Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing quality traffic to your website through organic search engine result. SEO is very important because people majority of the people clicks on the top five results on the search engine result page. Getting to page one of the search results is vital. Almost 75% of users don’t even scroll past the first page! Here comes the importance of On-Page SEO.
Over the past few years, Google has introduced a lot of updates to their search engine algorithms, of which Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird were the most significant. These updates set emphasize on how owners should structure their sites for link building, using quality content and reducing spams.
According to HubSpot, 80% of a website’s traffic begins with a search query. This prompts search engines to provide accurate and quality search results to the user, subsequently ranking sites on the result page. That is why SEO is so important for your website.
Here, we will talk about important on-page SEO techniques and how to incorporate these techniques into your website!
On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page SEO deals with various factors that can be controlled within the scope of a website. These factors can be implemented during the designing of the website, during the creation of posts, or after auditing the performance of your website. On-page SEO refers to optimization of both the content and HTML source code of a web page.
We will cover the following factors in detail.
- Page Titles or Titles tag
- Meta Descriptions
- Header Tags
- URL Structure
- Image Tags
- Internal Linking
- Mobile Friendliness (Responsive)
- Page Speed
1. Meta tags
Metadata is data about data. The <Meta> tag provides metadata about the web page. Metadata will not be displayed on the page but will be readable to search engine bots. Meta tags are typically used to specify page description, keywords, the title of the page and more.
Meta tags are one of the most important On-Page Seo factors. The four types of meta tags we’ll discuss here are:
- Meta Keywords: Keywords that you consider important and relevant to your content.
- Title Tags: This is the text you will see at the top of your browser or tab. Search engines see this text as the title of your page.
- Meta Descriptions: A brief description of the page.
- Meta Robots: An indication or a permission to search engine crawlers (bots or spiders) to index a page or link.
a. Meta Keywords
Meta Keywords are an example of a Meta tag that doesn’t make much sense in terms of SEO nowadays. Years ago, the Meta keyword tags have been crucial for SEO, but not anymore.
Earlier marketers and bloggers would insert keywords totally irrelevant to their pages to increase traffic. By adding those trending keywords to your page, one could pirate traffic from popular pages. This is “Keyword Stuffing”. Google later decided to remove this tag from its ranking parameters due to keyword stuffing. Nowadays, Google doesn’t use Meta keywords in its ranking algorithm, because they’re too prone to misuse.
b. Title Tag
Title tags are the most important of all of the Meta tags. These tags have a profound impact on search rankings and are the only tags that are visible to the normal user. You’ll find them at the top of your browser. This is very useful when users shuffle multiple tabs on their browser.
Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. There’s no exact character limit because characters can vary in width and Google’s display titles max out at 600 pixels.
c. Meta Descriptions
This Meta tag explains to search engines and searchers themselves what your page is about. It’s also the ad copy that will ensure if users click on your result. Keep it within 160 characters, and write it beautifully to catch the user’s attention.
It’s important to note that the description tag won’t always show up in the results for a Google search (Google frequently picks a snippet of text from the page itself) but it’s useful in other ways. Google also stated that keywords in Meta descriptions won’t affect your rankings. However, a compelling Meta description tag could invite searchers to click through from the SERP to your website, if the description includes the keywords they were searching for.
Don’t stuff keywords in the description. Instead, use synonyms or latent semantic indexing (LSI) of your focus keyword to get on page SEO in the Meta description.
d. Meta Robots
Meta robots tell the engines whether or not they should keep a page in the index, and whether they should follow the links on that page. With this tag, you’re telling the search engines what to do with your pages:
- Index/noindex – This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.
- Follow/nofollow – This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages: whether they should trust and “follow” your links to the next page or not.
The nofollow tag doesn’t tell engines where to crawl or not to crawl. All it does is whether you guarantee for a page that is being linked to and whether you want to pass the Page Rank and link juice to that page.
It’s not compulsory to have Meta robots. By default, search engines read unspecified Meta robots as index,follow.
e. Header tags
The header tag, or the <h1> tag, will usually be the title of a post or a page. It is the largest text that stands out.
There are basically 6 types of header tags:
Each can have a lesser degree of importance on the page, but it really depends on how the layout of your page is rendered.
H1 tag is usually the title of the post. More than two H1 tags are not recommended.
H2 tags can be used as the subheadings. More than two H2 tags can be used. Other tags can be used in heading as necessary.
Make sure you use keyword rich headings in the order of priority in H1, H2, and H3 title tags. They are used by search engine crawlers to distinguish and understand the important content.
2. Post Permalink Structure (URL)
URL address of your posts and pages should be optimized in such a way that it should be:
- Readable to the average user
- Include focus keyword
For instance, consider this URL
This URL is not only long but also contains an address that is not readable. Also, there is no focus keyword.
For instance, consider this URL
This URL is short and readable and shows the clear hierarchy of information on the page. Also, when users hover mouse pointer above anchor texts, readable links helps users to understand that link. This increases the click-through rate to that link.
When choosing URL for your posts, always remember that short and readable links will help users to understand what the link is all about. A search engine uses this information to determine the relevancy of a given web page.
Always use hyphens to separate words in the link rather than underscores.
Pro Tip: Consider removing Stop words from the URL. Removing stop words will trim down the slug length. Do this without compromising the readability or the intent.
The posts should be based on one or two focus keywords. The keyword should be relevant to the overall theme of your content. You can research keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner and UberSuggest. You can use Google Trends to understand hot topics and keywords trending right now.
Keywords are important because people use keywords to search for information on the web. However, try not to excessively repeat and overuse keywords just for search engine robots. This is keyword stuffing. This can lead to your site being banned from search engines or ranked lower. You should keep the keyword density around 1.5%-2% with a mix of LSI keywords.
Read More: Complete Guide on Keyword Research for SEO
4. Image Tags
Images are an important part of any content. It can help your content stand out and provides additional information that complements your content. Images can add a visual aesthetics to your posts and blogs.
When using images, always remember to use web-optimized images in your posts. You can use Photoshop or free online tools like GTmetrix or Optimizilla to optimize images. This saves a lot of resources and your page loading speed improves.
Always give proper image title and image alt tag. Since search engines don’t understand what the image is about, it reads alt tags to index it.
5. Internal Linking
Most people think that the only links that count are those from other websites. While these external links are important, these are not the only important links!
Placing links to your other posts or pages is a great way of improving your site. It makes much easier for users to navigate around your site and find all of your content. It also ensures that your site gets properly crawled by search engines and find all of your pages.
Internal linking of posts and pages will help your readers spend more time on your blog, and it will also help pass page rank to other pages of your site. When internal linking, try to use a keyword as the anchor text, but be very careful not to overdo it.
Internal links that are relevant to the original post show search engines that you are providing extra information beyond what is being displayed in the content. This increases the SEO of the page and search engines rank these post high on the result page.
Read More: Contextual Interlinking
6. Mobile Friendly (Responsive)
With the use of mobile devices projected to increase, search engines take mobile responsiveness seriously. The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to grow by whopping 2.7 billion by 2019! This number emphasize how relevant is mobile friendly websites to both website owners and search engines.
Mobile optimization includes site design, site structure, page speed, scripts, use of media and more. There are many ways to implement mobile-friendly websites. But Google recommends the use of responsive design.
In responsive design, the page automatically fits the screen size of the device rendering it. This means with a single URL address, you will be able to optimize your web contents to all devices no matter what the screen sizes are.
Recently, Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), to insist on the use of mobile-friendly pages. AMP for WordPress is the official plugin for AMP WordPress websites.
By optimizing images and minifying CSS and other scrips, you can decrease the page load speed. You can also use CDN or cache systems to reduce page load time.
The old saying in the SEO world, that content is the king, holds true even today! Content is very important not only in terms of SEO but also for users. People love to engage with content-rich web pages. This prompts search engines to rank content-rich websites. Content is an inevitable part of on-page SEO.
Content is the part where users engage with your website. Good contents keep the users glued to the screen. This reduces bounce rate and increases your position in the SERP.
A good content must contain:
- Compelling introduction
- Informative conclusion
- Include focus keywords
- Sprinkle some LSI keywords
- Unique and informative body
- Images, infographics and other media
- An average of 2000 words
Using images and other media in the contents will break up the boring content to open new ways to communicate with users. Visual contents increase the retention of information faster as compared to plain text.
Things that need to follow:
- Remove stop words from post URL
- Prefer active voice
- Use shorter sentences (not more than 20 words)
- Include internal links to link relevant posts
- Avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes
- Never plagiarise
8. Page Speed
Did you know?
- 47% of users abandon those site which takes more than 3s to load.
- A delay of a single second in page response time can yield a 7% reduction in conversions.
- If an e-commerce site is making Rs.100,000 per day, 1 sec page delay could cost the company almost Rs.2 million in sales each year!
Page speed can be described in either “page load time” which is the time taken to completely render the contents on a specific web page or “time to first byte” which is how long it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of information from the web client or server.
Page speed doesn’t directly come under on-page SEO, but effects on-page SEO indirectly. If your website takes time to load, you may need to optimize many factors like images, server load time, minify CSS and other scripts, and use Content Delivery Network and more. We will cover how to decrease page load speed in another post.
To wrap it up
An ideal web page should do all of the following:
- Be super relevant to a specific topic
- Include focus Keyword in title tag
- Use Meta Descriptions with focus keyword
- Add focus keyword in URL
- Include focus keyword in image alt text and title text
- Sprinkle the focus keyword like salt throughout main content
- Provide unique content about a given topic
- Link back to its category page or other relevant pages
- Link contents from this page to other contents which are relevant for the readers
- Give easy navigation to all important sections of the website
Some important tips:
- Remove all stop words from permalink.
- Add media (images, videos, slides, and infographics).
- On average 2000 words (minimum 600 words)
- Optimize images.
- Optimize page load speed.
- Include Meta title less than 70 characters.
- Include Meta description less than 160 characters.
- Internal links to related posts.
- Include social sharing buttons either at the end or floating on the left side of your post.
- Include related posts or tags after each post to lower bounce rate.
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