On-page SEO Review

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Mention keywords in your copy for consistency, but this must be easy to read.  Write your copy for a human, not for Google, but add the keywords when you can.

Search Engine Optimisation is a complicated area, and we regularly get asked for a small check-list. So this could save you lots of time.  I will split this into two parts; ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page‘.

There are five things to cover; we will do three now, and two next week.
The three we do now are Keyword Strategy, Technical and Hosting considerations, and Content Optimisation.

Keyword Strategy

Firstly we need to understand what keywords are being used. So we look at 5 things:-

  • Client Brief
  • Website Navigation
  • Current Traffic
  • Competitors
  • Analyse the terms

Client brief
Which keywords would they like to rank for and be higher in the rankings? This may not always be the right keywords, but it’s a good starting point.

Website navigation
Menu items usually tell you what you want to target, and again will be a good indicator.

Current traffic
Look at traffic already coming to your site, whatever the rankings.

Competitors
Check out the top five competitors and see what keyword they use to optimise their website.

Analyse the terms
Competition for terms is important.  If you have two keyword phrases with equal traffic, and one with much less competition, it makes sense to target that one.

There are many research tools to use. Here is one we recommend:-

Technical and Hosting

Most of the questions we get are about blocked content.  Are your pages being indexed?  So, be very careful, especially when refreshing a website.

Hosting localisation comes up a lot if you are targeting overseas markets. Hosting within a certain country has a bearing but there are a few other things to consider.
The three things to consider are domain, hosting, and what you tell Google.

  • You can get a domain for the country being targeted, like .de for Germany
  • There are hosts in most countries, so in this case you can get one in Germany for your website.
  • When you set up Webmaster Tools you should state what country you want to target.

If you can get two out of these three, you are doing well.

Site Map
A site map is only useful when the site is not indexed properly.
Google needs to know where all the pages are on your site, and an XML site map helps with this.  However, if it is not indexed correctly, then anything that Google offer is not going to crawl the site either.

The best way:-

  • If you have a small site and you know every page, then list them; simple.
  • For larger sites, most content management systems will generate a site map.  This will be accurate.

If your site is indexed properly a site map will not have a huge impact but it’s so easy to do, it would be silly not to.

Content Optimisation

When somebody types a search they get to see three things; URL, title tag, and two lines of copy called the description

URL
Get your keywords clear and close to the domain name, for example:-

  • www.yourdomain.co.uk/product-name-keywords/ – RIGHT
  • www.yourdomain.co.uk/shop/category/subcategory/product-name-keywords/ – WRONG

Title tag
You have 66 characters including spaces hyphens etc. Perhaps 9 to 11 words.

  • Try to make the first three words your main keywords (front loading).
  • Repeating words is wasteful, you will not be penalised, but there is no need; spiders only need to see them once.

Meta description
This is not visible but very important.  Using keywords does not help you to rank any better, but keywords will appear on the results page in bold.  Humans will see this, so use it as an opportunity to make it compelling, so they click through.

  • You have 150 characters.
  • Repeat the title tag for consistency.
  • We like to add brands here, and very importantly a call to action.

Meta keywords
Google have recently stated that they do not use these in any algorithm. It is best to leave them blank.

Headings

  • H1 Is the most important, then H2, then H3, etc.
  • You should only have one H1, and a rule of thumb is two H2s, three H3s etc.
  • Headings have to be consistent with your keyword strategy.

Body copy
Mention keywords in your copy for consistency, but this must be easy to read.  Write your copy for a human, not for Google, but add the keywords when you can.

Duplicate content
Make sure your content only appears once.  It should only be available on your site, and only on one URL.  The same content on multiple URLs and websites confuses Google and makes ranking more complicated, so you are less likely to rank.  The best way is to make your content original.

Next week we will deal with off-site SEO, with Link Building and Tracking.

If you have had any on-site issues or questions, please contact me now.

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