What is on-page SEO, and how do you optimize for it?

On Page SEO

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Having success in organic search today requires optimizing for a combination of ranking factors that search engines consider essential. These include technical, on-page and off-page. Over the years, we’ve seen a large increase in off-page techniques like link building, content marketing and other technical aspects. But the truth is, off-page SEO won’t do much good if your website does not pay attention to the fundamentals of on-page ranking factors.

A Smart SEO practitioner will know that on-page optimization should constantly be top of the list. And because the search engine landscape is ever-changing, it’s essential to make sure your on-page SEO knowledge and content is up to date.

So in this post, we will look at what on-page SEO actually is, why it matters so much, and ten of what we feel are most important on-page SEO considerations for website success in 2020.

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (also known as on-site) refers to the practice of optimizing your web pages or blog posts to improve search engine rank in Google and boost organic traffic. It’s not just about publishing relevant, quality content, on-page SEO also includes optimizing headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. Its also about making sure your website has a good level of expertise, authority, and trust.

It takes into account over 200 aspects of the webpage that, when added together, will improve your website’s visibility in the search results and allow your target keywords to rank higher.

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Why Is It Important?

On-page SEO is crucial because it allows search engines to understand your website and its content, as well as identify if it is relevant to a searcher’s query. As search engines become more and more sophisticated, there is a greater focus toward relevance and semantics in search engine results pages (known as SERPs).

Google is now so much better at understanding what users are actually searching for when they type a query and delivering search results that meet user intent. Its algorithm is ever-evolving and this is where an experienced SEO comes in to constantly track and follow these changes.

Adapting to these algo updates is essential, and you can do it by making sure that your website and its content, both what is visible to users on your webpages and also elements that are only visible to search engines like HTML tags, structured data etc are always well-optimized and up to date. If you put your effort and budget into on-page strategies, you’ll see a boost in traffic and a rise in your search presence. Together with a focused off-page strategy.

So let’s have a look through what we think the most important elements of on-page SEO are. Focusing on these ten areas will help improve your content and authority which will increase your rankings, traffic, and conversions. At the end of the day, this is what we want for our business!

E-A-T

E-A-T, stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust, it’s part of the framework that Google raters use to assess content, webpages, and websites as a whole. The industry is still on the fence about this as a major ranking factor or exactly how Google and other search engines apply this algo. Google has always put a premium on high-quality content. It wants to make sure that sites producing high-quality content are rewarded with better rankings and websites that contain low-quality content are less visible. There is obviously a clear relationship between what search engines consider high-quality content and what appears in the search results. E-A-T is playing a role in Google’s organic search results, exactly how, nobody knows but you can be sure E-A-T must be implemented in your SEO campaign.

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Producing SEO Content

SEO writing is creating content with both search engines and users in mind. There is an art to writing solid SEO content and it is more than just keyword research and fill in the blanks for sure. Merely producing content for the sake of it just won’t do. Remember that you’re writing content for people and you actually want them to spend time reading it, therefore, that content must be of good quality, substantial, and above all relevant.

Constant Content Audits

Most SEO content creators are focused on creating new content and often forget to audit clients existing content. And this is a mistake.

Auditing and updating your existing content is essential because it helps you:

  • Check whether your existing content is achieving the goals it was created for. 
  • Check the information in your content is still accurate or has become stale (or even outdated).
  • Determine what types of content are working on your site.

Content audits can significantly help your SEO strategy, and they should be done regularly. As an SEO agency, we check all content on a monthly basis.

Title Tags

The title tag is an HTML tag that exists in the head section of each webpage and provides an initial context as to what the topical subject of the page is about. It is featured prominently in the SERP’s as well as in the browser window. The title tag by itself does not have much impact on organic rankings but it should not be overlooked. Missing, duplicate and badly written title tags can definitely impact your SEO results, so make sure you’re optimizing for this element.

Meta Descriptions

Since the beginning of SEO, meta descriptions have been viewed as an important optimization area. Meta descriptions are meta tags that describe what the page is actually about, they are displayed in the SERPs below the title of the page. While Google maintains that meta descriptions don’t directly help with rankings, there is evidence that better descriptions do help and they certainly boost CTR (click-through rate). Optimizing meta description correctly allow your pages to stand out in the SERP’s so take advantage of this valuable real estate and use it wisely.

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Page Title Headlines

If you want your website content to perform well in search? Then you really need to start writing good compelling headlines. A great headline can often be the difference between a click and an impression that’s why it’s essential to create them with this in mind. Your headlines need to spark interest for it to stand out to potential users on SERPs and in turn making them click through and continue reading the rest of your content.

Page Header Tags

Header tags are HTML elements (H1-H6) used to show your website’s headings and subheadings within your content. Header tags aren’t as important for your site rankings as they used to be. However, these tags still serve an essential function for your users and your SEO. So you still need to pay attention to these as they can indirectly impact your rankings by:

  • Making your content more natural and much more enjoyable for visitors to read.
  • Providing keyword-rich context about your content so that search engines can better understand it.

Keyword Cannibalization Issues

Targeting a specific term across multiple web pages can cause “keyword cannibalization” which has some potentially disastrous consequences for your on-page SEO. When you have a number of pages ranking for the same keyword, your website is actually competing with itself as search engines will not fully understand which page to rank. It’s essential to identify whether keyword cannibalization exists on your website and resolve it as soon as possible to help the correct pages rank for the phrases you are targeting.

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Image Optimization

Adding images is an excellent way to make your webpages more appealing. But not all images are created equal and some can even slow down your website on mobile devices. When adding images they are often resized by your website CMS so always make sure the ratios are not too big if the image will only be displayed as a thumbnail on your website. Optimizing images properly by having no empty alt tags and good titles will help you make the most of a very valuable SEO asset. Image optimization has many advantages like additional ranking opportunities (show up on Google Image Search), better user experience and faster page load times. Your images should not be an afterthought. Make sure to incorporate images that enhance your content and user experience and use descriptive titles followed by keywords in your alt tags.

Bounce Rate

Enhancing your website’s on-page SEO elements, in all honesty, is only part of the battle. The other focus is making sure that users will not bounce, but instead, they’ll continue viewing your content, interacting with it, and hopefully keep coming back for more. Retaining engaged users is one of SEO’s biggest challenges. To boost user engagement, focus on aspects such as site speed, user experience, and content optimization. Allow easy navigation and provide internal linking to allow your users to discover new content by linking to other relevant articles and pages.