What Is On-Page SEO?
A page’s ability to rank organically in search results comes down to a combination of factors – technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO refers to changes that can be made on certain webpages themselves, that will (over time!) improve the page’s ability to rank.
After using on-page SEO over a number of webpages, this builds the expertise, authority and trustworthiness of the whole website. Google suggests these make for a reliable brand, so ensuring content meets those criteria, search rankings and organic traffic should improve.
Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
Over recent years, a lot of focus has been around putting effort into off-page and technical SEO factors to improve rankings. With SEO updates forever evolving, it’s important to be clued up on all areas of SEO.
But let’s face it, if the page itself isn’t optimised in the best ways possible, then it won’t be maximising it’s search potential.
On-page SEO helps search engines to interpret your website and content, and evaluate whether it is useful to search queries that users make or not.
Optimised websites means better rankings in search results. This leads to more traffic which would build up organically over time, which ultimately means more site visits, enquiries and sales.
At its very core, on-page SEO is an extremely simple process.
- Discover what queries your visitors search for, otherwise known as keywords.
- Ensure your webpage contains these keywords, providing an easy to digest and comprehensive solution to your visitors’ queries.
- Provide an unparalleled experience for visitors on your website than that of your competitors. So, quick loading times, videos, imagery and clear copy are crucial here.
10 On-Page SEO Factors You Need to Know
- Use your H1 page title
Make use of the H1 tag. This simple bit of HTML code is often overlooked but should be utilised to signal to search engines, and your users, what the content on the page is about.
For a blog post, your H1 tag is usually just the title of the article. For other pages on your website, your H1 tag should contain a relevant keyword that relates to the page content and provides context.
The easiest way of understanding how to use a H1 tag is to think about your web page as an essay or larger document. The H1 tag would be your title, H2 tags would be your main sections followed by H3 tags as your sub-sections.
- Optimise your meta data
The purpose of metadata to give an overview of the content on a page. We recommend using 140-160 characters for the description, which would help to give more context in addition to the title, which should be up to 60 characters long.
It is shown in search engine results pages (SERPs) underneath the title link, and its purpose is to attract people to click the link and read the content of the page on the website itself.
By providing more context, it helps the user to identify if the page would be useful for them or not. This is why it is important to optimise the meta description, as it can improve click-through rates, helps people perceive the website as high quality, and gives them an idea of what the website has to offer.
- Consider URL structure
The whole URL structure of a site determines the site hierarchy. It’s important for this to be clear to search engines, as it helps identify the relevancy of a page.
URL’s should be clear, concise and include the subject matter. A good example of URL structure is:
You can clearly see the main site URL and company name, the case study category defined as ‘work’ and then the client referred to.
A bad example may not show the hierarchy clearly, could be long and uninformative, and could leave out relevant information; like category or page title/product name etc.
If you’re just starting out on your website, maintain good standards from the outset. If you don’t, it can be incredibly disruptive to restructure your site hierarchy and implement redirects further down the line.
- E-A-T (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthiness)
In Google’s content quality guidelines, it outlines that a website needs to be an authority in it’s area of expertise. These 3 areas are used to evaluate the quality of your website’s content.
Expertise – Is an author on your website accredited in your field to speak about this topic?
Authoritative – Are you accepted in the wider industry as a good source of information?
Trustworthiness – Can you provide honest, truthful information that can be relied upon?
We have discussed these in more detail in a previous blog post which you can read about here.
Keeping these aspects in mind when producing content should increase your Google rankings and improve overall user experience on site.
- Create user-focused content
Your content must supply a demand and be genuinely useful for your audience. If your audience does not have a need to visit your website, then your click-through rate would be low. In turn, this would reduce your site authority and ranking which is not good for building organic traffic.
Find out what kind of content your audience prefers to consume and what they are looking for. If you can answer popular questions then they have a reason to visit your site; it is providing them with valuable information.
You can use tools like Google Trends to find out popular search queries for blog post inspiration. You could also use tools like Moz Keyword Explorer to find suitable keywords to best target your audience.
- Optimise images
Use image alt text for better optimising your images. Using the subject in images alt text will show that the image and content on the web page is relevant to related searches.
The example below shows how the Alt Text displays text shown within the image itself, so that search engines can ‘read’ the image:
It’s important not to forget about optimising images. By doing so you could miss opportunities to appear in Google Image Search.
- Using keywords, the correct way
Finding and using keywords effectively can really help with your website authority and organic search ranking.
By mentioning your specific keywords, products or service several times throughout your content, it shows search engines what you are helping people with. This increases the likelihood of search engines showing your site as relevant and meaningful to those searches and ranking it higher in search results.
That said, only use your keywords when relevant and natural to do so. If over-used in an unnatural way, your site could be seen as spam and be penalised by search engines.
- Write for users, not for search engines
Following on from point 7, content should be written for the purpose of users, not search engines.
By this, we mean really understand what your target market needs from you as an expert in your field. Give value to them and leave them knowing that if they need advice, a good product, good service etc, then your site is the place to come in future.
By satisfying users who visit your site, your site performance will increase. A lower bounce rate for example, shows search engines that if those users found it useful and stayed on your website for a sufficient amount of time, then other users would probably find value in it too. Therefore, pushing your site higher up the search results page.
For tips on how to write a good blog post, we’ve written a breakdown of important steps on a previous blog post.
- Engage your users
Aim to keep users on your site for longer and reduce bounce rate. Make your pages interesting enough for users to want to stick around and revisit in future.
Engagement isn’t always easy to get from users, but over time building engagement can really help with your organic search ranking result.
To engage users, you should aim to have a good site speed, a great user experience, optimise your content (i.e so that users across all devices can see content without issues), just to name a few.
- Use unique content
By all means, content can be repurposed or referred to across different areas of your site. However, avoid duplicate pages, as this confuses search engines as to which result they should show. As a result, this could harm your site authority.
You can rectify duplicate pages in a few different ways. Either delete one of the pages and redirect to the other, or update your Robots.txt file. This will instruct search engines on how to search web pages on your site including which pages they should ignore.
Contact us today to find out how we can help increase your organic traffic and search ranking with our SEO services.