Have you done your research and built some links but still aren’t quite seeing the results you’d hoped for? You should take a look at the on-page optimisation of your site.
If keyword research and competitive analysis help you form the foundation of your SEO strategy, on-page optimisation can be thought of as the structure.
In this article, we’re going to break down some of the more important aspects to show just how much goes into making sure a single page is properly optimised.
It’s so much more than making sure a keyword is mentioned here or there. It really boils down the structure and the markup of the page.
It’s about making sure that you are making it as easy as possible for Google to crawl your page and decipher what your page is all about. And giving them the right signals.
Once Google understands what’s happening on the page, it’s easier for them to place and display your site in the results.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is optimising your web page in order to make it easier for search engines to find and process your page. The goal is to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic.
This is done by making sure that keywords are contained in the most crucial areas, but without losing site of the real goals of your site. In other words, you have to strike a balance between optimising for search engines and keeping it natural and readable for your prospects or customers.
It refers to not only the content and title of the page you are trying to optimise, but the HTML source of the file as well.
Off-page SEO, which is a term you may have heard as well, focuses on external links and other external signals.
Why Does Your Website Need On-Page SEO?
The main point is to make sure Google understands what your site is about. As complex as Google is, it still needs certain cues to ascertain context.
By getting the right terms in the right places, you are essentially giving Google a nudge. As they assume that words contained in header tags or earlier in an article are more important than those not in header tags or that come at the end of the article.
What this ends up doing is making the traffic that reaches your site more valuable.
Assuming you’ve already done proper keyword research, getting the right keywords to show up in Google makes all the difference.
Imagine for a minute that you sell blue shoes. Your traffic won’t be worth much if Google thinks your site is about brown boots!
And believe it or not, in certain low competition industries on-page SEO can be enough to earn page 1 rankings.
Most of us aren’t that lucky, as competition is already fierce in most industries. But if you’re in a particularly small town or a non competitive area you might be able to move the needle considerably with an overhaul of your on-page SEO.
On-Page SEO Key Aspects
On-page SEO is amongst the more technical aspects of SEO. In order to truly be able to understand and evaluate on-page elements, you have to have a basic understanding of HTML. (hyper text markup language).
At an absolute minimum, you have to be familiar with certain tags.
Here’s a few of the key elements you have to be sure to optimise:
- <h1></h1> — Heading tags. These go from H1 to H6. There should only be one H1 on any given page. And the rest should be used in order to help give the page structure. This is a great tag to get keywords in, but don’t over do it!
- <title></title> — Title tags. This is used to give the page a title. The title contained in this tag should be keyword optimised as it’s the title you read in the Google Results … if they decide to display it for you!
- <meta name=”description” content=”meta desctiption content”></> — The meta tags are used to add in meta descriptions. These are the little descriptions (156 characters max) you see in the Google Results underneath the Title.
- <a href=”https://samplelink.com”></a> — Hyperlink and anchor text tag — These are used to create hyperlinks. Internal links are a concern for SEO, but this tag is most often referred to in terms of off page SEO.
- <img src=”” alt=””></> — Used to display images and assign alternative text in case said image can’t be displayed. You can use keywords in here, but be careful. Above all else, these should be readable. They are useful to people who may not be able to see images for a variety of reasons.
Knowing more is certainly advantageous. This is an area where a company like ours really sets itself apart. We have experts that know and keep up on this technical stuff. You can go on running your business and leave the tags to us.
Pro Tip: If you use a Content Management System, like WordPress, you don’t have to sift through source files and find these elements. They will allow you to get at these tags without any of those headaches.
The number of times you use a keyword on a page varies from case to case. This can be a hotly debated topic in the SEO world and getting it wrong can really have a significantly negative impact on your overall efforts.
Use a keyword too many times and Google is going to realise you are trying to game them. Pages stuffed like this will not make sense to your readers and your site could be penalised.
Use it too little and they may not fully understand what the page is all about. Which means you either won’t rank or they will show you for the wrong terms and send useless traffic.
It gets tedious and time consuming, but a general rule of thumb is to turn to Google for the answer. Have a look through each of the sites in the top 10 individually and see how/where they are using the keywords you are trying to optimise for.
You can see the importance of keyword research as we laid out in another article. Having a prioritised list ready when you reach this point will save you a ton of time here.
Simply start with the most important keyword and go through and get the average times a keyword is on each page in the top 10 of the results. Use this as a gauge of what the “right” number of times you should be using each term is.
The bottom line here is that the content needs to be valuable to your prospects. It’s extremely important to keep them in mind as you go through and optimise your page. In the end, if they don’t find your content useful showing up in the top 10 won’t end meaning much.
Google is smart. Each day that passes they get smarter. One of the most overlooked aspects of on-page optimisation is satisfying search intent. Does the page you are optimising give the end user what they need based on what they searched?
For example, if you are trying to rank a product page for an informational query you basically don’t stand a chance no matter how “perfect” the rest of your on-page is.
URLs Of Your Pages
The URL of your page is an excellent place to include your main keyword. Put it as close to the beginning as you can to give it the most priority.
In general, the shorter, the more descriptive and the clearer you can make these for the user while still including a keyword in there for the search engines the better.
You can leave out words like “a, an, the, of, with, on, or, of, is, was, many, etc.” out of your URLs and titles. These are called stop words and Google ignores them anyway. If they don’t ignore them, the additional need to ignore/filter can actually hinder Google’s ability to deliver instant results.
Page speed is a ranking factor and search engines notice how fast your pages load. Even more importantly, slow sites make for a terrible user experience.
Make sure your pages load fast. This is an area you would especially benefit from having outside help. You can definitely do things like reduce image sizes on your own, but once you get to a certain point you aren’t going to see improvements from that alone.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the technical aspects that it’s worth noting again the content you create has to be valuable. Your prospects are sifting through loads of information looking for relevant, engaging, information, interesting and relevant content that gives them what they are looking for. You can’t disappoint.
You can see that proper on-page optimisation is about more than tossing keywords in your content.
Optimising your site is complex and can present many challenges. But if you’re willing to put in the time and resources to implement a solid strategy, you will get results in terms of more traffic and ultimately sales.
Great on-page is a great way to improve the overall experience your prospects have interacting with your brand.
Done right, it will help you earn more traffic and improve your site’s overall visibility.