This is the third and final part of the SEO audit checklist series. In my previous two articles, I compiled an SEO checklist for accessibility and an SEO website usability guide. In this article, I will talk about how to optomise your website in terms of relevancy.
What is relevancy?
Google and other major search engines are largely focused on providing the best user experience by returning the best possible results for a user’s search term.
They serve their results based upon a combination of content that is relevant to a searcher’s query and its perceived usefulness. Google will always favour websites that offer the most relevant information and are the most authoritative.
If content is used correctly on the page, relevance can be a major factor for getting good organic rankings. That’s why creating unique content and structuring it effectively across your website is a vital component to achieving optimum organic performance.
So, what is the first thing you should be considering when laying out a strategy for your website’s relevance? I’m going to talk you through each step.
Conducting comprehensive keyword research is the most important element in making your website relevant. When conducting keyword research, you need to get into the mind-set of the person who might be interested in your products or services, so that you’re using their language.
In most cases, when people search on Google, they are looking to buy something or they want to get some information. So, when you examine the products or services you’re promoting, think about who would be interested in buying your product and what would they type in to the search engines to find it.
There are several tools available that can help you conduct your keyword research. The most commonly used one is the ‘Google Keyword Planner Tool’. Here, you can upload groups of keywords to check search volume in different countries as well as explore different keyword options.
The art of conducting good keyword research is to look for keywords that are most relevant to your business, have high search volumes and are less competitive.
Did you know that you get better results when you target long tail keywords because they show more of a user’s intent? Too often, people focus on head terms (shorter terms) which are too general and often difficult to rank for. Targeting the long tail variations of the terms you want to rank for will bring you more qualified traffic and potentially more ROI in the long-term.
What to do with your keyword research
After you’ve done your research and have a bunch of useful keywords with a decent search volume, you can then create your webpages’ copy, or improve upon your existing content.
By using these keywords within your webpages, you’re telling Google what your site is about. This will help Google to bring up your webpages for related queries. But there are some other tricks you can do to make Google more aware of what your website is about and the products and services you offer. I’ll talk you through these next.
Page Text Copy
Over the past couple of years search engines have become more sophisticated, they can now (mostly) figure out what your page is about. However, placing keywords strategically in your text copy is still crucial and must not be ignored.
Let’s say you want your website to rank for the keywords “gifts for men”. You have to place that phrase throughout your copy naturally to communicate to search engines that this page is about “gifts for men”.
It is imperative that you get the balance right and make sure you are not under or over using the keyword. If you are under using the phrase, your chances of ranking well for that keyword will decrease. If you over using it, not only will you not rank for the phrase, but also Google will see this as spam activity and penalise you, pushing you down the search results.
Try to write naturally and let the placing of your targeted keywords be secondary to writing great content. Exceptional content will improve your authority and increase shares.
With great content on your site you can connect with your visitors more effectively and as a result build your trust and credibility with them.
Top tip: Since Google is also putting a lot of emphasis on the user experience and customer satisfaction with a website, it’s important that you create content that’s interesting and of value to your audience fist and then Google. Crafting compelling copy that benefits the user as opposed to Google is what will get your site to rank and be shared.
Tell search engines about the text (keywords) that reflect the topic of your webpage by awarding them a higher status than other text. For example, you can embolden words, or mark up your key phrases headers. Also, by including targeted keywords as hyperlinks to further information, search engines do allocate slightly extra weight compared to the rest of the text on site.
Let’s now discuss relevancy in terms of different page elements.
The page title isn’t displayed to visitors on the page itself, but shows up in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). It is written within the title element in the HTML of each page. Here’s how the title for our article about “Compelling Copy” looks in the SERPs:
<title>How To Write Compelling SEO Copy For Search And Humans</title>
Page titles within a website are one of the most important aspects of the on page relevancy. Search engines not only use the page title to identify the contents of a webpage, but also use them to determine rankings.
Top tips: Page titles should always provide unique information relevant to a particular page, alongside a strong focus of targeted keywords, while still being attractive to users to facilitate click through.
On Page Headings
On-page headings are important for SEO purposes. Alongside the ‘title’ elements, they allow search engines to immediately establish the ‘theme’ of a page in terms of what content exists on it.
Header elements present a clear structure, improve page readability and accessibility, and should therefore be used strategically across your entire site.
Top Tips: Use only one H1 element at the top of every page, focusing on the keywords that you’re trying to target, as more than one H1 may send ‘spam’ signals to search engines. Use as many as required H2 elements to denote sections on the page (but don’t overdo it). Consider using H3 Elements for information not immediately relevant to the page.
Example of Good Header Element structure on a page
Like the page title, the meta description isn’t displayed to visitors on the page. It’s only shown in the search engine result pages (SERPs), like this:
Meta descriptions are another important aspect of effective SEO. Although Meta descriptions have very little, to no impact on rankings, they do potentially have a large impact on users viewing search results and influencing click throughs.
Your descriptions should be viewed as your sales pitch to search users, as an advertisement trying to draw visitors to your site. Once search results have been compiled, the meta description will determine whether a user clicks on the site’s link or the result above or below it.
The description for each page on your site should be unique, front loaded with keywords, contain a call to action and be of a specific length to make the most of the advertising space afforded by Google. If a description fails to meet, or exceeds the required size, it will either not be using the full space or will be truncated, which looks unattractive and doesn’t benefit you.
Image Alt Text
The alt (alternative text) attribute of image elements allows search engines to understand the content of an image. Without the alt attribute, a search engine knows that an image exists but has no way of determining what the image shows. Including keywords in your alt text helps your rankings. Here’s what an alt text of an image looks like:
<img alt=something descriptive about the image here/img>
Furthermore, while most users of the web are able to understand and interpret images by looking at them, by including alt text you will aid the visually impaired to understand a web page better.
If the images do not load, the text is displayed instead increasing usability for site users and screen readers.
If used properly, alt text can also provide organic search benefits, in terms of providing more exposure for your products and other content on the page.
Top tip: Remember not to stuff the Alt text with your keywords and not to use it out of context. Use natural language for your alt descriptions. It’s also best to keep the description under 10 words.
If you’d like to improve your organic performance, get in touch with us today and we can start work immediately.