On Page SEO Tips
On-page SEO with local focus is one of the most important steps, if your goal is to improve your local rankings. Just by making simple changes to your website you can increase traffic to your website and convert more visitors to potential leads. You can read more about some tips on how to increase website traffic, here.
Let me refer to an actual customer case study, where just by following on-Page SEO best practices, the rankings for a specific keyword improved dramatically.
I was recently working with a photography business client on website optimization for local search. A detailed website audit brought to light what’ was working and allows us to identify opportunities.
The picture below shows the local rankings for a specific keyword before we started working on the site.
Here are some on-site easy steps I recommended and worked on to improve rankings.
Optimized all page heading tags
Optimizing page title tags is one of the most important things from the SEO point of view. Page heading tags knows as H1, H2, H3 and so on, help the search engines understand what the page content is about. Google has confirmed through their webmasters trend analyst John Mueller, on the August 2020 English webmasters handout, that heading tags are a strong ranking signal, help Google understand the content of the page and tells the search engine what topic a particular part of the page is all about. You can find the video here
In my client’s case, after analyzing and understanding the user search intent to narrow down the nature of content users were looking for, we chose to target a few particular keywords and optimize page heading tags where possible. Using kwfinder.com we came up with a few variations of the targeted keywords, identified long-tail keywords with a good search volume that we could use in the blog posts.
Fixed meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are important for a couple of reasons:
- They give the end user plenty of information about your page and
- They have a direct impact on the click-through-rates (CTRs)
In my client’s case the current meta descriptions did not include any of the targeted keywords the business was aiming to rank for, nor describe the page properly. Rewriting the page meta description, incorporating the keywords with a local focus, not only improved page visibility, but also encouraged more users to visit the website.
Optimized website content for local search
According to Backlinco it is recommended to use targeted keywords in the first 100-150 words of your article. Instead of random industry jargon we used clear and concise sentences that are straight to the point and search engines are able to understand what the content is about.
In my client’s case particular attention was placed on generating quality content based on experience and research. Google’s algorithm has gotten really good at recognizing quality content when ranking your pages vs. your competitor’s.
The image above is courtesy of Backlinko
Checked the site’s URL structure
Had to pay attention to a few things here:
- Permanent Links – keep them under 255 characters and easy to understand. A good example is to use the focused keyword which describes the content of the page. In our case the page which described family photography services was using only the word /families after the main URL. We changed that to www.website.com/familyphotography
- Improved categories and organized the site better to help search engines discover the content faster. If this case we were dealing with a relatively simple site, but if you happen to have a multi-page website, it is recommended to use sub-categories to organize your content.
- Add an HTML sitemap at the footer of the pages. The HTML sitemap is important because it helps distribute link-juice from the home page to other site pages.
Checked the Website speed
Site speed is another element to check which according to Google it is an important signal that effects rankings.
To check the site speed we used Google’s tool called PageSpeed Insights. All you have to do is copy and paste your URL and the tool will provide you with the information about issues that may effect your site speed. It is quite accurate and tells you exactly what you should fix to improve the site speed.
- Remove unused CSS
- Properly size images
- Eliminate render-blocking resources
- Serve images in next-gen formats
There was no surprise to me that none of the images in my client’s website were optimized for SEO! It was quite obvious from the site audit and the the direct competition had done a much better job with image optimization.
There are a few important image attributes to pay attention to:
- ALT text attribute – provides a description of the image for the search engines. For the image ALT text we used LSI keywords.
- The Image Title – it is quite obvious that we had to name all images appropriately according to the image content, before uploading them on the web server. For example a headshot photo of a business man, we named the image business-headshot.
- Image description – it helps to have a proper descriptions for your images but it is not required. However where it makes sense, it is recommended to add a description to your images.
Fixed Internal Links
To improve the user experience and website navigation, particular attention was paid to placing links within website pages. In addition we added HTML sitemap to every page to improve crawlability.
Broken links that were discovered after performing a website audit were replaced or removed as they effect SEO negatively.
Reviewed and developed a content strategy for better user experience
Some of the objectives of this project were to
- Develop the right content strategy where every type of content posted either on the website or social media was created with a purpose.
- Improve the overall user experience, increasing the time users spend on the website and lowering bounce rate
- Increase conversions
By developing a content strategy focused on audience and personas, using long tail keywords and adding CTAs in key pages to encourage users to engage and take action, in a period of 3 months the overall ranking position improved by 35%, as well as the rankings for the targeted keyword headshot photographer Toronto, increased by over 60% (see screenshot below from Google search console)
The above on-page SEO techniques resulted in a traffic increase and better user engagement.
The picture below shows how the overall local ranking position improved just a few months after implementing on-Page SEO changes.
Local rankings changes for Headshot photographer Toronto keyword
- Would you like to improve your rankings but need some guidance on where to begin?
- Are you too busy looking after many areas of your business and don’t have enough time to look after your website optimization?
- Do you struggle with content strategy creation and want to attract more traffic to your website?