Contributed by Andrew Doyle
SEO isn’t rocket science. It’s just one of those things you either have the time to learn and implement properly or don’t. In this beginner’s guide to on-page SEO are some ways for you to grow traffic from Google to your website organically.
1. Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions
Don’t be scared off by the terminology – this is simple.
Meta titles are just the titles of a web page that you see in the tab of your browser when you’re surfing online.
But it also helps tell Google what you are, so much so that it’s the information they display when you appear in a Google search.
The little description below the meta title is the meta description. This does not directly impact your rankings in Google, but it’s an excellent way to elaborate on your title and encourage people to click through to your website.
How do you edit them? In most CMS’ (Content Management Systems), there is usually a field to change the Meta or SEO Title. In WordPress, for example, you would download a plugin such as SEO Yoast or All-In-One SEO.
It should be noted that Google writes both its own title tags and meta descriptions in many cases, regardless of what you input. You should therefore consider these ways to improve ranking indirectly (as Google can read what you’ve input) rather than changing how your site will appear in search.
2. Heading Tags
Along with your meta title, a heading tag helps clarify to Google what your page is about.
3. Body Copy
The body copy is the paragraph text that flows under heading tags. In the eyes of Google, this is all extra evidence to back up your meta titles and heading tags. To an extent, the more of it you have, the better.
Google ranks not just pages with more words better but websites as a whole. So fill up every page that you can with lengthy (but quality) body copy, even if you’re not targeting anything on those other pages.
4. Assigning Keywords to Pages
You can use data from Google to see how many people are searching for keywords per month in your area. Once you know what you want to target, you should tailor each page for that keyword. This usually is common-sense stuff.
If we take a look at the meta titles alone on the Absolute Cosmetic Medicine website, we can see how they’ve targeted their pages for keywords:
- Home page:
- Cosmetic Surgery Perth
- Cosmetic Surgeons
- Cosmetic Clinic
- Breast Augmentation page:
- Breast Augmentation Perth
- Breast Implants Perth
- Liposuction page:
- Liposuction Perth
- Get Rid Of Fat
As you can see, all the keywords are just stating the obvious but in a “keyword-friendly” manner. Always take the common-sense approach and keep it to one type of keyword per page.
5. Increasing Page Relevancy Towards Keywords
Your keywords go deeper than just your meta titles and heading tags and peppering your keywords evenly throughout the body copy.
You want plenty of evidence throughout the content that supports your keywords.
Let’s say you’re a florist. You’ll want to have lots of proof words throughout your content, such as:
Using these proof words helps increase your overall topical relevancy throughout the page, giving a more precise indication to Google on what your webpage is about, allowing it to rank your webpage more confidently.
6. Targeting Different Areas
A common tactic for mobile services in a metropolitan area, particularly tradespeople, is to utilise suburb pages. That is because there is typically a higher presence of service + suburb keywords in these industries.
Just have a look at the monthly search volumes for a handful of suburbs in Perth for plumbing services (correct at the time of publication):
- Plumber Joondalup: 320 searches
- Plumber Hillarys: 70 searches
- Plumber Padbury: 40 searches
- Plumber Ocean Reef: 30 searches
- Plumber Edgewater: 20 searches
So, as you can imagine, there is a lot of opportunity for extra work if you can appear for a few different suburbs here and there.
Let’s look at how PWA Electrical Services, a group of Perth electricians, have built out some of their suburb pages.
Each of these suburb pages has around 500 words of uniquely written content.
The biggest mistake website owners make when crafting suburb pages is copying content over and just replacing the mention of Suburb A with Suburb B. Content on any page has to be unique – copying and pasting will harm your chances of ranking well in Google.
Going back to point 4, regarding proof words, PWA Electrical Services have to make sure that they’re not just proving to Google that this page is about electricians, but it’s also highly relevant to the suburb.
In the example below of the PWA Electrical Services page targeting the Ballajura area, they have even gone to the effort to mention landmarks and street names to help improve local relevance.
Many business owners are unsure of how to use their blogs.
For SEO purposes, we want to use it to target keywords that we usually wouldn’t on our other pages. A blog is best served to answer questions people ask on Google.
If we look at Visa Solutions Australia, this is something that they’ve done exceptionally well.
Some visa/migration-related questions that Google searchers ask are:
Child born in Australia to foreign parents: 170 searches per month.
Google is even pulling a rich snippet from Visa Solutions Australia here.
Okay, another one.
Consequences of fake marriage in Australia: 110 searches per month.
Boom. First again.
These posts are about 500-600 words long, are helpful answers to questions that are actually asked in Google, and rank well because of it.
Easy traffic that you can capitalise on!
Plus, if your content is REALLY helpful, there’s always the chance of other websites linking to your resources, which is AWESOME for the backlink component of SEO.
8. Things to Look Out For: Nofollow and Noindex
A couple of things could stop your website from being indexed or read by Google. These would be tags on the website called “noindex” and “nofollow”.
To see whether or not any of your pages have this tag, view the source code of your page.
You can do this on Google Chrome by right-clicking anywhere on your page and clicking “Page Source”. Then, hold Ctrl and press F if you’re on PC or hold Command and press F on a Mac to bring up a search box.
Start typing noindex or nofollow into the search box. If you have this annoying little code, you’ll see it like this:
If you do have this code, you will have to remove it from a file called robots.txt which usually sits on your server.
However, many CMS (Content Management Systems), such as WordPress, have many ways that a tag like this can appear on the website – from a box that has been ticked on the Edit page or in a Plugin that has been downloaded.
So, in the interest of trying to keep this guide compact, you’ll have to do some research based on your website. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to counter just about any scenario.
9. Things to Look Out For: Canonical Tags
A canonical tag is a declaration of where the original source of the content on a webpage. This exists so that content can be reproduced on other websites and give credit back to the original source.
If you don’t credit the original source and copy someone’s content, Google will hit you hard for that. You want to watch out for this tag because CMS or web developers can sometimes make mistakes with this tag.
You realistically want every page of your website to credit itself for its content.
Below is the source code for my blog post on Telephone Link Tracking, and you can see that the canonical tag (highlighted) states that the Telephone Link Tracking page is the original source for the content.
If the canonical tag is crediting another page as the original source of the content (even if it’s another page on your website), it must be fixed.
I’ve seen some WordPress themes or CMS slap a canonical tag on every page that credits the homepage for all content which confused the hell out of Google and stopped it from indexing or giving good rankings to all internal pages.
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