Updated: Feb 13
For those small businesses managing their website themselves, you need to understand how to optimize individual web pages to have Google and other search engines find them. Suppose you hired an SEO company or Website Developer to do this. In that case, you still need to be involved in this process and understand the terminology, as this is your business and money you are spending, and you want to ensure results. In many of the Content Management solutions, such as WordPress, Wix, or Weebly, to name a few, some tools are built-in or can be added on to help you manage the optimization of your web pages.
Optimization is essential for Organic Search and your website and pages being found on Google, Bing, or other search engines. When someone searches for "keywords or phrases," you want your website to be found.
One of our other articles discussed Keywords which is an essential component in optimization. This article helps provide some context on where to use those keywords and other techniques for optimizing your web pages. This list is not exhaustive but will give some insight into some of the critical areas where you need to work or help educate you to work with your SEO provider or Web Developer.
Think of Headings as you would in a Word document. They are used to highlight the components of content on a page. Just as in Word, you can have Headings and subheadings. There is only one H1 Heading on a page. Heading 1 is the main Title of your Page and what the page includes. Under the H1 Heading, you will have a hierarchy of Headings to outline and organize your content just as you would in a document or Book. In most cases, you will likely not go beyond H3 or H4, but six are available.
For each Heading, you will identify a font and a size which you should use throughout your website for consistency. If you can, utilize keywords in your Headings if it makes sense, but do not stuff or include words that do not make sense to the Heading or the content underneath. Stick to a couple of fonts. Use fonts sparingly, as that will affect your site speed with fonts having to load all the time
The Title Tag shows on the tab in your browser and your search results. This Title Tag should outline for the one searching what they should expect to see on that specific web page. As with your Headings, if you can use appropriate keywords in the Title that make sense to the page, then do so.
Title Tags do not have an exact character limit, but the search engine will only display 50-60 characters. In many cases, they may be longer for optimization purposes. Still, the searcher will only see approximately 50-60 characters and the infamous " ....." to show that the Title was longer. You want to make sure that the characters that show represent the Title of the
This first image is what shows in your search list; the second one is what shows on your browser tab.
The Meta Description is seen with the Title Tag in your search engine results. This text should provide a short description of the page and the information the searcher will find if they click on the Title Tag to go to the page.
Meta Descriptions are typically 150-160 characters and should be unique for each of your web pages. If you see text in bold in the description, it shows you the words within the description in the search criteria. Over time you will find that Google can use additional information as it sees fit for a web page. Note below the meta description. The one we have on our website is RK Fischer & Associates provides business coaching, business consulting, and advisory services to owner-operated businesses in Canada. Still, Google chose to pull additional information off our home page and add to it.
Alt or Alternate Text sometimes referred to as Alt Tags, describes an image on your web page. It is used mainly for accessibility for the visually impaired who need a screen reader to read the text to understand what the image contains.
Alt Text will display if the image on your webpage is not loaded. The text also helps search engine crawlers index the image correctly, adding additional optimization to your web page.
The content on your web page needs to provide the information the one searching is looking for to make an informed decision. The page must be relevant to the search terms or keywords that the page is optimized. You will want to utilize the appropriate keywords for that page in the content. Refrain from overstuffing, as that will work against you. If you have been to a site that overstuffs, you know it. You will see the site be almost incoherent with overuse to the point that it does not make sense and is difficult to read and comprehend.
Write your content at an 8th or 9th-grade level. You want to ensure the content is understandable and engaging to most readers. It would help if you made the information they are looking for easy to find by not writing long paragraphs. Use pictures, videos, bullets, or other mediums to break up the text and make it easy to read or scan.
I have seen differing opinions on this topic by professionals. Some say only 300 words, while others say 1000. You should have enough text on a page for search engines to index the page.
Links and Buttons
Most websites will have internal and external links in the paragraph text and may also utilize buttons to link to other pages or an external site. It is essential not only for accessibility but also for optimization to not use terms such as read more or click here. Address in the button or link what information they will find from the link. Example: Instead of having Book Now on a button or link to book an appointment, change it to Book an Appointment Now which provides the reader with a better understanding.
The Page Name is your URL that needs to be meaningful and related to what is on your page. In the example below, business planning is the page name, and one would expect that the page has information on business plans.
In many cases, the Content Management System (CMS) you may use to develop and manage your website may default to the page# or to what you listed as the name on a menu. This is very dependent on the CMS, so it is crucial to make sure that the page name is changed to something meaningful of what information the page contains.
Non-Static and Responsive
In the past, websites were coded entirely in HTML and required a web developer to make any changes to the website. Businesses would have a website developed and stay the same for years. It was nothing more than a business card for the company. They were called static sites. If you have a static site today, you most likely do not rank or lose where you were ranking over time. You must keep information on your website up to date and periodically go in and add or change content.
Websites were also developed initially on one browser for desktop computers. If you have ever gone to a website on a laptop, tablet or mobile device and cannot view it properly, it was not developed as a responsive site. Since more and more traffic comes from mobile devices, you must have a responsive site. It needs to display correctly on any device and work on multiple browsers.
If you are using a CMS, most all support responsive sites, so make sure you choose a responsive template or that your developer is developing a responsive site on the platform you or they choose.
The time it takes for your website to load is critical; if it takes too long, visitors will leave before it completely loads. You need to ensure your images are optimized and not go wild with adding functionality that may be aesthetic but increases the load time. There are tools within Google Search Console that allow you to check the speed of your pages. Free tools are also available to let you compress the size of the images you are using on your site. PageSpeed Insights is the one that is within Google Search Console. It will test both your desktop and mobile site speed.
This article and the article on keywords only touch the surface of Search Engine Optimization. Still, it will be a start in providing you with a basic understanding of some techniques used to optimize web pages.
Often, our clients use an SEO firm to help them but are not involved in the process and do not understand what the firm is telling them. As the business owner, it is up to you to make sure someone in your business is assigned to work with the firm. SEO in isolation doesn't work, as they do not know your business, products and services, and target market like you do. They also do not want that responsibility.
Through General Business Coaching or Sales and Marketing Coaching, we have worked with businesses to learn more and implement SEO fundamentals on their own in their business. This has included picking the right keywords, choosing the right tools, and helping you understand how to manage your website for those businesses who want to do this themselves.