9 Ways to Rank Higher with On-Site SEO
Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO from here on out, is mainly made up of 2 areas of practice: on-site SEO (improving your own website) and off-site SEO (encouraging other websites to link to yours). Either one of these topics can consume months of research so we’ve broken them down into only the most important parts. This article focuses on on-site SEO, the process of improving your website from the inside to rank higher in search engines.
It’s important to note that there are many improvements you can make to your website, but we’re going to focus on what we feel are the most important, high impact areas of on-site SEO.
Page Last Updated: Nov 14, 2016
Originally Published: Jan 12, 2015
#1 Create Short, Unique Title Tags for All Pages
The most important and highest impact area of on-site SEO is your websites title. Search engines like Google and Bing use your <title> tag in their search results to represent your website. You have less than 120 characters to convince a random searcher to click through to your site, so make them count!
Your title tag should:
- Succinctly describe what the page is about – This page is called 9 Ways To Rank Higher With On-Site SEO.
- Contain the SEO keywords that the page is targeting – The words “rank” and “on-site seo” are in the title of this page.
- Be written like a call to action, with click-through rate in mind – The title “9 Ways To Rank Higher With On-Site SEO” calls you to read about ranking and seo tips.
- Be unique to each page – don’t repeat title tags – This is the only page with this title.
- Be less than 60 characters long – “9 Ways To Rank Higher With On-Site SEO” is 38 characters long, including whitespace.
- Not contain any extraneous information (don’t put your brand name and slogan at the end of every title tag) – The title of this page describe only what is contained within.
#2 Use Heading Tags to Reinforce the Focus of Your Page
This one is very straightforward. The goal is that a visitor should be able to read only your page’s title and your headings, and still get most of the meaning from your page.
#3 Write Eye-Catching Meta Descriptions
Search engines don’t recognize keywords in your meta descriptions. Knowing this you should focus on writing a compelling description, treating it like ad copy, and don’t even think about stuffing keywords in there. Your meta description usually shows up right under your title in search results.
#4 Speed Up Your Website with a CDN
#5 Create New Content and Frequently Update It
New! Fresh! Hot! Search engines love websites that are updated frequently. That means both maintaining an active blog and updating the existing pages of your website frequently as information changes and new information becomes available.
#6 Using a Sitemap Helps Search Engines Read Your Website
An easy way to make sure that search engines can find all of the pages on your website is to create and submit an XML sitemap to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. You should be able to find a plugin for your CMS which automates this process for you.
#7 Create Internal Links
Internal linking between your own pages is a great way to improve engagement as well as SEO. Be sure to link to your own pages as much as it makes sense. For instance, this post is about search engine optimization, so you’ll find that those words are linked to our SEO services page. In addition to the SEO benefits, internal linking is a good way to bring your visitors from your blog over to the business side of your website to make a sale.
#8 Make URLs Keyword Rich and Short
The way your URLs look is important. They appear on your search results, and keywords will be highlighted. This can increase your organic search click through rate, which is important for SEO. Make your URLs short, hierarchical, and keyword rich for best results.
#9 Write More
Search engines like Google love long content. Surveys show that most pages in the top 10 results on Google searches had at least 2000 words of content, and the pages at the top of listings tended to be the longest in terms of total word count. Typical blog posts only contain 300-750 words, for reference.
This holds true with our experiences with our clients’ websites that we manage and maintain. Detailed articles and other rich content consistently brings in more search engine traffic than shorter pieces. The growing number of Oak City Tech’s clients rising to the top of Google searches supports this notion.
(protip: an easy way to lengthen and improve your content is to add media. Try adding photos from creative commons repositories like Flickr, embedding videos from YouTube and Vimeo, or presentations from Google Drive or SlideShare)