Over the years, we’ve conducted hundreds of search engine optimization audits. And in the process, we’ve found that the vast majority of websites have several problems preventing them from ranking well in the search engines. So, I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of the major factors we review when auditing client websites.
In today’s article, I’m going to address 15 factors for on-page SEO (e.g. optimizing your website for search engines).
Your title tags tell Google what your pages are about, and they are one of the most important SEO factors.
Here’s what we check for when reviewing title tags:
Your meta description is the text that shows up below your title tag in Google’s search results. Meta descriptions don’t directly influence your Google rankings, but a well-written meta description can help generate more clicks from your Google rankings.
Here are some things we check for when reviewing meta descriptions:
Headers are the visible headlines on the page. It’s important to include relevant keywords, but most importantly, write headers for conversion since they are highly visible to website visitors.
Here are some questions we ask when reviewing header tags:
It’s critical to make sure that your webpage content will satisfy the intent of the searcher. In many cases, this means having a sufficient amount of website copy on your pages. You want to incorporate your keywords, but you also don’t want to force too many keywords into your website copy. It’s important to write for humans, not search engines.
Here are a few of the questions we ask when reviewing website copy:
By “website structure,” I mean having dedicated pages for each core keyword/topic you want to rank for in Google. Google wants to show the most relevant webpage for any given keyword. So if you have a focused webpage for each of your core keywords, you’ll have an easier time ranking in Google.
Here are some questions we ask when reviewing website structure:
Canonicalization is a big, fancy word. The concept here is that it’s important to make sure that each of your pages only loads with one URL format. You don’t want your website to load at both http://www.website.com and http://website.com. The reason you don’t want that to happen is because Google actually considers those 2 different websites – and it’s better to focus your efforts on establishing the authority and reputation of 1 website in Google’s eyes.
In addition, it’s also important to make sure you tell Google which page you want to rank if there are multiple URL versions of the same page (this is especially important for e-commerce websites). Use the rel=”canonical” tag to specify the canonical URL you want to rank in Google.
Here are some things we check for with canonicalization:
We recommend making URLs brief and descriptive, and integrating keywords into the URL when possible. We recommend avoiding lots of parameters in URLs.
Here are some questions we ask:
We also recommend optimizing images for search engines.
Here are some things we check for:
Website speed is a major ranking factor with Google. Plus, people hate slow loading websites.
Here’s a free tool provided by Google to check your site speed:
Another tool we use and recommend is GTMetrix:
Schema mark-up refers to HTML tags used to help website content be more easily recognized by search engines.
If you are targeting a local area, the most important Schema we check for is LocalBusiness schema with your business category and Name, Address, and Phone number.
For local search engine optimization in particular, it’s very important to have complete and accurate contact information on your website.
A sitemap helps Google identify all of the pages on your website. A lot of times, we’ll find that a website has an HTML sitemap in place. We also recommend having an XML sitemap.
A blog is the easiest way to add new content to your website, and more pages of content will provide you with more opportunities to get found in Google. Also, for many topics, Google tends to favor websites with fresh content. In addition, prospects may want to read articles on your blog to gain confidence that you are a knowledgeable, expert provider.
Here are some things we look for when reviewing blogs:
With the growth in mobile traffic, Google is now putting a greater and greater emphasis on the mobile versions of websites. We strongly recommend optimizing your website for mobile devices, if you haven’t already.
Here’s a free tool from Google to assess how mobile-friendly your website is:
Social media is having a growing impact on search engine optimization. We recommend getting set up on social media websites, making your company easy to follow, and making your website content easy to share across social media.
Here are some things we look for:
If you’d like help ranking higher in Google, contat us today for a free SEO quote.
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