Search engine optimization or SEO is a crucial part of digital marketing strategies. It involves optimizing your website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). There are three major categories of SEO: On-page, Off-page, and Technical SEO. On-page SEO refers to all the activities you perform on your website to enhance its visibility and searchability. Off-page SEO is focused on activities outside your website that signal to search engines that your site is valuable and authoritative. Lastly, technical SEO refers to any activities that make your site easier for search engines to crawl and index.
In this article, we'll cover the basics of on-page SEO, including what it is, why it's important, and how to get started with it. We'll also discuss the most critical components of on-page SEO, such as title tags, headings, meta descriptions, content, images, and URLs.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO, as we've already mentioned, refers to all the activities that you perform on your website to optimize your pages for search engine rankings. Google algorithms factor in a lot of on-page elements when assessing a website's relevancy to a particular search query. In simpler terms, your website's on-page SEO directly impacts its search engine ranking, visibility, and discoverability.
Why is it Important?
Properly executed on-page SEO can make a significant difference in your website's search rankings, increase traffic, and attract more visitors to your site. Good on-page SEO can help you create a better user experience by improving your site's speed, readability, and structure. Not to mention, on-page SEO can also make your website more discoverable to search engines, helping you rank higher in SERPs.
Getting Started With On-Page SEO for Beginners
Before you begin optimizing your website, it's important to conduct keyword research so you can identify the keywords and phrases that your target audience is using to search for the products or services that you offer. You can use various tools, such as Mangools, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush to find relevant and high-search-volume keywords that your target audience is using. Once you've identified your relevant keywords, the next step is to use them correctly on your website.
Here are some essential on-page SEO factors that you need to focus on:
Title tags are HTML elements that define the title of your webpage. Title tags show up in three primary locations: search engine results pages, the browser's title bar, and social media networks. Your title tags should be natural, easy to read, and include your target/focus keywords.
Tips for creating title tags:
It is best to mention your target/focus keywords as soon as possible. Since most people are skimming search engine results pages, they are looking for titles that best (and closely) match their initial search queries.
Search engine results pages have limited real estate, so its important that you use the space to your advantage. Best practices indicate that title tags should be between 30-60 characters. We recommend keeping title tags short, sweet, and concise; therefore, staying closer to 30 characters is our preferred method. You can determine the character count for your title tags use this free tool.
You should create unique title tags for each page. As your website grows and more pages are added, it becomes increasingly important that differentiate your content. One of the main reasons to differentiate your content is to avoid keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization is a term used to describe a situation in which multiple pages on a particular site is ranking for the same keywords. Not only is it confusing for search engines (which are designed to provide the most useful search experience for users) it can hurt overall rankings because Google cannot determine which content to rank higher.
Meta descriptions are HTML elements that summarize your page's content. They show up on the SERPs below your title tags and are aimed at encouraging users to click on your link. Meta descriptions should be compelling, concise, include your target keywords, as well as an engaging call-to-action (CTA). As with title tags, it is best practice to be mindful of the amount of characters used in meta descriptions (usually between 150-160 characters including a CTA).
Header tags, such as H1, H2, H3, etc., are used to structure content on a webpage and provide hierarchical information to search engines. The H1 tag should only be used once on a page and should include your primary keyword to provide a clear indication of the page's topic. H2 and H3 tags are used to indicate subheadings, making your content more digestible for users.
Source: SE Ranking - HTML Heading Tags
High Quality Content
Content is the most important on-page SEO element. Your website's content should be high-quality, informative, relevant to your target audience, and should be written with the user in mind. As marketers or professionals in our field, it is easy to skimp on detailed explanations because there is a general understanding of the topic at hand; this isn't the same for your target audience. Users are looking for valuable insights and information while conducting their search. Therefore, it is better to provide as much clear, concise, and digestible information as possible. Your content should also naturally include the targeted keywords to help search engines understand the focus of your page.
According to a study by Backlinko, longer content tends to rank higher in search results, with the average Google first-page result containing around 1,890 words. From experience, we've come to realize that long-form content has its perks and can do wonders for intended audiences; however, we've seen pages rank high with a word count of about 650-900 words. With that, the most crucial fact that demands consistent consideration is quality. Quality trumps all.
Optimizing images is crucial for enhancing on-page SEO. Compressing image file sizes, using descriptive file names, and adding alt text with relevant keywords can improve website performance and make images more discoverable in search engines. Studies have shown that pages with optimized images tend to rank higher in search results.
Internal linking involves linking to other relevant pages within a website. It helps search engines understand the website's structure, establishes hierarchy and context, and distributes authority and ranking power across pages. Effective internal linking can enhance user navigation, reduce bounce rates, and improve search engine rankings.
Your URL structure can affect your website's search engine rankings and user experience. Your URLs should be short, descriptive, and include your targeted keywords. For example, if the page content focuses on optimizing your website for search engines, then your URL should read (or in any variation of the following):
Search engines prefer URLs that are easy to read, contain relevant keywords, and accurately reflect the page's content. A study by Backlinko found that short URLs tend to perform better in search results.
On-page SEO can have a significant impact on your website's search engine rankings and visibility. It involves optimizing your website's structure, content, and other elements to make it more discoverable and relevant to your target audience. By following the best practices for on-page SEO and incorporating relevant keywords, you can boost your website's optimization for better search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your site. With the right on-page SEO strategy, you can reach new heights in your digital marketing journey.
One More Thing
On-page SEO is one of many techniques you can implement to get seen on search engine result pages (SERPs). As we mentioned before, keyword research is the piece of the puzzle that makes (or breaks) your SEO efforts. We’ve crafted a blog covering keyword research and how to keep the ball rolling:
The SEMpress Digital team is here to help. We offer personalized SEO and PPC packages that are designed to fit the needs of your business. What’s stopping you from investing the time and money into your craft right now? Let’s make magic happen. View our services and contact us today!