Quick links mentioned in podcast
Page load speed tests;
On-Page SEO For Business Websites
On-page SEO describes the way each individual page is set-up on your website, but it also includes other technical, site-wide factors such as pagination, coding, site structure and navigation.
Most SME websites will not have issues with pagination and other site-wide factors such as coding and categorisation are generally solved by using WordPress.
So we will move directly to discuss optimising individual pages.
Optimising a Page For Google
Individual pages will need to be optimised for specific phrases that your prospects are searching for.
Each page will ideally be optimised for a different phrase relevant to the content/product/service on that page.
When Google’s spider comes to crawl a web page it will first look at the meta-tags (or meta-data).
- Page title
- Image ALT tags
Page title – this is the title of the page and must contain the word or phrase you are targeting
Headings – headings are like sub-headings in an article, as well as breaking up the text for the reader, they should also provide Google with a summary of the topic by using the key phrase and variations and synonyms of that target keyword.
Description – this is the meta-description that appears in Google search results.
This is important for both Google but more important for the human searcher.
Google likes each page to have a unique and original meta-description and will slightly favour pages that have one over those that don’t.
Just as importantly, this 150-odd character description is shown to your prospect before they click-through to your site – this is their first exposure to you! So why wouldn’t you make an effort to grab their attention?
Essentially it is an advert for your page or website which you can use to ‘steal’ clicks from competitors!
Generally people will click on the number one result first, then number two, number three and so on.
However, if your description is more relevant and more compelling than those ranked above you it is likely that searchers may click on your link rather than those above you.
Image ALT tags – An ALT tag is what Google reads when it indexes images. Of course Google cannot ‘see’ images, it can only ‘read’ the data (title, description, caption, ALT tag).
ALT tags were originally conceived for sight-impaired users who used screen-readers to consume web-pages. The screen-reader would read the ALT tag to give the user an idea of what the visual image represented.
Making the ALT tag a synonym or variant of a keyword tells Google that the image and therefore the page is relevant to that phrase.
URL – the URL is the first thing that Google records and so having your keywords or similar in the URL is very helpful.
Ultimately, one of the things that Google wants is relevance and optimising individual pages for certain phrases is about making them as relevant as possible for those phrases.
Once Google has digested the meta-tags it now has a broad idea of what the page is about, it will now ‘crawl’ the body content.
Google uses advanced and constantly tweaked algorithms to categorise and classify content.
One of the algorithms is concerned with Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
For our understanding LSI takes a page topic and then looks for associated and relevant phrases that should be found on a page on that particular topic. So if a page’s meta-tags are focused on ‘dog training tips’ then in the article one would expect to find some or all of the following phrases;
- jumping up
Once Google has found some synergy between the meta-tags and the page content it will consider that page to be relevant to that particular phrase and it then comes down to other ranking factors as to exactly where that page will be placed in the SERPs.
Since 2011 Google has radically changed its ranking algorithm and now hands out penalties for ‘unnatural linking’ and ‘over-optimisation’. We will look at this in detail later but the overall thing to remember is that everything should appear ‘natural’ and have ‘user-experience’ as the main goal.
Since the advent of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates to their search algorithm it is important to use variations of the keyword in different places on the page.
For example; when targeting ‘dog training tips’ one should use the following variations (or similar) when optimising the pages;
- Great dog training tips
- Training tips for dogs
- Tips for training dogs
- Help training dogs
- Tips to help you train your dog
- Dog training tips that work
So, the main phrase ‘dog training tips’ should be the page title and then the sub-headings, ALT tag, meta-description and body content should use the variations.
As you can see the variations contain all, or most, of the individual words in the primary phrase, but in a different order, or with prefixes or suffices. This is more natural than having the same phrase repeated in all the meta-tags and in the body copy and will help you avoid a Google over-optimisation penalty.
Bounce rate is one of the engagement metrics displayed by Google Analytics. The term refers to visitors who only navigate to a single page on a website and then “bounce away”.
A high bounce rate is often taken by Google as an indication that a page is not relevant to the particular search query.
How To Lower Your Bounce Rate
Bounce rate helps you work out if your website is working for your visitors.
A high bounce-rate probably indicates that something is wrong with your website.
Three main factors in bounce-rate;
- site load speed
Site load speed
There are certain things that you can do to speed up the loading time of your website. There are videos in our members area with step-by-step guides.
Content from a User Perspective
The content should be useful and relevant – if you have unhelpful, junky content then no one will stick around to read it. They will click, or bounce, away!
Five Tips For Business Website Content
- Understand your audience and write exclusively for them
- Update older content that is out of date
- Create high-quality, useful content that actually adds value and helps people
- Make your content ‘problem-to-solution content’
- Repurpose content into other media
Navigation should be clear, simple and intuitive – you want visitors to find the content that they need quickly and easily, or else they will click away.
Topic pages not keyword pages
A few years ago rankings were best achieved through laser-targeted pages which each focused on just one or two keywords. These days however Google is looking for topic pages which cover a single topic in detail divided by headings and sub-headings.
Google rewards pages that cover a topic in detail so don’t split your content on a topic across numerous pages.
Online search is driven by keywords and before you can optimise your website you need to establish the phrases your prospects are putting into Google to search for your products and services.
A user enters a search for something into Google and they are returned a list of results based on their authority and relevance to that keyword.
Broadly-speaking we can divide keywords into two distinct types;
- Informational (or research) keywords
- Buying keywords
An informational keyword is a phrase that has little to no commercial intent behind it, the intention being to gather information on a particular topic.
“Why is the sky blue?”
Sometimes it may seem like a phrase is a buying keyword when in fact it is not!
Consider the search query;
Now this may seem like a buying keyword but it is in fact a research keyword!
Because the searcher, although it is likely that they are intending to buy something at some point, is currently in research mode; they are gathering information about plasma TVs.
Compare that to the following search;
“LG 50PB5600 50 Inch Freeview Plasma TV”
The above is a much more specific search looking for a particular make and model of Plasma TV.
So what has happened?
The searcher has started off searching for information on plasma TVs and through research has now decided on a specific make and model and now are looking for the best deal online or the nearest shop so that they can purchase.
If you had a business selling plasma TVs which search phrase would you most like to be found for?
Obviously the more specific phrase, because that is the one that you are more likely to make a sale on.
So keyword selection is about identifying the buying phrases and optimising your web pages for these phrases.
Primary and Secondary Keywords
To begin with you should identify one primary keyword for each product or service that you provide, or want to promote, and then a number of secondary keywords.
Primary keywords should be the ‘seed’ phrases that describe your product or service. They should have viable search volumes and be buying phrases. Viable search volume means that there should be a reasonable number of searches in relation to the lifetime value of the client.
So, if you are selling Loom Band sets for £1 (or $1) then targeting a phrase that gets 90 searches a month as your primary keyword is not going to get you very far.
On the other hand if you are selling business coaching packages for £10k then a phrase with 90 searches each month is suddenly looking quite attractive!
Secondary keywords will often be variations on primary phrases and have less search volume.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are generally four or more word queries that, like the plasma TV example above, are very specific buying phrases.
These keywords have fewer searches but convert well because they are so specific.
Service + Location Keywords
If you are a local business then your broad primary keywords are likely to be service + location/product (or location/product + service) both singular and plural.
You will also have more specific keywords + location, for example if you are a solicitor you’ll have conveyancing, family law, etc, accountant will have payroll, bookkeeping, etc as well as account in London, etc.
The Keyword Planner will tell you which combinations have the most search volume and you can choose your primary and secondary phrases based on this.
The keyword Planner has changed its configuration recently and you’ll need to follow this tutorial in order to use it without setting up and ad.
- Establish keywords – primary, secondary and related
- Review website copy and sprinkle relevant phrases into content where appropriate
- Add phrases to meta-tags
- Monitor bounce rate – doing the above should naturally lower your bounce rate
- Bench mark load speed, identify issues and work on fixing them.