On Page Optimization – A Complete Walkthrough
Getting a good ranking in a search engine hasn’t been the easiest thing for many. Search engines are getting more smarter & intelligent everyday, so now it takes more than just good content to top your competitors. On page optimization is one of the very first step of SEO which every webmaster should look into. It probably won’t even take you an hour to learn and implement some of these on-page optimization techniques. But you may ask me, why it is so important? – Well literally speaking, if you can do proper on-page optimization for your website you can not only rank well in a search engine but also can increase the overall readability of your website for your visitors.
Below I have tried to summarize some of the most important on-page optimization techniques for you. You can implement some of these if not all to give your site a better exposure to the search engines as well as to increase your overall CTR (Click-Through-Rate) ratio.
What is On-Page SEO?
If you type “on-page SEO” into Google, Moz will tell you—through a featured snippet—it is “the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.”
It takes into account all aspects of the webpage that, when added together, will improve your rankings in the search results. As Google becomes more sophisticated, one of the major factors influencing on-page optimization is relevance. How relevant is your page to the query? That’s how you have to think when you’re developing the page. Think of these tasks as a benefit to your end user. You have about eight seconds to influence a visitor to interact with your website. The more interaction and engagement, plus the longer your users stay on the site, the better their experience.
If you put effort into these categories and strategies, you’ll see a boost in traffic and a rise in your search presence. Once you understand everything that goes into your on-page SEO efforts, conduct an analysis of your site to see how the anatomy of your page is performing.
The meta description conveys what users will find on the page. While not a direct ranking factor, search engines read the meta descriptions to determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value.
A well-written meta description can generate a competitive advantage in the search results, creating a higher click-through rate with a greater chance of conversions. While there is a possibility that Google will omit the custom description and pull an excerpt of the content on the page, it is recommended that you fill in the meta description for every page of your site.
There are multiple tags on your page. The most important is your title tag. The title is what users see in the search engines for both organic results and paid ads, and the words that appear at the top of each tab in your browser. The title tag outlines what the page is about. When ranking web pages for particular queries, Google looks at the title tag and compares that to the rest of the content on the page.
If you’re working in HTML, the code for the title tag looks like this:
<title>Everything You Need to Know About On-Page SEO</title>
When it comes to writing URL strings, they should be short, concise, and easily readable. How can we create the perfect URL string?
When analyzing the length of URLs, Ahrefs found that shorter URLs tend to rank better. The study looked at the length of the URL and a number of folders. They counted each root domain as one folder, and each backslash after the root as another folder.
- http://domain.com (Folders = 1)
- http://domain.com/folder1 (Folders = 2)
- http://domain.com/folder1/folder2 (Folders = 3)
The report concluded that URLs with fewer folders tended to rank better, as well. Rand Fishkin of Moz said more folders can “create a perception of depth for both engines and users, as well as making edits to the URL string considerably more complex.”
From an inferior product or service pages to blog posts, the way we write URLs is an SEO practice that you must consider. Each word in your URL should be separated by a hyphen (-) and not an underscore (_). When you have two pages displaying almost the same content or information, set up a 301 redirect or canonicalization tag (rel=canonical) to the stronger page. This avoids duplicate content and shows Google which page to rank.
Keep your URL short. The shorter the URL, the easier it is to share or embed while creating a better user experience. You want your readers to quickly identify what your page is about without seeing numbers, categories, symbols, or a mixture of everything included in the string.
Utilize your primary keyword in the URL. Like other factors of on-page, don’t let your URL string sound unnatural or forced with keywords. Try to make it around five words, clearly outlining the information your users will find. Don’t leave your visitors left wondering what’s on the page before they click. The title, meta description, and URL should make it clear.
User-Friendly, Authoritative Content
As Google crawls your page, they’re looking to match user intent. Your content should clearly explain what product or service you’re offering, or the exact topic of your blog.
The internet is cluttered with content, and it’s important that you ensure yours is unique. One of the most common sayings you’ll hear in the world of SEO and content marketing is “content is king.” In fact, SEO and content marketing do a lot of overlapping.
They complement each other. Content involves the use of words—keywords—and writing for human value while still appeasing the search engines. This is what makes the foundation of SEO and the vast majority of your on-page.
Think of content as having a conversation with your readers. Are they going to be interested or entertained? Or are they going to be bored and leave your site? When you create content, it must prove you’re an authority in your field. The best content speaks directly to your customers, shows them the value you offer and entices them to read further or contact your company.
To improve your on-page and SEO to increase your traffic, content must solve a user’s problem while being well-written without spelling or grammatical errors. Be careful not to run into any problems by failing to adhere to the major Google algorithm updates.
Be Aware of the Google Algorithm
To help weed out the websites that achieved high rankings with spammy, keyword stuffed, and thin content, Google unleashed the Panda algorithm in February of 2011, updating it regularly. If you still have low quality and thin content, your website won’t be found online.
Jennifer Slegg wrote an informative and definitive guide to understanding the Panda algorithm. She quotes a Google spokesperson as saying, “At the end of the day, content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”
Optimize Your Images
When you’re adding images to the page, it benefits the user experience. But, you can also help your SEO strategy by optimizing the image. Make your top targeted keyword the alt text and create a title that is unique, but stays applicable to the image. The featured image of this article has a unique title and the alt-text of what this post is about.
Optimizing the alt tags gives Google another indication of what your page is about. The alt tag should be used to describe what’s on the image, so we’re back to relevance again. It won’t make sense to have a picture of a Hummingbird with the alt tag “panda.”
Here’s the value of the alt tag. Think about when the image won’t load, what will the user see? The alt tag. Don’t stuff your keywords into alt tags. Make sure they fit the image and make the picture relevant. As Yoast says, “The image should reflect the topic of the post, or have illustrative purposes within the article, of course.”
Images play a crucial role in conversions. For SEO purposes, make sure they’re scaled correctly. The larger the image, the longer your page will take to load. Scale the image appropriately and make sure it shows in the smallest possible size. We’re living in a visual world, and while content is the most important, make sure your images are capturing attention, as well.
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