On page SEO is a specific type of search engine optimization which is done internally on individual pages. This method focuses on what a website can do directly to increase its own rankings while naturally growing traffic.
There are a range of different ways this can be done, but there are some things which should always be standard.
Read on to find out the most important aspects of On Page SEO which no webmaster should ever neglect:
Use Keywords for On Page SEO
A big part of on page SEO is choosing and implementing the right keywords, and this starts with a website’s own content.
This isn’t just for big media publications but could refer to any of the following:
- Blog Posts
- Product Reviews
- eCommerce Product Listings
Determine the keywords before starting a new post, remembering they need to be relevant to the content and target audience. Over time this will come naturally and the style of writing used will be adapted.
For those who need some assistance in keyword research the internet is packed with handy tools. One popular option which includes analytics is SemRush. This is free to start with, but some costs may occur if a subscription is desired.
To avoid overcrowding with keywords and repeating the same phrase over and over, try to use similar key phrases which complement the content.
Where to Use Keywords?
The keywords have been chosen, but where do they go?
In the title
Once the keywords have been selected, make sure to include them in the title of the post. For example, the keyword for this article could be “On Page SEO”. Having a clear post title not only alerts the search engines to the topic, but gives readers a clear indication of what they should expect when reading the article.
In the URL
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and this refers to the address of any web page. Include the keyword in the URL where possible, but don’t make it too long.
WordPress has an option for creating unique permalinks which are friendly for search engines. These should not be changed once created. Try to get it right the first time. WordPress is a free platform which many webmasters use due to its flexibility, powerful structure, ease of use and SEO friendly features.
In the first paragraph
Balancing the right placement and frequency of keywords can be hard, but the main focus should always be readability. If it makes sense, include the keyword in the first paragraph of the article. This can then be repeated throughout the content, but don’t overdo it.
Words should flow and keywords should sound as though they are meant to be there. They shouldn’t stand out awkwardly and turn readers off.
In a heading
Headings are important and more information will be given later in this post, but while on the subject of keywords – don’t forget this step.
On Page SEO should always include headings and if it fits, use the keyword in a heading. This should preferably be near the beginning of the post. Search engines are said to prioritise information which is above the fold.
This is what hooks readers in and is the first thing they see, so put the best work at the start. Plus, it might just keep them on the page longer, or browsing the site further… and that is a win!
In any images
Images play a role in making a website look appealing, but they can be used for SEO purposes. This is often referred to as image optimization.
Uploaded graphics generally have an option of having alternative text (alt text), and this space should be taken advantage of.
Use keywords to describe the images, as it is extra information the search engines can pick up on. Don’t use generic file names such as image.jpg, instead try to implement the keywords.
The added advantage to this is a higher ranking in Google Image search, this is quickly becoming a popular search option.
Make the Most of Links
When it comes to on page SEO, links from external websites aren’t the only type of links which count. What is done on an internal page does bare some weight.
Start by removing any broken links and make sure there are no errors. Always try to link to other pages within the website, this shows a common link for SEO purposes. It also encourages users to keep browsing for longer.
When linking externally, always make sure the sources are relevant. They should come from an authority and enhance the experience of the visitor. Try not to hyperlink pages from random phrases which don’t relate to the destination. One example is if it is a link to a dog wash don’t use “click here”, but instead try “dog wash”.
Regardless if the links are for internal or external pages, the relevancy rules don’t change.
Use Meta Descriptions
A meta description is a short snippet of text, which is used to describe the page to a search engine. This description shows up when the page appears in search results and is often a determining factor in whether or not someone clicks the link. A meta title is the name of the page and can be included with the description.
A meta description should be under 160 words, as this is the maximum which will be shown. Keep the content relevant and inviting. It needs to encourage an action while matching the content.
These are added to the header of the website, but different platforms may have plugins or areas where Meta descriptions can be more easily inserted.
Include Heading Tags
When reading a book, it is broken up into chapters for easy reading. Looking at this from a web design perspective, headings serve a similar purpose.
Many people will scan a page with their eyes, and headings alert them as to what to read next. It is cleaner, and they are more likely to read the information more carefully.
Using heading tags such as <H1> <H2> or <H3> show what is important. It also allows emphasis to be placed on those keywords. Try to only use the <H1> tag once as it is essentially a second title.
The others going down the list work as sub headings. Break up any paragraphs and preview the work to decide how easy it is to read for the end user. Include bullets or numbers if it is suitable to do so.
Remember, writing for the internet is going to be completely different to writing for a uni lecturer. It needs to be easy to follow, or people will abandon the page in favor of a more interesting one.
Work on the Content
By now, the importance of strong content should be clear. While it might sound repetitive, it is something which cannot be neglected when it comes to On Page SEO.
Unique, fresh content is key and the word count should be pushed that little bit longer. Well researched, useful content is good for search engines, readers and potential back links.
Focus on shareable content, and update the website regularly. The abbreviation QDF might sound familiar. This stands for Query Deserves Freshness and is an algorithm which is used by Google to determine popular subjects.
If multiple sources are discussing the same topic, those websites who are using relevant keywords will be given a boost. While Google algorithms are changing all the time, keeping up with content trends makes sense!
What are Canonical Tags?
Unique content has been mentioned, but sometimes there will be multiple URLs pointing to the same website. A search engine will note this and it will appear to be duplicate content.
Choosing one link to be the search engine priority is called a canonical link. While there may be plugins to do this, a simple snippet of code rel=canonical will do the trick. This is placed inside the header, from the non canonical page linking to the canonical page.
It should look something like this:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://example.com/thepreferredcanonicallink/”>
A canonical link works when duplicate content may be needed without the risk of disadvantage. This may be especially common in eCommerce stores.
But, what about a 301 Redirect Instead?
Alternatively, a 301 redirect will permanently direct users from one URL to another. This can be done via a text file titled .htaccess which is uploaded to the website’s server.
A 301 redirect is for when old content has been moved to a new link structure, or a page has been modified. Simply put, it is for when one version is no longer required.
Focus on Faster Loading Pages
Websites which are fast loading and error free will be a priority for search engines. Keep the software updated and avoid overwhelming users with graphic rich advertisements.
Keep images compact and reduce loading times of any videos within the posts. Check the speed of any website with the PageSpeed Insights.
In just a few seconds a report will be created with an analysis of on page optimization tips on how to fix any issues. This will give a rating of how well the website is performing.
Put it All Together
On Page SEO is an important part of a bigger SEO strategy. Taking a small amount of time to correctly format each page will make a difference.
Choose the right platform and plugins will be available to make this task simpler. Throw in a few headings, decrease loading time, add correct keywords and use meta descriptions.
Optimizing a website does not have to be hard, it just requires dedication and up to date information. Do the research and have a consistent structure throughout the website.