What is On-Page SEO?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s uncover what’s behind on-page SEO. In simple terms, on-page SEO refers to the optimization techniques applied directly on your website’s pages to improve their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves optimizing various elements like content, meta tags, images, URLs, and internal links to enhance user experience, increase organic traffic, and ultimately climb those search engine rankings.
On-page SEO focuses on factors that you can control and modify on your website, as opposed to off-page SEO, which deals with external factors like backlinks.
Now, let’s explore the step-by-step process to conquer on-page SEO and unlock the full potential of your website.
Step 1: Keyword research – the foundation of success
One of the fundamental aspects of on-page SEO is keyword research and optimization. By identifying relevant keywords that your target audience is searching for, you can optimize your content to match their search intent.
Start by using keyword research tools to discover keywords that are both relevant to your content and have a reasonable search volume. Once you have a list of target keywords, strategically incorporate them into your page titles, headings, meta descriptions, and throughout your content.
However, it’s important to maintain a natural flow and avoid keyword stuffing, as search engines may penalize over-optimized content.
You can learn more about keywords, how to find and use them in our post What are keywords and how to choose the right ones.
Step 2: Engaging and optimized content – the beating heart of SEO
Content is king, and it’s the beating heart of on-page SEO. High-quality and engaging content is a key driver of website visibility and user engagement.
When creating content for your website, aim for a balance between providing valuable information and optimizing it for search engines. Focus on creating high-quality, valuable, and original content that resonates with your target audience.
Try to incorporate relevant keywords naturally within the content, but prioritize the user’s reading experience. Avoid repetitive phrases and focus on delivering informative, well-structured, and easy-to-read texts.
Break up large blocks of text with subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists to enhance readability.
Step 3: URL structure – simplicity and relevance rule
Having a clean and user-friendly URL structure is important for both search engines and users.
Use descriptive words that accurately represent the content of your page. If possible, include your target keyword in the URL, but ensure it remains clear and meaningful.
Avoid using complex alphanumeric strings or irrelevant characters in your URL, and instead, use hyphens to separate words.
A clear and concise URL not only improves user experience but also helps search engines understand the context of your web page.
Step 4: Title tags and meta descriptions – love at first sight
Title tags and meta descriptions are HTML elements that provide concise information about a web page’s content. They are your website’s first impression to potential visitors and play a crucial role in attracting users to click on your website in the search results.
To optimize your title tags, make sure they are descriptive, include relevant keywords, and are within the recommended character limit (typically under 60 characters).
Meta descriptions (usually under 160 characters), on the other hand, should provide a compelling summary of your page’s content, convincing users to click through. Including the target keyword in both the title tag and meta description can improve their relevance and visibility in search results.
Step 5: Heading tags – the guiding stars
Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are HTML elements that define the headings and subheadings of a page. They serve as visual cues to users and search engines about the structure and hierarchy of your content.
Properly structuring your headings with relevant keywords, while avoiding keyword stuffing, can improve the readability and SEO performance of your page. The H1 tag should typically contain the main heading of the page, while H2, H3, and subsequent tags can be used for subheadings.
Step 6: Images – size does matter
Images are an important component of web pages, but they can also impact the page loading speed if not optimized correctly.
To improve website visibility, optimize your images by reducing their file size without compromising quality.
Use descriptive filenames and alt text to provide context to search engines and visually impaired users.
Step 7: Internal linking – creating a seamless journey
Build a web of connections within your website through internal linking. Link relevant pages together to facilitate seamless navigation and encourage users to explore related content.
Internal links also provide search engines with insights into your website’s structure and the importance of different pages.
When creating internal links, use relevant anchor text that includes keywords. This not only improves the navigation of your website but also distributes link equity and boosts the visibility of important pages.
Step 8: Page speed – the swift one wins the race
Page loading speed is a critical factor in both user experience and SEO. Slow-loading pages can lead to high bounce rates and lower search engine rankings.
Regularly monitor your website’s loading speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and make necessary optimizations to ensure a fast and seamless user experience.
Step 9: Mobile optimization – go mobile or go home
With the majority of internet users accessing websites through mobile devices, mobile optimization is non-negotiable. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for search engines, and it directly affects user experience.
Ensure your website is responsive and compatible with different screen sizes and devices. You can test it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to identify and fix any issues that may hinder mobile usability. Additionally, try one of our all-time favourite Chrome extensions Mobile Simulator to see how your website appears on different devices.
Step 10: Schema markup – the hidden gem
Schema markup is a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines understand the content and context of your web pages.
By implementing schema markup, you can enhance the visibility of your website in search results and potentially qualify for rich snippets, such as star ratings, reviews, and event details.
Use schema markup to mark up key elements on your web pages, such as product information, reviews, recipes, events, and more.
For websites made with WordPress, you can access schema markup automatically by using the Yoast plugin.
Learn more about structured data on schema.org.
These 10 steps will help you optimize your website for search engines, increase organic traffic, and captivate your target audience.
Remember, on-page SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, analysis, and adaptation. Regularly assess your website’s performance, conduct keyword research, and refine your content to maintain and improve your search engine rankings.
As you implement these on-page SEO techniques, keep in mind that user experience and value should always be at the forefront. Create content that resonates with your audience, provide a seamless navigation experience, and ensure your website loads quickly across all devices.