On-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the first leg in a three-legged search engine optimisation strategy – the other two are OffPage SEO techniques and User Experience (UX) design.
As an owner with a website, you want to rank on the first page of the Google search result page. Better still, you want to appear on 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 will need to delicately 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 are going to 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 simply all the tasks carried out on a website that when added together, influences your ranking on the SERPs.
On-page SEO includes the technical aspects of SEO, including streamlining the site’s source code and architecture to make the website load faster. It also takes into account the use of Header, H-tags, to structure content on the webpages so search engine bots can identify the essential elements on the page, and improves navigation so users can find information quickly.
Why do you need On-Page SEO?
Well, for one, 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 as much information about the webpage as possible to the search engines.
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 content that is useful to users.
Actionable On-page SEO tips
Now that we are in the clear about the vital role on-page SEO plays in how well your websites rank on search results, let’s take a look at those practical on-page SEO actions you need to take to see the results you want.
Strategic Keyword placement
Though there’s been a fierce debate about whether Keywords still matter in today’s SEO, 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 need to do to rank a website for a particular Keyword is to include the exact phrase in the Meta Description, Title, H-tags and to stuff your content with the Keywords.
This strategy does not work anymore; in fact, 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 that come up, 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”.
What this means is that Google is becoming increasingly smart to discern user intent and to serve content they believed answered their query even if the website was not initially optimised for that exact phrase the user used.
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 most 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, it is the part of your website that 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 not only help rank the website, but it will also help to improve your site’s click-through-rate.
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, be sure to 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 your users are more likely to abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Thankfully, there are a couple of free online tools that can give you insight into your website’s load time.
A handy 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.
All you have to do is write a descriptive alternate-tag copy that tells searchers what the image is about. Be sure though, to naturally include your Keywords.
Also, optimise the size of the image by resizing. Save your image in the JPG or 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 (this is known as internal linking) is a great way to ensure all your content are discovered and indexed.
Internal linking, when done well is an excellent way to tell search engines which of your content are 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.