A search engine evaluates a website differently to a human visitor. A search engine can’t evaluate how nicely your website is designed, how well your content is written or how much value your products/services provide. It has to judge a website from a technical point of view.
On-site optimisation is the foundation on which the off-site optimisation process builds upon. Without it, off-site optimisation efforts can go largely to waste. The process is wide ranging, and will vary slightly from website to website, but these are some of the main factors that form the on-site optimisation process:
- Add keywords to urls, title tags, meta descriptions, header tags and alt tags.
- Ensure each page has a unique and descriptive title and description.
- Assign existing, or create new, pages for each keyword.
- Improve content to match/better content on competitor websites.
- Assess existing and potential keyword targets.
- Remove, merge or add to pages that have little useful content on them.
- Check the site loads properly in different web browsers and screen resolutions.
- Analyse inbound link profile.
- Ensure call to actions are located in prominent positions.
- Link to important pages from the homepage and/or main navigation area.
- Improve the readability and formatting of written content.
- Check for and fix broken links.
- Add structured data mark-up code.
- Claim authorship of content.
- Fix duplicate content issues.
- Add in-content links where appropriate.
- Remove unnecessary outbound links.
- Create a user-friendly 404 error page.
- Assess and improve page loading times.
- Add social media sharing buttons.
- Create and submit an XML sitemap.
- Set-up Google Analytics and Search Console.
Some of these factors only ever need to be dealt with once, whereas others need to be regularly reviewed to see what further improvements can be made. Unless a professional SEO consultant has worked on your website, it’s highly unlikely that your website will be at all optimised for search engines, as on-site optimisation is something that web design companies rarely pay any attention to.