As marketers, we spend a large amount of our time considering and deeply examining our target audiences.
We choose carefully how our messaging is perceived by a particular audience, but we often fail to stop and realize the role on-page SEO plays in attracting and retaining the proper audiences on our websites.
Good SEO satisfies a need for people to find what they are looking for online. Every time someone does a search, good SEO tells the search engines, “this is what’s relevant”. Imagine doing a search for a new toy for your cat, and being taken to a page for cat videos. Close, but not quite.
Here are some easy things you can do right now to start and execute an SEO audit on your site, so you and your target audiences can find each other faster.
1. Crawl Your Website
Crawling your site gives you a comprehensive list of your site pages, so you can move forward with your SEO audit. There are a lot of available tools you can use to crawl your site, and they are normally referred to as “crawlers” or “indexers”. Try a free one like Xenu’s if you don’t already have a list of indexed site pages.
2. Rank Your Pages
As you go through your site pages, consider which pages are more important. Your homepage will obviously be more important to optimize than a landing page you made for a campaign two years ago. Generally, main site pages are the most important for long-term, indexable and sustainable on-page SEO. However, it’s equally important to consider the on-page SEO of your landing pages if you want them to rank in Google’s search results.
3. Look at URLs, Page Titles, and Meta Descriptions
For each page in your site, focus on three key elements for each page: URL, page title, and meta description. These are the most important factors in search engine rankings for on-page SEO. All three of these things should be consistent. Take a glance over these elements to see how much updating needs to be done. Are your URLs just strings of numbers, or do they contain keywords that match your page title and meta description?
It’s critical to include the same keywords in your URL, page title, and meta description for each page. Many plugins are available to optimize keywords between these three elements on each page, especially if you’re using a content management platform like WordPress. Page titles should not exceed 70 characters as they will become truncated or cut off from the search result. Meta descriptions should be less than 150 characters.
4. Define a Purpose for Your Pages
A good exercise to determine the importance of a page, as well as the appropriate keywords for your meta description, page title, and URL, is to write a “purpose” or “value” statement for each page. What is the purpose of the page? Who is the intended audience? Why and when would someone from that audience be looking at that page? What do you think they would they type into their search engine to find it? If the page has no value on its own, consider getting rid of it or merging its content (only with another page with closely-related keywords and ideas).
5. Link Appropriately and Don’t be a Stuffer
When linking to other internal pages on your site or to external pages, make sure your anchor text is keyword-friendly. Don’t go overboard with your use of links – it won’t help your search results (Google wised up to that one a long time ago and calls the practice “keyword stuffing”). The point of links is to help people find your site, not to place excessive keywords on your page.
After the Audit
After the above steps are complete, it’s important to continue to measure and optimize for the best on-page SEO. Consistent SEO audits are required to remain relevant in search results. Audit your main site pages for SEO quarterly, or as often as makes sense for your organization or business.
Have you found any other tools or strategies for keeping your on-page SEO in check?