May 25, 2016

On-Page Ranking Factors

On-Page Factors are the unique aspects of a given web page that influence search engine rankings AND the display of those results on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

The meta elements (tags used in HTML documents to provide structured metadata about a web page) are typically used to embed metadata in a web page that is NOT displayed on the page and to assist search engines in categorizing the web page content.

After developing unique content on your site and pages the single most important meta tag for SEO is the page title or title tag.

Page Title

The page title defines the title of a web page and is displayed at the top of the browser tab.

On a BigCommerce site the source code for a page title could look like this:

Example Page Title

Google typically displays the first 70-71 characters of a title tag (prior to May 2016 google displayed 50-55 characters) or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. This length is subject to change. If you keep your titles under 71 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly. Keep in mind that search engines may choose to display a different title than provided in the HTML. Page Titles in search results may also be rewritten to match your company, brand, the user search query or other considerations.

Page Titles should include keywords that are relevant to the page but also reflect what potential customers are searching for when using a search engine. The Page Title is the first piece of information displayed in a search results listing on a search results page (SERP).

Where We Can Help

Review
  • evaluate current page titles looking specifically at the home page, category pages and product pages
  • evaluate site content to determine best keywords to use
  • competitive analysis
Consult
  • determine target keywords after consultation with the client
  • determine target markets (city or region, customer type, niche market..)
  • competitors?
Implement
  • customize page titles throughout the site (home page, category pages, brands pages, product pages, web pages)
  • upload product file with updated customized page titles

Meta Description

A Meta Description is the HTML attribute that provides a concise explanation of the content of a web page. The meta description is typically dynamically generated (either by adding the customized Meta Description to each page or the ‘default’ Meta Description as assigned by the website).

Example HTML Code for the Meta Description (dynamically generated in BigCommerce)

The Meta Description should use keywords intelligently (to assist in being displayed in SERP’s) but also create a compelling description to encourage the searcher to click-through to the site (to increase web traffic and ultimately conversions).

Unlike the Page Title, the Meta Description performs like advertising copy and should be well-written, readable and compelling. The meta description should be unique for each web page and optimally contain up to 278 characters (prior to May 2016 google displayed up to 160 characters) as most search engines truncate snippets longer than 278 characters. The Meta Description is displayed beneath the Page Title and page URL in a a search results listing on a search results page.

Where We Can Help (Click!)

Review
  • evaluate site meta descriptions looking specifically at the home page, category pages and product pages
  • evaluate site content; home page content, category descriptions, product descriptions
  • competitive analysis looking at SERP’s for targeted keywords
Consult
  • determine site specific ‘messages’ that can be used in each meta description (competitive advantages)
  • target competitors in meta descriptions?
Implement
  • update customized meta descriptions

Page URL

The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is human-readable text that was designed to replace the numerical IP addresses that computers use to communicate with servers and can be used to identify the file structure on a website.

URL’s should:

  • use hyphens to separate words and improve readability
  • be as descriptive and as short as possible (without compromizing readability)
  • reflect the website structure (using /’s)
  • make sense
  • contain important or targeted keywords

Where We Can Help (Click!)

Review
  • url’s and url structure (particularly for categories, subcategories, web pages, nested web pages and products)
  • product naming convention (are manufacturer names, sku’s, product type included in the product name and default URL?)
  • category and subcategory structure and naming convention
  • review 301 redirects
Implement
  • define URL structure (and revise product names) for product pages (eg. /master-category-1/manufacturer-product-type-style)
  • define URL structure for category and web pages
  • customize URL’s as necessary
  • check 301 redirects