It does not matter if you are a small association, a large company, or an authority: everyone benefits from being seen well on Google. In part 1 of our quick course in search engine optimization (SEO) basics, you learned technical optimization. This time we go through what is called onsite SEO (or on-page SEO), which is simply about your content and how that content is structured.
It may sound easy to produce good and relevant content, but there are many websites that do not have good texts, good images, or a good structure on the site to find the content. Common mistakes are to write too little content, just a sentence or two per product or page, or that the content has simply been copied from, for example, a supplier so that you have exactly the same content as lots of other websites out there.
Stay Close To Your Users When Creating Content
A basic tip when it comes to producing good content is to be close to Google when writing your texts but to be even closer to your visitors and customers – because they are the ones who will buy your products and services or take part in your content in another way.
In addition, over the years, Google has become better and better at understanding and distinguishing between text that is written only for search engines and text that is actually written for users and for them to have a good experience on your site. And that’s really just good news: Google and other search engines are becoming more and more common users, which means all you have to do is write really good texts that inform and engage your customers.
Content – Product Pages And Content Pages
When it comes to content on the web, you usually distinguish between product pages and content pages, where a product text – which is written for an individual product that is presented on your page – is usually much shorter than a content text, which can be about really anything relevant to your business and which can also float out and take up more space.
If you work with e-commerce, it is usually said that the product pages are the pages that are somehow created automatically when you add new products, while content pages are pages that you can create yourself.
Another common expression is body text. Bread and text. It really means all the text on a web page that is not headlines, captions, and such: simply all the food – the bread – on the page.
A common mistake that can be punished is that pages on your site completely lack body text – for example, product pages where there is only a line or two of the type “Red gloves of 100% wool in several sizes”, but nothing more, no inspiration about what you can use the product for and no reason why exactly 100% wool is a good material for gloves. For both Google and your users, the page then becomes very shallow, there is simply no depth that both explains and “sells in” product.
But how much content do you need to produce on a page in order to rank well on Google? The answer is that it depends on the market, that is, which country we are talking about and the smaller the market, the more you get away with. Right now.
But a good rule of thumb when it comes to text is 150-300 words for a product page and 500-1,500 for a content page. On the product side, you should have at least one image, preferably more, but on the content side, you should have at least two or three images.
Also remember to avoid so-called “duplicate content”, i.e. the same content is found in several places on your website (or on other websites on the web). Google and other search engines do not like it at all when the same content is in more than one place – they will try to determine which page is the right one and which should rank in the hit list.
If you then have duplicate content, there is a risk that Google will take a different page than the one you intended, and in the worst case, Google will take an external page where the same content is located (and you do not rank at all).
On-Page SEO And Your Site Structure
A basic thing to keep in mind is that the site structure shows what is most important on your site. To illustrate the site structure, you can think of your site as a pyramid – the higher up in the pyramid you go, the more important the content presented there.
At the top of the pyramid is your front page, i.e. what is on your domain name without additions (for example, butiken.se). The next level often includes a number of categories, then product groups can be the next level and finally all products.
The front page, or home page, is usually called level 1. The pages that are directly below the home page are called level 2. Then comes level 3 and level 4 if you have four levels of content on your site. Remember that it is good not to have too many levels. This will make it easier for both users and search engines to easily find the content.
With the help of so-called bread crumbs ( bread crumbs ) lets you since your users easily between levels: Home ⇒ Level 2 ⇒ Level 3 ⇒ Level 4. And it is important that it is really easy for users to navigate back and forth between different levels of your site, you never know where a user will enter your site or where he or she wants to go or will end his or her visit to the site.
In the same way, you can think about links: the higher up in the hierarchy, the higher up in the pyramid, the more important a link is. All links that go out from the front page are thus stronger and provide more link power than the links that go out from, for example, level 2 or level 3 on your site. And if you have a lot of links on a page, which is not recommended at all, the value of the links is also diluted. If you have a hundred links on a page, each link gets a value of one-hundredth of that page’s total link power.
A good start if you have the opportunity to influence the structure of your page is to draw your own pyramid: which pages on your site are most important and should be high up in the hierarchy? Which should be further down?
And how can you create good navigation for visitors and search engines to understand and find in the hierarchy you have chosen? Some things to keep in mind when going through your site structure are that:
- Avoid having your front page completely full of categories and links, dare to choose what is most important and put your customers and visitors in the first place – they are the ones who will intuitively and easily find on your site or in your store.
- Also keep in mind that all pages on your site must function as a front page. Many of your visitors come directly to a subpage via, for example, Google or a price comparison site and then your visitors must easily understand how they can also navigate upwards in the structure.
SEO And The Art Of Writing A Great Title
What should we call each individual page, that is, what title should we give each page? Writing a good title is considered to be one of the most important things you can do to succeed in On-Page SEO.
Why is it like that? There are actually two simple answers to that question: firstly – if each page on their site has a short and concise title, users and Google understand what they can expect on the page if they go there. For example, the title often appears on the tab of a new window in the browser. Second – the title you give to each individual page also becomes the text of the clickable link that Google displays in its hit list.
When you write a good title, you are not only clear to Google and your users, you also influence how you are presented with Google. So, how do you write a really good title?
To succeed, you must have a relevant and unique title on each page. The title should also be attractive and click-friendly – you not only want to be seen in Google’s hit list, but you also want visitors to click on your site.
Common mistakes that site owners make are that they use very general titles of the type “Website – company name” or use the same title on many pages and have very many words in the title, for example, “We sell trips to Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia – travel with us to the sun ”. Avoid these types of mistakes and make sure that all the titles on your site are unique and that they do not compete with each other, that is, all pages should be about a specific product or topic. Not about a number of products or topics.
In addition to the title being unique, it should be click-friendly, as the title will also be the clickable link at Google. As we said, the goal is not only to be seen well by Google, you also want visitors to click on so that you get more traffic and more sales (otherwise it will only be visibility at Google that can possibly build your brand, but which do not give any other measurable results).
What you want to eat, that is, visitors click on, is usually called CTR or click-through rate. That is, how many people click through divided by the number of impressions. The higher the CTR, the better.
So, to get a really good title – follow these three short tips:
- Focus on a keyword, but feel free to use two inflections of it (or a word and a synonym).
- Do not write more than 65 characters in total, otherwise the link can be broken at Google (and there will be a number of dots after the text “…” instead of all letters being included).
- And finally, click-friendly. Think about the user – why should he or she want to click on your particular link?
On-Page SEO And A Good Meta Description
Enough about this with titles because there is another text element that is important and it is called meta description or meta description and it is a longer description of your page that is in the page code and which Google often places under the link in the hit list – it wants to say under your clickable link. The text has no limit, but aim to use 140-160 characters to avoid breaking the text.
Both the title and the meta description are usually easy to update in most publishing tools, so be sure to take advantage of these two opportunities to influence how you are presented on Google. That way, you can both be as relevant as possible but also increase the possibility of getting more traffic, i.e. more clicks, to your page.
Some things to keep in mind when writing meta descriptions for your pages:
- Google “fats” the keyword in the hit list, so include at least two different inflections or synonyms of the keyword in your meta description.
- Also give the visitor a reason and desire to click on here as well, for example through a call and a number of positive values.
- And also keep in mind that even though Google usually picks up your meta description, they can sometimes choose to show another part of the text from your page in their hit list, which they think better represents the search result than the text you wrote yourself.
So, the better the meta description, the greater the chance that Google and other search engines will pick it up!
And if you write both a really good and unique title for each page on your website and also give each page a specific and selling meta description – which we highly recommend – then you have actually done everything you can to influence how you are represented in Google hit lists.
On-Page SEO And Good Headlines
However, we need to address another important element, which is certainly not visible at Google in their hit list, but which can affect your ranking positively and those are headlines. There can be a number of headings on a web page, but the most important – the main headline – is usually called H1, and it is the one you should focus on.
Because if you have good content on your page, a good title, a good meta description, and also a good headline – then you have done a really good SEO job, and then only a little offsite love and links are missing for your page to get a real boost in Google’s hit lists.
But what is a good headline? And why is it called H1?
H1 is called the main heading because it can then follow subheadings further down the page which in the page code are often marked with numbers in a straight sequence such as H2, H3, H4 where the H2 is the second most important heading.
But, start by focusing on the H1 on all your pages – it can affect both your ranking in Google and the clarity of your visitors when they enter your site. To get a really good H1 in place – follow these three tips :
- The main title should always contain the keyword you want to optimize the page for (and which is also included in the page title).
- The main title should not be exactly the same as the page title. The H1 should be short – just the keyword may suffice.
- The H1 should be the heading that is also most clearly visible on the page, preferably high up on the page and in a larger size than other text and other headings.
Even the H1 usually has a field for it in most publishing tools, so you do not have to go into the code and create any On-Page SEO magic there.
SEO And On-Page Images
The last thing we are going to talk about content is your images, which are very important to handle properly even if Google has a very hard time seeing and understanding images – what they “see” is just what we say the image represents thanks to the fact that we give the image a name and writes text around the image and often creates something called alt text that comes up if you drag the mouse over the image.
Despite this, images have become increasingly important for success in On-Page SEO, which is due to a number of different things, including the fact that Google perceives images as a natural part of a website and as an important component for the user as well.
They, therefore, do their best to interpret the images based on the context and the other information you give them. So it is good to have pictures on all pages, at least one per page, but preferably more if it is relevant and you have the opportunity to get several good pictures.
Google also shows images for certain organic hits, so we personally believe that good images will continuously increase in importance, and be an important investment in the future. However, there may be some reason for caution if you are working with many high-quality images, that is, with good resolution, as it may increase your loading times.
So while it is good for users with high-quality images that can be zoomed in well, it can negatively affect another part of the user experience – that is, how fast your page loads. However, there are good techniques for image compression today, but still, keep an eye on the loading time on your pages so it does not shoot up or become significantly longer than on your competitors’ pages.
How do you then concretely optimize your images? The most important thing is, just like with titles on the page, to be as clear and concrete as possible, so be sure to use the keyword you want to optimize the image and the page for in the image’s file name and the image’s alt text.
If you also have a caption or other text around or near the image, use the keyword there as well. In other words: name the image “dog and cat vacuum cleaner” for example if you sell vacuum cleaner nozzles to remove dog and cat hair – and completely avoid file names like “Image5678” or other brand names in the same style. It is really worth spending time on this, so be sure to rename all the images on your site so that the name matches the keyword as well as possible.
Then also select a good alt text. The alt text is an alternative text for, for example, the visually impaired who cannot see the image, but also for search engines who also cannot interpret what the image represents. The alt text is also displayed for those who, for example, turn off the display of images, so there are many reasons to work with their alternative texts.
You enter the image’s file name and alt text in connection with the image being added to the page for the first time, but in many publishing tools, it is possible to subsequently change or add both the image’s name and the image’s alt text.