What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the idea of optimzing individual web pages to rank higher and get more organic traffic in the SERP (search engine result pages). On-page refers to the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized to the needs and desires of audience and search engines algorithms. As opposed to off-page SEO which involves links and external signals.
Why is on-page SEO important?
Marketers and content handlers employ On-page SEO techniques to achieve the feat of pointing out ‘some from all’. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps in improved site traffic and drive organic traffic to the targeted page. It’s a sustainable approach to grow and expand your internet footprint and On-page is one of the key component in SEO.
In modern times, businesses strive to use every platform at their disposal to create awareness about their brands. In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic scenario. It’s really important for companies, from humble startups to big industry giants, to maintain a convincing digital presence over the internet.
Apart from social media endorsing and viral content, companies need to build compelling websites that outline what they are and what they provide. The engagement, in the shape of site visits, will help them gain sales in the long run. But it’s hard to stand out from the crowd and cyberworld is stuffier than you think.
There is ‘on-page SEO checklist for 2021’ that can help you, both directly and indirectly, in better site rankings and page influence.
Here it goes:
1. Start your title tag with your primary keyword
Search engines will find your content real soon, if you put your primary keyword at the beginning of your title tag. This is, by far, one of the most important factors for on-page SEO.
It allows search engines, like Google, and other search engines to have a look at the crux of the main topic in the least possible time. If you can’t come up with the best optimized title tags, you can use AI generators that can do the job for you. It’s important to have this in place.
2. ‘H1’ is the page title
‘H1’ tags make sure your title is effectively scanned by Google and others search engines. What’s in HTML is important and search engines look for it. If the title is not in the ‘H1’, it can be easily missed.
Website building platform, like WordPress, and Wixsite takes care of it for you if the theme is supported. You’d have to do it manually if you are using some other platform.
3. Your URL must have your primary keyword
As revealed in 2016 by a Google roundtable session, it’s a ranking factor to have the primary keyword in your URL.
Maybe it’s a small factor, but you must keep it in your best SEO practices. Something is better than nothing, right?
Microsoft Internet Explorer has a URL size limit. The maximum length of a URL in the address bar is 2048 characters. However, the successful processing of extra-long links by the browser doesn't mean that a search robot will be able to process them too. The appropriate page URL is 75 characters long.
As for indexing documents with long URLs (over 75-120 characters), they are generally indexed quite well, although there may be difficulties in the ranking.
4. URL length
Search engines pages and sites that have clear and concise URL structure. If you ask why, it is because it helps search engines scan your content quickly. It adds clarity and makes it less consuming to scan through it. Users see it easier to remember and share. Your URL length must not be increase
5. Meta Description should contain target keyword
When it comes to meta description, search engines pay much attention to them, so should you. Tinkering with the structure of your meta description helps both you and the user. It helps in highlighting the primary keyword once again. The users get a closer look at what the page is all about.
6. User Experience is a must
Websites and pages should be designed and layered out properly to help users navigate through them. It means content layout and format plays a vital role if someone wants to scan through it to find a solution. Breaking texts into small paragraphs, concise headings, and using bullet points where necessary can help in boosting users experience.
7. Original content
To ensure the same content doesn't rank with the same keyword twice, search engines are designed to only promote the original content. If content is copied on multiple websites, search results will show only one of the many pages.
8. Readability & freshness of the content
Google used to classify content as ‘Basic’, ‘Intermediate’, and ‘Advanced’. It was based on reading level. For a majority of sites on the internet, readability should be as close to basic as possible. It can help browsers easily find what they look for.
Fresh and updated content drive more traffic to the site than any other factor. Search engines clearly state the date and time of a post, which helps people determine the credibility and relevance of it.
9. Placement of primary keyword
It’s desirable to get to the primary keyword as soon possible. Many writers strive for first 50 to 100 words, which help search engines scan through the content in the least possible time. Make sure the primary keyword is in its proper place.
Always, be sure never to compromise on grammar punctuation of your text. Mistakes in spelling and syntax do not destroy your website altogether, but they put a bad name to your site and page.
10. ‘H2’ tags for subheadings
Site visitors love it when headings are broken down in legible subheadings. It makes it clearer for them to wade through the content. It adds structure to the site and content and helps in improved site rankings.
11. Proper use of LSIs
To provide context, LSI keywords must be used. These are the words and phrases that relate your topic and your content. The value of LSIs is debatable but they help to infuse spirit of the content with the topic and help in getting website traffic from related keywords.
12. Keyword research
Sometimes, search engines use ‘semantic search’. This means that a page will rank for a synonym of the main heading of the page. Topics which are closely related have the tendency to be bundled up by the search engines.
Research is the key when it comes to keyword utility and search volume. Done properly can boost site hits and drive more inward traffic.
13. Order of the keyword
Rankings are affected by the order and place of the keyword on the page. It’s of vital importance to cover basics, because people use varying search terms with the same intent. Word order can seriously manipulate your search rankings. Ideally, a mixture of keywords should be used to acquire desired results.
14. Outbound links
Citations and links to original pages add value to your site and content. It adds authority to the topics you have discussed. Be sure to use relevant anchor text.
15. Internal links
One aspect of on-page SEO which is mostly overlooked is the internal link building strategy. These are links that relate one page from another within the same website, based on relevance of content. The added value helps readers in understanding the topic and they can have a clearer picture.
It also helps search engine scanners to read through multiple pages by giving them a new access point.
16. Live links
Dead links that land users on 404 pages are a waste of space and time. Be sure to make all the internal and external links on your site work. They do serious damage to the credibility of your content and the prestige of your page.
17. Alt tags for image optimization
Properly tagged, image alt tags can help in augmenting site rankings. It’s important to give a descriptive tag to an image, because it will be easier for search engine scanners to detect relevance of the image with the search query. Image alt tags can also help in keyword density, if you put keywords in the image alt tags.
18. Mobile friendly sites and pages
Google made it mandatory for developers to customize their websites with mobile formatting. It started in 2015, and in 2018, mobile first indexing was designed to measure the quality of a page, from a user point of view. It was only logical after the extensive use of smartphones in personal and professional life.
19. Site loading time
Way back in 2010, major search engine Google decided to use website speed as ‘site ranking factor’. A slow website is a waste of time for users and Google is not shying away to penalize such websites. You can easily get a hold of how much time your site takes to load. It should be your priority.
20. Site Security
Websites with HTTPs security started to get priority from Google in 2014. In the meantime, the idea expanded and made it into a general norm. Now, rarely a site ranks better if it does not have HTTPs encryption.
21. Dwell Time
It is the time that a human visitor spends on your site after finding the address through search engine results. The more dwell time, the more chances your page gets better ranking in search indexing.
There are three outcomes to every search result generated address. The visitor:
- Leaves after taking merely a look.
- Leaves after scanning through the content in a couple of minutes.
- Spends a long time browsing though it to find more.
The practice itself can help Google which site is better than others. To improve how much time people should dwell on your page, make sure to improve the quality and originality of the content using the latest and relevant on-page SEO techniques. This can help readers as well as search engines to rank your site higher.
22. Improve bounce rate of your pages
Bounce rate means how many humans visit your page and sign out before visiting another page. Google officially does not acknowledge bounce rate as the ranking factor for sites. But some studies show otherwise.
Bounce rate can be improved using:
- Internal link building
- Creative and unique content
- SEO copywriting techniques
Google Analytics can show the bounce rate of your webpage in real time. The less bounce time, the less chances of your site ending at the bottom of search results.
23. Length of a post
Short-form content always takes a hit, when compared to long-form content. Studies show that the longer the content, the more probability of it getting first page landing. Between areas of specialization and niches, word count and ideal length of a post can be altered.
24. Level of information
Content should have certain depth when it comes to relevant information. It should be long and addressing all the questions people come to find their answers for. More depth ensures more search engine scanners can go through your content.
25. Use images and embedded videos
A picture says more than a thousand words. It can’t be truer when it comes to on-page SEO practices. A picture or a video content can:
- Social sphere influence
- Enhance dwell time
- Optimize bounce rate
The practice adds value to content and drives waves of backlinks. Pictures and videos are also more relatable and target more audience.