Start growing your business and brand with these DIY tips for on-page SEO

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03 October, 2022

Take control of your on-page SEO by learning how to work with keywords, content, and CTAs.

For most small businesses, on-page search engine optimisation (SEO) is the easiest part of the SEO puzzle to do yourself. While off-page SEO can take time while you build a profile and relationships, and technical SEO can require specialist skills that a lot of business owners lack, there’s nothing stopping you from taking control of on-page SEO today.

In this article we’ll share some tips for getting started with do-it-yourself on-page SEO. But first, let’s put your website to one side and think about your business.

Know your business's niche and purpose

On-page SEO revolves around content, and content is about communication. Great communication tells people what you’re about and why that should matter to them. So the first thing you need to do is define your purpose.

What’s your niche? Why do you belong there? And what will people gain from finding you there?

If you don't know what your company's niche is, it's going to be hard to find the right keywords. Is your business a yoga studio? A custom shoe maker? A marketing agency? And are you here to help beginners, create world leaders, or do something that no-one else has thought of yet? What problem are you solving and why do your customers love it?

These questions will lead you in the direction of interesting and relevant content. To help the right people find that content, you need to work with the right keywords.

To get on-page SEO right, effective keywords and engaging content are crucial

Your on-page SEO strategy should be a part of your overall content strategy. This means that it's not enough to just throw a few keywords into your content and call it a day—you need to understand how search engines work and use keywords effectively, create engaging content, and track and measure your results.

On-page SEO is the process of optimising your website using specific keywords and other elements to improve its search engine ranking. This can be done through a variety of methods, including keyword optimization, backlinks and anchor text, content creation, and more.

Do keyword research

Keyword research is the process of identifying which keywords people are searching for online, and it's an essential part of on-page SEO.

Keyword research shows you what terms and words people search for online and questions that they ask. You can see how popular different keywords are, how they have been trending over time, and how competitive each one is—this is, how hard you’ll have to work to beat your competition.

Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools (like our favourite, SEMrush) to identify relevant terms. You can look up keywords that focus on your products and services, questions that people ask, or topics that interest your target market. Some tools cost money, but if you become more discoverable to the right customers, the investment is worth it.

Once you know what language your target audience speaks to search engines, you know what your content should focus on. Research can also identify the keywords that your competitors are using (and therefore might be converting well). Then it’s time to move onto content creation.

Create quality content

  • Create relevant content. Quality content must answer questions that your desired audience is asking, so you should research what those questions are and make sure you can answer them sufficiently.
  • Use keywords without overdoing it. Using keywords in your content is important, but if you go overboard with them (for example, writing an entire paragraph that's just one long keyword), then Google will know that you've been trying to game the system and penalise your site accordingly.
  • Don’t forget the fundamentals of good communication. Make sure your content is well structured, well written (or illustrated, or dictated, or shot) and easy to comprehend.
  • Fit the medium to the message. Use different formats for different pages or articles. Make sure that each piece of content has its own unique voice while still being on brand and fitting into your site as a whole.

Use image alt tags

When it comes to on-page SEO, the alt tag is important. It turns content that search engines can’t understand very well (images) into a text snippet that the machine can process.

Depending on the CMS that you use to edit your site, there are different ways to apply an alt tag to an image. If you’re using the block editor in WordPress and double-click an image, the sidebar to the right of screen opens Image settings which start with a box for Alt text.

Alt tags also help people who have difficulty seeing websites or reading content on them; alt tags are read aloud by screen readers as a way of describing what's happening in an image. And of course, alt tags allow you to include keywords in your content without being overly keyword-heavy or stuffing in an unnatural amount of it into each paragraph.

Make your alt tags specific to each image and descriptive enough so that anyone seeing or hearing the text can understand what they'd see in the image. For example: 'Three people wearing sunglasses with green, red and blue frames' would be better than 'Nice shades.' While both statements are grammatically correct, only one serves its purpose.

Always connect a call-to-action to your content

When writing content, it's important to think about calls to action. What would you want the visitor to do next? And why would they want to?

Whether it’s subscribing to a newsletter, making an appointment with you, or navigating to another piece of content, make your call-to-action clear and concise. Don't overcomplicate things. If you want people to book a flight, tell them "Book flights now". If you want people to fill out a contact form, tell them "Contact us today!"

Most importantly, make sure that the content they’ve just read (or watched) is the sort of thing that makes people want to book a flight or contact you.

Optimise your page layout and file sizes

When you make your page more enjoyable and usable, you increase the chance that people will engage with it rather than “bouncing” off. This user behaviour sends positive signals to Google.
For text heavy pages like blog articles, optimise your page layout to make reading easier.

  • Use a responsive, mobile-friendly design/template.

  • Optimise the size of files like images for speed, and to make efficient use of your hosting.

  • Use a simple, clean design that lets people focus on what they want to get done.

Test, tweak, and test again

SEO is a process - a marathon rather than a sprint. You're going to want to test, tweak, and retest. This step is critical for making sure your optimisations are actually working.

  • Test: While there are lots of tools available to help you test your on-page SEO, Google's own Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is the best tool out there. It will allow you to search your website and see how different variations perform in both organic and paid search results.
  • Tweak: Once you have an idea of what works best for your site—for example wording choices like "blog" vs "blog posts" in your menus and URLs—then it’s time to make some changes! Change the title tag, meta description text or other on-page elements until they match up with what has worked best in tests so far. These tweaks should be minor enough that they don't cause major disruptions on your site but significant enough that they can affect rankings in meaningful ways. And then...
  • Retest: Once again using Google Search Console (or whichever tool(s) fit your needs), examine how those changes affected rankings over time across different queries. Compare ranking factors over time and, when you see improvements, keep on working.

The most important thing to remember is that on-page SEO is a process. It’s not something you can do once and then forget about it forever. Instead, think of it as something you continually tweak over time as your business grows and changes.

That said, there are some tried and true methods that should be part of any website owner's strategy, and they don't require an advanced degree in computer science either! We hope you'll find these tips helpful as you begin to optimise your site for search engines like Google or even Bing.

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