The Website Owner’s Guide to On-page SEO
October 14th 2022 | By Emma Grant
Google ranks websites on three main factors. These are technical SEO, off-page SEO and on-page SEO. On-page SEO is all about optimising various components of a website so that it ranks well in search, and drives traffic. Looking to learn more about how on-page SEO works? Read on for our ultimate guide.
What is on-page SEO?
Also known as onsite SEO, on-page SEO is the process of taking various front and backend components of a website and optimising them so that the site gets to the top of the search results and attracts more traffic.
On-page SEO components include content, meta tags, links, anchor text and more.
It’s the opposite to off-page SEO, which deals with the likes of backlinks, social media sharing and the like. Technical SEO is different still. This deals with speed optimisation, structured data and mobile friendliness, for example.
Why is on-page SEO important?
On-page SEO is important because it helps search engines understand your website and the content that’s on it. It also helps them ascertain whether the site is relevant to a searcher’s query.
One of the most important aspects of an on-page SEO campaign is to make sure all the on-page elements of a website work in harmony, and that they deliver a positive user experience.
Optimising meta tags, publishing helpful content and making sure visitors can find their way around your site are all elements of an on-page SEO campaign, as are reducing bounce rate, increasing dwell time and satisfying search intent.
What are the most important on-page SEO strategies I need to know?
There are many elements involved in on-page SEO. Let’s take a look at some of the most important.
Creating high quality content
Page content forms the main element of on-page SEO. It informs both search engines and users what your website is all about.
The first stage when it comes to creating high quality content is choosing relevant keywords, both short and long tail, as well as the topics your visitors want to know about. This can be as simple as searching Google for terms and seeing what competitors are writing about. You can also use keyword research tools, such as Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner.
It’s also really important to consider how your content fits with the search intent of the visitor, or the journey of the buyer. This will determine how you will use your keywords, and the types of content you’ll create, as well as where that content will be best placed on the website.
For example, if your visitor is at the awareness stage of their journey, they will be looking for informative content such as blogs and videos that will help them decide what they need. This type of content is best placed on a home or landing page.
If the visitor is at the consideration stage, then they will be looking for buyer’s guides and case studies, for example and perhaps FAQs. The about or ‘why choose’ page of a website is usually the best place for these.
For visitors at the decision making stage, they’ll want to see comparison charts or tools, price lists and links to buy. A good place for these is on product or contact pages.
When creating your content, think about how helpful and shareable it is. Google’s Helpful Content update is all about championing content that’s written ‘by people, for people’.
Google wants to deliver content to its users that helps and informs them, and it is keen to reward websites that publish content like this. What you are aiming for is fresh information that isn’t just mimicking content from elsewhere. Thought-leading material with real life examples and user input that’s been written specifically for that audience.
Make sure you optimise your content with calls to action (CTAs) to get in touch, learn more, book a consultation, etc. And when it comes to using your keywords, make sure that your primary keyword appears right at the beginning of the page, in the first 100 words at least.
Page content is your golden opportunity to let Google, and your website visitors, know what value you have to offer. It really is the crux of the on-page SEO process and therefore needs your full attention.
Making good with metas
Meta tags play a vital role in search engine optimisation as well as in enhancing user experience. Meta tags ensure search engines and browsers display your content in the search engine results pages (SERPs) the way you want users to see it.
You won’t find meta tags displayed on a page, but you will see them in the source code of the page. The most important meta tags are page titles, descriptions and headings.
Meta titles tell search engines and visitors what they will find on the page. To ensure your pages rank for the correct intent, make sure you include your primary keyword for each page in the title, but be sure to incorporate it as naturally as possible.
Keep it to 60 characters or less to ensure it displays fully in the search results. Never stuff the meta title with keywords, because Google will likely penalise the page. Make it relevant to the page, and use regular upper and lower case text. Also include your brand in the title to instil trust in the visitor.
Meta descriptions are the short page descriptions that appear under the page title in the search results. These can influence whether a page is clicked on, depending on how relevant and compelling they are.
Be sure to keep your meta description under 160 characters, and include your primary keyword. And always make sure the description is written naturally and not just a list of keywords.
Header tags, also known as body tags, are used to help organise your content and help search engines ascertain the parts of your content that are most important, depending on search intent.
Header tags are made up of H1 which is the main title tag, and then H2, H3, etc., which are the subheading tags.
It is important to use your main keywords in your headers, just be sure to use your primary keyword in your H1 and H2s, and then other keywords in your lower level headings.
Alt-tags are important for image SEO. They tell Google what your images are about, which is important because the search engine delivers as many image based results as it does text based. This means that visitors may be finding your site through your images, making it vital to add alt-text to them.
Always make sure your alt-text is descriptive and specific to the image, as well as being relevant to content of the page on which the image appears. Keep it shorter than 125 characters, and avoid keyword stuffing.
Being smart with site structure
The way you structure your website can make it easier for Google and other search engines to crawl your pages and content.
Make sure the URLs of your pages are easy to read for both users and search engines. They are very important when it comes to keeping your site hierarchy consistent and easy to follow as you create sub-pages, blogs, landing pages and other content.
Try to remove any unnecessary words and use only one or two keywords in your page URLs.
Internal linking is very important for on-page SEO because internal links help visitors, and search engine crawlers, find other pages on your website. You’ll see a number of internal links included in this post.
Internal links keep visitors around for longer, which signals to Google that your site is valuable. And they help Google absorb more information about your site too, which could help get it ranked higher in the search engine results pages.
On-page SEO also involves boosting page loading speed, and making sure your website is mobile friendly.
Need help with SEO?
On-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO are all vital components of a successful SEO campaign.
What we’ve covered are just a few examples of what goes into getting a website ranked and enhancing its online visibility.
If you are keen for search engine success, and are eager to grow your sales, team Figment is here to help. To discuss your plans for business growth with an agency that cares as much about them as you do, please get in touch.