(also known as On-Site Optimization)
We’ve all been frustrated by sites that load slowly, or won’t load at all, on slower data connections. With the billions of pages on the internet that Googlebot has to crawl, Google doesn’t like waiting on slow websites either!
A site that loads quickly will make your customers happy, too.
There’s evidence to suggest that both load time and engagement with your content improve your rankings.
Conveniently, Google provides a free tool to assess how quickly your site loads relative to others, although this one is an extremely tough grader!
It’s rare to see sites score above the 75-80 range. Nonetheless, if you want to supercharge your website speed, Google provides free advice for how to do it in the Possible Optimizations section of the this tool. You may need help from a website developer in order to implement some of these Optimizations.
In addition to being speedy for mobile phones that may be trying to load your website over a poor connection, your site should be easy to browse and not require a big monitor to view it properly. You don’t want people to have to “pinch and zoom” in order to read your content.
A site that adapts its size based on the device that’s “reading” it is known as a responsive website. As with Crawlability, most themes and templates for reputable Content Management Systems like Squarespace, Shopify, and WordPress will be responsive by default. But often substandard CMS’s like Wix and GoDaddy are not, so choose your CMS carefully.
Your homepage is usually the single page on your website with the most ranking potential — partly because, for most businesses, it’s the page with the most incoming links from other websites.
It’s perhaps counterintuitive, but your (well-optimized) individual product and service pages should outperform your homepage in terms of the customers they deliver. They’re targeted at more specific keywords than your homepage will likely rank for, and because they’re selling (almost) exactly what your customers searched, they’ll convert those searchers into customers better than your homepage will.
So the “trick” is to distribute the ranking potential of your homepage as fully and as quickly as possible to your money-making pages — usually your top-selling products or services. And it’s also a Usability best practice to funnel browsers who start their journey on your homepage into your most popular offerings, anyway. A win-win.
Caffe Vita does a great job funneling visitors (and Googlebot) to its most important pages from its homepage.
When you link to these money-makers, be sure you use the keywords that you want those pages to rank for in the text of the links themselves — the text you use (known as “anchor text”) can help influence what Google ranks those pages for.
So for example, instead of saying “click here,” you might say “click here to contact our insurance agency” to help Google gain a little more context about what services your contact page is relevant for.
In addition to talking about your products or services, you should include your city and state or metropolitan area as part of these keyphrases as well. Google has gotten better at detecting the area that a local business website serves, but it’s still a good practice to sprinkle these geographic keywords liberally within your website.
In addition to the link text you use across your website, your Title Tags are far-and-away the most important places to put your keywords. (Note that Title Tags and the Page or Post titles that you enter in WordPress or other Content Management System are not the same thing.)
To see what your existing Title Tags are, perform the “site:yourdomain.com” search I mentioned earlier in the Crawlability section.
The blue link text associated with each page in these results is the Title Tag of that page.
Think back to the Site Architecture section where you were matching a page with a keyword theme. Now you can simply add an additional column to your Sheet where you enter the Title Tag for each page.
Where to add Title Tags
- Where to add Title Tags in WordPress (with RankMath plugin)
- Where to add Title Tags in Squarespace (don’t forget to add a Title Tag to your homepage, too!)
- Where to add Title Tags in Shopify (don’t forget to add a Title Tag to your homepage, too!)
Those of you using WordPress to manage your website can use the RankMath plugin to edit your Title Tags — the RankMath Bulk Editor can help you make these changes really efficiently.
Unfortunately, those of you using other Content Management Systems such as Wix or GoDaddy are going to have a much harder time editing Title Tags, if it’s even possible at all. If you’re hoping to get a significant number of customers via SEO and you’re on one of these platforms, it may be a worthwhile investment to switch to WordPress, Squarespace, or Shopify.
Take some time in crafting each Title Tag, though — don’t just stuff your keywords in willy-nilly and then tack on your city and state (or region or county) at the end.
Remember that in addition to conveying to Google the terms for which you want your business to be relevant, these are the phrases that your prospective customers will see when they’re searching. So make these Titles enticing for visitors as well as keyword-focused.
For example, which Title Tag would you be more likely to click?
Option 1: Car Insurance Agent – Luxury Car Insurance Agent – Car Insurance Agency – Portland, Oregon
Option 2: Portland’s Top Locally-Owned Car Insurance Agency since 1954: Smith Insurance
I’d certainly choose Option 2, and most of your customers would also.