The term “on-page SEO” refers to all the elements on a website that can be configured to improve the chances of that page ranking better in search engine results.
The elements of an on-page SEO include:
- The content of the page
- Titles and headings
- Targeted keywords
- The URL of the page
- The meta description
Let us dive into each of these elements to get an in-depth understanding of how on-page SEO impacts the ranking of a website and how to increase the position of that certain website on the search results.
- The content of the page
The content of a webpage plays an important role in on-page SEO. On-page SEO can be improved by adjusting many individual elements of a page’s content.
Optimizing the content of a webpage is crucial to improve on-page SEO because this is one of the primary factors search engines consider while ranking a website in the search results.
When evaluating a piece of content, one of the most important aspects to consider is how relevant it is to the keywords you want to rank for.
Before we jump into keywords let’s take a simple example of how properly optimized content is important for both visitors and search engines. For instance, let’s assume you clicked an article that says “101 great ideas for cake recipes” to know more about different types of cake recipes. But instead, it was all about shoes.
Search engines have always prioritized the relevancy factor which means it ensures that particular content has successfully met the user intent. Because if your target audience is searching for “great ideas for cake recipes”, you would not want them to read an article about shoes. This is exactly how a search engine works as well to rank relevant and valuable content in the search results.
Though this is an extreme example, it still helps to prove a wider point. The main factor to rank a page higher for a certain keyword, the content of that page must be relevant to that particular keyword.
For another example, you are not expecting a 500-word article when you click on a title saying “The complete guide to search engine optimization”. Here you are looking for an in-depth step-by-step guide to know everything about search engine optimization.
Similarly, if you are looking for “red women’s shoes”, you are certainly not expecting a page that has only black shoes to display.
Relevancy of a page’s content is thus crucial for a strong SEO strategy.
2. Titles and headings
Titles and headings help visitors as well as search engines to understand what the content on a page is about.
This is why it is crucial for the title and the headings to accurately describe the content of that particular article.
It is also important to use relevant keywords in the title and headings but make sure not to force them unnecessarily. The keywords should fit in the title or headings naturally.
Another thing to keep in mind is to use proper heading tags which are commonly known as H tags. The appropriate way to use these H tags is using the H1 tag for the title of the page and any headings of that page would be under the H2 tag. Subheadings are more likely to be under H3, H4, H5 and H6 according to the nature of your content.
For instance, here we used the title “What is on-page SEO” under the H1 tag whereas “Titles and headings” has an H2 tag. Similarly, the next section, “Keywords”, also has an H2 tag. If we had a subheading under this section according to this way it would have an H3 tag.
A user’s query is matched with relevant information on the internet by search engines. Keywords play a significant role in this process.
In the initial era of the search engine evolution, a page’s ranking used to depend on the number of times a certain keyword was used on a page.
Now if someone tries to stuff keywords into a page unnecessarily and unnaturally, search engines consider this as a red flag and are more likely to ban that page.
Here’s a mini-guide on how to use keywords in the right way.
Conduct keyword research
Before you choose what keyword, you want to rank for it is better to look for what keywords people are using to search for a particular query. You certainly don’t want to rank for a keyword that has zero monthly searches.
Include keywords on the relevant page
It is important to add relevant keywords to a page if you want to rank for a particular search term.
The best way to ensure that is to include the primary keyword in the title as well as in the headings, the first paragraph and the page’s URL. Although make sure you are not forcing the keywords just for the sake of optimizing the content for the search engines. At the core, your content is to provide value for the users and not search engines.
To ensure a proper on-page SEO strategy it is recommended to target more than one keyword on a certain page. Make sure the keywords are relevant and closely linked to meet the user intent more precisely. Like for example, if you are targeting the keyword “wedding photographer in Ealing”, it makes sense to include “wedding photography service in Ealing” as well.
With that being said, it is also advantageous to have separate pages for targeting different yet apparently similar keywords. For an instance, you might want to create two separate pages on “wedding photographer in Ealing” and “wedding photographer in Reading” to ensure an appropriate on-page SEO strategy.
Do not create multiple pages targeting the same keyword. You can target more than one keyword per page but it is never a good idea to target more than one page for a single keyword. This will put you in a situation where you’ll be competing with yourself in the search engines which means it will reduce the chances for you to rank.
Adding relevant images on a website will give search engines an additional hint of what the page is about.
These images should be optimized as well which means you need to put a descriptive title that includes keywords and describe the image using an alt tag which preferably should contain keywords as well.
One crucial thing to remember here is to stay away from adding stock images to pages and using their titles or tags as it can be marked as a copyright issue.
5. The page’s URL
Another factor to let users and search engines know about the content of your page is to optimize the page’s URL structure.
Make your URL as short and descriptive as possible, and use keywords wherever possible. Preferably the URL of the page should be quite similar to the title of that page.
6. The page’s Meta description
Meta descriptions don’t have a direct impact on the search engine rankings but it still plays an important part in driving traffic to the website.
Through meta description, search engines provide information about the content of the page.
For the question “how much does it cost to create a website,” an example of a snippet in Google’s search results appears. In the snippet, focus on how the words used in the question are bolded.
Meta descriptions should be unique, short yet descriptive and preferably consist of the primary keyword. Make sure it contains fewer than 160 characters in your page’s meta description.
Although we have just scratched the surface of on-page SEO best practices here, it should be enough to boost your website’s search engine rankings.
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