Onsite SEO is vital for your website success. In this article, we’ll look at why onsite SEO matters and some of the practical onsite SEO tasks you can complete yourself to optimise your web page. More importantly, we’ll give you a run-down of 5 onsite SEO jobs you can complete in 30 minutes or less.
What’s So Important About Onsite SEO?
Onsite SEO is where it all happens. ‘It’ being the nuts and bolts of your SEO strategy coming together. Involving such things as meta data, URL structure, content, links, and image ALT tags, onsite SEO optimises your website for both humans and bots.
Not only will your site visitors thank you for an easy to navigate structure and well thought out content, but your ranking will improve. Taking the time to make sure your onsite SEO is up to scratch is something that you can’t afford to miss off your to-do list. Every website has competitors and in order to get ahead of your business rivals, you need to have an effective onsite SEO strategy.
Onsite SEO Tasks for Every Site Owner
If you’re looking for guidance on the onsite SEO tasks that you need to complete for your website, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled the top 5 crucial onsite optimisations you need to make for your 2019 SEO strategy.
1) URL Structure
URLs are often forgotten about when doing onsite SEO. Don’t make that mistake for your website. Making sure you have a strong URL structure makes it easier for Google bots to crawl your site. This means that Google will have a clearer understanding of what your site is about and can drive the right kind of traffic to your business.
Using keywords in URLs helps you to rank for your target keywords. Google looks for the keywords in your URL, so if your URL is generic or doesn’t really fit with your content, then you’re going to miss out. Shorter URLs are generally better, though getting the balance right between short and descriptive is important. Your URL should let Google and searchers know what your page/site is about. There’s really no benefit to being enigmatic when it comes to URLs.
2) Image ALT Tags
Hands up if you tend to forget all about your image ALT tags. You’re not alone. In fact, ALT tags are often the last thing people think about when we’re dealing with our websites. It’s all too easy to forget that whilst we humans can see what the image is, and don’t need a tag to tell us what we’re seeing, Google bots aren’t human. They don’t see images the way that we do. (There’s a lot of content that they don’t see the way we do, but images are the most obvious).
A good ALT tag will contain your primary keyword. If there are a lot of images on your page, vary the keywords in your ALT tags, or Google will think you’re being spammy. There are length considerations, too. Think in terms of being less than the old Twitter character limit and aim for less than 125 characters. Don’t try and get smart with Google, either – using “this is an image” in your ALT tags will not help your ranking!
3) Meta Tags
Meta data is really important for onsite SEO – although it’s a hotly debated topic in SEO circles. Some experts argue that there’s less value in meta data than there used to be, whilst others insist that it’s still crucial. There’s no knowing who’s actually right, since Google aren’t exactly open about their algorithms for ranking. Our advice is to use meta data regardless of the debates.
Meta data helps search engines understand what your site is about. There are different types of meta data, but the one we’re focusing on here is the meta description. This is the snippet that Google shows in the search engine results below your title and URL.
Whether or not the meta description is valuable information for Google bots isn’t the issue. Think of it as a way of telling your potential customers what your page is about, what problem it solves for them, and why they should visit it. Keywords are important here. It’s also important to keep it short and sweet – Google will cut your description off after a certain number of characters. Imagine that you’re describing your page in an old-style Tweet and you’ll be okay.
4) Title Tags
Title tags are how Google bots get a glimpse of what your page is about. Therefore, it’s important to go about them in the right way. The title tag is what Google shows as a blue link in search engine results. It usually includes your business or brand name. Every character counts in title tags, so use them wisely. You only have 70 characters to use – that’s the maximum, but recommendations are to keep it at around 55 characters.
As well as being useful to Google bots, your title tag is important for your conversions, too. Because your title tag shows up in search results, you want to make it enticing to your potential customers. Generic or auto-generated title tags are okay, but they’re not going to boost your business. Use your primary keyword and then get creative with whatever characters you’ve got left.
5) Keywords and Content
You don’t need to be an SEO expert in order to optimise the keywords and content on your website. Keyword research and content optimisation is something that anyone can do – and there are online tools to make it even easier. There are keyword research tools, and for content optimisation you can use apps like Hemingway to improve the readability of your content.
One of the best starting points for keyword optimisation is to put yourself in the shoes (or mind) of your target audience. What are they likely to type into a search engine when they’re looking for your kind of product or service? Build a list of short-tail and long-tail keywords that your target visitors will be searching for. Your site analytics can be helpful with this.
Long-tail Keywords for Success
Specific search phrases are known in the SEO world as long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are a great way to get ahead of the competition. Unlike short-tail (or broad) keywords, long-tail keywords are much more specific and easier to rank for. There may be less search volume for these keywords, but there’s less competition, so in the long-run they’re better for your business. Long-tail keywords also tend to get better conversions because people using these search strings are looking for something specific that they want or need.
Content is King
If you’re reviewing your website content in terms of SEO, then you might want to consider rewriting sections (or whole pages) that aren’t performing well. Content marketing is now a hot topic, meaning that the quality of your content is more valuable than ever before. Some SEO plugins will tell you that pages with 350 words of content are acceptable, but whilst technically true, this isn’t going to get you ahead of the competition.
Web content has to be high quality to be viewed favourably in Google’s eyes. If your writing skills aren’t the best, then you might want to consider hiring a copywriter to write the content for you. Yes, it’s an added expense, but quality copywriters offer a great ROI in the long term.
If you’re rewriting your content yourself, then we have a Beginner’s Guide to Content Writing content that will help. There are some important things to know about onsite optimisation of content. Firstly, never fall into the habit of keyword stuffing. Google will know, and you’ll be penalised. Content has to read naturally and be relevant, or you’ll lose potential clients as well as ranking.
Secondly, your content should always be 100% unique. Do not – EVER – copy and paste from another site, or even from another page on your own site. Google likes original content. Nor should you be tempted to use article spinners. You’d be amazed at the number of people who do use them – with disastrous results. You can tell a ‘spun’ article from a mile away. They read like pidgin English, and rarely make any sense.
The Hemingway App can help you when it comes to structuring your content. This clever (and free) app will tell you how readable your content is. It will also highlight complex, overly long, or difficult to read sentences. Using Hemingway, as well as the grammar-checker Grammarly, can really improve the quality of your content, even if you’re not a natural writer.
Onsite SEO Statistics To Improve Your Strategy
As a bonus for reading this far, we’ve put together a list of 7 statistics that you can take advantage of in your onsite SEO strategy.
- Businesses that have a strong keyword in their business name tend to rank 1.5 places higher than those with no keyword in their name.
- Longer content ranks higher – the average first page result on Google contains 1890 words
- Using at least one image in your content improves ranking.
- Long-form content (over 1000 words) tends to be shared more on social media.
- Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%.
- Over 76% of search engine traffic on desktops comes from Google, with only 8% coming from Bing
- With mobile searches, Google dominates with 94% of all traffic. You don’t want to get penalised by Google!
Onsite SEO Jobs You Can Complete in 30 Minutes or Less
We’re the first to admit that SEO strategy can be a long, boring and tedious task. There’s no getting away from it, though – you need SEO to succeed online. That’s why we’ve put together this straightforward checklist of the most time efficient onsite SEO tasks – and how long it should take to complete them. Set a timer on your phone and dive in!
1) Improve Your URL Structure
Time Estimate: 30 Seconds Per Page
Optimising your URL structure shouldn’t be a long and arduous task. It takes approximately 30 seconds per page to get this one right. Here’s what you need to do – ready, set, go!
- Create unique titles for every page.
- Have consistency between your URL and your page title. Match your URL structure to your page title.
- Use a brief by descriptive URL structure. Make your URL short and informative.
- Choose a title that is natural and communicates clearly your page’s content.
- Avoid unnecessary words that don’t add meaning. Don’t use punctuation, either.
2) Image ALT Tags
Time Estimate: 2 minutes per page
Getting your ALT tags sorted on your website shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes per page. See if you can beat the timer with this one!
- Use unique descriptions for every image.
- Summarise the image subject and/or what it represents.
- Add keywords that are relevant – but remember to use different keywords in different images, or you’ll be viewed as spammy.
- Keep it short and sweet – no more than 125 characters, please.
3) Meta Data
Time Estimate: 2 minutes per page
This one might stretch you a little bit. Meta descriptions require you to get creative with only a small amount of characters to play with. Are you up for the challenge?
- Make sure every page of your website has unique meta descriptions.
- Use keywords in your meta descriptions but make it natural.
- Your meta description is your opportunity to entice your target audience to visit your site. Can you sell your product or service in less than 160 characters?
4) Title Tag
Time Estimate: 5 minutes per page
Because you’ve got so few characters to play with, we’re estimating it will take you up to 5 minutes per page to get your title tags right. On your marks, get set, go!
- Start with your target keyword, then describe what users should expect to gain from your site.
- Make it sound natural – there’s a challenge for you.
- Keep your title tag under 60 characters – 55 is better – so that you don’t get denied by Google for being over length. Yes, the limit is technically 70, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
5) Written Content
Time Estimate: 20 minutes per page
Content optimisation when copywriting can’t be rushed, unfortunately. We estimate it will take you around 20 minutes to do basic content optimisation. It really depends on how easy you find it to rewrite content. Ready to give it a go?
- Aim to have at least 2000 words of content on each page. Use keywords but don’t over use them.
- Use H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags to highlight your primary and secondary keywords, long-tail keywords and variations you want to rank for.
- Make your content relevant and useful for your visitors. Answer questions, solve problems, and guide them towards taking action. A web article should be a journey for your visitor.
- Always use a call to action.
- Make your content 100% unique – no copy and pasting or article spinning.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs to improve readability.
Onsite SEO is something your business and/or website can’t afford to do without. If you have 30 minutes to spare, you can work at making your website optimised for both human and robot visitors, increasing your ranking and your revenue. Some aspects of onsite SEO will take longer, and you might want to consider a copywriter for top quality content that Google will see as valuable and authoritative.
These top tips for onsite SEO aren’t the only aspects of optimisation that you’ll need to take care of, but they are the ones we think are most important when you’re pressed for time. If you’d rather outsource your SEO to an expert, check out our reviews of the best SEO companies in the UK.
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