On-page SEO (search engine optimization) is essential when it comes to conquering visibility for your website through appearing on Google’s search result pages. It will help you to know how to create content that will be seen as relevant by the search engines, and, consequently, rank in the first position for the keywords that you are aiming at.
By the way, don’t commit the mistake of believing on-page SEO is just writing the keyword sometimes in the text. It’s much more than that.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO, which is also called on-site SEO, consists of the practice of optimizing your web pages and content so they will rank better on search engines, and get more organic traffic. It’s different from off-page SEO, which refers to elements that are off your website and can enhance your position on search results, such as backlinks.
Some elements that are part of on-page SEO are:
- Meta description
- Title tags
- Internal and external links
- User Experience
Why Does On-Page SEO Matter?
When explaining on its page how search works, Google says: “To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors and signals, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages(…)”. This means the quality of the content, the keywords, and the user experience are all relevant and important aspects to be considered.
When you invest in enhancing your pages according to all those factors, you have more chances to increase their ranking on search engines. By appearing on the first search results page (SERP) of keywords related to the topics of your pages, you can conquer a high number of accesses without having to pay ads.
Besides this, visitors are already interested in the subject you are approaching, which improves the chances of catching their attention, increasing the time spent on your website, for instance. If we are talking about an ecommerce website, you can gain a lot of qualified leads, who have the potential to become customers.
How to Do On-Page SEO
Put the Keyword on the Title Tag
The title tag is the title of your page, and it should contain the main keyword of the content because it will indicate its relevance to the search engine algorithms. The title tag appears right below the webpage URL on the search engine results page, so it’s important to show what the page is about, and also to grab the reader’s attention.
Remember, though, that the use of the keyword needs to be natural. Create a title also considering how it can present your content in the best way, and that’s attractive. You can use the variations of the keyword to make conjunctions and write a title that’s grammatically correct as well.
Another tip is to write a title tag with no more than 60 characters. Otherwise, you run the risk of your title being displayed incorrectly on Google’s search results pages. It’s also advisable to use the keyword at the beginning of the title tag.
Divide the Text into Subheadings
When you organize your text into subheadings, or subtitles, it gets easier for the readers to skim it and find the information they are looking for. Do you remember that one of the factors that Google considers to rank a page is user experience? So, that will help with this.
But, it isn’t only that. When you organize your text in topics, it also enables the search algorithms to define the text subject better. Using H1, H2, and H3 tags shows the hierarchy of the information as well. Try to insert the keyword in at least one of the subheadings.
Use the Keyword at the Beginning of the Text
Insert the main keyword of the content in the first 100 words of the text. That’s a basic on-page SEO practice, but still important since it shows right away what the article is about. If you are writing a text about digital marketing, for instance, it would be strange if this term wasn’t mentioned in the introduction, don’t you think?
Besides, by using the keyword in the beginning, you indicate to Google and other search engines that this is the primary subject of the content. It also helps to avoid increasing the bounce rate because as the person enters the page, they can see if the content is related to what they are looking for or not.
Insert the Keyword throughout the Article
How many times should the main keyword appear in an article? There isn’t an exact answer for that, but certainly not only once. As the topic of your text is the keyword, it’s strange if it isn’t mentioned at least 3 times.
But, pay close attention to this: avoid keyword stuffing, which means filling the page with the term when it doesn’t make sense. On the contrary, the keyword must appear naturally in the content, not in a forced way that will damage the quality of the text.
Include Links in the Text
Putting external and internal links through your article are both important on-page SEO strategies. When you link to other pages that are relevant to your content, it can help you rank better on search results.
For example, Reboot Online made an experiment where they created 10 new websites, in 5 of them they inserted external links, but didn’t put any in the other ones. The websites with external links conquered better positions in the SERPs.
Source: Reboot Online
When the subject is the internal links the reason to have them as well is that you help the search engine bots to crawl your website easier. You are giving Google information about your website architecture, and enabling it to see how different content is related to each other. Besides, using internal links is a way to encourage the visitor to keep navigating your website.
Deliver High-Quality Content
For your content to stand out and appear on the first search results page of the keywords you are targeting, all of the strategies about on-page SEO listed here are important, but they won’t be effective if you don’t produce an article that delivers valuable information and is unique.
When you are developing an article it is necessary to pay attention to a series of aspects, such as writing in a way that is easy to understand and also attractive, the grammar, offering updated data, and the text structure.
If your content is poorly written and doesn’t give any useful information to the readers, they may get to your page, but they won’t stay. This impacts your authority and credibility, research the theme well and think about your target audience when writing.
Customize the URL
The URL, which is the address of your page, also has an impact on search engine optimization. If you take a look at Google’s search results page, you will see that the URL of each page appears above the title tag.
Insert the main keyword in the URL, which is one more way to show that your page is relevant to a specific topic. Another tip is to try to keep your URL short. For instance, if the page is a blog post where the main keyword is digital marketing, the URL could be www.yourwebsite.com/blog/digitalmarketing.
If you use CMS software to create your website, usually it allows you to easily customize the URL when you are going to publish a new page, such as an article.
Write Meta Descriptions
The meta description is the text that goes below the title tag on the search results page. It’s basically a summary of what your page is about, so it needs to be written in an attractive way that instigates the reader to click to read the content.
It can help improve the click-through rate, which also has an influence on showing that your page is relevant. To emphasize the page is related to the topic researched, include the main keyword of the text in the meta description as well. Often, in the CMS blog editor, you will find a box where you can write the meta description.
Optimize the Images
Adding images to your pages helps to make the content more attractive for readers, but they need to be aligned with the subject and have high resolution. Besides, pay attention to optimizing them for search engines as well.
High-resolution images usually are heavy files, before adding them to the page, reduce their file size so it won’t slow down the load time. Also, add alt text to the images, where you will describe what is in the image.
This makes the content more accessible since it enables screen readers to read the image to people with visual impairments, and also allows Google to see them as relevant to your content. Another tip is to name the image files using the text keyword as well.
Prioritize User Experience
As we have already mentioned, user experience is an element that is considered by Google when ranking pages. Pay attention to developing pages that provide a great user experience for the visitors.
You can do that by creating a website that is easy to navigate through, where people can quickly find the information they are looking for, and with fast page load time as well. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is accessing your website for the first time, and analyze if the website is inviting and attractive.
Is the menu well-structured? When you click on a link, does the page open quickly? Do the background color and the font color make reading the text more difficult? All of these are details need to be taken into consideration.
It will make a whole difference when it comes to bounce rate and time spent on the website, for example. And, don’t forget to have a mobile-friendly website, allowing users to also have a great experience accessing your pages regardless of the device they are using.
Use Analytics Tools to Help You with On-Page SEO
Web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and Ahrefs can help you with on-page SEO from choosing the best keywords to analyzing the results. You can check the level of difficulty of specific keywords to select the ones you are going to use, for instance, and monitor the number of visitors that access your pages through Google too.
Plan your content well, analyze the reports provided by those tools, and keep always up-to-date to know how you can enhance on-page SEO according to the changes implemented by the search engines.