4 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Own Web Pages
There is a lot of information out there for up-and-coming website builders – but if you are new to it, the steps can get technical, confusing, or far beyond your ability. If you are looking for the basics of making web pages that perform well, here are four simple ways to optimize your site for increased results.
The key: be hyper-relevant to a specific topic (usually a product or single object)
Although the title of this blog is “4 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Own Web Pages”, they all really come down to just one key concept: being hyper-relevant to your topic in the proper areas of your page. I will try to keep this post from getting overly technical, and will do my best to not scare off any brave sole proprietors who are trying to save some money on marketing and do this on their own.
1. Make sure you include your subject in the title tag.
A title tag is an HTML element that tells people and search engines the title of your individual webpage. Title tags are seen on search engine results pages (SERPs), showing up as the purple headline that you can click for each different search result. Including your product or service keyword in the title tag is important because it helps searchers know what you offer, right away.
Usually, the wording also shows up on social media shares of your web page, and tells search engine algorithms what the page is about. This helps you rank higher in the search results for that keyword. Beyond that, testing and experience show that placing your important keyword closer to the beginning of your title tag has a more positive impact on your search rankings.
Do your best to keep your title tags under 60 characters long (spaces included) so that it doesn’t get cut off when displayed in SERPs. For example, if you have a business servicing different European vehicles, and one of your pages is about BMW service, it would then require a title tag such as: “BMW Service | Company Name”. You could even add in your city if it is relevant to your business.
To help with visualizing this, here's an example screenshot. The title tag is the purple text, reading "SEO - Search Engine Optimization - Mindset Media"
2. Include your subject in the URL.
Your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) specifies different addresses on the internet, such as https://www.exampleurl.com. Knowing this address is important, so you can add your keyword into the URL for that individual page.
To use the BMW service example again, if you were creating a page about it, you would want your URL to appear like this:
This way, search engines see another sign that your page is about BMW service. Or, look at this whole blog post of mine. It’s a 4-point checklist of things to do that signal to search engines like Google that you’re “playing their game” – and they will reward you by ranking you more highly over time, versus people who don’t do these things.
Including the keyword(s) in your URL is important, but on its own, it isn’t very powerful. It is one of many small factors that build upon one another to help your page rank higher. So, if you can’t work your keyword into your URL smoothly and every combination seems forced, it may be better to just leave it out entirely. It helps, but don’t panic if you can’t make it happen nicely – after all, a well-done URL provides value to both humans AND search engines. You want to be able to easily tell what the destination page is about based on the URL.
Another benefit of a proper URL is that when it is shared (i.e., as just the link through a text or chat), the person will be able to tell what the page is about, even though they weren’t searching on Google for the topic.
Here's another screenshot to help see how this looks in practice. This is a Safari browser example, where you can see the subject of "seo-search-engine-optimization" that is included in the webpage's URL.
3. Include the subject in the image alt text
Alt text (also known as alt attributes, alt descriptions, or even sometimes alt tags) is an aspect of HTML coding that tells search engines what the subjects of your page’s images are. Google can’t “see” images as well as text, and so labeling them for Google and other search engines to easily read and index is important. This isn’t something that your website visitors can see (unless their internet connection is slow – then sometimes, they may see an empty box in place of the image for a moment, and the alt text words will be seen within it).
This is another "checkbox" you want to fill with your target keyword, so that Google knows you’re playing their game. In our BMW service example, where we want to use an image of a BMW being serviced on your BMW service page, we would include an alt text saying “BMW Service”. If you have multiple images on the page, try to have slightly different (but still relevant) versions of the keyword(s) alt texted onto the images.
Alt text also helps visually impaired users with screen reader software. This text will be read out in place of the images, allowing for better accessibility and understanding. Properly tagged images also have an opportunity to show up when you search for images on Google.
However, it’s best to avoid spamming keywords in alt text – it should describe the image properly, without getting too specific. Our image of a BMW being serviced on a hoist could be “BMW Service On Hoist”, but a bad example of an alt text for that image would be “BMW Service Car Service Best Car Shop In The City Service Near Me” – that’s just ridiculous and spammy, and will get your image nowhere.
The image alt tag attached to the screenshot below is "examples of image alt tags in Google results", because that describes the screenshot image properly. This screenshot is what comes up in a Google image search for my website, and the tags for it are seen in the small writing underneath them in the image search results. If I had not tagged them properly, they wouldn't be showing up for searchers.
4. Specify your subject several times throughout text content.
If you have a tool like Yoast (which, if your website is built through WordPress, you likely already have; if you don’t, then just click on the Plugins tab and search for the free version), it will tell you what percent of your page is your keyword. The perfect percentage changes over time, so there’s no magic amount of your text that should be the main keyword, but the important thing is to avoid keyword stuffing (e.g. using them so often that it sounds spammy). Readability is more important for your site.
What does readability mean in this context? Well, when you speak out loud about a topic, you’re likely to use a natural pattern of keywords, verbs, nouns, and synonyms around that topic. You want to write your content similarly to that, using different versions of your keyword (and other related terms) throughout your page. You also want people to stay on your page as long as possible (as time spent on your page is a factor in ranking higher), so readability means they can read your content without rolling their eyes at your OBVIOUS keyword stuffing.
If you’re chasing some mythical “perfect’ keyword density percentage, then you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good – but, if you want to know your keyword density, Yoast is a good basic tool for that. You can also do a Google search for other keyword density tools quite easily. In general, search engines prefer synonyms throughout the content over high density keywords.
In the screenshot below, you will see part of the analysis Yoast gives to a web page within WordPress. Yoast will tell you what is good, what is bad, and what needs a small change.
Ensuring you execute these 4 simple things on your webpages is a great way to improve your on-page SEO. The better your website SEO, the higher you will rank on search engines like Google, and the more traffic your website will get. And more traffic means more customers heading your way!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money hiring professional marketing teams to do your SEO for you if you want to take the initiative on your own. Just follow these pointers to create a baseline strategy that can yield positive results.
If you’re looking to expand your potential, or bring your SEO to the next level beyond these basics, then reach out to me and together, we can create a plan that delivers exactly what you need.