Are you gearing up to launch a new website for your startup? Or, have you been managing your domain for a while now but you just can’t seem to drive steady traffic to it? Well, don’t start draining your business’s monthly budget on Google ad campaigns and content marketing initiatives just yet —it is vital to get your website’s on-page SEO right, as it is the low-hanging fruit and the first place every company should start in bolstering their site.
The on-page Search Engine Optimization is the only part of the SEO arena that we have total control over, so it is worth prioritizing before moving on to anything else. In my own journey of launching and growing the Live Lingua online language school on a bootstrap budget using SEO, I have discovered a bevy of helpful tricks and strategies to share. Here are nine tried-and-true tips on ways to amplify any website’s on-page SEO:
Optimize Every Single Landing Page
Yes, your homepage needs to be optimized for certain keywords, but have you thought of every other landing page on your website? From product pages to blog posts and subpages outlining your business’s history, your website likely has a number of other landing pages you are not making a prime SEO focus. However, it is pivotal to make sure every single landing page on your website is optimized for 2-3 keywords at most so that it can get ranked. To optimize those keywords, make sure they are in the title meta tags, the first H1 tag, and in the body text.
Place Related Keywords in H2 & Bolded Tags
Don’t Ignore the Meta Description Tags
Yes, Google has said that adding your main keywords somewhere in your meta description tags wouldn’t affect your ranking directly. However, in my own experience of building Live Lingua’s website through on-page SEO, I have found evidence that adding main keywords in my meta description tags did increase CTR (click-through rates). This could have been helpful in boosting my website’s position in the search rankings. So don’t ignore this step! Every single tactic can be monumental for boosting your own site’s rank.
Optimize the Meta Title Tag
After you have added main keywords into the meta description tag to give you a better click-through rate on the SERP, focus on optimizing the meta title tag! Add main keywords to the meta title tag, as this has anecdotally been shown to raise a website’s ranking. For example, if you own a marketing firm based in Minneapolis, you can add “Top Minneapolis Marketing Agency” into the meta title tag. Or, if you own a Miami-based bakery that has won many competitions, you can have the meta title tag say “Award-Winning Miami Bakery”. Adding in the keywords will really help boost the page’s overall rank.
Plan Your Internal Linking Wisely
It is paramount to ensure that your internal linking — the links from one page in your website to another — are well planned out so that subpages point to higher-up, sales-generating pages. This rule does not just pertain to each page’s header and footer; if there is relevant text in the body of a subpage, make sure those are also hyperlinked to the relevant internal page. For example, if your page’s bio mentions the various products your company offers, hyperlink the items’ names so they link to the products’ purchase pages. This can really boost SEO and sales.
We recently conducted an internal link audit at one of my businesses and strategically planned how pages would point to others. It was highly effective for amplifying our on-page SEO! Within 90 days, the website went from the bottom of page 1 to the top 3 search results for numerous keywords across our site. So try out this strategy to see how it optimizes your own website.
Unique Content Is Key
Every one of the landing pages that you want to rank will need to have enough unique content so that Google thinks it is worth ranking. However, this does not mean you should start adding all kinds of fluff directly to the sales copy, as this could turn away potential customers. You can easily add the longer, extra content below the fold where most people won’t go, but Google’s crawlers will. You can add unique content like useful applications for your products, fun facts about your services, or insight on what inspired you to launch these business offerings, which would all help Google determine that the page should be ranked.
Check Page Load Speeds
If web pages take a very long time to load, their search ranking will diminish. Therefore, make a concerted effort to assess the page load speed of your own website. You can do this site-wide, but I highly recommend checking the page load speed of every single landing page individually to ensure that they all load quickly. This will help with SEO and also prevent visitors from getting frustrated and leaving your site just because a page takes a while to load. In my own entrepreneurial journey, I have used Google Lighthouse (a great free tool found in all Chrome browsers) to test and figure out what to optimize.
Can Google Read the Pages?
Implementing all of the above tactics will be for nothing if the content of your pages is not readable by Google’s spiders and crawlers. For example, some website builders dynamically generate pages for the site, which does increase load time and allows for nice-looking pages, but they are also unreadable to Google. This can be detrimental for the overall ranking of the domain. If you are not sure if your pages are readable, simply open your page in your browser, right-click your mouse on the page, and select “View Source”. If you can’t find any of the page’s text in the code page that comes up, then you have a problem.
Remove All “Dead Pages”
Do you have blog posts or other pages on your website that were published over a year ago but haven’t received significant traffic since they went live? Delete all of these “dead pages” on your website, as they could be lowering your ranking without you even knowing it. In fact, it is worth doing an audit to find and remove “dead pages” once a year using Google Analytics — you could simply delete them or 301 redirect that content to other pages that do get traffic. You can even merge the content into the page you point to to make the content that is there even better!
Ray Blakney is the CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua, a renowned online language school. Live Lingua offers a unique and immersive approach to mastering a new language, as it pairs users who want to learn Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and more with their own hand-picked, certified, native-speaking tutor for online teaching sessions. An award-winning, Filipino-American entrepreneur, speaker, and podcaster, Ray builds and helps others build 6- and 7-figure businesses on a bootstrap budget using SEO. www.livelingua.com