As a Search Engine Optimization firm in Houston, the common question that we get asked by clients is “How do I get Google to start showing my page first for the services I sell?” That is the million dollar question and takes a number of factors from your website into account, but the first thing we usually start to analyze is the On Page Optimization of the site.
On Page optimization are the things that you can do to the pages of your site to say “Hey Google, this is what this page is about and this is why you should show me at the top.” There are many factors including:
- The page title and meta description
- The page headers i.e. H1, H2, H3 and so on
- A keyword targeted url
- The use of your keyword on the page
- and proper linking to the pages on and off of your site.
SEOMoz has an amazing post on building the perfectly optimized page. Check out the graphic they made to represent this:
Page Titles: You want your page titles to tell people what your page is about and WHY they should visit the page. Using the keyword in the title for the page is important and you only have 65 characters to do so.
Meta Descriptions: This should give the user a description of what is on the page. Make this compelling and entice the user to click on your page. You have between 150 – 160 characters for this tag and should use your keyword towards the beginning of the description.
Where do prospective clients see the Page Title and the Meta Description?
Remember that once the prospective customer clicks through to your page, they will no longer see these so make sure it is sort of an “elevator pitch” to get them to click to see your site and BE SURE to deliver on what you promised in that pitch.
Page Headers: The Page headers should be the titles of the subsections of the page. They are also known as H1, H2, H3’s and so on. The key is to try to include your keywords in these but not “stuff” the headers with keywords where it does not make sense. These will be bolded and with larger font than the rest of your text so Google is going to take them as an important indication of what your page is about.
Keyword Targeted Url: The url of the page, also known as a page alias, slug or page name, is what will show in the url bar of the page when you are on it. You have control of what shows AFTER the forward slash trailing the domain name. Try using keywords for the page in the url to give it a little SEO boost.
For example, for our Search Engine Optimization Page, this is our url:
We could have just called this page “SEO” or something to that effect, but we wanted to optimize it for the keywords that we are trying to rank well for on that page.
Tips for Keyword Targeted URLs:
- Do not be SPAMMY. You do not need to use your keyword more than once in the url.
- Always use hyphens ( – ) instead of underscores ( _ ). Google recognizes the hyphen as a space. With underscores, Google sees that as run-on words.
Use of the Targeted Keyword in the Page Content: We recommend using the targeted keyword in the text of the page but not using it more than 1-3% of the total copy for that page. Anything more than that might be looked at by Google as a spam page. Remember that you are writing for your prospective client, not the search engines.
Proper Linking to the Pages On and Off of Your Site: Linking to pages within your site: It is good practice to link other pages of your site within your copy to help explain that topic or to showcase your services for that topic. Always use keyword text links. For example:
I would like for you to see examples of the work that we have done. Instead of having the line “Click here to view our work,” and make the word “Click here” the link, it is better to have “View our web design portfolio.” Notice how the link “web design portfolio” is keyword rich and is in the page title of our portfolio page. This gives the portfolio page a little boost for the targeted keyword of that page.
Linking to pages off of your site: Some SEO companies frown upon linking away from your site, but I am OK with it as long as you use a relevant keyword link and the outgoing link really provides value or you are referencing a source that you used to write your page. I also encourage having that link open in a new tab of the browser when clicked on so that it is easy for that person to come back to your page.
Summing up On Page Optimization
On page optimization for SEO is very important and one of the first places you should start when trying to rank higher in the search engines. It is also a factor that the search engines look at for PPC (quality score), link building (relevancy), and local search marketing (relevancy.)
If you are in need of on-page optimization or SEO services, please contact us at 1-800-815-1491.