While you may already be familiar with what is SEO, we are here to talk about one of the types of SEO which is On-Page SEO. On-Page SEO is one the most important factor to rank your domain higher on search engines. This post will help you understand what is On-Page SEO, Importance of On-Page SEO & On-Page SEO Techniques.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is a method to optimize your webpages adhering to google guidelines to get better rankings on search engines. This in turn will draw more quality web traffic your way and help you get the conversion you so desire, be it letting people know about your business/brand, having them sign up for email updates, enticing them into buying your products/services, etc. On-page SEO techniques must be executed together with technical SEO and off-page SEO tactics for the best, most long-lasting results. Some of the well known On-Page SEO techniques include URLs, Internal linking, title & meta tags, content updation. Let us understand some more pointers which would help you to rank better on Google SERPs in 2021
Why On-page SEO is Important
People use the internet to satisfy various personal needs, be if to find specific, topical information, communicate with near and dear ones, shop, etc. and if your website does not live up to their expectations, you will quickly lose your top search ranking spot on Google SERP (search engine results page). What this means is that guiding people to your website from Google’s search results page will be in vain if they are unhappy with the experience you provide on your website. While good content forms the very foundation of a lucrative business, on-page SEO is a critical component of content marketing. If you are in it for the long haul and want to build a good online reputation for yourself, you cannot afford to ignore on-page SEO.
Top On-Page SEO Factors That Affect Webpage Ranking
When it comes to offering a seamless and memorable experience to users on your site, certain on-page SEO factors are key. The following list will help you be at the top of your on-page SEO game:
Your webpage will be of no use to you or prospective users if it cannot be discovered, crawled and indexed by search engines. And in order to ensure that there are no crawl errors, you must go through your robots.txt file to check if any important pages have been mistakenly blocked from being crawled by Google bot. The Google Webmasters tool will help you keep tabs on the health of your site and avoid such problems. Additionally, deploying structured data mark-up will help webpage crawlers understand your content better and might even earn you a rich search result. If you are receiving many backlinks to a 404 page, make sure that you do a 301 redirect to a related, relevant page in order to hold visitors’ attention and not lose any goodwill. Here is a video from Google’s Matt Cutts to understand more about Crawling the website
Most people surf the internet through a mobile device whether it be a smartphone or tablet. Hence, it is very important to have a website that is optimized for both the desktop and mobile, especially after Google’s 2018 mobile-first indexing stance. While you must ensure that both versions of your site have exactly the same content, it is also crucial to pay attention to other minute details like not having intrusive pop-ups, links that are clustered close together or small font that is hard to read on the mobile version, and the likes. You can simply use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out how mobile-responsive your site design is. You can read more about such technical SEO aspects in our post about it.
The title tag of your webpage is critical to its success as it is the first thing users see in Google’s search results. Make sure that you place your primary search keyword as close to the start of the title tag as you possibly can without making it seem unnatural. The meta description carries equal weightage and must contain a decent smattering of keywords that matter. Remember to keep both your title tags and meta descriptions concise, clear, relevant and well-written. While title tags must be 60 characters long, meta descriptions can be 160 characters long – if they are any longer, they will be cut off by Google and the user will not be able to see them as a whole.
Besides the afore-mentioned on-page SEO measures, ensure that your posts’ headings and sub-headings carry the H1 and H2 HTML tags respectively so that search engines understand what your webpage content is all about. Many CMS (content management systems) like WordPress have this feature built-in to their code but sometimes, heavy themes can keep it from happening. Hence, double-check your site code to ensure that your post/page has only one H1 tag and try to include your primary keyword in it.
There are many different types of information seekers or readers on the internet, including those who prefer in-depth, long-tail content that presents heaps of relevant information on a topic of choice, infographics lovers, etc. Whatever your business/brand niche, it is important to include a variety of multimedia in your content, including high-resolution videos and images. This will help you cater to a wide variety of site visitors and keep them engaged. However, you must make sure that such multimedia is optimized to suit your Google SERP rankings and web traffic needs, including using web fonts instead of embedding text within images, making important keywords part of video descriptions/transcripts and image alt text, etc.
Keyword Research and Usage
Keyword research is a key step in achieving unpaid search ranking success in Google’s SERPs. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to conduct thorough research on the search queries that are most popular in your domain. Make sure you also focus on ranking for long-tail keywords as they are highly specific and less competitive. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords, i.e. search terms closely related to your primary keyword(s), are another must-include in your list of search words and phrases to rank for. Just type in your primary keywords in the Google search bar and scroll down to the end of the SERP – the ‘searches related to…’ section will offer up valuable LSI keywords options. Besides these, you can take a look at the paid ads that adorn the top portion of the SERP for more keyword ideas. Make sure to look through the top-ranking SERP content that is already available for a particular keyword and aim to author new, fresh content that is even better than it.
Use of Quality Content
Good content is the key attraction for any user. Bad content, even if infused with a lot of SEO elements, will not survive in the long run. Hence, high-quality content is one of the most important on-page SEO techniques. But what exactly makes for high-quality content? Let’s find out:
- Originality – Keep your content completely original to provide the website visitors with a fresh experience each time they visit your website.
- Thoroughly Researched Content – Make sure that the content on your website is thoroughly researched so that it can offer accurate and relevant information to visitors.
- Search Intent Fulfilment – Define the purpose of your content and ensure that it provides visitors with the solution they’re looking for.
Google abhors sites with thin content that serves no purpose and is irrelevant to users. It is advisable to keep your articles or posts between 1500 and 2000 words long at the very least. While the saying ‘length is strength’ holds true in this case, do not compromise on content relevancy and uniqueness and reader engagement in a quest to dish out super lengthy content. It is important to note here that long content helps you include LSI and long-tail keywords naturally, thereby giving your webpage a leg up in organic search rankings. A recent study from ahrefs tells us how content length plays an important role in Google ranking factors.
Why is it so important to post quality content? By doing so, we are satisfying a humongous demand for relevant information while also carving a niche for ourselves as an authority on a specific subject. In order to stay current, you must revisit old posts and include any new information, data or statistics that you find relevant. Remember that different types of content demand varied levels of freshness and hence, it is imperative that you give this aspect of on-page SEO ample thought. Although posting every day would be super commendable, aim to post at least twice a week if you are busy. While Google gives preferential treatment to content that falls under the breaking news category, it is absolutely crucial that there is no duplicate content on your site. Here is what Google’s Matt Cutts has to say on Content Freshness
Use of Internal Linking
One of the key elements of on-page SEO, internal linking is the key determiner of how accessible your Web pages are. Well-executed internal linking allows search engines to know about your other Web pages and makes it easy for users to access those pages for more information. This way, users can spend more time on your website, which increases the possibility of their conversion.
Use of Schema When Necessary
Schema Markup plays a crucial role in helping search engines understand what your website offers. For instance, a search engine result page (SERP) with images, reviews, or ratings is much more attractive than a normal search result. It increases the clickability of the website. However, you should not use schema for every Web page. Only use it for the Web pages which you want to use to generate more traffic for or the ones which have enough relevant information to be presented in the search results itself.
Use of Simple and Readable Content
One of the things many businesses get wrong is making high-quality content complicated. It defeats the purpose of attracting more views. Keeping the content readable and simple for any layman can prove to be a very helpful tool in increasing traffic to the website. If you’re wondering what role on-page SEO can play in this is, the answer is that it keeps the content accessible to viewers. For instance, if you have internally linked one of your Web pages in the content, then it is helpful in creating a buildup to the hyperlinked section. This gives the visitor an idea about what to expect from the content of the link provided.
Use of Alt Tags
Alt tags play a crucial role in serving the visually impaired or people with slower Internet connections. Providing a description for the images on your Web page can not only help this demographic of users but also help search engines determine the intent of the image. This can help boost your website’s ranking too.
Moreover, Google Images also indexes images based on their alt tag descriptions. That is why you should use alt tags to increase the organic traffic to your websites.
Short URLs are your best bet when it comes to on-page SEO best practices. As the first three to five words in a URL are given the most priority by Google, it makes sense to include the primary keyword close to the beginning of a URL. The URLs must have a well laid-out structure with lowercase letters and hyphens instead of underscores in between words. Although codes and ID numbers are a common component of URLs, they are best avoided. Using descriptive words to tell both search engines and users what the page is about is a better option. Besides these, appropriate interlinking within a website is another often-neglected way of drawing more web traffic while also signaling to Google about the ingenuity and intent of your page content. Simply remember to use links that are keyword rich and include at least two to five of them in every post. Here is a video from Google’s Matt Cutts who says it is good to have keywords in your URLs but the position of keywords in URLs is not a major factor.
Social Media Sharing
A higher click-through rate for your webpages simply means that a large number of users find your content worth reading. This, coupled with dwell time or the time they spend on your page are clear indicators of the relevancy and usefulness of your site to Google. If you constantly put out on-trend, share-worthy content that gets a lot of hits on social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., the chances of someone linking to you from their high-authority site also increase. This again may lead to an improvement in organic search rankings. Hence, make sure to include social sharing buttons prominently alongside every impactful article that you post on your site.
Titles and Meta Descriptions
Title tags tell readers what the contents of a Web page might be. These are placed in the “header section” of each Web page and are prominently featured on search engine result pages (SERPs). Google has to know exactly what your Web page is about; hence, it is imperative that Title tags are always optimised with relevant keywords for the crawlers to understand.
Meta descriptions take this a step further by providing a summary of the Web page. It provides readers with a snapshot of the content on your Web page through the SERP itself.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – These three parameters are used by raters on Google to assess websites, individual Web pages, and even content as a whole. Google rewards websites that produce high-quality content with high rankings. Hence, you must create an EAT SEO guide for your content strategy to ensure that Google always marks the content on your website as high-quality.
Your content should display Expertise in its presentation of the subject matter. It helps build trust with the readers. It should be Authoritative in its suggestions to the readers to ensure maximum takeaway value. And lastly, it should be Trustworthy, supported by established sources as backlinks to ensure that there is little scope for readers to mistrust the information on your website.
One of the most common mistakes a website can make is to become its own competitor. If your website has multiple pages that have been ranked for the same keyword, it means that your Web pages are competing with each other for higher ranks, which is not a good sign for your SEO. This is called keyword cannibalization.
Avoiding keyword cannibalization must be one of the topmost items in your on-page SEO checklist. Competing for the same keyword or phrase can confuse Google’s crawlers about the purpose of your Web page. This can drive down the ranking of your Web page significantly.
While creating fresh content is always a priority for websites, it is also important to ensure that existing content is audited at regular intervals. A content audit checklist must be created, which includes points like keyword intensity, updating the information to the most recent times, evaluating if the content is generating organic traffic, and so on.
Content audits are imperative for websites to maintain a streamlined SEO strategy implementation, as old Web pages with poor content can drive the overall traffic of a website down significantly. Regular content audits help websites figure out exactly what kind of ROI their content is generating so that future on-page SEO strategies can be planned in a much more focused and refined manner.
If users do not engage with your website, all your efforts are in vain. The main agenda of any SEO strategy is to ensure that users don’t bounce off your website, and actually stay and interact with your content. It all boils down to the quality and the relevance of the content being presented to the users.
User engagement also entails user retention, which is possible through on-page SEO techniques like content optimisation, internal and external linking, and site speed optimisation.
How to check your on-page SEO optimization?
There are many elements that go into the on-page SEO optimisation checklist. Here are some crucial factors you should look into:
The speed at which your website loads determines whether or not the user stays on your website. Using techniques like image optimisation, optimising the HTML code of the Web page, and cutting down on redirects, you can optimise your site’s loading speed.
Ensure that your website is rich with internal linking, as it helps the crawlers to seamlessly explore your website, discover new content, and rank it on the SERPs. Moreover, it also makes it easier for users to access the breadth and depth of information on your website.
This is one of the most important on-page SEO techniques. Compressing the size of images on the website ensures that it loads faster. Moreover, you should add alt texts to the images so that crawlers can identify the context of the images and index them to improve your website’s rankings.
Summing Up On-page SEO
On-page SEO helps you build a loyal reader/customer/site visitor base with numerous repeat visits. This way, not only will word of your unique UX offering spread, but you will also be able to climb to the top of Google’s SERPs for important search keywords and stay there. If you are hungry for evermore on the latest in the world of digital marketing, keep coming back here often. Still, struggling to rank your website higher on Google SERPs? No Worries, we will help you to rank higher on Google SERPs via our SEO Services.
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