Let’s start right at the beginning and talk first about search engine optimisation in general.
Search engine optimisation is the way in which search engines, like Google, decide where your website should rank on their results page, but also how relevant it is to potential clients.
At the end of the day, Google and other search engines, want to provide their customers with the best possible experience. This means that they want to produce a list of website results that best answer a visitor’s question or needs.
They don’t want to show customers badly designed websites with information that has no relevance to them. They want them to see and experience the cream of the crop.
This is why search engine optimisation is so important to any business with an online platform.
So how can you improve your SEO ranking? Well, the first place to start is with your on-site SEO.
What Is On-Site SEO?
On-site SEO, also known as on-page SEO, is the way that your website is optimised for the search engines. This includes aspects such as page loading speeds, keywords and the actual content of each individual web page.
The better your on-site search engine optimisation, the higher you will rank in the search engine results and the easier it will be for potential customers to find you online.
Equally, good on-site SEO helps your visitors quickly and easily understand the content of each web page. Therefore, making it simpler for them to decide if the content is relevant to them. This gives a better customer experience overall which is another thumbs up to the search engines.
How Can I Improve My On-Site SEO?
Keywords & Content
In the past, keywords were king. The more a keyword appeared on a web page, the better the search engines ranked it. However, this caused a lot of problems with black hat tricks such as spamming web pages with hundreds of the same keyword or hiding them in website footers etc. This resulted in many visitors finding websites that didn’t meet their needs or provide a good customer experience.
Now, search engines are far more sophisticated and can actually “read” a web page to get an overall understanding of the content. This makes their result page more relevant and in-line with a visitor’s requirements.
For this reason, the overall content of your web pages is vital. The more relevant your text, the higher a search engine will rank you.
The main things to keep in mind for your website content are:
- Go In-Depth. Search engines like thorough pieces of writing. The longer and more in-depth you can go into a subject, the better your web page will rank. For example, if you are a newborn photographer maybe you could write not just about the service you provide but also about what a new parent can expect at a session, things to bring, things to consider before their photoshoot and any other advice you may have.
- Make It User-Friendly. The more user-friendly your text is the better it will appear to search engines. I’m sure we’ve all gone to a website before and been met with a huge, long essay of text with terrible grammar, spelling, no headings, no paragraphs…just text. It’s off-putting and hard to read. So, make sure you structure your content correctly – use headings, bullet points, link to other pages, write in paragraphs, check your spelling etc.
- Be Unique. Don’t duplicate content. Not from someone else’s site or your own. This is a big no-no. Of course, you might want to refer to similar topics or something you have already covered on a different area of your website but make sure you re-write it slightly. Don’t just copy and paste!
The longer you can keep a visitor on your site, the better you will appear to search engines. One way of encouraging visitors to stay longer is by using links.
Now, like with all other areas of your website, links should be used logically and not just everywhere and anywhere.
One tip is to think of the customer experience. You don’t want your visitors to be jumping from page to page in a way that doesn’t make sense. It would be far better to encourage them to take a “journey” through your website. For example, starting on your home page, through to your portfolios, then to your packages or services page which might then link to various other web pages that include other useful information. Finally, finishing with your contact page.
Page Loading Speed
As we said, search engines want their visitors to have the best experience possible with the websites they recommend. And nothing puts a visitor off a website more than waiting forever for the page to load.
One way to improve your page loading speed is to check the size of your images. If your images are very large they will take a long time to load. So make sure everything is saved for web for the best possible outcome.
Not sure what size your page is? You can find out by going to My Websites > Pages > Edit Web Pages and viewing the column called Size.
Browser titles are one of the most important areas of on-site SEO.
They are the official page title. They appear in the top of a browser tab, in the search results and in bookmarks or favourites if a visitor saves your web page to view later.
As this title is seen be visitors it should fully identify your website as well as give a bit of an indication as to what the page is about.
The biggest tip we can give you is to remember that browser titles don’t take up any screen area so keep it short and concise. You want to identify your website, if appropriate, and use any keywords relevant to search engines.
For example, for your home page browser title you should include words such as your company name, what you specialise in (e.g. wedding photography, boudoir photography, corporate headshots etc) as well as any significant adjectives (e.g. timeless, fine art, pin-up…) and where you are based or the areas that you work within.
So, your browser title would look something like this: Your Company Name | Fine Art Wedding Photographer | Chertsey, Addlestone & Thorpe.
Meta descriptions are indexed by the search engines and are displayed underneath your browser title on the search engine results page.
They should be a short description of what your web page is about so that the search engines can quickly “read” the content and decide where it should appear in their search results.
A meta description should be written in “human speak”. What I mean by this is it shouldn’t be a big list of keywords and it shouldn’t be short, clipped sentences that sound like a robot. It should sound like a real person.
Here is an example of a well-written meta description:
Your Company Name is a wedding photographer based in Chertsey, Surrey. Your Company specialises in beautiful, fine art wedding photography in the Addlestone, Thorpe and Chertsey area.
It’s short, concise, sounds like a real person wrote it and tells the search engines everything they need to know about the home page.
But remember, it MUST be relevant to the actual page! For example, if you are writing a meta description for your contact page then it should mention something along the lines of:
Find all the contact details to reach out to Your Company Name and be next in line for a great portrait by the world-famous portrait photographer.
If you do not enter a meta description for a web page the search engines will simply display a snippet of text from the page. However, this might not be as strongly written as an intentional meta description.
Tools To Help With Your On-Site SEO
If you are looking for additional help with your SEO there are many tools available online that can give helpful advice (rather than a company trying to sell you SEO services). They vary in price so should suit any budget, however, many will give you a free trial. So, if you use your time wisely, you can get a good dose of help before the trial ends!
Another tool worth looking into if you struggle with spelling or simply want another set of eyes to read through your content is Grammarly.
Grammarly is a plugin that will “read through” any text that you write. It checks your spelling, grammar and even lets you know the tone your writing is giving to a potential reader! A must-have if you are planning on updating any content on your website.
When you’re logged into your account on theimagefile, keep an eye out for the SEO flags. They show on every page!