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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do's & Don’ts

Ecommerce is expected to grab even more of the retail pie, with a projected growth of nearly $11 trillion between 2021 and 2025.

An increasing number of ecommerce sites want a piece of this pie, making it critical that your search strategy delivers.

Add to this the fact that advertising costs are reaching the realm of prohibitive, only to often see sinking results, and smart SEO practices become more urgent than ever.

10 Do’s Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

Here are 10 steps to take and 10 to avoid for a successful SEO strategy.

1. Fine-Tune Your Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is the foundation for product page optimization.

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When conducting keyword research, always use product-focused topics that users are searching for. Don’t fixate on volume. Instead, think about relevancy and what will actually convert.

If you have data from other channels like paid search, use it in your keyword and topic research and incorporate ad copy with high click-through rates (CTR) into meta descriptions.

Product pages have transactional intent, so make sure your landing pages are optimized for searchers ready to buy.

Someone looking for a specific product like “Series S60l & Expression E52 paintbrush” strongly indicates they are ready to purchase it due to the detailed nature of their search.

Make it easy for them to take that next important step.

2. Optimize Titles And Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are very important in product page optimization.

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Make sure you include details such as:

  • The brand of the product, including your proprietary brand.
  • The name of the product.
  • The model number.
  • Other important information (e.g., dimensions).

3. Mark Up Product Pages With Structured Data

Having the correct structured data type can help your brand appear in rich snippets.

All product pages should have product schema and review schema, which can:

  • Drive more impressions and clicks.
  • Improve your CTR and drive more sales.

4. Add Clear And Helpful FAQs

High-quality content that meets the users’ needs is key to ranking high in SERPs.

If users do not find your content useful, your bounce rates will be high, and customers may decide not to buy from you.

Most category and product pages are light on optimized content and do not have an FAQ section that is marked up with FAQ structured data.

Instead, they tend to rely on user-generated content (UGC), which is a mistake.

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Suppose I have a question about a product and do not want to talk to a chatbot or call customer service.

If the brand in question has built an FAQ section with answers to questions that users commonly ask, I can easily find the information I’m looking for, and so can other customers.

That, in turn, helps the brand sell more products.

5. Always Write Unique Product And Meta Descriptions

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an ecommerce site use the same product description for all products. This is a huge opportunity lost.

Each item can rank for branded and non-branded keywords and should therefore include a unique description to take full advantage of SEO.

Give consumers helpful, meaningful information to encourage them to click on your listing, thereby driving more traffic and sales.

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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from search, Google, August 2022

6. Share Real Testimonials And Customer Reviews

Product pages with customer reviews see conversion lifts of 52.2% more than their review-free counterparts, so this should be a no-brainer.

Genuine testimonials from customers, who have tried your product, speak volumes to in-market consumers trying to figure out whether or not to buy from you.

That’s why it’s so important to let customers share their experiences with your products and how they’ve helped solve problems.

But there are other advantages, too.

Reviews help build trust – especially if you have an endorsement from a carefully vetted celebrity or famous influencer.

They also provide the fresh, unique content Google craves. Just be sure to mark them up with the review schema.

Share Real Testimonials And Customer ReviewsScreenshot from zoya.com, August 2022

7. Test Landing Pages To Find The Best

Tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize provide an intuitive way to test even the slightest variations within product pages, which you should absolutely do to figure out the ideal configuration.

Changing the location of your call to action, for example, could drive more conversions.

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Test your page layout options to see how they can best support sales.

8. Use High-Quality Video And Imagery

One of the drawbacks of shopping online is you cannot physically touch or test the product you are considering.

High-quality images and videos can fill that gap by providing end users with the information they need to feel confident in their purchases.

Recently, my search for a cordless drill led me to the Home Depot site. The company’s site ranks very high for this term, and its landing page is filled with powerful content that includes:

  • Videos that answer common questions.
  • Q&A with other customers.
  • The imagery of what a particular kit includes.

This was a great user experience because I wanted to know how many batteries came with the drill and if it came with a bag.

Use High-Quality Video And ImageryScreenshot from homedepot.com, August 2022

9. Minimize Page Load Times

Your product pages must be optimized for mobile. More and more consumers are conducting their online searches this way.

Fast-loading webpages will get your content in front of your target audience more quickly and provide a better user experience.

That, in turn, helps increase sales, revenue, and pages per session. Plus, it gives you a leg up on the competition.

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It also decreases your bounce rates.

Aim for three seconds or less.

10. Audit Your Product Pages For Technical Issues

Product pages can often be duplicated because of faceted URLs, which can cause a lot of headaches for SEO, such as:

  • Duplicate content.
  • Wasted crawl budget.
  • Split link equity.

To avoid these issues, audit your pages to see which technical and content elements need to be optimized, if any.

Problems to watch for include:

10 Don’ts Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

1. Don’t Use Product Descriptions From The Manufacturer’s Website

This is one of the most common mistakes I see in optimizing product pages.

Many manufacturer descriptions are not compelling, lack all the information a customer needs – and are not optimized for search.

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It’s worth taking the time to write more informative and engaging descriptions. The more detailed information, the better. This may very well be the difference between being found and being invisible.

Also, remember that you do not want duplicate content, which will hurt your SEO efforts.

2. Don’t Kill Your Seasonal Pages Once Peak Is Past

This is a common mistake I see brands make.

While removing seasonal pages after the peak period may seem sensible, doing this will leave you with the same uphill battle every year, once again, trying to regain the authority your site needs to rank for seasonal terms.

And by the time you do this each year, it will likely be too late.

If you have a seasonal product page that has built up rankings, traffic, and sales over time, do not eliminate it.

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Amazon is a great example of how to do this well. They have a dedicated Black Friday URL that only gains authority over time.

Amazon can then update the page as the peak Black Friday season approaches.

3. Don’t Use Automated Optimization

Dynamically populated product pages with the product’s name as the title tag, followed by brand and nothing else, is not a best practice.

Also, using automated descriptions and changing just a few variables could negatively impact your CTR.

Instead, include important information in the titles that you cannot automate. This can help your site rank for targeted keywords.

All titles and meta descriptions should be unique.

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4. Don’t Pull Out-of-Stock Pages

Sometimes products go out of stock, especially when supply chains are stressed.

But if the product is temporarily unavailable, you should keep the URL live, especially if the page has rankings and traffic.

As with seasonal pages, this can seem counterintuitive.

In fact, a more profitable strategy is to keep these pages live and provide links to other relevant products until the item is back in stock.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from karmaloop.com, August 2022

5. Don’t Use The Wrong Type Of Structured Data – Or None At All

Structured data (i.e., reviews and product data) can help your site rank in the rich results and drive more traffic and sales. Having product data can help your site rank for rich snippets.

Many brands use the wrong type of structured data or do not implement any structured data. Both hurt your site rank.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from Google Search Console, August 2022

6. Don’t Use Weak Calls To Action – Or Omit Them Entirely

Oftentimes, many brands do not have strong calls to action (CTA), but clean and easy CTAs are a must-have for any site.

Remember that the main job of your product page is to drive revenue and sales.

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If it takes users too long to find how to purchase your products, they will instead visit your competitors’ sites. Make it easy and convincing for them to buy from you.

7. Don’t Optimize For CEO Keywords And Keywords With No Volume

Often, when a CEO asks an SEO specialist, “Why are we not ranking for XYZ keyword?” The answer is that XYZ has no search volume.

Think like a customer, do your research, and use data to inform your decisions about which keywords to use.

For example, if I’m optimizing for “lego spice girls back in stock,” it won’t be worth it because users are not really searching for this term.

Once I rank for it, I won’t get many sales because of the low volume.

8. Don’t Miss Opportunities For Internal Linking And Backlinks

Links still matter for ecommerce.

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Often, brands build links to their homepages and category pages but forget about product pages.

But these pages can rank, especially for long-tail keywords that have high purchase intent and can dramatically increase revenue and sales.

That’s why you should always support product pages with internal links and even paid social to improve visibility and performance.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

9. Don’t Charge The Wrong Price

Not having the right pricing strategy can cause consumers not to buy your products and possibly not to trust your brand.

This is especially true when prices spike on products high in demand, as we experienced during the baby food shortage.

We all know the laws of supply and demand, but paying 20% more for baby formula is crazy. Luckily, states are cracking down on price gouging.

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10. Don’t Forget Mobile Optimization

To appreciate just how important it is to optimize for mobile shopping, consider that more than 60% of online shoppers in the U.S. shop via mobile devices. And more than one-third are mobile-only shoppers.

Not having a mobile-friendly product page can cause users to not even consider buying products from your site.

Wrapping Up

By sharpening your SEO strategy, you’re also burnishing your brand.

Giving consumers the best information there is on a product (and quickly), a compelling reason to buy, answers to their anticipated FAQs, and genuine third-party thumbs-up, you’re giving them reasons to return to your site.

Brand building is a long-term commitment. Even when it doesn’t immediately lead to a buy, it’s an assurance to customers that they can trust you.

And being vigilant about your SEO is an important way to build that trust.

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Featured Image: ImYanis/Shutterstock



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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

Building a successful agency can be a daunting task in today’s ever-evolving space. Do you know the secrets to succeeding with yours?

Watch this informative, on-demand webinar, where link building expert Jon Ball reveals the closely guarded secrets that have propelled Page One Power to become a highly successful $10 million agency.

You’ll learn:

  • The foundational principles on which to build your business to succeed.
  • The importance of delegation, market positioning, and staffing.
  • More proven lessons learned from 14 years of experience.

With Jon, we’ll provide you with actionable insights that you can use to take your business to the next level, using foundational principles that have contributed to Page One Power’s success.

If you’re looking to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur or grow your agency in the constantly evolving world of SEO, this webinar is for you.

Learn the secrets of establishing a thriving agency in an increasingly competitive SEO space.

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View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

How An Enterprise Digital PR Firm Earns 100’s Of Links In 30 Days

Join us as we explore how to scale the very time-consuming and complicated process of earning links from digital PR, with proven case studies showing how you can earn hundreds of links in 30 days.

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

Toxic backlinks are links that some SEO tools say could hurt your website’s Google rankings. The implication is that you should disavow them to keep your site safe.

But there’s some disagreement and confusion among SEOs as to whether “toxic” links are actually a thing and what, if anything, you should do about them. 

If you believe Google’s John Mueller, they’re not: 

Yet, according to my poll, the majority (just!) of SEOs think they are: 

So… what’s the deal here? Are toxic backlinks actually a thing? Are they hurting your site? And if so, what should you be doing about them? 

Before we can answer those questions, we need to understand the terminology… 

Every website has some spammy backlinks that just don’t make sense. But that doesn’t necessarily make them manipulative or “toxic.”

For example, here are a couple of obviously spammy links to our site: 

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Example of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We didn’t build or buy either of these, so they’re not “manipulative” by definition. They’re just low-quality links we’ve attracted over time because the internet is rife with spammers. 

If you study Google’s link spam documentation carefully, you’ll see that, in theory, these aren’t the kind of spammy links they have a problem with. They warn only against the ill effects of spam links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages. Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. 

Here are the examples Google gives of these manipulative links: 

What Google says are manipulative linksWhat Google says are manipulative links

As for “toxic backlinks,” this is just a term made up by certain SEO tools to describe backlinks they think could hurt your rankings based on several so-called “markers.”

Key takeaway

  • Spammy links are low-quality links that every site attracts through no fault of their own. 
  • Manipulative links are links built or bought solely to improve Google rankings. 
  • Toxic links are links that certain SEO tools say could hurt your website’s rankings. 

If you asked this question before September 2016, the answer would have likely been “yes.”

So what changed? 

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Penguin 4.0.

With this algorithm update, Google switched from demoting pages to a system that tries to ignore bad links.

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

Since then, Google’s stance has been that you can ignore spammy backlinks. 

If you’re seeing individual links that pop up and you say, “oh this looks like a spammer dropped the link” or whatever, I would completely ignore those. […] because these spammy links happen to every website and Google’s system has seen them so many times over the years that we’re very good at just ignoring them. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

But is this true? Is Google really as good at ignoring low-level spam as we’re made to believe? 

Judging by my colleague Chris’s recent poll on LinkedIn, a good chunk of SEOs (38%) don’t think so, as they’re still disavowing them. 

Most SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinksMost SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinks

Does that mean they’re right to do so? Not necessarily. It just means they don’t fully trust Google that they won’t do any harm. They’re being careful. 

Personally, the person I trust most to answer this question in 2024 is Dr. Marie Haynes. I don’t think anyone’s done more research into this than her. She’s spent well over a decade working to understand Google’s search algorithms and auditing link profiles on behalf of business owners. 

Now, the interesting part of that statement (and why I actually trust her!) is the obvious conflict of interest. Until fairly recently, she made her living selling link audit and disavow file creation services—and for a pretty hefty sum at that! 

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Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023
Pricing from Marie’s link audit services page in March 2023

Clearly, it would be good news for Marie if Google were still terrible at ignoring spammy backlinks because she could sell more link audits! 

Yet, these days, she no longer appears to offer such services. In fact, she’s actually been warning folks against the need to disavow low-quality, spammy backlinks for a few years. 

Here’s a quote from a 2022 blog post of hers:

While there is no harm in disavowing low quality spammy links, it likely does not help improve rankings. We believe that Google’s algorithms are already ignoring these links. […]. When we do see improvements these days after disavowing, it is always in sites where we have disavowed links that were purposely made for SEO and very little else. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

It’s clear that Marie is being cautious with her words here. But overall, her opinion after digging into this for many years seems to be that, yes, Google is now pretty good at ignoring most low-quality spammy links. 

Does that mean they’re perfect? No. But it does mean that worrying about obvious low-quality link spam is probably a waste of time for most people.

If you’re buying or building the types of links that Google class as “link spam” then, yes, they can absolutely hurt your rankings.

But before you panic about that link exchange you did with your best friend’s wife’s brother, Google is likely looking for patterns of manipulation here. In other words, manipulative link profiles rather than manipulative individual links: 

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Danny Richman, founder of Richman SEO Training, agrees: 

Here’s a bit more context from Danny: 

As for Marie Haynes, she echoes a similar sentiment in this post. She states that manual actions aside, she would only recommend a client disavow links if they have “a very large number of links that [they] feel the webspam team would consider to be ‘manipulative.’ ”

In these cases, Google often slaps the worst offenders with an unnatural links manual action. If you get one of those, that’s Google telling you, “Hey… you’re being demoted in search because we think you’ve been trying to game the system with manipulative links.” 

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But this doesn’t have to happen for manipulative links to be a problem. It’s possible for Google to algorithmically demote a site if they detect a large volume of spammy and manipulative links, at least according to John Mueller.

If we see a very strong pattern [of spammy links] there, then it can happen that our algorithms say well, we really have kind of lost trust with this website and at the moment based on the bigger picture on the web, we kind of need to be more on almost a conservative side when it comes to to understanding this website’s content and ranking it in the search results. And then you can see kind of a drop in the visibility there. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

Either way, the point remains: it’s patterns of manipulation that are likely to hurt rankings. There’s very little chance that you need to worry about the odd potentially dodgy link here and there. 

While it might be tempting to use an SEO tool that finds “toxic backlinks” for you, I’d seriously urge you to reconsider. Trusting these can do more harm than good. Way more. 

Just look at this unfortunate Redditor’s reply to John Mueller: 

Someone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO toolSomeone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO tool
A 60% drop in traffic! That’s no joke! 

Even if this is an extreme case, worrying about these links likely only wastes time because, according to Marie Haynes, they’re rarely truly toxic: 

I find that the truly toxic links…the ones that could have the potential to harm your site algorithmically (although you’d have to really overdo it, as I’ll describe below), are rarely returned by an SEO tool. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUVU Marketing, seems to agree: 

So… how do you find truly toxic backlinks that are likely to be hurting your site? 

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The truth? You might not even need to look for them. If you haven’t built or bought links that Google considers link spam at any reasonable scale, chances are you’re good. 

If you’re not confident about that, do a manual backlink audit with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

The Anchors report is a good starting point if you’ve never done this. It shows you the words and phrases people use when linking to you. If they look unnatural or over-optimized (lots of exact matches of keywords you’re trying to rank for), that could be a sign you have paid or other links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Example of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinksExample of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinks

If things look fishy there, use the Backlinks report to dig deeper and check the context of those links. It’s usually quite easy to spot paid and unnatural ones. 

The Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlinkThe Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlink

Just remember that you’re looking for patterns of unnatural links, not just one or two. 

WARNING

If you’re not 100% sure what you’re looking for when doing a backlink audit, hire someone who knows what they’re doing. You need to be confident that the links are truly “toxic.”

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If you have a manual action for unnatural links or a bunch of what you believe to be truly toxic backlinks, yes. Google’s advice is to disavow them (assuming you can’t get the links removed). 

You should disavow backlinks only if: 

You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, 

AND

The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site. 

Marie Haynes advises the same: 

There are two situations where we will recommend to our clients a thorough link audit followed by filing a disavow: 

  1. The site has a manual action for unnatural links in GSC. 
  2. The site has a very large number of links that we feel the webspam team would consider to be “manipulative”.
Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

If you just have a bunch of spammy backlinks that most sites naturally attract or the odd paid backlink, probably not. Google probably ignores most, if not all, of these links, so disavowing them is likely a waste of time. 

While there is no harm in disavowing these links other than the time spent analyzing them, there is likely no benefit either. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

But what about negative SEO?

Being the victim of a negative SEO attack is indeed the possible exception here. This is when a competitor sends a load of spammy or toxic backlinks your way to try to get your site penalized. 

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Google remains adamant that it basically never works, but it really comes down to what you believe. 

[I’ve] looked at hundreds of supposed cases of negative SEO, but none have actually been the real reason a website was hurt. […] While it’s easier to blame negative SEO, typically the culprit of a traffic drop is something else you don’t know about–perhaps an algorithm update or an issue with their website. 

Gary IllyesGary Illyes

If you see a traffic drop after an influx of backlinks in Site Explorer, I’d say that it’s at least worth a bit more investigation. 

Site with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinksSite with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinks
This site experienced a traffic drop coinciding with an influx of referring domains. Maybe there’s benefit to disavowing here… and maybe it’s something else!

As Gary said above, something else could be to blame—but you never know. There’s always a chance that Google’s algorithms rule it was you who built or bought those backlinks to try to manipulate rankings and penalize you for it. 

If you just found a bunch of so-called “toxic backlinks” in an SEO tool, probably not. Again, most of these are probably just link spam Google already ignores. 

Here’s yet another quote from Marie Haynes backing this up: 

While there is probably no harm in disavowing [links reported as toxic in SEO tools], you are not likely to see any improvement as a result. Disavowing is meant for sites trying to remove a manual action and for those who have been actively building links for the purpose of improving rankings. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

There’s also the risk that you could end up disavowing links that are actually helping you… 

Patrick showed further evidence that this can absolutely happen when he experimented with disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog. Traffic dipped, then went back up after he removed the disavow. 

The impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blogThe impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog

Final thoughts

“Toxic backlinks” is a term made up by certain SEO tools to scare you. That’s not to say bad links can’t hurt your site. They absolutely can. But fortunately for most site owners, it’s rarely a problem worth worrying all that much about. 

Got questions? Disagree? Ping me on Twitter X.

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On-Page SEO Checklist for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

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On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

Want to make your pages rank high on Google? You won’t be able to do that if you don’t know where or how to start your on-page SEO — and with each Google update, this pillar of SEO gets more and more complicated. To keep you updated with the best and most relevant practices when it comes to this aspect of your website, I have prepared an on-page SEO checklist for 2024. 

On-Page SEO Factors

On-page SEO, in simple terms, is all the ways you can optimize your website take place on your website. Tweaking certain elements of your pages can enable them to climb very quickly up the ranks when done right. These elements include essentially everything you can see on your webpage, like its title tags, headers, and images.

Webmaster’s Note: This is part two of our SEO checklist series. Part one covers our technical SEO checklist, so go back if you haven’t seen that yet. I also do deep dives into other aspects of on-page SEO in other articles, like the best content strategy for SEO, how to hack on-page factors, and ways to dominate niche keywords in your industry.

1. Identify Your Target Keyword

This is where any SEO effort should start. Identify which basic keywords you would like each page to rank for. From there, you can expand into common phrases, questions, and related words people use to find pages like yours through keyword research. 

Key Aspects of Keyword Optimization:

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  • Keyword Research: Identifying the right keywords that your target audience is searching for.
  • Keyword Placement: Sensibly incorporating keywords in titles, headings, the first paragraph, and throughout the content.
  • Searcher Intent: Catering to why someone is performing a search, whether it’s to find information, make a purchase, etc.

Effective keyword optimization allows you to create pages that best meet user intent. This boosts your chances of ranking highly for your chosen keywords. 

Using a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEOUsing a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEO

I have longer guides on the types of keywords you should look at, and another on how to do keyword research you can follow for this step.

2. High-Quality Content Creation

Quality content is the keystone of on-page SEO. It is, after all, fundamental to the selling point of Google — which is that it is the go-to place to find answers to your questions. It’s why Google pushes Helpful Content Updates every so often.

So, your content must meet Google’s standards of quality in order to make it to the top. To do that, your content must be authoritative, valuable to the reader, and deliver on the promises made by your meta tags and headings.

What Constitutes Quality Content:

  • Originality: Your content must be unique and offer fresh insights.
  • Relevancy: It should align with your target user’s intent and be updated regularly.
  • Engagement: Content must encourage users to spend time on your site and interact with your offerings.

Creating content that exceeds user expectations can dramatically bolster your SEO as it can directly affect user engagement metrics and boost the credibility of your site. 

Webmaster’s Note: Beyond making sure all new content is high-quality, however, is ensuring all of your existing content is also up to par. I’ll be covering that in part four of this series, so keep an eye out for that. 

3. URL Structure

URLs are not only a ranking factor but also enhance the user experience when structured logically. 

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Features of an Effective URL Structure:

  • Concise and Descriptive: A URL should be concise and explain your page content. No stop words.
  • Keyword Inclusion: A relevant keyword can enhance a URL’s performance.
  • Use Hyphens instead of Underscores: Conventional use dictates using hyphens to separate words.

A clear URL helps users and search engines make sense of the page’s content before they even reach it.

Here’s an example of a bad URL slug. 

Example of Bad URL StructureExample of Bad URL Structure

And here’s an example of a good, optimized one.

Example of Good URL StructureExample of Good URL Structure

4. Title Tag and Headings

I find that certain practices for these two elements give the most benefit to a page’s SEO. 

Best Practices for Title Tag and Heading Optimization:

  • Use a Keyword-First Approach: Place keywords first in your title tag, as uninterrupted by stop-words as possible.
  • Keep it Simple: Title tags should be concise to ensure the entire tag is displayed on the SERPs.
  • Same Keyword, Different Phrasing: Use the same keyword in your title tag and heading 1. However, use different phrasing or wording for each. 
  • Insert Related Keywords: Do this for your heading 2, 3, and so on, where it makes sense.
  • Avoid Duplicates: Use different title tags and headings for every unique page.

4. Meta Tags Enhancement

Meta tags, such as the meta description, serve as a brief pitch to users on search engine results pages. Other meta tags, like your image alt text and links, provide important context to both the user and crawlbot.

Tips for Enhanced Meta Tags:

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  • Compelling Copy: Write title tags and meta descriptions that accurately summarize the page content and entice clicks.
  • Keyword Usage: Try to insert target keywords and/or related keywords effectively in your meta descriptions, and within the limit.
  • Uniqueness: Each page should have unique meta tags. 
  • Be Descriptive: Your image alt text should not only include a related keyword but should also adequately describe what is seen on the image. 
  • Add internal and external links: Semantic search means Google can use the links in your pages to gain a better understanding of its content. Always add relevant internal links, and only include external links from trusted websites. 
  • Use Noindex Robots Meta Tag: Add this to prevent any pages with thin content, or pages with little value and no intent from appearing in the SERPs.
  • Use rel=”canonical” Link Tag: Use this for any duplicate pages you have on your website. Doing this can help you control which version of the page gets indexed and ranks for your targeted keywords. 
  • Set your Open Graph Meta Tags: This will let you optimize how your pages look when they’re shared on social media.
  • Set your Viewport Meta Tag: This configures how your pages are scaled and displayed on different devices and platforms, which is important for user experience (more on that later). 

To get the most out of your SEO, don’t neglect this part of your on-page SEO checklist. The small tweaks here can add up to the big picture. 

Well-crafted meta tags have the potential to increase click-through rates, boost your visibility on organic search and image search, enhance user experience, and also distribute link equity throughout your pages. All these contribute to how well your page ranks. 

5. Internal Linking

Internal linking spreads link equity throughout your site and can help search engines discover new pages. Always link back to pillar content, or other high-value content on your website. 

Benefits of Strategic Internal Linking:

  • Navigation: They guide users through other relevant pages on your website.
  • Page Authority: Anchor text can help to convey what the linked-to page is about, which can aid in ranking for those terms.
  • User Time on Site: Providing relevant links can keep users engaged on your site for longer periods.

Good internal linking can significantly increase your engagement rates and contribute to building a robust site architecture. I have a separate post on how to build topical authority through internal linking you can check out.

6. User Experience (UX)

User experience affects on-page SEO because search engines favor websites that provide a positive user experience.

UX Factors to Consider in Your Website Design:

  • Mobile-Friendliness: The site must perform well across all devices — but especially on mobile-view, as most users use Google through their phones.
  • Ease of Use: The site should be navigable and logical in its layout. Navigation bars and other menus should be intuitive and prioritize the most important pages of your website.
  • Page Speed: Pages should load quickly to reduce bounce rates. Follow this guide to site speed optimization for this point.

As UX becomes an even more important ranking factor, I find it is necessary to add to this on-page SEO checklist. Sites that deliver a high-quality user experience will dominate search engine results pages.

Key Takeaway

Mastering this pillar of SEO is crucial for achieving high rankings on Google, and staying updated with evolving best practices is essential. But with every update, what works best changes. 

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My 2024 on-page SEO checklist provides basically the most up-to-date practices for the elements on your website. Follow it, and you should be able to boost your website’s authority, credibility, and long-term SEO performance.

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