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Top 6 On-Page SEO Elements to Kick-start Optimization

By , Director of Digital Marketing, Hanson Dodge

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can impact your brand’s awareness and relevance. When used properly, SEO can convert users in any stage of their decision process. If branded web pages are fully optimized, organic search engine traffic and search results ranking can significantly improve. While SEO implementation can be complex and time consuming, the following tips can help ensure that the right people find your brand’s website.  

 

Page Content

Each page of your website should be focused on a specific topic and contain keyword variations around that topic. It’s important that your keyword variations are in demand—meaning they’re actually being searched by your audience. This may take some preliminary research to determine what words and topics your consumers are using to search for the products and services you offer. The content on the page should be both linkable (able to link to other pages within and outside of your website) and crawlable (individual words can be read and searched by search engines). Google can only crawl certain types of content, so try to stick to unique text that is at least 250 words.

Pro-Tips: Avoid PDFs, since Google can’t index their content. And make sure to accompany text-heavy images like infographics with crawlable text. 

 

URLs

After optimizing page content, it’s important to take a look at the structure of each page’s URL. This is an important factor search engines use to determine your ranking on results pages. Similar to page content, URLs should contain primary target keywords relevant to the page topic and content. Just be sure to make URLs concise.  

Pro-Tips: Use hyphens to separate words in your website’s URLs. If possible, avoid using dates in URLs.

 

Title Tags

Title tags are another heavily weighted SEO element. The title tag is what shows up in the search engine results page. This may be your brand’s first impression on users, so it should be concise and easy to understand, containing relevant primary target keywords and potential variations. Title tags should also be user-friendly—meaning they’re easy for users to scan and understand.

Pro-Tip: Limit your site’s URLs to 50-60 characters to avoid truncation.

 

Schema Markup

Search engines sometimes display special formats in the results. The content in these special formats are pulled from schema markup, which helps to send more information about the page content to search engines. Some of this information can include product ratings and offers, publication information, business locations, contact information, official name, logo, social profiles, and organic sitelinks. Listings with these special formats usually have much higher click through rates (CTRs) than other listings, so it’s beneficial to make schema markup part of your SEO strategy.  

Pro-Tip: Get started by using Google’s Data Markup Helper.

 

Page Load Time 

Now that mobile-first indexing is used by search engines, page load time can significantly impact your website’s ranking. If a landing page doesn’t load in under 3 seconds, users are more likely to close out and find another site. Images notoriously slow down page load time, so it’s important to compress or reduce image size. When available, page caching—the temporary storage of web page element—is another way to reduce page load time.

Pro-Tip: Test your website load time using Google’s PageSpeed Tool

 

Meta Description

Meta descriptions do not factor into SEO authority directly, but can influence the click through rate (CTR) of the search engine listing. Search engines do weigh CTR behavior when ranking websites for keywords. Hence the importance of strong meta descriptions that are highly relevant, clear, and concise. Even low-ranking websites with clear meta descriptions eventually improve their ranking over time.

Pro-Tip: Though meta descriptions have been lengthened in search engine results pages over the last year, it’s best to limit them to less than 300 characters.

 

How Hanson Dodge Can Help

SEO is a major factor in the success of a website and a brand’s eCommerce performance. Having experts in your corner to help get it done—and get it done right—can make all the difference. Which is why we help clients make the most of their websites so they can get in front of customers who will value their brands.

Interested in learning more about how HD's team can make a difference for your brand? Reach out and let's chat!

Brandon Powell, Director of Digital Marketing, Hanson Dodge

Brandon oversees teams in program development and delivery, including strategy, implementation and quality control. With eight years experience managing high-performance SEM, paid, social, SEO, UX, email marketing, design and development teams, Brandon joined HD in 2015 as Director of Digital Marketing. He has worked at Cramer-Krasselt on Cintas, Sysco Foods, Panera, Benihana, Cedar Fair, MGM Grand, and Roundy’s. Before C-K, he worked at Kennedy Communications on Culligan and Car-X accounts. Brandon has a bachelors of business administration with a major in marketing from UW-Madison. He loves college football/hockey.

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