To help your website get found by potential customers you are going to need to optimize your on-page SEO. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's the process of helping Google and the other search engines know what our website is about.
For example, if you own a computing consultancy in Canada you would then optimize your home page around the keywords of "Computer Consultants in Canada" or whatever you have found in your keyword research.
If you don't know how to perform keyword research here are some good guides to get you started:
Title Tag Optimization
Once you have your keywords you will want to put them into certain pages on your web page so that Google and the other search engines know exactly what your website is about.
The first part you should start with is the title tag.
The title tag is the blue font that you see when you do a search on the search engines, this is the first thing that a potential visitor sees so you need to make it relevant and clickable. You can edit the title tag of any page in the backend of your website editor.
Using the above example you would use something along the lines of:
"Computer Consultants Canada - Get a Free Diagnostic Check Now"
From the example above you can see that the keywords are included in the first part of the title and there is a good reason for this. The closer your keywords are to the beginning of the title the better your page will rank.
In this example you can also see that the title tag includes an offer, this is to make the listing stand out from others and encourage potential website visitors to click the link.
Finally, title tags should be 60 characters in length. Any more than that and the title will be cut off and any less you're not using it to its full potential.
When you perform a search on the search engines, the blurb of text under the title which describes what the page is about is known as the meta description.
You should use this space to tell potential visitors what the page is about and you should also include your keywords in here too. You will notice if you perform a search using your keywords and you look at the descriptions of the results quite often these keywords are bolded which is a tactic Google uses to encourage clicks.
Your meta description length should be around 155-160 characters long and sticking with the example above it could look something like this:
"Expert computer consultants in Canada that work with PC's, Macs, Linux and Ubuntu operating systems. Download and fix your computer with our free app now"
From the example above you can see the keyword in the description, a call to action to get the reader to click the site and a description that tells the user about the page they are going to land on.
When you put content on to a page on your website you will get the option to add header tags or heading tags depending on what your content management system (Wix, WordPress, etc) calls them.
You may think these heading tags are to style your document and in a way they are, but they are used by the search engines to find out what the page is about.
Heading tags are structured from H1 being the most important down to H2, H3, H4 and so on.
Each page of your website should have 1 unique H1 tag, however, in some websites, they are either left out or too many of them are on one page.
To find out if your page has an H1 tag or if it has too many go to your page and right-click in Google Chrome.
Next select "inspect element" and you will see the code behind your website.
Next press CTLR + F and type:
This will show you how many H1's are on that page. If you don't have any you will need to add one and if you have more than one you will need to change these other headings to H2 heading tags.
Your main keyword should go in your H1 tag. Using the example above it would look like this:
"<h1>Computer Consultancy In Canada, serving Ottawa, Ontario and surrounding areas.</h1>"
Other tags on the site would be variations of your main keyword. H2 and H3 tags could follow this pattern:
"<h2>Microsoft Computer Consultants</h2>"
"<h2>linux computer consultants</h2>"
I know this can get confusing, so what I would recommend is to look at the keyword you want your website to show up for in Google and look at the top 3 results and see what they use on their pages and just work back from that.
By reverse-engineering the top results you know that you are going to be in the ballpark when it comes to heading tags optimisation.
Keywords In Your URL
This is a short tip but can make a big difference. If you are trying to get your page that talks about your cleaning business in your city you will want to add that keyword to the page URL.
Your current page URL could look something like this:
But you could optimise your page URL to the following for a nice boost:
This keyword in the URL can help your website rank higher so be sure to use it.
One mistake that I see many small business owners do is to create pages that have the same content on them. The above example with the cleaning company could have multiple locations where they offer this service.
Typically what then happens is the owner of the website creates landing pages for these cities. The website could then have location pages for New York, Miami, Washington and so on. The website owner would then copy and paste the content from the New York page to the Miami page and simply change New York text to Miami every time it is mentioned.
Google considers this to be duplicate content and your website can be punished for this. It may take time but it is worth creating unique content for each page because it will help your website to show up in the search engine results and will bring more business to you.
Images can be optimised in a few different ways, the simplest is to rename the image from 0048.jpg to yourkeyword.jpg this helps the image show up in the image search part of the search engines and can drive thousands of extra visitors to your website without much effort.
Compressing your images can also help with the time your web page takes to load. The quicker loading your website the higher the chance the visitor is going to stick around. Google has confirmed page speed is a ranking factor so minimising your images can help.
You can cut the size of your images by using a paid tool such as Photoshop or if you don't have that you can use a free image compression tool. There are many you can find online by Googling "image compression tool".
Optimising Content Length
The length of your content can have an effect on where your page ends up ranking on the search results. This is especially true if you see what Google calls "thin" content on the first page results.
However, as a rule of thumb check what your competitors are doing for a page and come in at a similar length. You should also aim for 1000-1500 words in length for your blog post as it allows you to cover the topic in detail and as a result, you can end up ranking for thousands of different keywords.
This isn't an article about off-page SEO but it is worth mentioning now that you have your most important on-page topics covered. Off-page SEO is getting other websites to link to yours, this is usually done by creating good content and getting them to link to it.
Of-page SEO is a huge topic, but if you have your on-page covered and want to try and get others to link to your website here are some good resources to get you started:
David Jones is the head of marketing at www.firewalltechnical.com a company that provides managed IT services in Ottawa. When not working, David loves spending time with his family and watching the Ottawa Senators.