There are many things you can do to make your website pages rank better on Google. Here is a “to-do” list of the most important on-page SEO tasks — pay attention to these and you will start seeing more qualified, organic website traffic from Google.
- Meta title tags describe each website page to the Google. Each title tag should be unique and include your primary target keyword phrase — this enables Google to match each of your website pages with Google searches being done for the corresponding supply chain product/service. Title tags are an extremely important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.
- Content quality should be excellent on all website pages, but particularly on website pages you’ve targeted for SEO. Target pages are typically the home page and product/service pages. For Google (and human site visitors), quality content is useful, relevant, engaging and authoritative. Google is getting better at assessing content quality all the time. Naturally, it wants to serve high-quality content to its search engine users, particularly for technical and high-value products/services common in the supply chain field.
- Word count of content is also important. There is no magic number of words that will improve a web page’s ranking, but here is a good rule of thumb: Look at high ranking pages for your focus keywords and make your corresponding web pages meet or exceed their word count. All other things being equal, the page with more words is likely to be favored by Google.
- A separate page should be devoted to each of your major product/service keyword targets. This is one a lot of companies miss. If you are focusing on, say, 10 of your products/services, you should have a separate page for each of them. Instead of doing this, companies often try to optimize their homepage for all of them or lump several together on generalized product/service pages. This can confuse Google. All other things being equal, Google will favor pages that most specifically correspond to a given search query. Thus, if someone is searching for “e-commerce fulfillment”, a page strictly dedicated to that topic (keyword) will outrank a more generalized page that covers e-commerce fulfillment, fleet management and consulting.
- Link most frequently to your most important website pages. Internal links (links to other pages on your website) are an important ranking factor. If you link more frequently to your target product/service pages, it signals to Google that these pages are important.
- Don’t overuse keywords in the text. In the early days of SEO, people would repeat a page’s target keyword phrases many times in the text. This is no longer necessary; one or two repetitions of a given keyword phrase and variations are enough. If you repeat keywords too often, Google may suspect you of trying to manipulate its algorithm — and therefore ignore your content.
- Make page URLs Google-friendly and user-friendly. A sound URL structure is http://www.company/product-group/specific-product. Avoid symbols, numbers and descriptions that are meaningless to users — they will also be meaningless to Google. Use hyphens to separate words in URLs rather than underscores or other symbols.
- Add persuasive meta descriptions, especially to target pages and other high-traffic pages. Meta descriptions are snippets of text that appear under the links in Google’s organic search results. Meta descriptions are not an important ranking factor, but if they are well written, they influence Google users to click on your link. Pages targeted for SEO must have persuasive, unique meta descriptions — but also include other high-traffic or potentially high-traffic pages such as your “About” page, FAQs page and company leadership page.
SEO campaigns operate on three fronts: off-the-website actions, website-wide actions and on-page actions. Attending to these eight issues will help your SEO, perhaps dramatically — but what you do site-wide and off-site also have a major impact on your rankings. Nevertheless, if you do everything right off-site on site-wide but fail to execute on the page, your SEO campaign will never get anywhere.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an SEO agency headquartered in the Chicago area.