Choosing the right SEO agency for on-page/onsite SEO
why, what & how
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This guide will take you through how to spot a good onsite SEO agency, what are the signs that you are working with a bad SEO agency, how you can reduce your overall monthly costs; and other great advice to dispel some of the SEO myths.
Who’s this guide for?
- Anyone who is considering an SEO campaign and needs insight into what’s involved and an understanding of the common problems and pitfalls to look out for when focusing on on-page SEO.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO refers to the process of optimising the content of your website to make it as search engine friendly as possible. It’s a process that should be performed when building the site so that it’s set up with the right foundation for further SEO work.
On-page SEO should be used whenever changes are made to a website or when content is added.
A major part of on-page SEO is the optimisation of content. Without content on your website, it will be hard for a search engine to see any relevance for various search terms. The search engine uses relevant content to help them rank your business.
Search engine algorithms read content to decide how well your website fits with the search term.
On-page SEO also has many technical elements which consider how well written the code is. This will include things like:
- Image names
- Heading tags
- “Alt” tags
- Link structure
- Bold and emphasised words
In summary, on-page SEO should be at the front of your mind for any additional content added to your website.
Why is choosing the right on-page SEO partner important?
SEO is a technical industry which is often described as both science and art. Since no-one knows the algorithms that search engines like Google use, there is no set method or process that SEO’s will use. For that reason, it’s important to have a high level of trust in your SEO partner. They should also provide you with transparency so you can verify that the work they’re doing won’t cause problems.
It’s important to understand the methods your SEO partner will use to improve your rankings. Some SEO methods, otherwise referred to as “Black-Hat”, can be used by some SEO agencies/freelancers to improve ranking in the short term, but will eventually be penalised by search engines. This will result in your website performing a lot worse over the long term than you originally thought.
The six golden rules – before you hire an on-page SEO agency
Without relevant content on your website, you essentially have an empty book. There’s no way of knowing if your website is important for a given search term. If, for example, you’re a solicitor and wish to rank for “divorce lawyer”, you will need to make sure there is ample content on the site relating to that term.
The content also needs to be written well. Some “SEO’s” will use a technique called keyword stuffing which is a process of putting lots of keywords into the content. This should be avoided at all costs as it will harm your efforts and can be spotted by search engines. Instead, content should be written with the readers in mind. When written naturally it will include enough relevant content for the search engines too.
Use a Blog or News Section
As mentioned in Golden Rule 1, content is very important for on-page SEO efforts. A blog is a great way to add content to a site naturally. As you add more content to the blog you will inevitably cover content related to your business. You’ll gain traffic from search terms related to the blog posts as well as the main search terms on the website.
The more you blog, the more relevant you become to search engines.
Fresh content indicates to search engines that your site is active and also shows that any information on your site will be up-to- date and current.
Another wonderful benefit of creating regular content is that you can share any blog content on social media sites.
When you share content on social media, you will be able to reach an audience that may not come across your site naturally.
Social Media accounts are connected to websites and therefore show search engines that you are active and providing relevant content to readers.
Content Needs Structure
Think of your website content as a newspaper article. It will have a main heading, sub-headings, images and links placed in appropriate areas on the pages.
Search engines take into account how the content is laid out and will use the headings and subheadings as indicators to what the content is about.
The search engines obviously can’t understand your content like you or I would, so they use elements on the page to understand what each section is in the form of tags. A nice guide to this would be the following:
H1 tag – This is the main heading and is the strongest indicator that Google has within the content of the page.
H2 tag – This is for the subheadings. Still a strong indicator and Google uses this to better understand the details of the page.
Title – This is the title of the page. This content appears in the search engine, isn’t seen within the content of the website but is the strongest indicator to Google of what your page is about.
It’s not good enough nowadays to have a website purely for desktops. Websites are now viewed more often on a mobile than they are on a desktop. Search engines know this and will place a higher weighting on sites that are designed with mobile devices in mind.
When building a website, it’s important to consider how your website works on mobile devices. Websites are often built with a “mobile first” approach, meaning that it will be built for mobile devices first and then the desktop site will be built once that works correctly.
Website Loading Time
An important factor for websites to rank well is the speed at which the website loads. You want the pages of your website to load within 2.5 seconds.
You can test this out by just going on https://tools.pingdom.com/ and adding your URL.
If your website loading time needs a little improvement then do not fear, there are many ways to improve this.
One of the reasons could be the size of your images. If your images are very big, then it will slow down your website. You can use file compression elements on your website to reduce your file size relatively easily, and any good SEO expert can do this with the minimum of fuss.
If there’s a bit of a wider issue, this could well be due to your hosting. Hosting is not just about having a place where your website sits on the internet. Spending a little more money on your hosting can dramatically improve your speed.
So, if you’re struggling to improve your website speed don’t spend all your time fixing every little issue. Just improve your hosting. It’ll save you money and time and will deliver better results.
Keywords Stuffing Doesn’t Work
Some “SEO’s” will tell you that putting a load of keywords related to your business will improve rankings.
In fact, it will damage your rankings. It’s a strategy that was used over a decade ago to trick search engines into ranking your website highly by mentioning the keyword a lot. Search engines are far too clever for this method now and will penalise sites that perform it.
Anchor Text Usage
The anchor text is text used in a hyperlink to another page or website. The anchor text shows the relevance of the link. It’s important to remember that if you overuse a keyword or phrase with a link, the search engines will figure you out and penalise you for it.
Instead of using keyword heavy anchor text, consider using a range of different anchors such as the domain name or words like “homepage”, “click here” or even images linking to the content. This will look natural to both search engines and users.