What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of making adjustments to your site to help improve your ranking in the organic search results. This can be anything from meta data, to keyword usage and image optimization.
It’s important to have on-page SEO in place before moving to off-page SEO. If you do not have a good on-page SEO strategy, it doesn’t matter what else you do, it will be very difficult to rank.
Importance of On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is important because this is what tells the search engines what your content is about. Search engines have algorithms in place with the goal of providing search results that are the most relevant to the search query. You need to be sure that you are taking all the measures to ensure that search engines understand what your content is about.
The thing I like about on-page SEO is that it is something that you have full control over. These are changes that you can make to your site to show search engines that your content is relevant to a specific topic.
On-Page SEO Checklist
Quality of content
Quality of content is the first most important thing that needs to be considered in on-page SEO. This is something that you can directly control, and it’s important for many reasons.
Google has gotten very good at determining if content is high-quality, and they rank pages accordingly. You need to be sure that your content is providing real value to readers. Ask yourself if your content is answering a question or solving a problem for the readers. If not, you need to re-write your content to make it valuable before moving on to other on-page methods.
Not only does writing high-quality content matter for rankings, but its also important to built trust with your website visitors. If you provide value to your website visitors, they will come back to your site since they trust you and see you as an authority figure.
Content structure is something that is often overlooked, because it isn’t one of the main on-page SEO ranking factors. Just because it isn’t directly a ranking factor, doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
Content structure is important because it has a big impact on user experience. If your content is structured in a way that isn’t organized, you are going to have many users bounce from your website. It’s important that your content is broken down in a way that is easy to follow and understand.
The title tag is the clickable text of a search result. When writing title tags, you need to find a balance between targeting your main keyword and drawing in users. It doesn’t do you much good if your content is ranked high in the search engines, but nobody is clicking on it.
You should include your target keyword in the title tag, preferably near the beginning of the title tag. The title tag should be something that users will want to click on when searching for your target keyword. It’s important to get the title tag right, because this is a strong relevancy signal to search engines for what your content is about.
This has less of an impact on SEO than it once did, but it does have a big impact on click through rate. The meta description is the descriptive text below the title tag in the search results. The purpose is to give some insight on what that page is going to be about.
The best practice for meta descriptions is to match search intent as best as you can. Definitely include your keyword in the description, and also try to give a preview of what you are answering or solving for the users. This will show them that it would benefit them to click on your search result.
Google recently said that headings don’t carry as much weight as they used to. They use headings alongside the content to determine what that page is about. This doesn’t mean that headings shouldn’t be optimized.
I think this is a good thing, because this means you can focus more on creating natural headings and only including your keywords where it makes sense. When H1’s and headers were seen to be one of the most important ranking factors, there were a lot of forced and unnatural headers. Still use keywords in the headers, but do not keyword stuff your headers, and only use your keywords when it is natural.
The way you use your keywords in your content makes a huge impact on your rankings. Keyword stuffing hurts you way more than it helps you. The most important thing to remember is that you need to use your target keywords naturally.
Keyword density is not a ranking factor, so don’t worry about making sure you used your keyword a specific number of times. You only need to use your target keyword a few times to do this correctly.
The other thing you should do is use variations of your keyword. Instead of always using exact match keywords, using variations helps show search engines what your content is about, and it is going to look more natural. It also helps you rank for variations of your keyword so that you cover more than one specific search query.
You should include your target keyword in the URL. If you keyword is in the URL this is another relevancy signal showing search engines what your content is about.
When writing your URL, also be sure to keep it as short as possible. Having a short URL makes it easier for both users and search engines to understand.
Including images in your content can help improve your rankings. Search engines often favor high-quality content that includes media. Typically, when adding images to your content, it is providing more value to users, and search engines want to display the most valuable content to their users.
The only problem is that search engines cannot understand what your images are about, like it can with text. The two main things search engines look at are the file name and alt text. Including your target keyword in the file name and alt text are great ways to receive a boost in rankings.
Not many people understand the value of internal linking. Internal linking is when you link to other pages on your website within your content. This can help your pages rank better when you include internal links to those pages.
What internal linking does, is it shows search engines that those pages you link to are important. This isn’t going to help as much as receiving backlinks from other websites, but it’s nice because it’s something that you can control on your own site that can improve your rankings.
External linking is another strategy that doesn’t get much attention. External links are all the pages that you link to outside of your content.
Your external links can tell search engines a lot about more site. If you are linking to high-quality sites, search engines will trust your site more than if you are linking to lower quality sites. I would recommend including external links to high-quality sites as much as possible on your pages.
If you go through this checklist when optimizing your site, this will be a great start in improving your on-page SEO. Most people stop at keyword research when focusing on on-page SEO, but it is important to hit every step on this checklist. Following these steps will give you a leg up on your competition and help you improve your rankings. Consider working with an SEO company if you would like help implementing a successful on-page SEO strategy.