Ranking a page higher, to the top of search results is definitely not an easy task. It needs to undergo proper and thorough optimization for search engines that include off-page SEO such as strategic link building, technical optimization, content building and on-page SEO.
And the reality here is one cannot yield effective results unless the other is not optimized properly. So, each part of SEO is the secret sauce to your growing organic traffic and website ranking.
You can buy real estate for ads on the search engine result pages but you can’t buy high ranks in organic results. You can only earn them through your effective SEO strategies.
And so you can’t ignore any point in the SEO checklist. That means you should not compromise on on-page SEO as well while focussing fully on earning backlinks or building great quality content. Though these namely, link building and content building have gained huge popularity and momentum in recent years you should not completely abandon on-page SEO by leaving it to tools as it is still a crucial ranking factor. Confused?
Relax! This article acts as your complete on-page SEO guide that teaches you every single element you need to know about how on-page optimization works and helps you drive you great free traffic. So, you are going to learn what is on-page SEO, and how to do on-page SEO step-by-step for taking your business to the next level.
So, enough of ado, let’s now quickly jump into learning more about on-page SEO.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is referred to as optimizing the web pages of a site for ranking higher on search engine result pages. This helps in driving a great amount of relevant organic traffic to the website. On-page Search Engine Optimization includes both on-page elements like content, keywords etc. and technical elements like loading speed, dwell time, UX etc.
Hope you are clear with what is on-page SEO. Now, lets’ get into some depth.
The search engine’s big wheel, Google still considers target keywords on your pages to rank them. After all, keywords are what search engines can count on first to rank a page for specific keywords and deliver the positive user experience.
Though Google has grown enough smarter, it still looks for on-page factors like keywords, titles, meta tags, keyword density etc. to verify page relevancy to search intent and rank them.
And the strategies involved in optimizing web pages or sites have changed drastically from 2000 to 2020. Things that worked then are now nothing and most of them are simply called Black hat SEO techniques. The best example for this keyword stuffing.
Besides, Google is intolerant of those practices and ends up imposing penalties on sites following such techniques. Therefore practicing the right ways of on-page SEO is critical as it not only gains you higher ranks but also saves you from penalties.
So, how do you do on-page optimization AKA on-site optimization? Well, it involves many factors as mentioned above.
Why does your Website need On-Page Optimization?
Search engines need to understand what your website and the content in it is all about to help users with search results closer to their search queries. And all this can happen only when you do on-page optimization in the right way.
Without on-page optimization, your website won’t stand chances to appear on search results.
Moreover, on-page optimization also helps in
- improving your site visibility
- Enhancing user experience
And the best part here is, you will see the results much faster than off-page SEO such as link building.
Checklists of On-page SEO
On-page SEO includes the following factors.
- User experience
- Search intent
- Bounce rate
- Dwell time
- Page loading speed
The better these factors are optimized, the better for your higher ranking. So, let’s now see how to optimize your website for each one of these with parameters.
How to do on-page optimization?
So, now we have come to the most important part of how to do on-page optimization. Keep reading…
Place your target keywords smartly
Include a keyword in the introduction
Lets’ start optimizing your page with a simple and easy step. Include your target keyword in the first paragraph of your article, most possibly in the first 100 words.
The top part of the page always holds great value in the eyes of both search engines and users. Hence, it must have valuable information along with the target keyword. So that it becomes easy for search engines to retrieve the right page and readers to confirm that they have landed on the right page.
Include one in your title
Titles play a key role in on-page optimization. After all, titles describe what your content is about in a single line. So, make sure that you use your keyword once in your title. When you look at the search results 99% of titles have a keyword in their titles.
But not always, a broad keyword can fetch you great results as there are already tons of blogs on the same keyword out there. So, how do you beat them? Simple, Long tail keywords.
Yes, long-tail keywords help you rank better in a short time and moreover they drive your site to a highly interested audience (these are your potential leads).
Do proper keyword research and find out the worthy long-tail keywords for the specific topic.
Tip: Make sure you put your Title in the H1 tag. Although most of the CMS platforms make it automatic, it is still better you recheck.
Use H2 tags for subheadings
In order to make your content easy-to-understand, it is recommended to use a lot of subheadings. Also, set all your subheading to H2 tags and include your keyword at least once in your H2 tag.
Though these simple techniques don’t result in notable changes in your rank, yes they are still worth doing.
Maintain proper keyword density & frequency
Keyword frequency is nothing but how often a keyword appears in a given length of content or on a web page.
Keyword density also refers to the same but as a ratio to the overall word count.
No matter what the definition, they both clearly determine if your webpage is keyword stuffed. So ensure you only use the keywords naturally.
It is safe to use a keyword once or twice in every 100 words. Meaning 1-2% of keywords in every 100 words. However, it also depends on the number of target keywords per page.
So, using the keywords naturally is the best way to stay away from the penalties.
Use outbound links
References add more value to your content. When you link relevant external websites to verify the facts or stats mentioned in your content, you gain more trust from your readers.
Outbound links to popular and high authority websites even help search engines to identify what your niche or domain is. Thus they are a parameter to establish trust in your website.
Tip: You can have 5 outbound links on every page.
Recently in Jan 2020, Google updated the search results format and now your URL appears on the top of your title. Though this doesn’t create a huge impact on search result positions, the URLs took a prominent position here. Not only because of the latest update URLs are always crucial. So, make sure you optimize them. Wondering how to optimize the URLs for SEO? Follow the below easy steps:
- Include your target keyword in it.
- Keep it as short as possible.
- If the keyword is of high keyword difficulty or high competition, use a long-tail keyword.
- Separate each word with a hyphen.
- Eliminate unnecessary characters or numbers in it.
And you are done. Pretty simple right?
Now lets’ dive into the next topic.
Impress with your titles & description tags
Optimize titles (H1 tags)
As already mentioned, titles play a key role in determining the whole content of your web page. So, optimize them including the target keywords. In addition, keyword placement also defines some value. So, what do you think is effective to include your keyword in the title? Well, one of the best and proven ways is to include the target keyword in the front.
Confused? Look at the examples:
- Guest posting site lists
- WPX Hosting Coupon – Get 50% Discount
- The title of this guide: On Page SEO – Ultimate Guide
But not all the times you can append your keyword at the front, right. Well, those cases are exceptions, however, you can still try putting them nearer to the front.
Don’t leave the description section blank
Agreed that Google displays the meta description with its own snippet irrespective of what you provide while publishing. This is, of course, the best part because Google tries to match user’s query with your content and drive traffic to your site.
Yet, it is your responsibility to state what your page contains and how it can help users in a few lines. Doing so not only helps users to understand what’s inside the page but also attracts them as most of your competitors don’t do it.
So, the opportunities to stand out among your peers are just right there.
Write unique & keyword-rich meta descriptions
Your job is not yet done if you write the meta description manually just for the sake of filling the space. To create more impact both for users as well as search engines, make it sound rich and unique.
- Include keywords in it (but don’t overdo it)
- Use the modifiers that attract users (but don’t make it look spammy)
- An ideal meta description length is 150-160 characters, anything beyond it gets truncated.
- So, use the space to describe what’s inside your page effectively and avoid using unnecessary stop words.
Meta title and meta description contribute to improving your click-through-rate (CTR). So, create your meta description in such a way that it convinces users to click your page.
Moreover, higher CTR boosts your rank on search results as Google considers a high clicked page as a relevant or exact match for the search query.
Use title modifiers
Apart from impressing search engines with the rightful practices, you also need to impress users. So, use modifiers to hone the value of your titles.
However, the title length should not exceed 60 characters.
Tip: Avoid using stop words like about, for, it, various etc. and set your maximum length to 50 characters so that they look short and sweet.
Optimize your Content
Here comes the most important part of the on-page SEO. After all, users visit your website or blog to read your content and take action. Moreover, search engines verify the relevancy, originality and readability of the content to rank accordingly and build trust in your website based on the content quality. Also, content is one of the major Google ranking factors. So, you need to invest more time and effort on content optimization in order to improve your search engine rankings.
What is content optimization?
The process of adding more value to your web pages with impressive content to attract users and search engines for better ranks is called content optimization. This process involves transforming keywords to influential text that contributes to higher ranks in SERP.
Below are the 5 steps to hone your content on the website and make it SEO friendly as well as user friendly.
Duplicate content or similar type of content is a negative ranking factor that fetches you Google penalties. Moreover, readers are not interested in duplicate or copy content. If you provide the exact or similar content that is already present on other sites, then users will simply bounce and never return.
So, ensure your content is completely unique. Also, as said, unique content makes search engines build trust in your website.
In order to stand out from the crowd and outrank them, you need to have some unique stuff always.
Provide valuable content or useful content
You are simply out of the game if you are posting the content to add more volume to your website or cover the keywords. Your content should be informative, useful, motivating and valuable to users. They invest their time to read your content so never disappoint them with boring or meaningless content.
Tips to write impressive content that drives huge traffic
- Educate users with worthy tips, and case studies.
- Help them learn the concepts with step-by-step guides.
- Provide related resources – remember the point outbound links?
- Write your content in such a way that everybody can understand it.
- Make it more interesting with strong designs, and graphics.
Great content that mixed up with the above mentioned parameters delivers great user experience. And Google loves websites that focus on enhancing user experience.
Search for the keyword “red shoes” and Google shows you shopping results of the red shoes. How? Yes, you’re right? Google has grown enough smarter that it identifies your intention is to buy the trendy red shoes.
The concept of search intent has grown popular in recent days as Google started to focus on it to improve user experience. So, you have no option but to optimize your content according to search intent to rank well on search results.
Moreover, if your content meets the user’s search intent, there are high chances that they –
- Click on your page
- Stay on your page for more time
- Don’t bounce and visit your competitors
- Convert well
These, in turn, boost your CTR, organic traffic, conversions, page and website rankings.
Show some creativity and copywriting skills
There is competition in every niche and there are opportunities too. In order to sustain the competition and stand out, your content must reflect creativity, uniqueness and catchy. So, add some humor, touch your reader’s hearts, and motivate them to take the action with your words.
Thus post captivating content on your site or blog to drive more traffic and boost your traffic.
As a result, your page dwell time, which is again a powerful ranking factor increases.
Optimize Content for CTR
As discussed above click-through-rate is crucial for a website to rank better. The lower CTR degrades your position on search results as Google assumes it as an irrelevant or unworthy page. So, track your average CTR to stay aware of how your page is performing.
Here are the steps to optimize the click-through-rate of your website.
Fill meta description manually
Like mentioned in the above sections, meta descriptions play a major role in improving your click through rate. So, fill in your meta description manually in your own words to describe about the web page. Thus it helps users to decide whether or not visit your site. Even if someone doesn’t visit your page looking at your description, you need not worry. You lowered the bounce rate.
Add FAQ & review schema
Hope you know about the importance of rich and featured snippets. They drive double traffic to the site as your page is shown more than once in the search results and help with additional information without even clicking on your page. When you appear multiple times in SERP or appear with reviews, you gain more visibility, trust and traffic to your site.
But is that easy to show up as a featured or rich snippet? Yes! Adding FAQ schema, review schema in your content helps to show up as snippets.
You can set up your snippets or track them using Google Structured Data tool.
Use question tags
If you want to rank better for a blog post or article, using a question tag as the title is one of the best practices. Reason? Because they are generally the long-tail keywords and also include modifiers. And you already know how effective are long tail keywords and modifiers to improve your CTR. Moreover, the question keywords are less competitive but of notable volume.
You can find tons of question keywords at AnswerThePublic.com and other tools.
Make your titles look natural yet effective
Though it is necessary to write catchy and effective titles that attract users. You can’t make them so powerful or robust that search engines consider them spammy. So, avoid stuffing keywords in your title or description, and avoid using all CAPITAL LETTERS, as that causes difficulty to read.
Include current year
The next simple you need to do while writing your title or description is including the current year. That says, the content is fresh and an updated one. So, though you don’t rank among the first three results chances are high that people visit your page as they feel yours is a recently published content.
Focus on User Experience
A website that provides positive user experience has the following advantages.
- Improved dwell time
- Lower bounce rate
- Repeated visitors
- More traffic
- Higher rank on search engines result pages
Moreover, improving user experience is not an onerous task. You could do it much easily following the below simple steps.
Push key info to the top
People visit your blog, search for the required information and expect to find it as quickly as possible in the beginning lines. If they don’t find any useful or desired information at the starting of your article, they simply go back and visit your competitors. So, to avoid this negative situation it is recommended to provide the key information at the top of the page and avoid using boring lines. Additionally, make the beginning part of your article engaging, so that they keep reading even after they find what they are searching for.
Use H2 tags, bullets, images
To impress your readers you need to first write content that is easily understandable by them. Also, make it into parts, use more bullets and infographics or images to make the content more easy-to-understand. Readers fall in love with the content that simplifies complex topics.
Master an active community
You can furthermore improve the user experience of your site by creating some space to engage with your users. So, you can understand what worked well and what did not. Moreover, maintaining an active community helps you in two ways
- Adds more content to your page
- Lets new visitors to stay some more time on your page (so, less bounce rate)
In order to improve your website loading speed, along with optimizing caches, minimizing codes, and removing unnecessary plugins or addons you also need to optimize your media files. Especially your images. The best way to optimize images is to compress the size.
Also, image optimization helps in improving your visibility. You can add original images and tag them with a keyword or your brand name.
So, how do you do that? Simple.
Include a keyword in the alt text and in the file name.
Advanced On-Page SEO Tips
So, now that you have learned what is on-page SEO and how to do on-page SEO to your website much effectively. Look at the below helpful advanced tips that help you boost your ranking much faster and drive you more organic traffic.
- Optimize your content for featured snippets. Wondering how you do that? There are SEO tools that help know what content is already ranking in snippets. So, find them, analyze why they ranked, and implement it to your site. The best way is to use step-by-step procedures or bullets and short definitions in your content.
- As already said, Google identifies and values the original content. The same goes for images. So, try to include original images or graphics with proper optimization to rank better.
- Voice search is gaining popularity these days. So, try to optimize for the same, so you don’t miss the people who love and utilize the voice search feature.
- In order to attract people, your site should be easy-to-understand and visually appealing as well. So, provide users with easy understanding content by including short videos in your content.
- Internal linking has great benefits. So, provide enough internal links within your pages, especially from the pages that have backlinks from high authority domains. As they pass value to your other important pages.
- Content is king always. So make sure you post some value always. Write a detailed, understandable and engaging content to impress the users as well as search engines.
- Utilize the SEO tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz etc. for keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, finding your position on search engine results etc.
As on-page SEO is one of the most crucial tasks yet easiest one for SEOs. To make it much easier follow the above steps and boost your website ranking and drive more targeted organic traffic to your site.