Deciphering Some Technical SEO Best Practices, Part 2

     
     

Published: October 19, 2015

On our journey through the SEO jungle, we are looking at the various ways that you can directly have an impact on how well you rank in a list of Google search results. So far, we have covered what quality content is and we talked about some of the technical aspects of search engine optimization that you should know about—specifically on-page optimization factors. Today, we are going to go through a few more on-page factors that Google is looking for when it is scanning your web pages.

Body Text

The body text, or the main text of your web page or blog post, is what is most important to your readers. Your pages must be written and formatted so they are clear and easy for people to read. It must also meet the expectations you have set with your page title and URL.

Consider your website’s About page. When visitors click on that page they are looking for a few details about your business so they can get an idea of who you are. You might want to include the region in which you operate, who your founder was, a photo of yourself, and some contact information. Talk about how your business can help people and why you like doing that.

Your About page is not a good place to start detailing your services, to include pics from your last family vacation, or to keep an ongoing news reel. The same is true for your blog posts. When you give a post a title, make sure that body text of the post is all about that title so that readers get what they are looking for when they arrive.

Formatting is important, too, as people browse websites and pages in a very different way than books or newspapers. Think about someone leafing through a pamphlet: rarely will someone read it from start to finish. Usually, they will scan the entire thing and then go back to any areas that caught their attention. The same applies to web pages. Here are a few formatting tips to make sure your pages are easy to read:

  • Subtitles. Subtitles break up the page so it is not too intimidating on approach. Descriptive subtitles also allow readers to jump around the page and read the parts that they are interested in. It’s not a bad idea to pop a keyword into at least one subtitle.
  • Lists. Whether in bullet form or numbered, lists help you organize similar thoughts in a way that is easy for people to digest. It is much easier to understand a few formatting tips when they are in a bulleted list instead of several long paragraphs.
  • Short Paragraphs. Three to 5 sentences is a good target for paragraph size on the web. Remember, huge walls of text are not only intimidating, they are difficult to read on a computer or phone screen. Short paragraphs help readers move down the page more easily.

Images

Photos and graphics will indirectly help your SEO by giving your pages and posts an image to carry along to social media sites when they are shared and photos on Facebook get 53 percent more likes than posts without them. When you include a photo on your pages and posts, these are automatically carried over to sites like Google+ and Facebook giving you an instant, automatic boost. Images also confirm for readers and visitors that the content is what they expected—provided you are choosing relevant and useful images.

What is behind the photo is what counts for SEO purposes. First, the name of the image should contain the page’s subject or keyword. Instead of using the DSC5684.jpg that came with the photo, rename it to blue-aluminum-siding.jpg. Next up is the alt-text, or alternative text that is shown when your image cannot be displayed for any reason. The alt-text should contain your keyword and/or describe the photo.

Let’s Review: On-Page Factors

We included a lot of information about these four SEO points so you wouldn’t ever feel like SEO was out of your reach. In an attempt to make it accessible, we may have crossed the “information overload” threshold. If that’s the case, here’s a quick checklist of on-page SEO factors:

1. The URL. This is the actual address of the page. It should be simple, provide a clear path to finding this page on your site, and contain keywords and other information that describes what the page is about.

2. Page Title. Try to include your keyword, but not at the expense of the readers. Make your titles interesting and useful, and less than 60 characters long.

3. Body Text. Make sure the main text of the page matches the URL and title and that it delivers on the expectations that you have set. Also, formatting is important so people can scan and read your content effectively.

4. Images. Pretty pictures make people happy and making people happy is good. Make sure you get the behind-the-scenes work done correctly by including your subject and/or keywords in the picture’s name and alt-text

Next week we’ll get into another SEO best practice: Link Building. See you then!

For more on Search Engine Optimization, check out these articles:
What is Link Building and Why Do I Need It
What is Local SEO
SEO: The Very Basics for Beginners
Deciphering Some Technical SEO Best Practices Part 1


Categories: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Design & Development
Tags: on page factors, blog formatting


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