Most people today rely on Google for information about products and services, rather than on word of mouth. Online reviews tend to be more objective than friends and family, and they are easily accessed with just a few clicks or taps. The Internet supplies endless information in answer to questions about the features and prices of various products, and customer reviews satisfy our need to feel confident about our purchases.
Changes in the ways consumers shop has forced businesses to migrate to the web, fighting for top positions in search rankings to make sure they are seen by potential customers. No matter how great your product or service is, or how fair its price, your company’s name will not automatically pop up at the top of the list unless you apply some basic principles of search engine optimization (SEO).
Good SEO goes far beyond keyword stuffing. Google has become smarter and invented advanced algorithms like Hummingbird, Panda, and Rankbrain to weed out flimsy texts and identify quality content. The value your content delivers to potential clients takes precedence over popular keywords, so your promotional campaigns demand more ingenuity than in the past.
To optimize SEO for today’s search engines, there are many factors to consider and much work to be done, but don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. In a recent article published on SEJ, Sergey Grybniak, CEO of Clever Solution, advises that people often overcomplicate SEO, overreacting to changes in algorithms and wasting valuable resources. It is vital to stay tuned into the SEO community and keep up to speed with important news. You should also regularly measure and analyze your SEO metrics, and monitor your competitors’ behavior.
James Welch of Embryo Digital supports Sergey’s advice and adds that it is also important to create and post quality content on a regular basis.
Changing your approach to SEO by staying on top of Google’s updates and focusing on content quality will help you move up in search in the long run, resulting in more sales and a growing client base.
This article features some effective on-page SEO tactics to help you achieve the best results with the least amount of struggle.
What is On-Page Optimization?
Efforts aimed at enhancing search results can be divided into two categories:
- on-page – changes made to your website’s content and HTML code;
- off-page – SEO manipulations outside your website (link-building, email, social media, etc.)
This article focuses exclusively on on-page optimization.
Any successful SEO campaign begins with the customer in mind. Google administrators decide how their search engine operates based on the needs and best interests of web users, with artificial intelligence keying into those needs. Rather than trying to work around and outsmart search robots, a good SEO strategy should focus on the needs of the target audience.
View time is an important indicator that Google takes into account when ranking your pages. You want your prospective clients to not only find your website, but remain there as long as possible.
User engagement that extends view time can be achieved with high quality content and outstanding user experience, two fundamental aspects of on-page SEO.
When a user types a query into the search bar, you want your website to appear prominently on the results page. One way to achieve this is to incorporate popular queries in your content, thereby notifying users that you have what they are looking for.
Search engines are particularly sensitive to keywords embedded in URLs, titles, headers, descriptions, image file names and alt tags. Keywords should be evenly distributed throughout your texts.
Keep in mind that popular queries change over time. You should regularly update the keywords on your website to match current trends.
Titles are the first things users see in search results, and the title of a web page makes a strong first impression. The quality of your title often determines whether people choose to visit your website. Google matches page titles with content, to ensure you are providing relevant information.
Create clear and original titles that convey your pages’ topics. Do not copy your competitors’ titles, and don’t get too wordy. Tools like Yoast’s WordPress plugin can help you create eye-catching titles that lead users to your site.
Textual content is commonly divided by headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) making it more reader-friendly. By scanning the page structure, users can quickly grasp what information is provided there, and whether it meets their interests. To make your H tags attractive to Google, enhance them with trending keywords while keeping them relevant to text they represent.
Google analyzes meta descriptions to understand what a page is about and display it to users who will most benefit from its content. Since a meta description is displayed in search like a snippet, it can bring you more clicks and increase your revenues.
Read our special article, to get deeper insight into snippet optimization.
Well-optimized images improve the loading speed and enhance the design of your pages. Well-written text conveys the benefits of your products, but appealing visuals bring them to life.
Harmonious color schemes, beautiful impressions and vivid emotions transmitted through visual content can be powerful drivers for conversions.
Make sure your images meet the following requirements:
- Photos should be formatted in JPG, and monochrome layout elements in GIF or PNG.
- Large images should be compressed so they display without delay.
- To ensure high quality product photos, engage a skilled photographer to create your catalog.
- Add strong keywords to alt text.
Video adds motion to static websites and personalizes brand-client interaction.
Some useful video optimization tips:
- MP4 is the best format for quick display of your content without loss of quality.
- Make sure videos work harmoniously on screens of different sizes.
- Compress weighty files.
- Do not show feature-length movies. Answer viewers’ questions with only the most relevant and interesting information.
- Upload files to YouTube instead of keeping them in your own data storage.
SEO is not something you do once, reaping its fruits forever. If you want your rankings to remain high, be ready to regularly analyze the efficiency of your content and enhance it:
- Remove outdated information and replace it with more current content.
- Monitor keyword trends.
- Determine which content elicits the longest view times and the most clicks, likes and comments, and expand on it in your next content marketing campaign. Get rid of content that was largely ignored by your target audience.
- Post articles that provide answers to the questions your clients most frequently ask.
- Analyze the content of leaders in your niche and adopt their successful practices.
Most potential clients are active mobile users, so it is important to make sure your website is easy to view on their gadgets. Google increasingly uses mobile-first indexing to select the most responsive pages and push them higher in search.
We live in a dynamic world where people need everything done quickly. Web users will not wait patiently your images and videos to upload. Delays in loading speed can quickly make prospective clients abandon your website, so don’t underestimate its importance.
Use automatic tools like Google Analytics or Page Speed Insights to get a comprehensive review of your existing speed issues and suggestions for fixing them.
In addition to compressing visuals and converting them to light formats, you may need to:
- use browser caching;
- shut off some plugins;
- opt for better hosting;
- remove unnecessary code from CSS and HTML;
- get rid of ads;
- eliminate parts of redirects.
Your website’s structure should be convenient and straightforward so that visitors can quickly find content of interest. Buttons leading to key categories can be placed at the top of your website to facilitate navigation.
The benefits of internal linking:
- Linking merges all pages into a single whole and creates pathways for customers so they can easily follow your links from page to page and continue their buyer journey. A flawless experience with your brand will increase the chances of conversion.
- Linking sends Google a more comprehensive idea of your website’s content, leading crawlers from one page to another.
- Related products on product pages drive cross-sales.
- You can create custom anchor text to make the most of your keywords.
Some helpful tips:
- Linking should be logical and not awkward.
- Avoid overstuffing pages with similar-anchor links.
- Use breadcrumbs to display your site’s structure.
- Appealing link-based images drive more clicks.
Forcing customers to rummage through your content and jump from page to page in search of information will try their patience and possibly alienate them altogether. Prominently feature a site search box on every page to save time and prevent them from abandoning your site.
Category pages on e-commerce websites provide basic information on different product types, but they should have duly configured filtering. Analyze the features of products in a certain category and use them as filters to help users quickly find options that match their criteria. For example, if you sell smartwatches, you can configure filters by brand, size, color, strap material, GPS, 4G, etc.
Product Pages Optimization
A product page is the final destination where your customer decides whether or not to buy a certain product. High-end user experience is critical at this stage.
To determine the best layout for your product pages, analyze the style, features, and layout elements used by your successful competitors. Study the colors and fonts of their design, and take note of which words they use to describe their products.
It is important to not have unavailable products in your index. If they appear, your position in search may drop. Compile a list of links displayed in your sitemap and match them with Google Search Console and Google Organic. The results should coincide.
People are prone to trust what they see over what they hear. Brand representatives featured in videos who vouch for the quality of their company’s products show viewers that they stand by their brand and are willing to put their reputation on the line.
Make video reviews and how-to guides to educate your clients, help them choose the most suitable items from your catalog, and avoid mistakes when using them.
Related products drive cross-sales. For example, a company selling construction materials might also offer tools or building and repair services. In the same way, a legal firm providing pre-settlement loans may also offer litigation services.
Most consumers compare products and brands before making a purchase. An automated comparison tool helps buyers quickly collect the key metrics of two products to decide which one best meets their needs. Comparison tools offer the best options based on user’s criteria, simplifying the decision-making process.
Positive feedback from previous buyers builds trust among your prospects. Testimonials should be genuine and look natural. Honest feedback from satisfied customers will build buyers’ confidence and increase sales.
FAQ / About Us / Contacts pages
Even though your homepage and product pages provide detailed information, people sometimes need more clarification. A comprehensive FAQ page can satisfy customers’ curiosity and provide needed information, saving them from having to scan your pages. Use FAQs to specify which security measures you use, how clients can ship and return their purchases and other relevant information that customers frequently ask about.
Before committing to a purchase on an e-commerce website, some customers want to know who they are dealing with. Use the About Us page to share your brand history, showcase awards and credentials, display your corporate values and share photos of your team. Your About Us page is your online business card, giving your brand a great first impression.
Provide your customers with all available channels for reaching you, including email, phone, FAX, the physical addresses of your office and outlets, instant messengers, social media, on-site forms, online chat and any other channels of communication.
Use our on-page SEO checklist to optimize your website, reach the top of search rankings, attract a growing client base and maximize your revenues.