Ranking Factors for Beginners: On-page – Part 1

Google utilizes an estimated 200 factors when ranking a website. You can argue the exact number, but it doesn’t technically matter how many factors there are. It matters how consistently you can optimize for them. Ask any professional in the online marketing industry and they’ll give a myriad of answers regarding which factors matter most. Consider this a good thing. Various professionals work in a number of industries, which means norms, phenomena, and outliers exist independently in the realm of say auto sales or dentistry. So what are the primary on-page factors you should focus on for your online presence as a dentist? Read on to find out!

On-Page Ranking Factors and Signals

Keyword in Title

The title tag on your individual pages is of critical importance when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). The title tag is an accurate denotation of what the page is about in a single word or short statement. It’s essentially the topic of the page, and indicates to users and search engines what they will find on that page.

Keyword in Description

The meta description for your page is indirectly related to your rankings. However, it is still important to add a keyword or phrase, and here’s why: Descriptions influence click-through-rate. This means that the more people who click on your site link in the search engine results pages (SERPs), the more chances you will have to convert users into patients.

Keyword in H1

Typically, your H1 reflects your title tag. If that is not the case, make sure you use the most relevant keyword in the H1 tag since it is a valuable signal to search engines.

Keywords in Copy

You want to ensure your copy is keyword relevant. This means writing about the topic mentioned in the title and H1 in more specific detail. Offer information, or answer questions the user may have about the topic, with relevant and well-written copy.

Content Length

Length is a complicated topic. It tends to fluctuate depending on the industry. For example, the dental industry tends to see better results with medium-length copy. However, SEO, as an industry, favors longer content.

Of even higher priority is consistency regarding content. Your content length, as long as it answers a question or provides information, is secondary. The most important factor is that new, unique content is posted on a regular basis for the consumer to read, and the search engines to index.

Duplicate Content

The most common issue with websites to date is the one most commonly missed by website owners: duplicate content. With the Panda algorithm standing aggressively against duplicate content, you need to demand original content from whoever is writing/managing your on-page SEO. It’s imperative to utilize unique content so your website is not penalized and hamstrung until the next algorithm update.

Canonical Tagging

Sometimes it’s inevitable to have duplicate content on variations of one URL. However, you can remedy this with canonical tags. These tags help notify search engines that you as a website owner are aware duplicate content exists. E-commerce and product based sites tend to use canonical tags more often, since item descriptions and reviews tend to exist in more than one place on their site. For an industry like dentistry, canonical tags are typically relevant in multi-location dental practices, where content could be duplicated via reviews, descriptions, or copy.

Note: Canonical tags should not be used in effort to cut copywriting costs. They are a tool available for use when duplicate content is necessary.

Image Optimization

The images on your site are considered ranking signals, too, including the image file name, alt text, and size. Search engines consider the file name and alt text when ranking images. The size of the image directly influences of how fast or slow your website loads. Make sure the sizes of your images are optimized for search engines.

Content Updates

Search engine algorithms prefer updated content. It is a signal that content is relevant. Your website copy should be considered for an annual update. Your previously published blog posts should be updated to match industry shifts or changes. However, you should focus on creating and publishing fresh content on your blog feed weekly. This will encourage search engines to index your site more often.

Keyword in URL Subfolder

Including keyword or keyword phrases in what’s called the subfolder of your URL also sends a signal to search engines for relevancy. What this means is that your domain: www.mydomain.com/services may want to read www.mydomain.com/dental-services-dallas-tx. This is considered a small signal, but as small signals are added up, you should be on your way to making an impact on the SERPs.

Wrap Up

The major factors for on-page SEO involve providing your target audience with what they’re looking for in the most direct fashion. Consider the business you want to generate online and create and optimize for that audience. If you are targeting dental implant cases, compose helpful content regarding implants that your patients need. How do you know what your potential patients want or need to know? Consider asking your current patients what questions they have, why they chose your practice, and what you could do better. These are the types of questions that help convert potential patients into current patients.

Want to learn more about on-page ranking factors? Still not sure how search engines work? To take your marketing to the next level, give Jill a call at: (972) 781-8861, or send us an email at Jill@mdpmconsulting.com.