10 Top Basic On-Site SEO Suggestions

As an SEO agency we are continually driving best practice and need to make sure on-site housekeeping is up to scratch. We will always offer bespoke recommendations in the course of a campaign.

Why do we need to look at on-site recommendations?

In 2011 a survey was conducted asking top SEOs what different factors they thought made up the ranking algorithm. The results were that on-page keyword usage was responsible for 15% of it, so it’s definitely not a factor that can be ignored.

Here are 10 of our top recommendations to help you on the way to getting a perfectly optimised page. Yes, they’re basic – because it’s amazing how big a difference the basics make if they haven’t been done correctly.

1. Calls To Action are Essential

Think about what you are trying to get users to do. Is it to download content, buy a product or service, sign up, call someone, etc.? Whatever it is, make it as clear and easy for them to do it as possible with a strong call to action (CTA).

2. Correctly Optimise the HTML Tags

It is so important that HTML tags are not left neglected.

Meta titles and descriptions: This encourages click-through rate (CTR) and can have a direct impact on rankings. Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz, conducted a study looking at the correlation between meta titles and rankings.

Rand said: “Clearly, using the keyword term/phrase as the very first words in the page title has the highest correlation with high rankings, and subsequent positions correlate nearly flawlessly to lower rankings.” Ensure each page is different where at all possible.

Meta titles should be no longer than 65 characters and the descriptions should be no longer than 150 characters and include a relevant keyword, without over-stuffing. Anything longer won’t be used by Google and won’t appear on a search engine results page (SERP).

Meta keywords: It is recommended to leave this field blank now to avoid giving too much away.
Note: Google is unlikely to pick up what you place in these fields because too many people have tried to manipulate the rankings of websites using this method. Google is more likely to choose relevant keywords from the content and context of the copy displayed on a page, and also from the anchor text of the inbound links and social signals to that page. Other search engines seem to treat this field differently, but Google is the market leader – so follow their lead.

3. Use Different Types of Quality User-Friendly Content

It does not just have to be lines and lines of text on a page. Make sure you include a mix of:

  • On-page text (no keyword stuffing or duplicate content of course)
  • Images
  • Videos

Google is focused on user experience, time on page, and bounce rate to give an indication of how useful a page is. So make your content as stunning and sticky as the amazing Spider-Man’s gloves.

4. Make Copy Look Natural and Have a Diverse Range of Keywords

Don’t over-optimise any keyword or phrase and make sure it is information which someone actually wants to read and ideally share or bookmark on social networks.

5. Keep URLs Descriptive

  • This will help with user experience and the indexing of pages, and will play a part in ranking for specific terms.
  • URLs should also be shorter in length.
  • Keep the keyword near the beginning of the URL
  • Use hyphens to separate words.

6. Rel=“canonical” Internal Duplicate Content

Don’t think it won’t happen to you as it’s so easily done. If you have any pages which you know are duplicated or have a significant proportion of duplicate content on them, make sure you put a canonical tag on it/them to avoid any potential future problems.

7. Keep the H tags in the Correct Order

  • The H1 tag should be the headline of the page with targeted key phrases in
  • Only apply other Hs (2, 3, 4) where required and keep them in the correct hierarchical order.

8. Keep the Important Bits at The Top

Keep all important information above the fold to encourage a better click-through rate.

9. Don’t Overdo the Internal Links

Avoid too many links (whether external or internal) using the same anchor text too often. Keep to the most important ones which will help for navigation and user experience but don’t overdo it. Ask yourself what is absolutely necessary

10. Lastly, Make Sure All the Grammar and Spelling is Correct

There is nothing worse than having spelling mistakes across your site. Proofread it, read it again, and then get someone else to proofread it because no-one can pick up on every mistake, regardless of how good your copywriters are. The BBC said that

“Customer spending on websites can be cut in half by a spelling mistake”

It is that important. Srsly. All of these points are down to ongoing close refinement and it’s important to make sure that you are keeping your pages fresh and up to date. If there is something that has worked well for you we would love to hear about it. Just tell us in the comments below.

Feel free to circle Dan Brown on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @PuzzlerT

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