It is often said that the more things change, the more they remain the same and this is true for SEO to some extent. The same old rules still apply even today, albeit with some few changes and adjustments. On-page SEO has had drastic changes over the past few years, but the basics still remain the same. Before we go any further, it’s important to define what on-page SEO is since after all this is a beginner’s guide to on-page SEO.
To begin, on-page SEO revolves around optimising web pages to ensure they are easily discoverable by search engine algorithms. The purpose of all this is to ensure your web pages rank higher in search engines. When your web page is on the top slots of search engine results pages (SERPS) you enjoy more traffic.
Users rarely go past the first two pages of search engines whenever they have a query. Why? – Because they would have already found a solution for what they are looking for on the first two pages. So it is important to ensure that your web pages are always ranked high, or you will be on the losing end.
What are the key pillars of on-page SEO?
The following pointers will ensure that your title tag is properly optimised for SEO:
Keywords & keyword research
Make sure you begin with basic keyword research use the main keyword within the first 100 words of the content. This ensures that search engine algorithms underhand what your content is all about, right from the onset. Search engines recognize web pages through keywords.
Keyword frequency may help the algorithms understand that the page and content is centred on that specific keyword. So, having the keyword evenly distributed on a page makes it more discoverable. However, keyword frequency is not to be confused with keyword stuffing! The keywords must be strategically placed and flow naturally within the page. Keyword stuffing will have the opposite effect, meaning it will do more damage than good to your pages.
Use of words or phrases related to the main keyword makes your pages easily discoverable on search queries. The search of one will always lead to another because they are related. Using keyword derivatives on your pages supports the anchor keyword. This will ultimately make it easier for search engines to discover and understand what your page is all about. The more search engines understand your page, the more they will appear in user search queries. You may also want to learn about query types.
Keyword on the title tag.
It is imperative that your main keyword be on your title tag. Most importantly, make sure that the keyword appears on the front part/ first half of the title tag. However, this does not mean that it must appear at the beginning. Make sure it is naturally placed at the front part of the title tag and it reads well.
Use of strategic words or statements, commonly known as modifiers on your title tag is vital. For instance, using words such as NEW, GUIDE, REVIEW, UNDERSTAND, HOW TO, ALL ABOUT and so on will ensure that your page is easily discoverable.
Question title tags are also valuable because they seem to ask a question and provide a solution. Users are more likely to click on a title tag that has a question than one that does not.
Avoid title tags that look like they are click bait. It is all about being moderate in the words you choose for your title tag. Use of moderate call-to-action words is > alarmist statements on the title tag.
H1 & H2 tag
The use of H1 and H2 tags is very vital in SEO. Above all, make sure that the title keyword is wrapped in both tags.
External outbound links
Make use of external links. If your page contains links to authority sites in your industry, search engines will understand that your page is a good resource for such info, giving it a major boost. This is an old SEO trick that is still very relevant up to now.
The pages on your website should be linked to each other, preferably those that are centred on certain keywords. This ensures that pages with less traffic gain more traffic from those with more. It also reduces the bounce rate on your pages, because users are able to find resourceful info from one page to the other.
Your URL forms a very vital part of your on-page SEO. To ensure that your URL is SEO friendly, it needs to be keyword-rich and relatively short. URL optimisation is one of the latest on-page SEO trends currently used by search engines.
Do not leave your Meta description blank. In fact, ensure that it is strategically written and optimised in order to boost your content. A perfect Meta description must include the main keyword and modifiers. The keyword should only be used once in the description. The meta description can boost your page in search results queries, which is why it’s important for it to be unique and strategically written. However, Google may rewrite the meta description depending on the user’s query and even device.
Content is king! All the on-page SEO perks will be of no good if your content is bogus. What is the impact of content on-page SEO?
Your content must be:
Content that breathes a wave of fresh air to search engines is what you need. In a world where thousands of new pages of content are added to search engines on a daily basis, your content needs to stand out for it to be ranked highly. In a nutshell, have content that cannot be found anywhere else and your web pages will rule the search engines.
-It must add value
For content to add value it must not only be unique, it must also be detailed; meaning it has a lot more to offer than just words. For instance, the use of infographics, diagrams and images supports the text and thus helps in communicating the information easily to the reader.
Content must be properly written and easy to understand. Above all it must adhere to grammar, punctuation and spelling guidelines.
It is also very important that the content is up-to-date; otherwise it will be deemed as no longer useful by search engines.
Additionally, content that has been written by an industry-expert/ insider with a proven track record is also usually highly convertible compared to one written by a no-name.
You need to make it easy for users to find a solution to their questions right from the onset. For instance having a well-structured infographic at the top of your page before you get to the text may work out pretty well. This is because it answers user’s queries in a very simple and understand way. However, having a large image that occupies like half the page at the top will inhibit users from accessing the meaty part of content which will be translated as being counter-productive by search engine algorithms.
Auditing content helps you identify content that is no longer useful or has become outdated. You have the option to either remove such pages or update the content to make it search engine algorithm friendly.
Responsive web design ensures that your pages have high loading speed. As a result, user experience will be enhanced and everyone, including search engines, will be happy.
A lot goes into image optimization, namely:
- – A Keyword rich filename
- – Alt text (which is more or less describing the image in a search engine friendly language)
- – Image size- you do not want to upload an image that is too large, otherwise it will affect your page`s load speed.
- – Image format- Use easily discoverable formats such as JPEG, PNG and GIF
- – Image sitemaps- sitemaps make it easy for search engines to find your images. You therefore need to be very strategic while describing the images on your pages in order to make the search engine`s work easier.
After reading and understanding this beginner’s guide to on-page SEO, our hope is that you will soon be ready for some more advanced concepts such as Topical vs Keyword Optimisation A Guide To Modern SEO and Promotional vs Informative In Content Marketing And SEO.
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