A main type of SEO is called On-Page SEO. This means anything that you can do to a page to make it seem like a good page. Well actually that’s not quite right – you need to do everything you can to make an *actually* good page.
Google is trying to show people the pages that satisfy their searches. This means that a good page for Google is a good page for people. So first and foremost always make the best webpage you can. In fact, aim to make the best webpage on a subject on the whole internet. If you do that, then maybe you have a chance at getting top of a Search Engines Ranking Page.
Just writing a good page isn’t enough though – you need to keep optimising your page for the long term. This can be difficult if you are a small business and have many other things to be doing, so here is a guide to monthly SEO actions that you can take:
Decide Which Pages To Work On
Every month you should follow this process to SEO your site (yes, SEO can be used a verb). This process is designed for people who are time-poor, so it’s meant to give maximum reward for minimum effort.
[It also focuses on smaller thresholds – if you have a booming site then you can likely multiply the impression levels mentioned below by at least 10.]
To get this so-called reward:effort ratio, you need to put your efforts where they are needed most. In terms of search engine optimising, this means pages that are coming up in search results a reasonable amount but aren’t being clicked on that much.
This is your target group because if you work on your best-performing pages, you might just ruin a good thing. Conversely, if you work on your worst performing pages, you likely won’t much impact on your site’s overall traffic.
Therefore you want to work on your best pages that are under-performing.
Here is how I work out which pages these are:
- Go into Search Console (if you haven’t registered, register NOW – it really is important)
- Under Search Traffic (on the left-hand side menu), select Search Analytics
- Set the Date Range to Last 90 Days
- Change the filter to Pages (instead of queries)
- Change the metrics to Impressions & CTR (instead of clicks)
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Download
- In the spreadsheet, order the pages by Impressions (largest to smallest)
- Delete all rows with under 1,000 Impressions
- Order the spreadsheet by CTR
- Delete all rows with a CTR that is more than your average for the last 90 days (flick back to Search Console to check)
- Order the remaining pages by Impressions
- SEO the top 3 pages which haven’t been done before (keep a note of the pages you choose this time, and then don’t choose them again – for a while at least)
Once you’ve chosen your pages to optimise, it’s time to take a good hard look at them. If your site is on WordPress and you’re using the Yoast plugin for SEO (which you should be), life is a bit easier for you. If not, you’ll have to find your own tools which make the below easy.
Step 1: Is It A Good Page In General?
Take a look at your analytics for the page. If your bounce rate is high, or the average time on the page is low, then it’s likely not a great page. And remember – Google is always looking to encourage people onto great pages.
There are a number of basic things which make a page “good”. Lots of them are qualitative, so let’s ignore them for now, as there are lots of straightforward measurable ones too.
The below list is the easiest/most effective set of stuff you can improve for any page. There are myriad other lists of SEO stuff out there, but these things won’t make you crazy and are easy to understand.
For each of your chosen pages, ensure that:
- Your SEO Title and Meta description are optimised. This means they contain the word you are trying to rank for, are written in plain language and are one sentence long. Your SEO Title should cap at 60-70 characters to be fully seen.
- An image is included (and a featured image if possible). People like pretty pictures OK? Don’t judge them for it, feed their need. Add relevant images to break up the page. Also, make sure you use the keyword(s) you are trying to rank for as an alt-tag in at least one image.
- The number of words on the page is at least 300. Any less and it’s (possibly) a bad page.
- Make sure the page is readable. This means not making paragraphs too long (over 150 words) or the majority of sentences containing over 20 words. You can also test your readability by copying a post into Word to perform a Flesh-Kincaid test (or use one of the many online services available).
Just try to make the page be the best it can be – or at least better than it was.
Note: If you are using Yoast, this is all easier. Green lights in Yoast don’t mean your page is good, but they do point you in the right direction.
Step 2: Decide Which Keywords Your Page Is Good For
There is no point casting your net too wide when improving the SEO of a page. For each page you are optimising, you need to focus on around 3 keywords. Any more than that will water down your efforts.
When deciding what topics to write about initially you can use Moz, or Keyword Planner to do some research on low hanging fruit (high impression, low competition keywords).
If you are improving a page you are already past that point though. Instead, you should take a look at what keywords your page is actually good for, and then whittle that list down to three.
To do this:
- Go back into Search Console, and click on the link for a page you have chosen.
- Change the filter to Queries so you can see what people are actually searching for when your page comes up.
- Any queries which have over 500 impressions are potentially for you. Choose three which have a good CTR (compared to the average) and are relevant to be your focus.
- Go back to your page and make sure that the first two goals in Step 1 above are covered for these keywords.
- You should also search these terms in Google yourself, and look at the pages which rank highest for them. Try and work out why they are successful, and how they are answering someone’s search better than your page is. Adjust accordingly.
If you’re using Yoast, test these keywords as your focus keyword for that page. If it performs badly, make changes as necessary to the page so it performs well (green lights across the board ideally).
Never forget, each page should only attempt to rank for around three keywords. Don’t mess your page up looking to hit more. If you see more potential keywords you’d like to capture than this, consider splitting the topic to make a second page for them.
You should have a list of which pages are focusing on which keywords. There is no point in having two of your own pages compete for web traffic.
SEO is the art of getting Search Engines to like you. To do that, you need to get people to like you. To do that, you need to stand out from the crowd by being interesting and/or helpful and/or great.
So even if you build an awesome page, it still has to be an awesome page to the people who have clicked on it. This means trying to match user intent to your site. In other words – if I search for “best pizza cutters” I want a page telling me which pizza cutters are best, nothing else will do.
There may be other pages about the best pizza cutters out there though, so you need to stand out.
You do this by finding out how people find your page and then making sure it tells them what they want to hear. Using Search Console (and common sense) you can totally get it done if you try. Keep improving monthly with the above, and the rewards will come.
Next: Off-Page SEO