Are you actively doing SEO for your website? Then save this post for future reference to ensure you are covering all your on-page SEO bases so you can rank better on Google.
What Does On-Page SEO Mean?
We’re glad you asked! On-page SEO is exactly as it seems, in that it deals with all the search engine optimization tactics performed on an actual webpage, as opposed to various off-page strategies you can do to improve your SEO.
The most important things you need to make sure you have on your pages are the key terms you want the page to rank for. This is a direct signal to search engines denoting what the page is about. Not to mention, it gives users confirmation that they are on the correct page for whatever they are searching for.
From body content to headers, URLs, metadata, and more (all which we will cover below), there are numerous areas you can place variations of your terms. If you can, try and include some “long-tail” keywords too.
Pro-tip: If you can’t find a good way to sneak long-tail keywords into your main content on primary pages, try making blog posts focused specifically on those terms.
Much like you had different sections of your term papers back in high school, a well-structured page is built off a hierarchy of headers that deescalate in font size as they move from 1 to 6:
- <h1> – The main title of your page. Be sure that there is just one h1 on a given page and that it includes your main keyword.
- <h2> and <h3> – Use these throughout your page to highlight important components of your content to make for easy skimming. Think of h2s as main sections and h3s as secondary sections.
- <h4>, <h5>, and <h6> – These headers aren’t used very often, but they’re nice options to have if you need to further break down content.
There are four types of meta tags that are important to the technical SEO of the pages on your website:
Page Title and Description
To help search engines and users get a quick understanding of pages on your website, you can add metadata that displays as a preview in search results.
- Title – You’ll want to use a max of 60 characters and utilize your main keyword with strong language to entice customers.
- Description – At around 120 characters, these descriptions will often include other keywords and briefly explain more detail on the service, product, or reason for the content.
Here is an example of how titles (blue) and descriptions (green) display in search:
Photo Alt and Title
Images are a great way to break up copy to make content easier to read and comprehend, as well as add needed visuals. If you include photos on your pages, ensure they include the following tags:
- Alt – This tag allows software to understand what is in an image, which is greatly useful for accessibility purposes. An example might be “group of children playing together.”
- Title – On the flip side, the title tag is the text that displays when you hover over a photo for more detail. This is often the same text as the alt.
One of the easiest things you can do to ensure you are performing quality SEO work on your content is to interlink to other relevant pages in the copy, whether these links go to pages on your site or other high-authority sources.
Pro-tip: Try to link pages to keywords most relevant to their content to not only help users know what they are clicking on, but to add value to the link. Also, avoid linking to phrases such as “click here” as they are non-descriptive to the link and are bad for accessibility purposes.
Did you know that your URL structure can affect SEO? According to Moz, there is an optimal format that shows how you should create your URLs:
As you can see, keywords are a big part of the URL structure, and URLs also create paths of how the page is contained within the website to enhance user experience.
However, try to keep URLs as short and sweet as possible, as most URLs in total should be somewhere between 50-60 characters.
Recently, we wrote a blog post examining whether word count impacts your rankings. In sum, we didn’t see a direct correlation with top rankings and word count, but most of the first page results for certain queries did have over 1,000 words on the page. This goes to show that while a higher word count is not guaranteed to get you ranking number one every time, it can be worth the effort.
Have you ever read an article online where it reminds you of a textbook? This is due to a lack of digital readability, which takes into account aspects such as white space, headers, images, and other visual cues that make your content more readable to users.
Google includes readability as a part of user experience, which is soon going to be an important ranking factor.
When you click on a page you find on Google, do you ever notice how certain pages load incredibly slowly? If you had a negative reaction to a page loading slowly, you can bet your potential customers will too.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights test to see how quickly your page loads, and then try and follow some of their suggestions on things you can do to improve your score.
Pro-tip: PageSpeed Insights will often suggest images to be sized properly, that proper web formats are used, and to remove vast amounts of excess code.
Something you cannot dismiss when writing and uploading your content with on-page SEO in mind is that a handful of your users are likely coming from mobile devices.
So be sure to use your phone to see how your pages display and if there are any necessary changes your developer can make to improve the mobile experience, as Google has moved to mobile-first indexing in the past few years.
- Local SEO: What Is the “Local Pack” and How to Rank in It
- What Is the Difference Between Local and Organic SEO?
- Key Ways Google Search Trends Can Help Your Marketing Strategy
- Understanding Proximity in Local Search
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