Friday, 20 October 2017

On-Page SEO: The Essentials Part 1

Are you seeing your organic traffic or positions in Google dropping? Then it might be time to assess your on-page SEO. If you are not familiar with SEO and growing traffic, then you are probably thinking ‘What is on-page SEO’? On-page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising a series of elements on your web page/website. Most of these elements a person can see, like the headings of a page or the search results in Google that come up after searching for a keyword.

There are several on-page SEO elements: meta titles, meta descriptions, headings (h-tags), content, internal links, external links, alt tags...In this first part of our two-part blog series, we will cover 3 parts of on-page SEO: meta titles, meta descriptions and headers.

Example 1: Meta Titles & Descriptions in Google Search Results

1. Meta Titles

A meta title is a word (or words) used to summarise the content on a web page. It is used in SEO to increase rankings for a keyword that people search for. A meta title will also appear in Google’s search results as the title of a page, as you can see on the Example 1 above.

At Aró, after keyword research and determining the top keywords people search for that are related to the business, we create a meta title that will match those searches. We pay special attention when writing meta data as each page on the website should have unique on-page SEO elements. The result? Better positions on Google. You can see in Example 2 where the client’s on-page SEO was optimised by Aró in June.

What is the importance of optimised meta titles?
They increase rankings for keywords and increase free clicks (website visitors) if they are the right length!

What can go wrong?
  • Meta titles that are too long will look less relevant to the searcher and less professional. You want to show the exact keywords the person searched for. 
  • Meta titles that are too short might miss some additional keywords people search for and more information about the page.
  • Duplicate meta titles would go against Google's advice that every page should be unique and have an unique meta title, like other on-page SEO elements.
  • Missing meta titles means the system would pull an automated meta title from the content, usually a header of the page, so the title can't be strategically optimised.
As a result, you will get less traffic to your site.

2. Meta Descriptions

While meta titles are meant to be concise, a meta description is used to describe the page in more detail because it has more space. At Aró, we make the most use of this space and make sure that the keywords in the meta descriptions stand out in the search result.

What is the importance of optimised meta titles?
They increase free traffic to the website.

What can go wrong?
  • Meta descriptions that are too long will end in 3 dots “…” and the message in the descriptions won’t be carried across perfectly to the reader.
  • Meta descriptions that are too short will miss out more details about the page and the services that are offered on the website.
  • Duplicate meta descriptions, as with other duplicate on-page SEO elements, go against Google's advice that every page should be unique.
  • Missing meta descriptions means the system would pull an automated meta description from the content, usually the first few sentences from the page so the description may not be optimal.
As a result, you may drive less website visitors to your website because the descriptions don’t give them a good indication of what to expect when they click on the link and Google may penalise the page if the associated meta data is not relevant.

3. Header (h1) tags

On a web page, content is usually divided into sections, each with a heading. The h1 tag is used by the search engine crawlers to see what the header of the page is, so that the search engine knows what the page is about.

What is the importance of h1 tags?
They can help improve rankings in Google.

What can go wrong?
  • Missing h1 tags signal that the page lacks structure and is not user friendly. A page may have a header but if it's not coded properly (i.e. <h1>Our Story</h1>) Google won't see it as a header.
  • Duplicate h1s mean that the page is not unique, because there is another page on the website with the same header. As previously mentioned, that is not recommended by Google.
As a result you will be getting less traffic to your site by ranking worse in the search engines.

Example 2: Improvements in ranking after optimising on-page SEO elements in July. *NIT50=Not In Top 50 Results

The Importance of On-Page SEO

Optimised or non-optimised meta titles, descriptions and headers will have an impact on your organic website visitors and, ultimately, on conversion. Well optimised meta titles, descriptions and header tags are a must; more and more companies are realising the importance of SEO and digital marketing. As an example, on-page SEO tactics such as this have helped Hotel d'Angleterre's organic traffic grow by 22% .

Do you want to know if your website is up to scratch? Get a free audit that measures these elements and much more!

View Case Study

Hotel d'Angleterre