Whether you’re creating content for webpages or blog posts, it’s important to follow basic on-page SEO best practices. If you can get the fundamentals right from the beginning, you can prevent greater headaches later on. Not to mention, you’ll ensure that your killer content finds the audience it deserves.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Optimize Your Title Tags & Meta Descriptions.
Title tags and meta descriptions are two of the most important on-page elements for strong SEO.
The title tag (or meta title) tells search engines what your page about, and it strongly impacts search rankings. Meta descriptions are short page descriptions displayed in search results telling users what your page is about. Unlike title tags, they do not directly impact rankings, but they do impact click-through rates by enticing users to click your search results (instead of your competitors).
Here is how title tags and meta descriptions appear in search results:
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Tips for Optimizing Title Tags
- Keep them between 50 – 55 characters.
- Include the primary keyword (and possibly secondary keyword) you’d like to rank for.
- Search engines place the most emphasis on words placed farthest to the left in title tags. So your primary keyword should be placed at the beginning of your title tag, if possible.
Tips for Optimizing Meta Descriptions
- Keep your meta descriptions under 155 characters.
- Make sure they are relevant to the page’s content.
- Consider whether they would entice you to click to view the page, if you saw them in a search result.
Want to know how your title tags and meta descriptions will appear in search results? Use Moz’s free SERP Preview Tool: https://moz.com/blog/new-title-tag-guidelines-preview-tool.
2. Optimize Your On-Page Content.
It’s important to make sure your on-page text is structured in a way that search engines can easily crawl and accurately interpret.
Consider the following factors:
- Does your page feature at least 150 words of strong, descriptive content?
- Is your exact-match primary keyword present at least once or twice on the page?
- Does your page include variations of your primary keyword, weaved naturally throughout your copy?
- Does the page include just one H1 tag (plus properly optimized H2 tags as appropriate)?
- Does the page feature strong images with appropriate file names and alt text?
- Does the page feature quality, relevant video (if appropriate)?
- Is the content on each page of your site unique?
Note: Your copy should appeal to actual users first, and search engines second. Try writing your content as if search engines don’t exist first, then review your draft and work in your keywords as naturally as possible, if they aren’t already present.
3. Optimize for Local SEO.
Optimizing for local searches introduces another set of considerations, although some of these factors are less important now than they may have been in the past. That’s because Google has gotten much better at determining the user’s location to provide relevant local results, and therefore needs less help figuring out who you are and where you’re located. Still, the following tips remain relevant and useful.
Tips for Basic Local On-page SEO
- Include your state and city name in your page titles (as appropriate).
- Include your state and city name in your H1 and H2 headings (as appropriate).
- Enable click-to-call functionality on your phone number (for best user experience on mobile phones).
Tips to Optimize Your Contact Page
- Ensure your name, address, and phone number are included in your site’s HTML (rather than on an image file), so this info can be accessed by search engines.
- Include an email address or contact form.
- Include an up-to-date map with driving directions (ideally, one embedded from Google Maps).
- Include your open business hours.