On-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the first leg of a three-legged search engine optimisation strategy. The other two are Off-Page SEO techniques and User Experience (UX) design.
As an owner of a website, you want to rank on the first page of the Google search result page. You want to appear in the first three positions when someone searches for your products or services.
To ensure your website ranks high on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), you must balance on-page SEO with off-page SEO techniques and UX.
If, for whatever reason, one of these aspects of SEO is missing from your search optimisation strategy, you will struggle to rank your website. Thereby missing out on the valuable traffic you need to drive your organisation’s objectives.
In this blog, you will learn about on-page SEO. Think of this blog as a resource you can consult now and then to keep track of on-page tasks you need to be doing.
Ready to dive in?
What is On-page SEO?
On-page SEO is all the tasks carried out on a website that, when added together, influence your ranking on the SERPs.
On-page SEO includes technical SEO, streamlining the site’s source code and architecture to load the website faster. It also considers Headers to define the content structure on the web page. The search engine bots can then identify the essential elements on the page and improve navigation so users can find information quickly.
Why do you need On-Page SEO?
You want organic traffic from search engines which obviously cannot happen if your site is not well-optimised.
For Google and other search engines to send people to your site, the search bots need first to discover your website, be able to crawl it, and then index the pages.
On-page SEO enables you to provide the search engines with as much information about the webpage as possible.
However, while you work hard to ensure crawlers from search engines can discover and index your webpages. Keep in mind to provide high-quality, relevant, valuable content to users.
Actionable On-page SEO tips
Now that we are clear about the vital role on-page SEO plays in how well your websites rank on search results. Let’s look at those practical on-page SEO actions you need to see the desired results.
Strategic Keyword placement
Though there’s been a fierce debate about whether keyword phrases still matter in today’s SEO, the truth is Keywords and Keyword research are still very much a core of search engine optimisation.
Sure enough, times have changed. What worked a couple of years ago does not work anymore.
For example, it used to be all you needed to rank a website for a particular keyword. It included the exact phrase in the Meta Description, Title, and H-tags, and stuff your content with the Keywords.
This strategy does not work anymore; you risk getting penalised by Google.
Does this then mean Keywords are no longer vital in ranking a website?
To help you understand the role of Keywords in the larger scheme of things, think back to when you searched for something online. Let’s say you are in a new town and want to find a hotel with cheap rates.
Usually, you will type into Google something like this: “Cheap hotels in + location” In the search results, you will notice some entries with slightly different phrases from the one you entered.
You could see phrases like: “Book hotels in + location” and this: “location’’+ cheap and budget hotels”.
This means that Google is becoming increasingly innovative in discerning user intent and serving content they believe answers the query even if the website was not initially optimised for the user’s exact phrase.
How does this affect your on-page Keyword placement strategy?
Rather than focusing so much on littering your content with the exact Keyword match every time, think of including synonyms and other closely-related phrases in your webpage.
Remember to include the keywords in the title, at the beginning of the content, and within H-tags in the Content.
Optimise your Title and Meta Descriptions
Your title is probably the essential item on your webpage. The title is what a user and search engines use to determine what a webpage is about at a glance.
Plus, the part of your website is displayed on search engine result pages. When your website comes up on SERPs, a user usually looks at the Title and meta description to determine whether to click the link or not.
So, optimising the title and writing a compelling copy for the Meta Description will help rank the website and help improve your site’s Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
Use H-tags to structure your content
H-tags (Headings) are an excellent way to break up large chunks of text into readable, easily skimmed content.
They are also handy when dividing the webpage into sections. However, implement the cascading strategy where the major headings for your webpage are wrapped in H2 tags followed by H3 for sub-headings, and so on.
Use an SEO-friendly URL
An SEO-friendly URL means the URL is short, concise, readable, does not contain special characters and has your Keywords.
Improve your website load speed
Google uses site speed as a ranking factor. So, the faster your website loads, the higher it ranks on SERPs.
Moreover, aside from satisfying search engines, a fast-loading website is excellent for user experience. Research has shown that users are more likely to abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Thankfully, free online tools can give insight into your website’s load time. One such tool is Google’s PageSpeed Insight; it shows your site’s speed score, plus recommendations of possible actions you can take to boost your website’s speed.
Use Alt-tag to optimise images
Images are an excellent but often neglected source of organic traffic to websites. Leverage the pictures on your sites to drive more organic visits without extra work.
You must write a descriptive alternate-tag copy that tells searchers what the image is showing. Be sure, though, to naturally include your Keywords.
Also, optimise the size of the image by resizing. Save your image in the JPG, JPEG, or PNG formats as they tend to be lighter and more suited for online publication.
Finally, internally link to other resources on your site
When a search engine crawler lands on a webpage, it looks for additional links on the page to follow. Linking to other pages on your website (known as internal linking) is a great way to ensure all your content is discovered and indexed.
Internal linking, when done well, is an excellent way to tell search engines which of your content is the most important. Plus, it also helps improve user dwell time on your site visitors can follow the links to other resources on your website.