SEO

Basic SEO for Beginners Part 2: On-Page SEO

Yannis Anthymidis – 
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You know what Search Engine Optimisation is, now you want to start implementing it. On-Page SEO covers techniques you can use on individual pages to improve your visibility in search engines. Every optimised page is part of a greater whole, and they all add up to a website with good search rankings on SERPs.

You’re welcome to use this guide as a checklist that you can use go through for each page you have set up. Let’s begin!

Talk to the Search Engine

The most important thing here is your page title. It should always contain your website’s name (e.g. CX Vibrancy), and this should be on the front on your home page. For all other pages, make sure it’s there at the end, e.g. “Portfolio | CX Vibrancy”.

The second most important is the meta description, which is the description of the page you put up for search engines to use (but be warned, they may choose to ignore it!). If you’re writing an article, make sure the article matches the description closely

There’s a lot more to this, like schema to describe what your page is about to the search engine.

Say the Right Words

Use keywords that rank well. You can usually write the same things in two ways. Conduct keyword research and use it as a guide to your content.

Check out Part 1 of this guide for tips on how to conduct keyword research and improve your understanding of how you can exploit them to your advantage.

Know Your Elements

WA websites that search engines like to index will be written in HTML. HTML lays out the structure and content of your page, like navigation links, headings, individual paragraphs, and much more. If you are wondering how this looks, you can right-click anywhere on this page and hit ‘View Page Source’.

The HTML standard should be used correctly and consistently to set up your page. If you’ll be doing a lot of writing, it helps to establish a house style to keep you on track. We’re talking about things like consistent use of headings, emphasising text, image captions and more.

We’re just scratching the surface on this one. There’s SEO learning associated with every HTML <element>, and it’s a deep rabbit hole to fall into, but an important one. Using a content management system like WordPress, which we use and support at CX Vibrancy, can help keep things consistent across your site as it grows.

Order is Important

Search engines take the order of words and elements into account. Words near the top of the page have more weight in how the search engine will categorise your content. This goes for less visible elements as well, like comment sections and code the user isn’t seeing. Keywords especially should be placed at the start of your page content.

A URL for Humans

The URL of the page should plainly show what it’s about, and what theme it goes under. Use human-readable names, like the page title, and set up folders (e.g. blog/) and to make your links friendly for users and search engines alike.

Compare:

This IMDb link for an item in its database:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2467372/

The TVDB entry for the same title:

https://www.thetvdb.com/series/brooklyn-nine-nine

You already know what it is from the link. And it tells you it’s a series too, rather than a film (The TVDB has both). It’s logical, intuitive, and exactly what you should aim for.

Design for the World

Be mobile-friendly. The page should be easy to engage with on touchscreen cellphones and tablets, in addition to the desktop.

This isn’t just about the form factor; phones have less processing power than PCs, and search engines will take the load of the page into account. Your page should load fast. Optimise this by removing unneeded JavaScript code and minifying your media. You can reduce things like image size without any loss in quality using free and easy tools.

Make your pages accessible for hearing and visually-impaired visitors. Images should be carefully captioned and tagged to support blind users, which is a requirement of the web standard.

For deaf and hearing-impaired visitors, include a transcript for audio content on the same page, and closed captions for video. These settings are now easy to do through YouTube as well as self-hosted videos. Search engines rightly value efforts for more accessibility. The good news is that this is built right into HTML and there’s not much work needed to do it.

Links Links Links

Your page should link to all other relevant pages in your website and beyond. Navigation links for the fundamental pages of your site (e.g. Home, Products, About us, Contact) must always be present.

In the main content, external links help Google figure out what your page is about.

There should always be a few internal links to show the page isn’t an island and is a relevant part of the site. They also aid usability for anyone landing on it. Remember that analytics programs like Google’s own monitoring tools record bounce rates (how long visitors stay on your website, as well as individual pages).

How Long Does it Take to See Changes in Site Rankings?

It can take as long as six months to a full year to even begin to see improvement in your site’s SEO even with the help of an SEO professional. There’s more effort involved if your starting to build rankings for a fresh new website. For startups and new businesses, that could mean spending a lot of time and money on learning things through trial and error. Thankfully, you also have the option of getting professional help from SEO companies like CX Vibrancy. Seeking expert assistance is a great way to ensure you still have time to do what you do best: growing your business.

On-page SEO is just one part of this whole SEO procedure. Now that your pages are optimised for both human visitors and search engine web crawlers, your next priority is to dive deep into your website’s affiliates and build relationships with other webmasters. Our next post will cover more about that to help you come up with a much needed backlinking strategy. 

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Yannis is an in-house writer for CX Vibrancy. Elsewhere, he's known as a contributor to open source software, where he holds a number of credits, and as a rabid history buff.

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