The Beginner’s Guide To On-Page SEO

Search Engine Optimization is talked about, and written about to no end, but it can still be a difficult concept to understand, especially in its more technical aspects. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of your website content. You need exposure to your brand through non-paid or organic search engine results, and SEO is the way to accomplish that.

SEO is as much about people as the search engines themselves. In addition to delivering content to the people you want to reach, you want to format it so that search engine crawlers can find it and present it to your audience. 

Learning SEO methods may feel daunting, but this article will walk you through the top 5 ways to jumpstart SEO on your website and begin to increase traffic and conversions for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO is the practice of creating and refining content found by search engine crawlers and increasing your website’s views and interactions. Search engines scour billions of pieces of content and evaluate factors to determine the content most likely to answer a question or search term. 

Search engines discover and catalog available content on web pages, PDFs, images, videos, etc. This process is called “crawling and indexing.” The content is then ordered by how well it matches the query. This match is called “ranking.” Once you’ve created content to fit these criteria, your rank increases, and more people find your content.

On-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.

1. Content

Content is the primary source of SEO value. Ensure your content is worthy of a top search result when a person searches for your product or service. Take time to consider these three questions when creating content:

1. Does my content answer a question for a potential customer?

2. Would I recommend this content to a friend?

3. Is a particular page worthy of a link?

Use the mantra “content is king” when considering the type of content you want to create. The more relevant your content is, the more valuable and likely it is to earn links from other websites.

Using Keywords

One essential piece of creating content is using keywords. There are plenty of keyword search tools to use. The most popular is Google Keyword Planner. No matter what you use to search for popular keywords, knowing how to use them is crucial to increasing your search engine ranking.

You probably already have a few keywords in mind. The most common would be your products, services, and other topics your website addresses. These are great seed words to start with, but additional keywords will display, providing you even more keywords to use in your content. 

2. Title Tag

A title tag labels your page both for real people and for search engines. In search engine results, your title tag serves as a headline, summarizing the page’s content. When you create an eye-catching title, it stands apart from similar titles across the results page. The title tag is defined in the <head> section of your webpage’s HTML code. The title tag appears in both the search engine results page as well as in the browser bar. 

We recommend that you only use your brand name at the front of the title tag if your brand is well known and help sell your product or service. Otherwise, having the keyword or key phrase at the front is better.

3. Meta Description

Your meta description displays directly below your title tag. This description is a snippet of text that appears in search engine results under your headline. Sometimes, search engines pull a snippet of text from your page’s main body content instead. While a meta description doesn’t directly influence your web page’s position, it is very important to the human user. 

When creating your meta description, write the text in a compelling way to entice people to click through to your website. Each page’s meta description should be 156 characters or less, as Google only displays 156 characters in the search results. When no meta description is entered, the first 156 characters of your page content will display.

4. Heading Tags

When you write content, you usually preface it with a heading. These HTML header tags differentiate your headings from the rest of your content. Heading tags are also known as header tags. Header tags create a top-down hierarchy, where H1 has the most priority. If you use the headers out of order, the page structure is broken, and your SEO is less effective.

5. Avoid Common Mistakes

When just starting out with SEO, there are a few common mistakes you want to avoid. These mistakes can kill your SEO and make your site hard to crawl by Google and other search engines. 

  • Thin Content – It’s common to have individual pages to highlight specific topics, but creating a page for every topic will make it harder for crawlers to find content relevant to searches. 
  • Duplicate Content – Avoid content shared between domains or between multiple pages of a single domain.
  • Cloaking – Never hide text in the HTML code of your site that the viewer can’t see. Always display only what the user will read and see.

Hire a Professional

Getting found in a search result isn’t as simple as building a website and hoping it gets found. Optimizing your website for search is a multifaceted process — requiring ongoing optimization to ensure your site is up to date with Google’s evolving algorithms.

At Carrboro Creative, we specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Creation, Link Building, and On-Page Optimization. Contact us today to find out how we can increase your site traffic and increase profits! 

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