There should always be a decent amount of planning when creating a page for your website. With so many factors contributing to the success of each page, it can be almost impossible to get it right first time. We have put together our thoughts around creating a layout for your homepages that will help your search rankings.
Make sure all your pages are accessible to search engines
You can check your pages are all accessible to search engines in your Robot file. A quick google search can show you how to do this, however if you use tools such as *Yoast” Premium, you can access this inside WordPress. (*other tools also work)
Research Your keywords to identify your target audience
There are many FREE and good tools online that allow you to research relevant keywords to your page content. Before you start creating your page it’s a good starting point to understand how you are going to write your content. If you create your content around keywords that have little or no search results, you will soon find yourself re-writing the content of that page.We like to use Ubersuggest by Neil Patel as our choice for keyword research. But there are many others online.
Ensure that you use your chosen keywords in your content
Once you know the keywords you are focussing on for your page, it’s a good idea to ensure you use these keywords in the paragraphs / content of your page. Typically, you should aim to see your keywords in your content about 2-3 times as a rough guide. It all depends on the length of your content. The higher the word count, the more frequent you should use your keywords. Be careful not to over-use these though as that can have the opposite effect you are looking for. A rough guide is 2-3 times in 200 words.
A great Idea is to find a way to place the Keywords into your page title.
We have researched and found that it can be helpful to have your Keywords included in the start of your page title. Studies online show that page titles that start with the keywords show up more often than pages with the keywords in the middle or end of the title. Have a think what you are going to call your page. An example for this could be a horse riding company’s home page being called “home”. Whilst we all know this is the main page, for search engines, titling the page “horse-riding lessons in Cumbria” would be more appealing and generate more results.
Apply just one title on each page (h1 tags) and make use of sub-headings (h2-H10 tags)
Assigning the correct heading tags across all your pages is critical for search engines. It’s how they understand the layout and structure of your website content. It is a great idea to map out your content using headings and sub-headings and applying header tags to your headings. The main header should always be represented as the “H1 Tag”. It’s important to know that there should only be 1x”H1″ tag assigned to each page. You don’t want to confuse search engines that a reading your page content. Besure to follow other headings and sub-headings with (h2, h3, h4, h5 up to h10 tags) It’s just as important to provide tags to all your headings as it is your main H1 tag.
It’s worth noting this header scenario is more common than you think. For example: even in this LinkedIn Article we are writing, there is the option for H1, H2 and normal tags. Tagging headers is extremely important so we advise everyone understands what they are and how to use them.
Check your images have alt description assigned to them
Search engines are pretty clever, but they don’t have eyes like us. So, in short, a picture does not say 1000 words to a search engine. In fact, they see images as raw data, lots of 0’s and 1’s. Adding Descriptive text allows search engines to understand a title of an image and what that image is about. Your Alt Description tags are a crucial part of your SEO so it’s wise to ensure that these are all correct. Be sure to include your keywords for your page in the Alt Description as a way to help search engines and boost your on page SEO scores.
Each page on your website should be less than 200 words
Not always possible, but think of this a different way. If you want to go into more detail than about 200 words, you should consider writing related blogs or articles to support that product, service or page content. This is something even we struggle with as we find it hard to explain some of our products and services in under 200 words. Whilst this is not a “do or die” requirement, it’s a rough guide that we all would do well in trying to keep to.
Meta Description & Meta Keywords should be completed on all pages
There are some internet sources that state since 2013 meta keywords are not required due to an update in one of googles changes, however that may be true (or not) with Google, but other search engines still rely on Keyword meta data. It’s important that you complete your meta descriptions and meta keywords as this is how your search engines understand the content on your page.
Meta descriptions should include your keywords and page titles where possible to link up with the page content and search results. Previously we mentioned Yoast as a good tool for SEO, Yoast makes this really easy on WordPress. If you are hard coding your websites in CSS and HTML, you will probably be familiar with meta data already, but just in case – it’s worth noting that your Meta Description and Meta Keywords need to be placed inside the Header tags of your page.
Identify your keyword in your content with “bold” attribute
This hint is not as well known to many but it is becoming more frequently seen on webpages. Studies suggest that pages with the keywords attributed as “bold” see a better average SEO Page score. Some of the SEO widgets / plugins available today actually advise to do this and scroll through your page content to ensure you have done this. One example to mind is Squirrly SEO.
Avoid linking to anyone – Make your links quality links.
It’s easy to link to a website page outside your website but do you know the implications of doing this? Firstly, you should always check a domain authority score for a website that you plan to link to. You are looking for high quality links, meaning you need to link to pages with a good score. You can download a browser extension for Chrome called “mozbar” by Moz. We also use SEMRush and other tools too. When you visit a website it will tell you the page authority score out of 100. As a rule, we generally like to link to sources that are 70+ on the score, finding 100/100 is next to impossible. So just aim high and your domain will eventually start growing through association of strong domain links. It’s important to also know there is a difference between DA (Domain authority) and Page Score. You can link to a website with a high DA, however the page specific that you link to may have a low page score. It’s worth double checking the page score at the same time to ensure that the specific page is just as good as the domian.
Limit the number of pop ups on your page
Restrict your Ads on your page
Having too many Ads on your page can be disturbing to viewers who generally click back quickly. This has a impact on your bounce ratings. It’s worth avoiding too many adverts on your page as it becomes clear that your content is more about making money for your business, than providing information to the viewer. As your domain is ranked with a bounce rating factor, it’s worth protecting that and minimising the adverts on your page.
Check all links for broken links
Broken links are easy to find and replace with fresh links that work. When we want to check a domain for broken links, we often use a tool calledscreaming frogwhich allows us to identify link status. Ensuring your domain has no 404 pages and other status’s can be a crucial part of the back work you need to do to ensure your website is search engine friendly. To a novice, this can typically be done in about a day. Professionals can change URL’s quickly without too much hassle.
Ensure your page is included on your sitemap
Once you are satisfied with your changes on your website, you should always refresh your Sitemap so that any changes are registered to search engines. Yoast has a simple sitemap submission tool that we use all the time, but there are dozens of sitemap tools you can choose for WordPress plugins.You can also create a sitemap page for search engines to find. We can go on for hours, these are just a few of over 200 suggestions that contribute towards great SEO.
— To Summarise —
Creating a great page layout for your website to be search engine friendly is not impossible, but we hope that after reading the above, you can see the difference between a website deisgn, vs website development. Developing strong processes that work is fundementally the difference between being found online and not.
Whilst you can not expect instant results with SEO, doing this over time on every page you create along with your articles and posts WILL stand you in a good position for rankings.
If you would like to talk to our team about SEO or optimising your webpages to get the most from search engines, feel free to contact us at www.theito.co.uk or Direct message us on our social channels @theitoteam.