In a hyper-competitive digital landscape, marketing managers and business owners are faced with the on-going challenge of reaching their customer base at the right times in their purchasing cycles. This, of course, also applies equally well to those in service industries. Professional SEO services – performed by an experienced and knowledgeable agency like iLEAD et al – are specifically designed to implement Google-prescribed methods that will give your site the best possible chances of ranking well in search results pages.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that will ensure great results. But, as any SEO services provider will tell you, a good place to start your SEO is by addressing all the on-page factors that Google regards as important to a quality webpage.
- Content and Headings
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- URL Structure
- Page Speed
- Internal Links
- Site Map
- Schema – i.e. Microdata
In this article, we would like to consider the first three of these: the remaining five are often technical issues best left to site designers and builders. The first three, by contrast, are easy to manage on a daily basis (and for each new page created) provided managers and content creators understand how to handle them correctly.
The SEO Value of Content and Headings
Content is, above all else, what Google really looks to when assessing the quality of a webpage and its relevancy for certain search terms. To help it make this quality judgement, Google relies quite heavily (SEO service experts believe, at least) on off-site factors like inbound links. It is very difficult to control off-site factors, so it’s best to develop content that focuses on a topic, is comprehensive and informative, and most importantly, adequately resolves a search engine user’s query. This applies as much to product pages as it does to information-oriented pages.
Never write for Google; instead, always serve your actual (human) users.
Google, in a nutshell, is attempting to match the pages it has indexed to a user’s query as best possible: as such, content should always be created with this in mind. One way Google tries to “understand” what a page’s content is about is through analysis of the words/phrases used in headings.
As an SEO services provider, at iLEAD et al, for example, we often look to use a solid keyword phrase that encapsulates the theme of the content, and that would be used as a search term by a user, in both the title and in at least one of the headings of the article (towards the beginning is ideal, but never force it: Google recognises unnatural language). To avoid keyword stuffing – that is, overusing a keyword phrase – we also check that our keywords don’t form more than 2% of the total copy on a page.
Many other SEO service agencies will suggest something very similar as a general strategy. This isn’t to be implemented blindly, however, and we reiterate that it’s simply a guideline that illustrates the importance of giving Google “signals” about the nature of the content.
The End-User Value of Title Tags
It may not be obvious at first, but the text that appears on the search engine results page is, in many ways, an advert for your page. A user will often decide to click through to your page based on the text that you provide in your title tag and meta description. The “advert” that looks the most promising answer to the query will receive his/her attention. Click-throughs reinforce SEO value.
The title tag is the largest text, appearing in blue, in each result: see it as the heading to your page. As an SEO services and Google Ads specialist, we understand the power of words – how they can make or break a campaign – so we advise that you take the time to get the title tag right.
Try a few alternatives, use the keyword/phrase once only (no keyword stuffing!), and be direct: tell the user exactly what’s on your page.
The space is limited to a container of 600 pixels, and most SEO service experts suggest that the title be kept under 60 characters. This, however, is a rule of thumb. Characters like “W” or hyphens “ – ” take up more pixels than “l”, so cut the title down to fewer characters if necessary.
The End-User Value of Meta Descriptions
The meta description also appears on the search engine results page, just below the title tag. The rationale for its importance is the same as above: it takes a lot of effort to get ranking on a results page, so make sure that once your site is there, it garners the attention of users by being a great “ad” for your page.
Users clicking through to your page, and staying there, sends Google a powerful signal that your page is providing their users with the information they’re looking for.
The meta description can be quite a bit longer than the title tag – our suggestion is well within the guidelines stipulated by other industry-leading SEO specialists and service providers: about 160 characters. This, like the title tag, is not a hard and fast rule. For text with larger characters like “W’s”, “X’s”, “M’s”, etc., cut the number of characters down.
Also, and this we feel is quite crucial, concentrate on perfecting the first sentence. Google may change displays at any time, and by so doing, cut the meta description off before the character limit. The first sentence, therefore, will become the one that must say the most about your page. For longer tail keywords (that is, keyphrases with three or more words), consider letting Google auto-generate the meta description for you.
The Value of an Expert SEO Service Provider
As a leading SEO services provider and Google Ads campaign manager, iLEAD et al is perfectly placed to answer any questions you may have about SEO best practices. Moreover, we would be happy to help your business reach its online marketing potential by utilising our expertise to develop winning campaigns. Get in touch and start a no-obligations conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.