Learning how to optimise content for SEO is key to boosting your chances of getting your small business website found online. Optimisation is nothing to be nervous about and is something every small business owner or digital marketer should be implementing on their company website. On-page optimisation for SEO is simply the process of improving the content and layout of a website page or post with the aim of increasing its position in the search rankings.
Why is it important? By following a set of SEO techniques to optimise and improve web pages, you are making it easier for Google and the little search engine spiders to crawl around your website and work out what each page is all about. If you don’t optimise it, the spiders will have a harder time working things out which can result in lower rankings or ranking for the wrong search terms. So, if you have an unoptimised website you are missing a trick for your business.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the process is simple, meaning that it’s an easy problem to fix. . You don’t need to be a technical whizz in the slightest and anyone can optimise web pages if they have the time and inclination. So, let’s get started with demystifying the process for your small business.
8 On-Page SEO Techniques to Optimise Content
There are 8 main elements involved in implementing on-page SEO techniques.
- Using targeted, researched keywords and phrases at the right density
- Page titles
- SEO title
- Meta description
- Links (internal and external)
These techniques should be considered for each and every web page and blog post. This is a rinse and repeat process, so once you learn how you should set about work on all your key website pages – starting with the most important pages first.
These optimisation techniques are simple when you know how so read on for a more detailed explanation of each element.
1. Targeted Keywords
Successful SEO starts with targeted keywords. So before you begin optimising your small business website, it’s a good idea to check what keywords you’re going to use. Keyword research is a topic area all on its own! Getting to grips with it along with on-page optimization can really make a difference to your rankings. To keep keyword research simple for newbies I recommend a tool called Keywords Everywhere
I am going to choose a primary keyword or phrase for each page, then some secondary phrases and related words. This helps to avoid keyword stuffing – a big no-no that could see your website penalised. This is when you overuse the same words and phrases on the same page, so having a set of related words to use will help to avoid that. It can also help to give your page some structure as secondary phrases can be used within sub-headings and sections.
I’ll use this very blog post as an example. My primary phrase for this post is a long-tail question: How to Optimise Content for SEO. Therefore, I’ll want to choose secondary phrases and related words that work with this topic and that Google will recognise as being a connected theme and area of expertise.
As I’ll be looking at specific ways to optimise content, I’ve chosen the term On-page SEO Techniques, as a secondary key phrase and could also consider something like On-page SEO Checklist if I wanted to include a download or similar.
Then I think about what related words & phrases I want to use. As my market is small business owners, I’ll be sure to use terms including small business throughout. I could also sprinkle in phrases like digital marketing, get found on Google and SEO Tools.
So once you have your keywords and phrases, what do you do with them? We are going to use them to optimize our web page but we don’t want to be just shoving them in willy-nilly. There is a process to follow to optimize the page in a way that will please the Google Gods so let’s learn it!
2. Page Title
The Page Title is usually the main title of your page or blog post. The page name appears in your website page navigation as the main page name or as the main title for blog posts. On most websites, in the HTML code, this will also be set as a Heading 1 [H1]. (Headers are important for page structure and we will come back to these later).
It’s important that each web page has only one H1 title as it’s your main signal to Google on the topic/theme of that page If it has more than one, Google will get confused as to what the main focus of the page is.
It’s also the first thing visitors see when they visit the page or post, so it needs to be clear and (in an ideal world), it will contain your keyword or phrase. This is easy for blog posts and certain website pages, but it might not work for all pages. An example of this is your About page. You want it to be called About in the navigation and it’s a common page to find on a website. So whilst it follows a convention just having the word About, isn’t necessarily the best for SEO. That’s where the SEO titles come in if you’re unable to use keywords in your page title.
3. SEO Title Optimisation
The SEO title is like your page title but with a bit of extra oomph. This is a super easy SEO technique that many people miss. The SEO title is what feeds through to search engine page results so it’s a good way to signal to Google that there’s a bit more to your page title than shown on the page. If you haven’t been able to pop your keywords in your page title, then this is the place to add them. You can also use it to add some secondary phrases in if you wish.
Here is an example of how Yoast (a popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites) autogenerated the SEO title for this blog.
Now, If I don’t edit it, this is what will pull through as the SEO title in the search results pages. It has pulled in the Page Title and also added the name of my business/website. Depending on your set-up, it may just be the page title that gets pulled in and it will act as the default SEO title if none has been specified. Mine is autoformatted from the little box underneath and pulls in the page title, a separating dash, and the site title. I don’t really want the site title on this page (it might work for others but not this one) and I would like to get some extra keyword phrases in, so I remove those variables by simply clicking in the field and deleting it. and edit it (see screenshot below).
I have replaced the site name with my secondary phrase ‘on-page SEO techniques. My potential reader (and Google) is now clear about what my post is about and how it will be presented – with eight specific techniques. I’ve also managed to get two separate long-tail phrases that people are actually searching for, into my title.
The variables may vary due to your website settings, but Yoast allows you to edit them on each individual page as needed. So, in the example of the About page given above this is where you can get in those extra keywords about your service.
For reference, an SEO title should be around 50-70 characters long. They can be longer but they won’t fit the full text in the search results.
4. Meta description
From the Yoast screenshots above you can see underneath the title preview is a box asking for a meta description. This description box is what feeds through to the search engine results to describe the page content.
The meta description has to work in two ways. Firstly, it tells Google what the main topic of content on the page is – so be sure that the meta actually matches the content (you’d be surprised how often I find meta that doesn’t). .
Secondly, as it’s what appears in search results it’s competing with other websites for the visitors’ clicks. So it should be engaging and tempt people to want to click on your page rather than a competitor’s page.
Now, occasionally Google will change the meta it returns depending on what people search for but you should be aiming for clear, concise description of what the page is about that includes your keywords and phrases. For reference, a meta description should be no longer than 160 characters. Try to use primary keywords at the start of the description if possible.
So again using this very page as an example I created the following meta description: “Learn how to optimise website content for SEO with 8 on-page SEO techniques – give them a try to get your small business found on Google”. It has my key phrases plus some related words focused on my target market.
Headings are a key part of on-page optimization. Headings include your main title and any sub-headings used within your article. They help to organise and structure your content so it’s easy to scan, read and digest. This all helps people to say onsite for longer too.
Headings also tell Google what each block of text is about. It also weights your content by importance with H1 text being the most important and H6 the least.
How to edit headings
When you edit a page or post you may have noticed these options in the drop-down text formatting field. Now, often I come across people who choose H2/H3, etc simply on the size of the text and how it looks on the page. If you are doing that – stop it now, please!
This isn’t a design function but a structural function. Headers should follow a hierarchy on-page and allow spiders to easily see what your page is about. Sorting into clear sections is very user-friendly as it makes it easy to scan the page (both spiders and real people) to get the gist of the content as it’s clearly laid out in sections.
Examples of How to Use Headings
I mentioned headers back in the Page Title section above. The page title is your Heading 1 (otherwise known as H1).
- H1: How to Edit Content for SEO
- H2: 8 On-page SEO Techniques & Need Help with Content Optimisation & SEO Techniques for Your Small Business?
- H3: The 8 individual topic points
As you can see there is a clear structure and each point follows the next. I use my primary and secondary key phrases in the most important headings, then related words further down.
As a general note, you should only ever have one H1 for each page, but can use the other headings several times. You can choose to go right up to H6 but these only tend to be used for lengthy articles. As long as the structure makes sense, you’re good to go.
6. Adding Links – Internal & External
Building links are a powerful tool for search engine optimisation. They help to build your domain authority, inching your site up the search rankings. They also help to drive traffic from other external websites and expose your website to new audiences.
Internal links (links between different content around your website)
- Signpost the reader to other useful content and keep them onsite for longer by making it easier for them to click through to related content. You can also use internal links to funnel people to your key sign-up pages and cornerstone content.
- Not only are you signposting your other amazing content to visitors, but yet again, you are also sending a signal to Google. This helps the little spiders link together your content and which topics you specialise in. Internal links can also show which is your most important content so be sure to funnel more internal links to your most important pages.
External backlinks (links to your website from other external websites)
- A link via a directory listing or guest post on another site will introduce your website to a new audience, increasing click-throughs. Which is pretty obvious! But that’s not the only benefit.
- Google sees good backlinks (not all backlinks are equal) as a sign that you’re website must be authoritative and trustworthy. Why else would other people link to you? This helps to build domain authority, which in turn nudges up the SERPs (search engine results page).
The action here is to go through your blogs and content and see where you can add more internal links. As you look through this blog, you will see where I’ve added internal links to other content. (Another example coming up!). If you haven’t been doing this, start now. Then gradually work over older content and do the same.
7. Optimise Images
One thing that is often overlooked is image optimisation as most people don’t realise it’s a ‘thing’. It’s a relatively tiny task and doesn’t take long so here are the key things to consider:
- Make sure images are loaded as web-quality jpegs or png files. Do not use high-resolution print quality pictures as they will slow down your webpage (which displeases the Google Gods).
- Give all images a proper title – not just 1224.JPG. Images can come up in Google searches too, so give the crawlers some information.
- Add alt text for each image – this describes the image for the search spiders. It also makes your website more accessible for visually impaired visitors as it will be used to describe the image for them. Do this by clicking on your image to edit it and you should see the alt text field with the title field. Fill it in, save. Done!
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the technical term for the website/page address. This gives us another opportunity to get those lovely keywords in. Ensure you have proper page addresses and not just page numbers or random words.
My URL for this blog is https://virtuallyoptimized.co.uk/how-to-optimise-content. I’ve shortened it slightly to help the whole URL appear in the search results but there is no limit to character length. As with everything, try to keep it as snappy as possible but don’t get too worked up about it as URLs aren’t a major ranking factor.
And there you have it – you’ve learned how to optimize a web page! Take your time following these steps and learn how the process works. It doesn’t add much time to the overall task of creating new content but it can reap amazing results in the long term. And once you’ve learned, just rinse and repeat for your key pages and then start working over some optimisation magic over old content too.
Need Help with Content Optimisation & SEO Techniques for Your Small Business?
If you’d love to optimise your small business website but don’t have the time or inclination to do the job yourself, I can offer affordable freelance SEO services to help you to get the job done. Designed to meet you where you are at, I offer a tailored approach that suits your business aims and goals. Not only that but there’s total transparency about what tasks are being worked on and completed on your behalf.
I’m all about making things clear for small business owners like you, so if you want help to get your website found on Google, book a discovery call or request a free website report.