The Local SEO Playbook

On Page SEO And Schema Markup

Chapter 6

On-page SEO  is the process of optimizing your website pages to rank higher for your target keywords.

It’s essentially the information you give search engines so that they can determine whether or not your page is relevant for a certain search term.

On-page signals are the fourth most important factors for your pest control business if you want your business to rank in top 3 in map packs and on Google’s first page organically.

The three main pillars of On-page SEO are:

  1. Your website content
  2. The architecture of your site
  3. HTML code that does the magic in the background

Expanding on the three main pillars, each of these includes:

A) Content

  • Content freshness
  • Length of the content (Long form vs. short form)
  • Well researched data backed vs. shallow content

B) Architecture

  • Page URLs
  • SSL (HTTPs vs. HTTP)
  • Site load speed
  • Mobile responsiveness

C) HTML Code

  • Titles (meta title and page title)
  • Meta description
  • Headers – H1, H2, H3
  • Keyword Density
  • Alt tags
  • Schema markup

Now that we know what each of the main pillars is about let’s move to the next section, where we’ll explore each of these topics in more detail.

How to Approach On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is all about making changes to your actual website in the name of achieving better rankings.

By making these changes, you can show search engines that certain pages on your site are suited to the kinds of keywords you want to rank for.  

For instance, you will struggle to rank for the search term ‘pest control Miami’ if you don’t have a web page that actually mentions the fact you provide pest control in Miami.  On-page SEO helps you bridge this gap, so that your webpages closely align with the terms you’re trying to target.

It also comes down to showing search engines your web pages will provide website visitors with great user experience – something that search engines place a lot of priority on.

There are many ways you can do on-page optimization, and it’s important you use all the tactics that are on offer.

With that said, let’s review what you can do to improve your on-page SEO strategy.

1) SEO friendly page URL

An SEO friendly URL is nothing but a URL that is easily readable and accurately describes a page using a term.

Here’s a quick example of an SEO friendly URL:

As you see, anyone looking at the URL can guess the page is about organic pest control services.

If you notice one thing, the primary keyword, ‘organic pest control,’ is a part of the page URL. More specifically, part of the ‘slug’ section of the URL.  

Now that we know the different components of a URL, let’s understand them further using a couple of real URLs:

In the above example:

  • The highlighted text in the green is called URL.
  • The portion ‘Pest control Miami’ is the slug.

In the second example:

  • The portion ‘learning center’ is known as sub-directory.
  • The portion ‘cricket’ is the slug.

You need to make sure your URL’s follow an organized structure like the ones shown above. Meaning you need to ensure that the URL clearly describes what a given webpage is about.

Okay, so now that we’ve explored how you should structure your URL, let’s move onto the next section.

2) Keyword in Meta Title

A title tag is the first thing that anyone sees in the search results.

If the keyword a potential customer used within their search is part of your title, they’ll consider your page to be relevant to their needs. This, of course, means that the likelihood of them clicking on your listing is greater.

Placing a relevant keyword in the meta title, also sends strong signals to search engines about the relevancy of a result to search term.

The above example is a good indication of how you should include the keyword, within the title tag.

3) Keyword in H1 Tag

The H1 tag is essentially the main header on a given page.


Your page title sets the user’s expectation about the content that follows. On the other hand, it also tells Google crawlers ( the technology Google uses to work out what your webpage is about) what’s important on a page.

It’s why having a keyword in the H1 tag is rated as the most important on-page SEO and User experience signal on a web page.

4) Keyword in the Page Content

You need to make sure you include your main keyword in the page content.

Ideally, it should appear in the first 100-150 words on your page.

5) Mobile-Friendly or Responsive Designs

Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly and optimized for mobile experience.

If your pest control site is not mobile responsive and optimized, that’s the first thing you should do, after reading this playbook.

The more you delay, the tougher it will be for your site. Once Google penalizes a website, it takes a very long time to regain the trust of Google again.

6) Internal Linking

Internal linking is simply when you ensure that each page on your site, contains a relevant link to another page on your site.

Below you can see some examples of internal linking.

The other SEO benefits of internal linking are:

  • It helps in reducing the bounce rate on your website
  • Passing link juice from high authority to low authority pages.
  • Faster crawling and indexing.

In simple terms, that means that it’s easier for search engines to gather data about your site. It also means people will spend more time on your site because there are links that they can click on, once they’re done reading a specific page.

7) Site Speed

Site speed, also known as page load speed, is one of the primary user experience signals in Google’s book. The importance of this factor has surged since Google has announced it as one of the mobile search ranking factors.

There are several free tools out there that you can use to check your site speed. 

Ideally, your page load time should be less than, or equal to, 3 seconds on mobile. Research shows the 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

So, the next question is, how can you improve or boost your site speed?

Well, there multiple ways to boost your site speed. The top three are:

  • Using a CDN
  • Compressing Images, and
  • Using a faster hosting

Implementing these tactics will require a certain level of technical know-how. If you’re not comfortable implementing these suggestions, it is advisable that you let an expert handle them for you.

8) Image Optimization

Image optimization is when you associate the images on a webpage with a certain keyword/topic.

If you properly optimize the images on your webpages, you’ll be able to increase the likelihood of a search engine associating a specific page with a certain keyword. This, of course, can result in you achieving higher rankings.

While doing the image optimization, things you should focus on:

  • Add an ‘alt tag’ with the keyword included in it
  • Add OpenGraph and Twitter card for social media sharing
  • Add images to the sitemap for faster indexing

At the most basic level, you want to give your images a good Alt tag. This alt tag should accurately describe the image in question, or contain the keyword associated with a given page.  

Here is what an image alt tag looks like:

Below is how a standard code snippet shows the ‘alt tag’:

Note: If you have multiple images on a page, make sure at least one of them has your main keyword included in the alt tag.

9) Add Modifiers to Your Meta Title

Adding title tags can give you a big boost in driving more traffic.

How?

Well, believe it or not, half of the traffic for small local businesses on the web comes from long tail searches. A lot of these keywords are 6-8 word terms that don’t really appear in keyword tools.

So, the challenge here is – how do you optimize your web pages for these long tail keywords?

The answer?

Use modifiers to your title tag or the meta title.

Here are some examples of modifiers:

  • Best
  • Guide
  • Review
  • Checklist
  • Current year
  • How to
  • Near me
  • Coupons
  • Pet-friendly
  • Child/Kid-friendly
  • Cheap
  • Fast
  • Urgent
  • Environmentally friendly

Here is an example of how to use modifiers in your meta titles with the keyword ‘Pest Control Service.’

  • (Best) pest control services (location)
  • Pest Control Service – The definitive (Guide) (2019)

As you see the first title has one modifier ‘best’ and the second one has two – ‘guide’ and ‘current year.’

You need to think about your market, and the kinds of modifications people will use in order to find the services you provide.

10) SSL Installation

Security of users information is always a top concern for Google. One of the best ways you can make your site secure is by installing something known as an SSL certificate.

Google will give sites that have SSL certificates, priority over those that don’t have these certificates.

You can normally tell if a site is using an SSL certificate if there is a ‘padlock’ in the URL box.

If you want to add this certificate to your site, you need to reach out to your hosting provider.

11)  Schema Markup

Schema markup is a piece of code you put on your website to provide search engines with bit more information about to your site.

This code is ‘structured’ in such a way that makes it easy for search engines to ‘read’ it. Hence, it is also known as ‘structured data.’

Here is an example of the search result with rich data:

Look at a regular search result:

If you look at the first one (the one at the top) you’ll notice there’s a lot more being shown. This additional information adds credibility and makes it more likely that people will click on this listing.

Structured data mainly comes in three formats:

  • Microdata
  • JSON-LD
  • RDFa

Schema markup is an absolute must for your business as it helps your website rank better for all kinds of content types.

Schema markup also increases click-through and conversion rate by driving highly qualified traffic to your website.

How to Implement Schema markup

Implementing schema markup within your website code can be tricky if you don’t understand the coding.

Because of this, it might be a good idea to get someone with coding background on board who will be able to help you do things properly – saving you hours of frustration.

However, if you’d still like to give it a go on your own, then you can follow the process we are going to cover below:

Go to Structured Data Markup Helper and select ‘local businesses’ option, enter your website URL, and click on ‘start tagging.’

On the next screen, you will see a visual of your site. Here, you can tag certain parts such as text, image, or the footer, NAP, and URL to the input value in the table on the right.

Once you finish with tagging, click on ‘create HTML.’

It will take you to the next screen where you will see the structured code generated based on your tagging inputs.

Copy this code. (Make sure you copy the JSON-LD markup because Google prefers it)

Go to the Structured data testing tool and paste the JSON-LD markup on in the left side blank space.

Click on the play icon to test the code snippet.

You can see the output on the right-hand side section of the structured data testing tool.

Once you are happy with the output, click ‘PREVIEW’ on the right top of your screen.

Congratulations! You have successfully generated schema markup code for your webpage.

The next step is to add this to your webpage and then run a test to check whether it is added successfully or not.

To add the code to your website, go to your WordPress site back-end.

  • Go to Settings >> Insert Headers and Footers.
  • Paste the code snippet in ‘scripts in header’ box.
  • Click on save, and that’s it.

If your website is not on WordPress or any similar CMS, ask your developer to add this code snippet in the header section of the given web page.

Once your developer successfully adds the code to your site, it is time to verify.

Go to the Google structured data testing tool and enter either the page URL or paste the code snippet in the given field.

This is what it would look like if you paste the ‘code snippet.’

Click on ‘RUN TEST.’ Check for detected items count, warning and errors in the output.

If the output shows the number of detected items with no warnings and errors, that means the schema markup implementation and verification is successful.

Up Next…

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Erik Arrabal

Marketing Lead

Erik is a seasoned digital marketer and currently the marketing lead at GorillaDesk. Downright obsessed with digital marketing for over 6 years now, Erik strives to help field-service professionals understand and implement a smarter, more efficient marketing strategy into their business.

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