This article outlines four best practices for search optimizing any page your professional service firm’s website. It was originally published in 5/2014 and was updated with new information in 3/2018.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can consist of a whole slew of activities ranging from the big to the small. But the truth is you’re not looking for a big answer, you’re looking for a manageable task that allows you to get results at a low-cost. The good news is you can. And it starts by focusing on four highly important on-page elements.
Four OnPage SEO Elements to Spend Your Time On
- Page Title: The page title (no. 1 in the image above) is something nobody pays attention to on a website. But it’s highly important to a search engine. The page title should provide a good overview of the page within 60 characters. Think of it as your elevator pitch for that web page to Google.
- Page URL: The URL slug (no. 2 in the image above) is the next element to be cognizant of. It should be treated as an abbreviated overview of the story the web page is looking to tell.
- H1 Title: The H1 (no. 3 in the image above) is essentially the headline for your web page. It is what the reader will most associate with. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of trying to make them clever, however clever isn’t what your reader is searching for. And more importantly, Google doesn’t understand clever. Keep them simple, to the point, and try to write it so it speaks directly toward what a client you’d like to attract may be trying to find in their search.
- Meta Description: A web page’s meta description (no. 4 in the image above) is sometimes (but not always) displayed on a search engine’s results page. A client will never see it on the actual web page. It is simply meta data which means it lives behind the page and is not visible to the reader. However it will be visible to search engines and it’s often used as context within a list of search results. Think of it as if you’re directly telling your web searcher exactly what your page is about before they make the choice to visit your page. You get a longer space for this but not much. Your page’s meta description should stay within 300 characters (increased from 155 characters in December 2017).
Bring it together through a broader story
In my example above you can see that particular post is ranking number 1 based on the search phrase used. That’s because the four elements are working together to tell a broader story. This allows us to connect the content to a variety of different ways a searcher might search. More importantly, it gives Google more potential data points to understand what the content is about. Specifically, we were able to tell Google that this particular page in our site speaks to:
- Improving buyer confidence
- Reducing buyers’ perceived risk in hiring A/E firms
- Ways an A/E firms website reduces buyers perceived risk
What you need to move forward
If you don’t have it already, all you need to manage these elements is a tool installed into your content management system that allows you to control the page properties of an individual web page (if you’re using WordPress, Yoast is the most common). If you don’t have this tool currently available, simply give your developer a call to get it installed or send me an email and I’d be happy to help.