As a website owner, you may be wondering what is on-page SEO and how it benefits your site. You may even currently have an SEO strategy in place, however, do you understand the various aspects of SEO? Whether you have an online business or an information website, you will need to ensure you at least understand the importance of SEO (search engine optimization), and how to most effectively use it to drive traffic to your website organically and generate leads and sales.
SEO is an umbrella of techniques, which can be divided into several major categories, including on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO. In this article, we’ll discuss on-page SEO specifically and how instrumental it is for your site’s rankings.
Once you’re done reading this post, take a look at our Top 12 Advanced SEO Tips to help elevate your business to the next level!
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page search engine optimization includes all optimization implemented on the website itself. This applies to the content, meta data, images, call-to-actions, and anything else on your website. Off-Page SEO, by contrast, includes gaining links from other reputable websites, shares on social media, and mentions across the web to your website. On-page optimization, then, is the process of making your website rank better in search engines and improving the content on your site to make it more usable and valuable for your visitors.
On-page SEO is critical to gaining higher search rankings and increasing traffic to your site. It takes quite some time to see the benefits, but it’s well worth the wait. A great on-page SEO strategy can really make your rankings and sales increase tremendously over time.
What Parts of My Website Should I Optimize?
On-page SEO has a number of important ranking factors. Some of these include optimizing your site’s title tags and meta descriptions, writing quality, keyword-rich content, improving your site’s navigation, and increasing your site speed, among others. To start implementing on-page SEO on your site, you will need to optimize the following:
1.) Start with your keywords
What is a keyword? In SEO, we use keywords to target valuable search queries. Every page on your website should include content with text that explains the page’s topic. Within this content, there should be the valuable keywords you want to rank for as well as the keyword’s synonyms.
Done using proper, White-Hat optimization methods, your content will ideally be quite substantial, keyword-rich, and useful to your uses. Additionally, a page with keywords used throughout the body of your content will help Google and other search engines to read it and rank you accordingly.
Wondering what keywords you should optimize for? You will need to take a look at a number of key metrics, such as monthly search volume and competition to help determine what keywords to go after. You can also utilize the Keyword Tool to find and focus on the most valuable keywords. In addition, if you’re planning to hire an SEO team, they will be able to help you identify the best keywords to optimize for on each of your pages. Using a tool like Keyword Tool will also reveal what keywords people are searching for that relate to your own products and services.
2.) Write better content
Having quality, keyword-rich content provides your users with the answers to the questions they have and it provides search engines context with what your pages are about. Optimizing your content thoroughly will also help search engines rank your pages accordingly.
So, how do I properly optimize my content? To make your content optimized as much as possible, you will need to:
- Include keywords and their synonyms in the body of your content, including your headings and paragraphs.
- Break your content up into more frequent headings with shorter paragraphs for better readability
- Add in infographics and images (with optimized alt tags) to help your readers understand your content better
- Scan your pages for duplicate content and remove it from your site
- Check your spelling and grammar
3.) Improve page speed
Page speed plays a lot into a user’s experience on your website. If your site loads too slow, users will get easily frustrated and click off. This contributes to a high bounce rate, which you definitely don’t want on your site! In fact, approximately 50% of all site visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Furthermore, Google and other search engines also use page speed as a ranking factor. If your page speed is slow, Google will start dropping your rankings. Using a tool like PageSpeed Insights will help you identify any issues with your pages and ways you or your web development or marketing team can help you optimize them.
4.) Check your website on mobile
What does it mean to have a mobile-friendly website? Mobile-friendliness refers to the usability and responsiveness of your website on mobile devices. So no matter if your site is being viewed on a Samsung Galaxy phone or an iPhone, your site looks great all around. As it turns out, Google also sees mobile-friendliness as a factor in search rankings, so you won’t want to ignore this important factor of on-page SEO!
Curious about how your website ranks for mobile-friendliness? Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool!
5.) Confirm your URLs are SEO-friendly
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a page’s web address, which can be found in your browser’s address bar. For example, the URL for this page is https://www.webcitz.com/blog/what-is-on-page-seo/. On-page optimization for a URL includes adding valuable keywords, as well as setting up your pages with the appropriate hierarchy.
For instance, for a fictional flower bouquet site, an example of this could look like:
Roses is the category page and is a “child” page of the major category, Shop.
“My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose Bouquet” is the name of the product, and it is a “child” of the “parent” category page, Roses.
Love songs aside… When optimizing your site’s URLs, be sure to not stuff them with keywords. If you are unsure if your URL structure is properly optimized, you may want to invest in hiring an SEO team who can review your site’s URL optimization and hierarchy.
6.) Optimize title tags for length and word choice
Title tags are the page titles of your webpage. In your Google search rankings, for example, your page title shows up here:
It will also display in the tab up in your browser window. There are a number of factors to consider in order to ensure you are optimizing your title tags the best way. The great news is that with some research and basic training in SEO, you can learn to properly optimize your title tags:
- Ensure your page title includes your keyword!
- Add your most important keyword in the beginning of your page titl.e
- Make it between 50-65 characters in length. Any longer and Google will start to cut off your page title with the dreaded “…” in search results.
- Keep it as concise and descriptive as possible.
- DO NOT KEYWORD STUFF YOUR TITLE TAG!
- Use your brand name whenever possible (e.g. What is On-Page SEO & How Does It Benefit My Rankings? | WebCitz).
- Try to write an interesting title to entice users to click.
- Don’t use your page titles more than one time across your pages (will be flagged as duplicate).
7.) Optimize meta descriptions for length and word choice
Meta descriptions are the descriptions of your CMS page, category page, or product page that display in your search rankings as shown below:
Typically, Google will truncate your meta description snippet in the 155-160 character range. Here are some tips to writing a great meta description:
- Don’t exceed the 160 character limit.
- Include your keyword you’re trying to optimize for, but DON’T STUFF YOUR KEYWORD!
- You meta description should read naturally and intelligently.
- Write compelling, relevant copy to entice your users to click!
- Use active voice and include a call-to-action.
- Avoid using your meta descriptions more than once across your site (to avoid duplicate meta descriptions).
8.) Improve H1 heading titles
Your heading tags, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6> should all be optimized with your keywords or keyword synonyms. This is to ensure that Google and other search engines understand that your content is optimized for a particular keyword. In addition, heading tags break up your content for ease of reading.
- Use only one <h1> tag on your page.
- Your targeted keyword MUST BE PRESENT IN YOUR <h1> TAG
- Use as many <h2> to <h6> tags as needed
- DON’T STUFF YOUR KEYWORD
- DO use a mix of your keyword and your keyword’s synonyms
To go back to our example of the fictional flower shop, to optimize a page about roses, some of your headings could look like:
<h1>Rose Bouquets</h1> <h2>Local Rose Bouquet Delivery</h2> <h3>Green Stemmed Roses</h3>
You will want to discuss with your SEO specialists the most effective keywords to go after. Use your most important keyword at the top, and be sure to mix it throughout your headings, without including your keyword in every heading. To prevent from using your keyword in every heading, use a synonym instead.
9.) Make better use of images
Images are also an important aspect of search engine optimization. One benefit of images is that they break up your content and provide context to what the user is reading. For example, an infographic will give specific details on the content they are reading, and “highlight” the most important parts of your content. Screenshots tell them what action steps to take, and photos, icons, and graphics, help to make your page look pretty, or give further context to sections of your page.
Not only can images make or break the appearance of your page, they can also make or break your page speed. Be sure to optimize your image file size for the web. Having many unoptimized images on your site can significantly slow down your page speed. Also remember to add alt tags to your images.
10.) Set alt tags on images
As mentioned above, you’ll want to add alt tags to your images. Alt tags make your pages more accessible to impaired website users. Furthermore, they actually help with your site’s rankings.
In the case of the flower shop, say for example you have a photo of a bouquet of roses. For this photo, you’ll want to add in a keyword, say, “Rose Bouquet Delivery in Chicago, IL.” However, be sure to not have the same keyword on all of your images’ alt tags on that page. Google recognizes this as keyword stuffing. You’ll want to vary the alt tags with keywords that are applicable to whatever the photo is. For example, if your page’s keyword is “rose bouquet delivery,” and one of your photos is of a pink rose arrangement, name the alt tag, “Pink Rose Arrangement” instead.
11.) Build out a good internal linking structure
Last but not least are internal links. Internal linking is a critical factor to the success of your website’s SEO. Crawlers will crawl through your site, detect the content and linking structure between your pages, and overall, get a better understanding of your site’s content. Having pages link to each other also ensures that pages don’t get lost in the shuffle, to ensure that users can find them.
Internal links should be relevant and should include the appropriate keyword to the content of the pages you are linking to and from. For best results, you will want to try adding in two or three internal links per page. Another option is to create pillar content or content silo pages to show you are an authority on a certain product or service. To get a better understanding of your own internal linking structure, you may want to talk with SEO experts who have solid experience in internal linking.
12.) Review your on-page SEO with auditing tools
Now that you better understand the aspect of On-Page SEO, we’ll talk about what you can do to evaluate your site’s on-site optimization. You will want to consider the following:
- Are you using keywords on each of your pages? How effective are these keywords? Are they helping to generate traffic and sales?
- Are you using internal linking throughout your pages? If so, is your linking structure effective? Can your visitors find what they’re looking for on your site?
- Does your site load quickly, or slowly? If your site is taking longer than 3 seconds to load, you’re probably frustrating your visitors. You’ll want to hire developers who can help mitigate this issue.
- Is the content on your site relevant? If you haven’t added new blog articles or new landing pages for a while, your users and search engines will see that you haven’t updated your content for some time. Fresh, quality content helps to make your site’s content relevant. Note: Fresh content isn’t as important as the quality or relevance of the content.
Final Thoughts on On-Page SEO Services
You need on-page SEO if you want your website to show up in the search results. Optimizing for on-site factors on a regular basis can help you rank higher, get more traffic, and convert more. If you would like help with on-site SEO, just reach out to our team to discuss what we can do for you!