SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a term used to describe strategies which optimize a website to increase its ranking in the popular search engines. On-page SEO is more specific as it relates directly to the optimisation of individual web pages, and focuses on internal efforts on every page such as content and HTML code, rather than external links.
This is where things can get complicated, because you may think you are doing the right thing when in fact you are hindering your efforts. Plus, there is the issue of increasingly irrelevant SEO Ranking Factors.
Here are 3 basic on page SEO mistakes that almost everyone is making, how does your On-page SEO measure up?
1. Lack of keyword research and planning
One of the biggest mistakes website owners make is not having a clear plan for their keywords. This includes choosing the right keywords to target, and on which pages they should appear. Many high quality websites have been known to completely miss the mark with their text content, and aren’t focusing on the keywords their customers are actually searching for. A lack of research, goals and planning can result in the brand not receiving the traffic it deserves.
Before you even think about optimising your website for search engines, (you can even do this before you build your website), you need to know which keywords are the most profitable for your product or service. Once this has been established you can decide how you are going to split them up between the different pages on your website.
Often the proper name for your product or service that you use as a business owner is not the term that the general public will use when searching for an item.
Further Reading: It is impossible to do any SEO without first doing keyword research to work out which keywords you are targeting on each page. Check out this very basic guide to keyword research.
2. Keyword Cannibalisation
The second biggest On-Page SEO mistake we see is Keyword Cannibalisation. This occurs when there are multiple pages on a website targeting the same keywords. This results in ‘cannibalisation’ where the pages harm each other. All of these pages end up ranking lower than a single authority page would.
The most common cause of a website turning into Hannibal the Cannibal is when a website features products or services on the home page, while still having product or service pages for each of these items.
Additionally, Keyword Cannibalisation can also occur when very outdated SEO has been done and a new page is created for every tiny variation of a keyword. For example, “Costs for Plumbing in Perth”, and “Fees for Plumbing in Perth” do not need separate pages.
The highest search volume version should be used in the titles and headings and the alternate variations can be sprinkled in the body text.
Further Reading: Don’t let your website be penalised due to Keyword Cannibalisation.
3. Lack of text content
This one is very simple. Google only understands text content (so far), and relies on this to determine the topic of a page – so you ALWAYS need text on your web pages!
Sometimes a clean page with just a few key lines of text delivers a great user experience, but unfortunately pages like this don’t rank as well as pages with a significant amount of text content. All the pages you have assigned keywords to (refer to point 1) should have at least 500 words of quality text content. If you’re in a competitive niche this may need to be even higher. A good rule of thumb is to take whatever your competitors have, and add an extra 200 words.
This doesn’t have to spoil your nice clean design, as you can place this content towards the bottom of the page. This way your visitors won’t see it until they’ve already absorbed your key points, and hopefully responded to your call to action.
Using ‘read more’ accordions to hide the text until a button is clicked is also satisfactory as Google does index the text inside these sections. There is some debate over whether it carries the full weight of visible content, but it’s definitely better than no content if you really want to keep your page free of text.
An additional benefit of having more text content on your pages is that you can target more keyword variations. You can really only fit a couple of keywords in your title and headings, so utilise the body text to mention more synonyms and related keywords and further improve your topical relevance.
Further Reading: Remember, your text content still needs to be appealing to your visitors. Read these tips on creating text content.