in the Performance box.
- Click on all the boxes at the top so each is highlighted in a color.
- Scroll down a little bit and then click on the Countries tab, and then select United States.
- Scroll up and you will see United States in the top as one of the filters and you will see that the graph has changed to represent only the stats from the US search results.
- Now click on the Queries tab and you will see all the keywords you are showing up for in the US
- If you click on the Pages tab and select a page, you can then go back to Queries and see all the keywords that page has ranked for.
- One last adjustment switch the date range from “Last 3 months” to “Last 28 Days” by click on it and then selecting the option you want.
- You can further optimize your individual pages to rank for those keywords that it’s already showing up for. Try to target keywords that your position is in the top 10 for already. It’s easier to rank those.
The other option is to see what your competition is ranking for in the Google Keyword Planner and try to rank for those.
How to Find Your Keywords in the Google Keyword Planner
- Go to the Keyword Planner here, you may need to add your credit card info and setup a campaign to access these. If that is the case, go ahead and do it and then immediately cancel the campaign.
- This is the process after you’ve given your credit card info.
- Go to the Keyword Planner again and click the big blue button that says “Go to Keyword Planner”
- Click on the box that says “Discover New Keywords”
- Now click on “Start with a Website”
- Enter the URL of your competition and click “Get Results”
- The planner will give you a list of results and keywords you can target for your own site.
When you are looking at the keyword planner, you will see several columns, and here is what these mean.
The Avg. monthly searches are how many people are searching for that keyword per month. Google gives you an average of between 100-1k, 1k-10k, and 10k-100k. The higher this number is, the better for you.
Competition is Low, Medium, or High, and this refers to what other companies are paying to show up for that keyword in the search results. You want Low or Medium competition keywords because these are cheaper to pay for when you do paid advertising and easier to rank for.
Top of Page Bid (high and low) this is how much companies are spending for one-click to their site. The range of price per click can be from $0.05 to $20 or more. That is why you want a Low competition keyword, they are usually cheaper but not always.
Pick about 6 or 7 keywords to include on one page. Add each keyword to your page 2-3 times.
Pick a Hosting Account
We use Siteground because it’s the cheapest available, and they provide 24/7 customer service support. For $90 a year, you get everything you need with a hosting service, the SSL certificate, a shared hosting plan, cPanel, and customer support.
Make your URL extensions as short as possible, for example, mywebdevgirl.com/on-page-seo. Google only reads the first four words, so keep them quick and simple. Omit connecting words like and, or, the… Use a hyphen between each word.
If you use WordPress, which we highly recommend, go into your dashboard and under settings go to permalinks and setup your URLs to leave out the date so that these stay short.
Website Content Optimization
When you are writing for the internet, people have very short attention spans and will go to the next site just as fast as they came to yours. You have to be optimizing your website for your users. A few things that help local companies are writing in short paragraphs and short sentences. Make your paragraphs four sentences or less. Including headings throughout the content helps the reader know what is in the content.
Using your keyword in the headings at the beginning of the page and within the paragraphs helps with your local SEO. Do not put the keywords everywhere to get these in. That is keyword stuffing and will get you knocked down in the results. Using your keywords must sound natural.
Make your font bigger so that it is easier to read and eye-catching. Make paragraphs a minimum of 18px in size or larger.
Image Optimization for on page SEO
If you do not have fancy image compression software like Photoshop or something else, you can use Smush, a free WordPress plugin. The plugin will shrink your over sized images and help increase your page load times. Page load speed is essential, and we will get into that a bit later. Using Smush, even if you shrink your images before uploading them to the site, will also help reduce your page load speed.
When you are naming your images and saving them, use keywords for the titles. Google sees everything.
After you upload these to your site, add descriptions of the images to your alt tags. If you use a keyword in the alt tag, this will significantly help your local SEO. The purpose of an alt tag is meant for screen readers to relay the website content to blind and other impaired users. The alt tag needs to describe the image. If the image is of a girl eating a salad, the alt tag must say that. If you can creatively add a keyword, then do so.
Outgoing and Internal Links
Throughout your website content, if you mention another popular website, then link to it. If you mention text that relates to another page on your website, then link to it. Anchor text is the text you use to link to another page or website and will help tell Google what that page your linking to is about and help put it on Google’s radar. When possible, use your keywords of the other pages as the text you link to that page. Test every link that you have on the site because a broken link will knock you down on the search results.
Do not buy links because Google will knock you down for it, and the links are usually spam, which strongly affects your ranking. Spam links are no-follow links, which means Google does not consider these when analyzing the importance of your site. You want do-follow links from sites that are clean and have a good reputation, these sites give you a good reputation in return.
PBN’s are also bad. If you see that acronym in relation to local SEO website optimization, run away and fast.
There are six heading tags, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. The first three are the most important. You need to have only one H1 tag, and this needs to be the title of your page. Be sure to include your keyword in this tag. You can have multiple H2 tags throughout the page; three is the best number but no more than 6. Be sure to use keywords in these tags too.
The heading tags label the content in order of importance, H1 being the most important and H6 being the least. The tags reduce in size as they become less critical.
Recently Google switched to Mobile First Indexing, meaning they weigh the importance of the mobile layout of your website heavier than desktop. You must have a website that looks good on mobile for it to be indexed. When designing your website, picking a theme that is already responsive will help. If the theme is not responsive, be sure to make the necessary adjustments so that all the content fits and looks good on mobile devices. You can do lots of testing in your browser by making your window smaller and seeing what it might look like on smaller devices.
Free Lead Magnets
You must offer something of value to your viewers to get them to convert into sales. You can give a discount or give away something for free. Don’t giveaway a PDF, that trick is old. Pick something that is worth some money. If you are a chiropractor or hairstylist, offer 10% off, for example. If you are a consultant, offer a free audit or a free consultation. To get the offer, the visitor must give you their name, email, and phone number.
When you have a contact form or lead magnet, make sure it goes to a thank you page after they submit their information. Title the thank you page so that you know which form they filled out when they get to it. This page title will show up in Google Analytics and allow you to know how many leads you are getting from your marketing campaigns and SEO website optimization efforts.
Setting up policy pages and an about page will help establish trust with your visitors and get them to convert. If your site is weird and missing this critical information, you will find it hard to get visitors to buy your product and book appointments.
CTA Above the Fold
Make sure that there is a Call to Action (CTA) as soon as you get to the site and that you do not have to scroll to see it. Usually, these are in the header of the website. A CTA is a button or a contact form used to gather information on your visitors, such as email, phone number, and name.
Getting your users to leave comments and feedback is more important than ever. Google uses the data it has on the users interacting with your site as a factor for who else to show your website too. Give away something on social media in exchange for comments, a sticker, anything to get engagement on your site. It’s also less work for you. Google reads the comments just as much as they read the content you write. Respond to every comment to help boost the amount of content on your site too.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Do not repeat content from your own site on multiple pages or copy content from other websites. You cannot hide. Google sees everything and will take your website down and blacklist you if you copy and paste content from other websites on the site. You can run your content through copyscape.com to get a report on any duplicate content that you may have. If you don’t have any, that’s awesome! Be original, and it will pay in the long run.
Yoast is the most popular SEO website optimization plugin. You do not need to pay for it; the free version is all you need. Yoast will allow you to change the title of your page and the meta description. The title and meta description is what shows up on Google when people see your website in the search results. Writing a catchy title tag and meta description will get people to click on your site link and visit your site.
The title tag needs to have your phone number and be less than 60 characters long. Be sure to include your keyword first thing in the Title tag and somewhere in the meta description. The meta description needs to be less than 160 characters.
Your Click Through Rate (CTR) is when people click on your website in the Google search results. You can change and play with the title tags to help improve your CTR if you find it’s low. A good click-through rate is 6% or more. You will find this metric in the Google Search Console.
Social Data (OG Data)
Social Data is what shows up when you paste the link into a Facebook or Twitter post. The OG data captures the URL, the image, and the page description. If you use WordPress, you can install the OG plugin and activate it. The OG data will then appear in the header code of your website.
Google Analytics is the heart and soul of your on page SEO, along with the Search Console. Google Analytics is easy to install; you have to insert the tracking code into the header on every page of your site. You can use the same Header Footer Code Manager plugin, as mentioned before, to do so. To find the tracking code, go to the Google Analytics dashboard, and click on admin. You will then see three columns; in the middle column, there is a Tracking Info option, under Tracking Info, click on Tracking Code. The code will be in a box, see an example of the code below. Copy and paste all of it, and that is what you insert into the header. Google will then track how many people come to your site, which country, state, or city they are in when visiting your website.
<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-85084405-1″></script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || ;
gtag(‘js’, new Date());
The Google Search Console will give you keyword data and sitemap information regarding your website. It’s an invaluable tool for your local SEO. In the performance section of your search console, you can see how many people clicked on your site, how many people saw your website in the search results, the average CTR, and the average position of your whole site. The metrics can be found for specific pages and queries. Click around and get familiar with all the options available to you through the Search Console.
The sitemap will be added to your site when you add the plugin, Yoast. You can find it by visiting your site url/sitemap.xml, for example. mywebdevgirl.com/sitemap.xml. If you don’t use Yoast, you can generate one using an online sitemap generator and then upload it to the root directory of your website. Be sure to include a link to the HTML sitemap in the footer of your website.
The Robots.txt is a file that tells Google what to crawl and what not to crawl. You can access your robots.txt by adding the file name to the end of your domain name, for example, mywebdevgirl.com/robots.txt If you use WordPress, you can use the content in that robots.txt file.
CDN, SSL Setup
Security is now a standard you must deploy on your website. Installing a CDN with Cloudflare is free. If you use Siteground for your website hosting, an SSL certificate is free. Other hosting companies may charge $75 a year. Call Siteground customer support and ask them to activate it for you. If you have a web developer, call him/her to activate your CDN with Cloudflare.
Page Speed Load Time Under 2.5 Seconds
Use GTMetrix to measure how fast your page is loading and find out what errors there are for you to fix. A website that has too much and unnecessary content may load slow. Too many plugins might affect your page speed also. Large images, as mentioned earlier, will slow your site down, and it’s imperative to add images that are as small as possible without losing quality.
Using a caching plugin will allow the site to load faster. A caching plugin will store the website content and images on the server and the user’s computer, so that the next time a visitor visits your site, the content is already recognized by their computer and will load much faster. WP Fastest Cache is an excellent caching plugin.
Local Citation Builder
Building Local Citations will help give your site authority to Google. A local citation website is a human-reviewed website listing company. Search engines use local citation websites to index their search results and weight the sites listed on the local listings heavily. The best local citation website is Dmoz.
Spruce Up and Relaunch Old Content
If you have content that is a year old, read through it, and update it to fit today’s practices. Keyword optimize it if you need to and relaunch it. Google loves fresh and new content.
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