How to Master the Lost Art of On-Page Search Engine Optimization

It might sound like ancient history:

On-page search engine optimization.

That’s right—these days, search engine optimization isn’t always focused on headlines and keywords.

Gone are the days of stuffing a single keyword into one of your pages—or key phrases like “mortgage loans”—and hoping to see your website skyrocket up the search engine results.

Nope. The search engines are too sophisticated for that.

Yet this article is still about on-page search optimization. So what’s going on there?

The truth is, there’s still plenty you can do to boost your chances of search engine success by focusing on the content of your individual web page.

It’s something of a “lost art.” But we’ll help you find it:

Starting with Title Tags

The first place to start is at the very top: the title tags.

The key mistake many mortgage and insurance marketers make here is to keep things too vague. “Mortgage Home Page” is not a good title tag. You’re battling it out for a generalized keyword of “mortgage,” which puts you at competition with the largest sites on the internet.

It’s far better to narrow your focus by including more information.

What information should you include in the title tags? I’ve got a few suggestions:

  • Your city and state are extremely relevant to the people looking for a business like yours. They’re also relevant to search engines. “Mortgages” is vague, but “Home Mortgages in Fort Worth, Texas” is a completely different proposition from a search engine standpoint.
  • Is the page focused on home loans? VA loans? FHA loans? Jumbo loans? Then put that in the title tags! This is just as much for your audience as it is the search engines. Think of it as your “topic sentence” from a writing standpoint.
  • Don’t go overboard. The temptation is to read this tip and start to “stuff” your title tags with all sorts of useless information that has no relevance to what’s actually on the site. This is a no-no from the perspective of the search engines. It’s far more efficient to consider what’s actually on the page and make sure your title tags reflect that.

With this knowledge in mind, you’ll have a few clues as to how to handle the rest of your content, such as the headlines of each specific section in your content.

Keywords and Descriptions: Do You Still Need Them?

Meta tags including keywords and descriptions used to be in vogue from a search engine standpoint. Today, the search engines aren’t so trusting as to take your meta tags and assume that they’re spot-on accurate for your page.

But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore them, either! You’ll have a healthier set of meta tags if you make sure they’re consistent with what’s on the page.

This is especially true of the description. The meta description is still valuable in today’s search engine environment because engines like Google can include a snippet of it as a preview for what’s on the page.

If you show anyone searching for your relevant search term that your page is actually written by humans—and that it’s written with them in mind—you stand a much higher chance at a higher click rate when your pages do show up in the search engines.

Meta keywords might not be as important as they once were, but they still represent an opportunity to tag yourself effectively.

This isn’t only good for the page itself, but it’s an important to establish—for example, if you were to create mortgage marketing videos, you would want to use effective tags as well. This alerts people as to the nature of your content.

The more accurate it is, the better.

Optimizing Your Headers

Header content is essential for optimization. Not only does it make your content easier to read (by breaking it up into smaller chunks), but header content helps search engines understand what the overall website contains.

Keep with the same practices you learned about in the section on title tags. You’ll want unique and specific headers that are relevant to your content. Don’t go overboard with the keyword-stuffing, remember, but do try to make attractive, interesting headers that a search engine will be glad to scoop up.

Good headers are for readers, too. By summarizing the next section of your content, you make it easier to scan your web pages to find what they’re searching for.

Avoid These Simple On-Page SEO Mistakes

Once you’ve put together a decent page with the tips you just read in mind, you’re ready to give it a look-through and make sure you didn’t make some key mistakes. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Keyword stuffing. Using the keyword too often is a sign of manipulation, and search engines frown upon it. It’s okay to insert the keyword now and then to make sure that you’ve effectively targeted your page, but don’t go overboard.
  • It’s better to be specific. Be specific about location, about the types of loans or services you have on offer. This will help your site attract more of those “long-tail” searches that can be so valuable to get over the long term.
  • It’s bad! You want every page to be unique. Don’t copy and paste. Don’t approach every page with a robotic-like commitment. Instead, give each page the attention and energy it deserves. Remember, once you put a page up, your work is done. It will keep generating returns for years. It’s better to put in more energy on the front end than to skimp out on quality.
  • Lack of focus. Think of each page as a unit—a single chapter of the book that is your website. Every page should have its own distinct theme, which makes it much more likely to target a specific type of search term in today’s search engines. If you can’t define the focus of a single web page in one sentence, perhaps it’s time to re-think why you created it in the first place.

These mistakes are common, which means that simply eliminating them can have a dramatic effect on your quality of search engine optimization relative to your competition. Simply cut these mistakes out and you might even expect a little boost in your search engine placement and effectiveness.

Incorporating On-Page SEO Practices into Your Website

Sound like a lot of work just to ensure that your SEO is taken care of?

The good news is that it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. Not only is it possible to handle all of this largely automatically with your content management system, but if you make a habit of effective SEO techniques, these tips will become second nature to you.

Of course, it helps if you have the right tools at your fingertips, too.

I recommend incorporating leadPops into your life. With a free trial, you’ll discover how easy it is to change the way you think about mortgage and insurance marketing. You’ll go above and beyond even on-site SEO to learn the most effective ways to increase conversions, build leads, and ultimately, become a more effective marketer for your business.

Andrew Pawlak

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