Welcome back to our three-part series on best practices for on-page SEO. If you’re just joining us, we’ve already covered the importance of good content and how to find and implement keywords. And in part three of our series, we’re going to cover seven of the HTML elements you need to consider in your on-page SEO strategy. First and foremost, is your title tag.
1. Title tags
A page’s title tag is arguably the most important factor when it comes to SEO. It’s not text that shows up on the page, but it’s the text contained within the tab on your web browser. If possible, you’ll want to start with a phrase that includes your target keyword and the name of your company separated by a bar (|). Google typically displays the first 50 to 60 characters of your title tag, so make sure to keep things short.
2. Meta descriptions
Again, this text will not show up on the page, but it’s included on the search results page of Google. This is another great place to include your keyword to catch the user’s eye as they’re scrolling through results. Google also bolds keywords on search results pages, so including them will be even more eye catching. Google chops off meta descriptions around 155 to 160 characters so Moz recommends character counts of 50 to 160 characters.
This is an HTML tag that is often used for the title of a blog post or the page headline. It catches the reader’s eye and identifies the most important information on the page. If possible, set your blog post title as the H1 and use your keyword within the title, preferably towards the beginning. Just be sure you only have one H1 per page.
Though you should only have one H1 on your page, you can have multiple subheads designated as H2, H3, H4, etc. On blog posts, it’s great to set all subheads as H2s or H3s and include your keyword in one (or a few) subheads. But there’s no need to include it in every subhead. In fact, we recommend you don’t.
5. Alt. text
The alt. text is the text that displays if an image doesn’t load. It’s also one more place where you can tuck in your keyword. It’s recommended to set your alt. text as a phrase that includes your keyword and change the file name of your image to something that includes the keyword as well. Afterall, if you’re trying to rank for “financial planning app,” an image labeled FinancialPlanningApp.jpeg will be more beneficial than an image labeled IMG1938270.
When it comes to URL structure, there’s a lot to keep in mind, so we’ll just cover the basics. But feel free to dig into a more detailed description of URL best practices. Be sure to use your keyword in the URL structure. That means changing the auto-generated URL from .com/blog/J5279043509 to .com/blog/seo-best-practices. And separate your keywords with a hyphen (-) rather than an underscore (_).
Though previously mentioned in part of our on-page SEO blog series, backlinks are part of off-page SEO strategies. However, you can and should have internal links between pages and blogs on your website. It’s also a good practice to link to other sites with high authority. Just be sure that any pages you’re linking to are public and not hidden behind a login. You also want to be strategic with the link anchor text and use phrases that explain what the linked post is about. For example, you’re better off linking to an article about how to grow your financial services firm with a Fractional CMO than telling people to read about it here.
That wraps up our three-part series on best practices for on-page SEO. Need help nailing your on-page SEO? Contact the experts at Peregrine to build a website and create content that is optimized for search engines—and your clients.