On-page SEO is essential for search engine optimization (SEO) since it assists Google in determining the purpose of each piece of content on your website. The better Google understands your content, the higher you will rank in search results, resulting in more organic visitors, conversions, and money. Even better, if done correctly, on-page SEO increases user experience.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) is the practise of optimising web pages in search engines to rank higher for specific keywords in order to enhance organic traffic. It entails matching page-level features such as title tags, headings, and text to a given collection of keywords.
Technical SEO vs on-page SEO
Some SEOs interchange the words on-page SEO and technical SEO. But I prefer to keep them apart. Technical SEO, in my opinion, handles issues such as page speed and site speed, duplicate content, site structure, crawling, and indexing. In other words, technical optimization is concerned with the entire website, whereas on-page optimization is concerned with specific URLs.
Off-page SEO encompasses everything that occurs outside of your website, such as link building and brand mentions.
Why on-page SEO is so important
Google’s search algorithm is continually developing. It ran 800,000 experiments and modified its search algorithm over 5,000 times in 2021.
Nonetheless, despite ongoing advancements, it is not flawless. Google still requires assistance in comprehending new information. On-page search engine optimization (SEO) can help with this.
In 2021, Google conducted over 800,000 trials and modified its algorithm over 5,000 times.
Fortunately, on-page SEO strategy isn’t as difficult as some people claim. The truth is that there are only a few ranking elements to be concerned about. Your top priority should be to create an amazing user experience, rather than over-optimizing content for bots.
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at some specific on-page SEO recommended practises. You can also download our 41-point on-page SEO and copywriting checklist by clicking the button below!
URLs help on-page SEO
Google has stated plainly that URLs assist them in better understanding what a page is about. So, how do you make your URLs more optimised?
- Include a keyword: Include your core keyword in your URL to assist search engines and users in understanding the content of your website.
- Consider the following: Use descriptive terms in addition to core keywords to assist explain the objective or intent of a page.
Use actual words: Instead of the numbers and letters that certain content management systems generate, use genuine words in your URL.
- Be concise: Keep your URL structure simple and easy to understand for search engines. In addition, Google frequently displays URLs in search results. A large string of random characters and numbers in a page URL does not assist users understand your page. They are more likely to click on the search result if they grasp the goal of your page.
- Use hyphens between words: Hyphens improve the readability of URLs. If a page is about coffee bean grinders, for example, use the URL www.yourcompany.com/coffee-bean-grinders.
- Avoid using session IDs: Avoid using session IDs in your URLs wherever possible because they generate an avalanche of URLs for the same page. Google recommends using first-party cookies instead.
Title tags and meta descriptions
Page titles and meta tags are two of the most essential on-page SEO variables. Every page has a title tag, which shows as a headline in search results. The meta description is a brief description of the page that shows beneath the title in search results. Both are necessary to assist search engines and people in understanding the objective of a page.
While meta descriptions are not a direct on-page SEO ranking element, the title tag is.
The title and meta description both influence whether a person clicks on a listing in the search results. When both the title and meta description are improved, the Click-Through Rate (CTR) rises, indicating that you will receive more traffic.
Sadly, Google altered its title tag handling in August 2021. Google could rewrite title tags depending on other on-page information, such as headings and even anchor text from inbound links, following the upgrade. Although this change has no effect on rankings, it might have a significant impact on CTR if the new title is poor.
In fact, Wordstream’s CTR dropped by 37%. See how they rectified it in their article here.
On-page SEO for meta tags
Examine your title and meta description as the initial step in your on-page SEO audit. Take the following steps:
- Put your primary keyword near the start of the title.
- Keep the title to 55 or 60 characters to avoid being cut off in search results. Yoast, a WordPress plugin, may tell you if your meta tags are too long.
- In your title tags, avoid using all caps.
- Give each page a distinct title so that Google does not mistake them for duplicates.
- Create clear, appealing titles that will entice users to click.
- In your meta description, provide your primary keyword. When someone enters the keyword into Google, it will be highlighted in the search results.
- Keep the meta description to no more than 155 characters.
- Make sure your meta description appropriately defines the page. Consider it an advertisement, and craft it so that they are motivated to click.
Structured data (schema)
Structured data, or schema, improves Google’s understanding of your content and should be an important element of your on-page SEO assessment. Assume you have a product page that includes information such as prices, availability, ratings, and so on. Google will not be able to read that information unless it is structured in a precise way in the HTML.
Types of Structured Data
Structured data is on-page SEO coding that you place on your pages to assist Google interpret the content. Structured data formats exist for a wide range of objects, including:
- Local business info
- Star ratings
- Job postings
Google frequently inserts structured data directly in search results as a “rich snippet.” A rich snippet enhances the likelihood of someone clicking on your result.
Headers improve on-page SEO
Using several headers (H1 tag, H2, H3, etc.) on your pages aids SEO in a variety of ways. For starters, it makes reading your information lot easier for users. When visitors come across a wall of text on a page, they are much less likely to want to read it and will frequently leave the page. Multiple headers assist consumers in quickly grasping the material, improving the overall user experience (an important factor for Google).
Second, subheadings assist Google in comprehending the contents of a page. Use your primary term in at least one or two H2 headers when creating headers. Include the primary term again in the H3 or other headers if it makes sense contextually.
Copywriting can boost your on-page SEO efforts. Users will be more engaged if you invest in outstanding content for your landing pages. It is crucial to recognise that SEO copywriting best practises are beneficial to more than just search engines. They also improve your user content marketing.
The top bloggers are SEO copywriting masters, and here are the tactics they employ:
- Create brief, intriguing introductions. Clearly articulate both the problem and your solution.
- Long sentences and paragraphs should be avoided. However, if you eliminate paragraphs totally, your content will not flow smoothly.
- Subheadings should be used to break up parts that are longer than 300 words.
- Throughout the page copy, naturally incorporate the goal SEO term.
- Align your content with the search purpose.
- Always write with your audience in mind.
- To keep users moving down the page, use “bucket brigades.” Bucket brigades are transitional words that enhance the conversational value of your material. Consider phrases like “here’s the problem…,” “no surprise…,” “but that’s just part of the narrative…” or “as it turns out.”
- In order to catch readers’ interest, include stories and emotions.
Use the target keyword early
In general, you should strive to include your target term inside the first 100 words. This notifies Google that it’s the main topic of your page and also tells users that they’ve arrived at the appropriate location.
Consider how individuals use the internet. They click on a search result, briefly skim the page, and then exit if the page does not appear to be relevant. Creating appealing intros that feature your goal phrase prevents viewers from leaving quickly.
Content that satisfies search intent
Google strives to provide consumers with high-quality material that meets their search intent. In other words, it totally and efficiently addresses a searcher’s problem.
There are four sorts of search intent at a high level:
- Searchers are looking for specific information.
- Users desire to go to a particular website or page.
- Commercial: Before making a purchase, searchers want to compare items or services.
- Transactional: Users are actively looking to purchase something.
Looking at the first page of results for a query is a straightforward approach to determine the intent behind a specific keyword. Titles that include terms like how, ways, or methods show a desire for information. Words like greatest and top, on the other hand, reveal commercial aim.
Following that, you must create content that fulfils the goal.
Provide as much relevant content as feasible if it is informative. Cover the subject thoroughly, answer typical queries, and assist the user in understanding the problem.
Provide visitors with the data they require to make an informed buying decision if the aim is commercial. This could include things like reviews, pricing, comparisons, photographs, FAQs, and so forth.
If the goal is transactional, ensure sure your pages are structured data optimised so that products appear in the Google Shopping carousel. You may also want to highlight key selling features in your page title, such as discounts, product quality, a large selection, and so on.
Write readable text
Although readability isn’t a direct ranking criteria, it should be incorporated into your on-page SEO strategy. This is because legible material is easier for Google and users to comprehend, which benefits your SEO.
If your material is difficult to understand, you may have a high bounce rate, which reduces conversions, revenue, and ROI.
To make your text more readable, try the following:
- Make the page easy to read. Divide your content into bite-sized chunks.
- Use a variety of headers and subheadings.
- Use plenty of paragraph breaks to avoid long walls of content.
- Lists should be broken down into bullet points.
- Include photos and other graphics as needed.
- Make use of concise, actionable sentences.
Because the majority of users will access your website content via mobile devices, prioritise responsiveness, readability, and skimability.
Internal linking is essential for on-page SEO since it helps Google comprehend the relationship between your site’s pages. An robust internal connecting system reinforces context, relevance, and the breadth of your coverage of a topic.
Internal links are also beneficial to the user experience. They assist consumers in discovering more of your information, such as extra blog pieces or a useful case study.
A solid internal connecting strategy can also help you lower your bounce rate and enhance other Web Analytics metrics like conversion rate and average session duration.
Internal links to — and from — additional relevant sections on your site should be included in on-page SEO. It is extremely critical to link out from authoritative pages such as your homepage.
For internal links, utilise brief, descriptive, keyword-focused anchor language. It’s also crucial to include links to other pages that discuss the issue in the most relevant areas of your material.
In addition, avoid using keywords that you wish to rank for in external links to other websites.
Internal links, unlike backlinks, do not increase the authority of your website because you can add them yourself. Instead, they distribute existing authority and relevance from your backlinks across your website. With this in mind, if your domain already has a lot of authority, internal linking can tremendously help your rankings.
Because external links are not a direct ranking consideration, linking to reputable websites will not improve your on-page SEO rankings. Citing your sources with links, on the other hand, develops confidence, which is vital for users. As a result, it’s recommended practise to include external links whenever possible, especially when citing someone or referring a statistic.
When adding external links, however, avoid using anchor text that includes keywords that you want to rank for. Read my post What Is Anchor Text in SEO to find out why.
Images must also be SEO-optimized. Begin by giving them descriptive file names separated by hyphens. Next, reduce the file size so that it loads quickly while maintaining image quality. If your site has photos that are frequently larger than 400kb, for example, your page load time will suffer, affecting your potential to rank high in Google.
Image optimization tools such as TinyPNG, ImageOptim, and WP Smush make the procedure simple.
Finally, incorporate content in the image alt tags, with the appropriate keyword sprinkled throughout. The alt text assists search engines in comprehending the image.