In part one of our Local Search engine optimization series, I discussed off-page SEO in Duluth and the best ways to improve it. Today I will be walking you through some of the most important aspects of on-page SEO, the fraternal twin to off-page Duluth SEO. Do you need expert help with your SEO efforts right now? We are here to help, Contact Us.
The Faster Points
- For page titles follow the location and keyword formula. (Eg. Duluth Keyword)
- Img Alt Tags need to be added to all photos, use the location – keyword method, and be 3-5 words long
- Use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help users and search engines understand context and content
- Use Local Outbound Links to help users and search engines see the context and quality of your page
- Internal links help users and search engines move through your site and can reduce bounce rates
- Use your keyword and location in both your meta title and description to boost page-rank in Duluth
- You need a mobile or responsive site to get the most out of your efforts
On-page SEO is the practice of modifying and improving individual webpages on your website to boost important search engine ranking factors, while improving your users experience (a ranking factor in itself). On-page SEO is about understanding the content and experience users want, while building your pages out in way that optimizes the way search engines see them. So throughout the process, remember to keep your users in the forefront – SEO’s primary purpose is to support your users ability to find your website and the content they are looking for.
In this post I will be walking you through the aspects of on-page SEO and providing examples for businesses in Duluth that can be applied to other locales as well. *Keep in mind this post is about Local SEO, many tactics may change if you are not targeting local queries.
Your Page Titles
Page titles are used by search engines to tell what each of your pages is about. When Google crawls your page the title tag helps it to understand the page focus, which helps determine, how and where it should be indexed. Think about the content of the page and what keyword(s) it contains, as well as how your users would search for that keyword in relation to your business (context) and create your title tag based on that. The closer your keyword is to the beginning of the title the better.
Duluth Page Title Example
Let’s say you own a pizzeria in Duluth, and you want to start optimizing your pages for local searches (nobody is ordering your pizza if they are not in Duluth). The titles for each of your pages should look something like the examples below.
- Deliveries page – Duluth’s top Pizza Delivery
- Pizza menu page – Duluth Pizza Menu
- Deep dish Page – Duluth Deep Dish Menu
- Home page – Blank’s Pizza, Duluth’s Oldest Pizzeria
These page titles allow search engines to see what the focus of each page is, while letting them know that the content is relevant to a specific geo-location; greatly improving the potential that your pages will be placed above another competitor who doesn’t take the time to do the same. While I used a pizzeria as an example, any local business can use the same tactics for their pages. A general rule of thumb is to use the Location then Keyword tactic when writing Local SEO page titles.
Img alt Tags
Another important factor is ensuring that your images have alt tags and that these tags contain the page’s focus keyword. Search engines cannot see the images on your page so if they do not have an alt tag, search engines will have no idea what they are or if they are relevant to your page. The alt tag allows you to tell search engines what the image is. By adding your keyword and location to that description you have one more factor that shows search engines that your page is filled with relevant content. Your Alt tags should be no longer than 7 words (3-5 is preferred).
Duluth Img Alt Tag Example
I am a Duluth hotelier and my website is filled with images of my hotel. If I don’t add alt tags to my images, search engines won’t be able to properly index them and they will not help improve my SEO. Local SEO alt tags should describe the image and if space is available contain the location and keyword combo. Below are several examples of images and what the most effective Duluth SEO alt tags would be in the caption (alt tags are not visible to users unless an image fails to load or they have a screen reader turned on).
Now when search engines crawl my website they can see that my images contain relevant content and show images located in Duluth. This will also allow my images to be properly indexed in google images as well.
Semantics – H1, H2 & H3 Tags
Header (H) tags (there are actually 6 types) are another important aspect of on-page SEO. H1 and H2 tags in particular help search engines and users better understand the content of a page in a similar way to your page title. To take full advantage of their on-page local SEO benefits your H1 Tag should contain your Location and Keyword, while your H2 should act as a context aid to the page’s content. While H tags are not an extremely important factor for search engines they are very helpful to your users, and improving their experience. which is an important ranking factor.
This entire post can be taken as an example of how you should utilize H tags. The largest heading is the H1 tag and the smaller bold headings are H2 and H3 tags.
These are links from your website to other websites. Outbound links (that was one right there) provide users with useful and related content while giving search engines another signal about the content quality and context of your website. Outbound links are not something you should overdo; they should be used sparingly and only where necessary. When you do link to another website make sure it has great page authority and the content on that page will be a resource for your users. While keeping in mind that outbound links must be useful to your users, for local SEO purposes if there is a Duluth website that offers a useful material for your users, link to it over a non-local website with similar info.
A local Outbound Link Example
Putting my hotelier hat back on. If my Canal Park hotel website had a page about Duluth’s great dining options but didn’t offer a directory of options (something many users might find helpful), I would want to provide a link to a local (non-competing) website that did offer my users that information.
This gives my users easy access to the additional content they want and improves their experience while signaling to search engines the context and local relevancy of my hotel website. Helping to boost page rank in local search.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
While not considered a primary ranking factor on their own, they are extremely beneficial to user click-through rates, relevancy and on-page experience metrics, which are important to your SEO efforts. For your Duluth SEO efforts it is recommended that you again follow the Location and Keyword formatting but with the caveat – add a Minnesota or MN to the end of Duluth (ever heard of Duluth Georgia?), I have found the state identifier is particularly important for desktop searches on Bing. Without it some local businesses might end up competing with those from that other Duluth.
Meta Titles can only be 67 characters long and your Meta description can only be 155 characters long. For Local SEO, I have found it is best to get your keyword and location in your Meta title and description. Below you will find examples from Duluth page one businesses.
Content & Keywords
When you are writing content make sure the primary focus is on offering your users information and resources that are useful and beneficial to them. Ensure they find what they are looking for and have a reason to return to your website. This means creating relevant content, which quickly provides users with what they want.
In addition, I have found through experience that local business websites in smaller cities like Duluth, can in fact see a jump in search ranking by ensuring the focus keyword or phrase is used throughout their copy. This is likely due to the comparatively light traffic and number of websites in smaller locales, which leaves Google’s Pigeon algorithm with limited factors it can use to rank and compare local websites.
Keyword additions like this would not work in larger cities like New York or Chicago, but currently show good SEO results in small to medium sized cities like Duluth.
So when writing your content, add Duluth and your keywords to the copy, and try hard to ensure all pages have a minimum of 250-300 words. This helps search engines understand and rank your page more effectively. That being said, do not spam your location and keyword on the page. Remember, you’re creating content that’s useful for your site visitor, while working your keyword and location into the copy.
Internal Links are links between pages of your website. They help users find other related or relevant content and decrease bounce rates. They make it easier for search engines to understand how all the pages on your website relate and allow the search engines to more effectively crawl them and help to improve the authority of your internal pages. Internal links should only lead users to relevant and interconnected content that they may find useful, such as how this on-page SEO post links to another internal post on off-page SEO, so users can explore more ways to improve their Duluth SEO efforts.
Mobile Friendly Websites
Since the April 2015 google update the mobile friendliness of your website has become, and continues to grow in importance as a ranking factor, especially for mobile searches. If your website is not mobile friendly you will experience a severe drop in page rank compared to competitors sites that are mobile friendly. There is also reason to believe that lack of mobile friendliness is also starting to have a negative effect on desktop searches as well. So if you don’t have a mobile site or your website is not responsive, you should pursue upgrades or a redesign as soon as possible.
On-page Duluth Search Engine Optimization can be a time consuming and difficult process, but the time and effort is well worth it in terms of awareness and leads you can generate with a website located on page one of local search results. If you have any other questions on On-Page SEO in Duluth, please Contact Us now. If you want to know if your website needs SEO work be sure to take advantage of our Free SEO Audit.
By Benjamin Henniges
Digital Marketing Manager