On-Page SEO – The Basics
So the term On-Page SEO is also known as “on-site SEO and this is where a web page is optimized for search engines and users. This includes optimizing title tags, internal links, content and URLs.
Even now in 2020, traditional on-page SEO still makes a difference because even though Google is much more clever than it was way back when, it still uses old school stuff like looking for a specific keyword on your page.
BUT, there is more to on-page SEO than keywords, to rank your content in 2020, you also need to optimize your content for:
Page loading speed
Optimize Your Content for SEO
Ok so we have explained why on-page SEO matters, you now need to start optimizing your content. If you’ve ever wondered how you actually use keywords on your page, keep reading.
Firstly you want to use your target keyword in the first 100 words. Again this is old school on-page SEO but it works. Try to use your main keyword once in the first 100-150 words of your article. Why do this? Google will put more weight on terms that show up early in your page.
Next you want to wrap your blog post title in an H1 Tag. The H1 tag is like a mini title tag and Google has stated that by using an H1 tag it “helps Google understand the structure of the page”. Thankfully most platforms like WordPress automatically add the H1 tag to your blog post.
Now you want to wrap subheadings in H2 Tags. You will want to include your target keyword in at least one subheading and then wrap that subheading in an H2 tag. Doing this isn’t going to make or break your on-page SEO but it won’t hurt.
The amount of times your keyword appears in your content is known as Keyword Frequency. Google might deny that using the same keyword multiple times helps but from an SEO point of view, experienced pros will tell you it definitely works. It makes sense, if you write an article and only mention the keyword once then how can Google be confident that the page is about that keyword? It’s not about keyword cramming, it’s simply mentioning the target word a few times to confirm to Google that your page is about that topic.
External (Outbound) Links will help Google figure out your page’s topic and it also shows Google that your page is producing good quality information.
Optimize URLs for SEO because this is more important than ever. Google recently started using weird versions of URLs in search results and even then then, the terms you use in your URL will show up here, plus URLs in the mobile and desktop SERP’s are now above the title tag.
In order to create SEO friendly URLs make sure your URLs are short and include a keyword in every URL. Simple.
Optimize Titles & Description Tags
It’s definitely worth optimizing your title and meta descriptions for SEO because according to Google, title tags still “help a lot” with rankings. The same applies for your description, Google may not use it to understand your content but searchers use it to figure out which result they are going to click on.
Front-Load the Title Tag and this will be the most important on-page SEO factor. The title tag will give the search engines a high level overview of what your page is about. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag then the more weight it will have with search engines. The keyword doesn’t have to be at the very beginning of the title but the closer to the front the better.
Use Title Tag Modifiers like “guide”, “best”, “fast”, “review” and “checklist” which can help you rank for long tail versions of your target keyword.
Use unique, keyword rich meta descriptions as this will help your result stand out and can boost your organic CTR. You will also want to include your keyword once in the description because Google bolds terms that match the searchers query.
Write SEO Content
Publishing content that is going to rank needs to be unique, really valuable and optimized for search content.
Content that is unique is putting information out there that brings something different to the table. It can be something like providing a new tip, a new cast study or how to streamline a step-by-step process.
Valuable content will always have a good starting point and to put that in context, around 4 million blog posts are published daily. To stand out and more importantly get noticed, your content needs to be super valuable. To do this well and to make your SEO content incredibly valuable you can add details like images, screenshots etc. Have strong copywriting that will engage readers and have content written by people that know their stuff.
To get on the first page of Google, unique and valuable content will help to do that. But to stay there then your page has to be exactly what a Google searcher wants.
Optimize for CTR
Click Through Rates are so important for two reasons, first CTR is a Google ranking factor and secondly increasing your CTR will drive more traffic to your website.
Using “Question Title Tags” has a higher organic CTR versus non-question titles.
Fill in missing meta descriptions is so important as mentioned previously and will almost certainly produce more clicks versus pages with a missing meta description.
On-Page UX Signals
This is how Google searchers interact with your content and believe it not not Google does pay attention to dwell time, bounce rate and other user interaction signals.
Put your headline and introduction front-and-centre. Don’t have the image so big that it pushes your content down the page.
You want visitors to read every word on your page but that rarely happens so make your content easy for people to skim through. Bullet points are a great way of doing this and info-graphics.
A blog that encourages comments will create a community which is excellent for bounce rate. These comments can contribute to new approaches and strategies and sometimes even become a little controversial which will keep people engaging and glued to you page.
Tips for Advanced On-Page SEO
Once you’ve optimized your page’s title and H1 tags there are other tips that can help take your on-page SEO reach the next level. Some useful strategies are:
Original Images are much better than stock photos, infact unique images far outrank stock photos.
Internal linking is massive for SEO, if you want to link from high authority pages on your site to pages that need boosting. You will want to use keyword rich anchor text. An example of a site that does this to it’s best is Wikipedia, they use tonnes of keyword rich internal links to every page.
Boosting your page speed is so important as searches will not hang around if your page doesn’t load. They will simply move onto the next company and you miss out.
Image optimization is where you want your image to have a descriptive filename and alt text. What this does is help Google understand what each image is showing.
Voice Search is growing very quickly. The best way to optimize your content for voice search is to create FAQ pages.