On-Page SEO for small business websites in Toronto & Durham Region.
Learn about what “On-Page SEO” is, how to use it and how to implement it into your own website for better search engine results.
So, what exactly is “On-Page SEO”?
Technically, “On-Page SEO” means doing anything you can to a web page in order to improve its rankings in the search engine results. On-Page factors are controlled by the website owner and include content, meta tags, alt tags, use of heading tags, internal and external linking, and more.
For the most part, this is where you have the most control over how the search engines will view and interpret your information and this is also what most people are referring to when they speak about SEO in general.
The image below illustrates how all of the on-page SEO factors relate to a web page overall:
To give you a better idea of what this all means, I have created a basic list of On-Page SEO factors to watch out for and how to use them.
All of your URLs should be written in a way that display what the page is about and the main keywords should be included. If your website is a static one, you can manually name the pages and CMS platforms like WordPress have plugins available that allow you to name the pages.
Search engines love structure, so if your home page has a link for “best butter tarts in Timmins”, that page should look something like “best-butter-tarts-timmins.html”.
Despite being the most important factor for On-Page SEO, Meta Titles are commonly misused.
If you think about it logically, the page name tells the search engine what the page is about and the Meta Title tag tells the search engine that the page definitely contains this information. This is the structure that the search engines are looking for.
Google asks for well structured and semantically correct documents, so use the tools at your disposal to your advantage.
The Meta Title tag should also contain around 60 characters and you should place the main keywords FIRST, or as close to the beginning of the tag as possible. I actually go with 55 characters these days so that none of the titles are cut-off in the mobile search results. Google displays fewer characters for those, so longer titles are “truncated” and based more on pixels than actual character amounts.
You can actually get more characters in there if you use letters like “i” and “l” instead of “w” and “x”, for example, which seems kinda silly, but that’s how Google is rolling these days and you just have to work with it:
<title>On-Page SEO | Small Business | Toronto & Durham Region</title>
A title tag like the one above will never be truncated.
Whether this matters so much or not probably depends on the individual, as we’ve all clicked-on search results that may have been truncated. Personally, I think you can get your message in there just fine with 55 characters and it just looks better.
Simply stated, don’t bother with them. The major search engines no longer pay any attention to them and Matt Cutts from Google posted a video about it that should put this topic to rest for good.
I see them still being used all the time and the only practical purpose they serve is to show me what you are trying to compete for. Of course I can figure out what you are trying to compete for without them, but why give your competitors any edge?
Leave the rookie mistakes to them and try to focus on the things that will actually matter.
The “Meta Description” tag allows you to support the Title Tag’s introduction to the page and to expand on it. The Title Tag is supposed to be a brief description of the page’s contents, so the Meta Description gives you more space to add to it, or define it better, or to make a call to action:
<title>On-Page SEO examples for Toronto business websites. YouRankWell.ca</title> <meta name="description" content="Learn what On-Page SEO means and how to use it on your website."/>
In the above example, I try to make it clear that the page is about On-Page SEO, complete with examples and a promise to show you how to use it on your own website.
Google doesn’t place much “SEO Value” on the Meta Description anymore, so it’s basically used to lure people into clicking the search result.
That actually takes the pressure off a bit and allows us to focus on what we’re trying to do with our websites. Enticing people to click via sales offers, for example, is a lot more useful than trying to stuff yet another string of text with keywords. It’s more honest, anyway, and I actually prefer it this way.
Use of Heading Tags.
Heading tags exist so that you can structure your document in terms of importance and I have absolutely had great results in terms of SEO from having used them properly.
HTML gives you 6 of them (H1 through H6), so think of it like your high school essay where you would have the title of the paper (H1), the sub-title (H2), sub-section titles (H3), bullet-points (H4) and so on.
Google has been kind enough to ask for well structured and semantically correct documents, so use the tools at your disposal to your advantage.
<h1>Main heading text goes here.</h1> <p>Paragraph text here.</p> <h2>Sub-heading text here.</h2> <p>Paragraph text here.</p> <h3>Sub-section titles here.</h3> <p>Paragraph text here.</p> <h3>Sub-section titles here.</h3> <p>Paragraph text here.</p> <h3>Sub-section titles here.</h3> <p>Paragraph text here.</p>
Actual Page Content.
This would definitely be the “meaty” part of the page, because without it there is nothing for the search engines to bother with. Whatever the topic, you need to have well-written and informative text that educates the reader and this is also where your well-researched keywords would be inserted. Try to make it long enough that it’s worth reading and include some multi-media, such as images or video.
Image Alt Text.
I once worked with a person who claimed that “Google doesn’t index alt tags”, which meant she obviously hadn’t seen this video of Matt Cutts stating the exact opposite. Now, while it is true that ALT attributes for images were meant to initially enhance accessibility, they do in fact have a very small effect on SEO. Add a “title” attribute while you’re at it and be sure to name the image something relevant to your page’s keyword theme as well.
<img src="name-image-using-keywords.jpg" alt="5-7 Keywords here." title="More keywords."/>
If Matt Cutts* says we can use them, we should use them.
* Matt Cutts is the web spam team leader at Google. When in doubt, defer to him instead of your sister-in-law’s 17-year-old-cousin’s-best-friend.
If you are referencing something on one page and you have another page on your website that goes into deeper detail about that subject, link to that page. Internal linking simply means linking from one page of your website to another page on your website and it is intended to show the search engine that you have lots of relevant content to share.
Basically the same as linking internally, but to other sites instead of your own. Wondering why you want people to leave your website? You’re not alone, believe me.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but by linking elsewhere you are telling the search engines that you are part of a network of good information. That being said, be sure to only link to authoritative websites that enhance the points you are already making. Every link from on your website represents x-amount of SEO-points that your page loses (“Link Juice”), so give it away sparingly and only when deserved or necessary.
And now you know more about what On-Page SEO is and how it can be used for better SEO.
Optimizing a web page can be a daunting task and you need to have a handle on the things that matter. It is easy to over-cook a page, which can easily result in doing more harm to your page than good and the line between good SEO and spammy pages is a thin one.
Have a go at it if you’re up for it and feel free to get in touch if you think you might need some help.
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