Google is getting smarter and better at understanding what’s on your website, but it still doesn’t know everything. In 2020, Google ran over 600,000 experiments and updated its algorithm more than 4,500 times.
Google has worked hard in improving its search engine results. Yet, the search engine finds it difficult to understand the new content.
Many websites have content that the search engine can't read well enough to rank. That's where On-Page SEO comes in. It improves how Google understands your site so it can index and rank its pages more effectively.
In this guide, we will share everything you need to know about the On-Page SEO, and what are the necessary on-page SEO factors to consider.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO (Search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your website for the search engines to make sure the page gets visibility and search rankings.
It involves the optimization of various elements of the page including heading tags, image alt text, body text, page titles, and meta descriptions.
Along with this, the On-page also focuses on backlinks like internal linking and external linking, the page's HTML, content structure, high-quality content, and the keywords relevant to target keywords.
Why is On-Page SEO Important?
On-Page SEO analyzes the website and establishes the connection between the site's content and searcher's query to see if it is relevant enough.
The search engines are constantly working to understand what you're doing on your website, so they can give you the best results in their search engine listings.
If your page is not getting indexed and ranked by the search engines, then it's time for On-Page SEO to take a look at it.
The importance of On-Page SEO has been widely acknowledged by Google as they have updated their algorithm several times to give a better search engine ranking for websites with good on-page SEO.
Although Google still looks at keywords in your content, keyword stuffing stopped working long ago because it ruins the user experience.
As the Google algorithm gets more sophisticated, the search engine focuses more on the relevant content and ranks the URLs based on the specific queries.
On-Page SEO is considered one of the important and most common digital marketing strategies.
You can improve your search presence by putting effort into improving on-page strategies to boost traffic.
But, what are the main On-page SEO factors to consider in 2021?
On-page SEO factors
Forget about the old-school SEO techniques where keyword stuffing used to work. Inject the exact keywords into your content and it's done! The higher the keyword density, the better is your SEO.
Google algorithm doesn't work like this anymore.
It's not just the keyword-rich title tags or H1 tags that can end you up on the first page of the search results page. Here is data by Backlinko.com to back up this statement.
There is more of an SEO that you need to consider when you are developing your content.
The following elements need to be considered for proper On-Page SEO:
Title tags are one of the core factors of On-Page SEO. As a part of the SEO strategy, you need to include the exact keywords or the related keywords in the heading to help search engines as well as visitors to understand what content is about.
Title tags are often overlooked due to some other major SEO factors. Make sure the title tag of a web page is not duplicate and poorly written.
Keep the title length around 55 to 60 characters for better readability and make sure it doesn't cut off in the search results
URLs play a vital role in the On-Page SEO. You need to make sure that your URLs are clear and keyword rich as well as relevant to your content.
URL shows the category hierarchy of the website and can help search engines crawl and index your page faster.
On-page SEO for meta tags
Meta tags are used to describe your website's content and its purpose. Some meta descriptions are optimized to be displayed in search engines, while other meta descriptions are intended for users.
The meta description should be clear and relevant to the content of your page as well as describe what you do.
Optimizing titles and meta descriptions will increase the CTR which is a better indication of increased traffic.
Although, after the Google algorithm august update, the search engine picks up the best title from the content and internal links itself.
Internal links are crucial for a successful SEO strategy. Link building is one of the most important ranking factors. Creating an internal link to a page on your website is the easiest way to help it rank.
Linking a high-authority page from your website to a low-authority page can help improve the ranking of your page. There are a number of internal linking strategies but the basic one is the use of relevant anchor texts.
An anchor text is a phrase that links to your page from another webpage. An effective internal linking strategy will help you improve your rankings and increase the number of visitors to your website.
External Linking (Outbound links)
External linking to the authority site is another important factor in search engine ranking. It is considered one of the most effective SEO strategies.
External links help Google figure out what your page is about. It also shows Google that your page has quality information on it.
Keyword frequency is an essential ranking factor of SEO. As keywords are paramount to get organic traffic, it is also important to include them to help search engines understand what the text is about.
Google may often deny the keyword frequency just like how they do the value of backlinks, but SEO professionals have already validated it.
Some amount of exact keywords and a mix of long-tail keywords will help search engines get more closer to understand the relevance of the content.
Structured data is a specific on-page SEO code you put on your pages that helps Google understand the content. It helps Google to understand the content on your website and index it.
Structured data has a few different types, each of which is useful for a particular purpose.
Google uses this structured data and includes them as "rich snippets". A rich snippet is automatically crawled and displayed by Google. But, there are few guides on how to get rich snippets on google to get higher visibility and boost the page rankings.
Optimize Your Content for SEO
Now, you have understood all the essential On-page SEO elements, this section will give you a deeper insight in how to optimize your content for SEO.
Use the target keyword in the first 100 words
We often hear this SEO tactic from SEO professionals. For some reason, it is absolutely important to include the target keyword in the first 100 words.
But, why it is important to include the keywords in the first 100 words?
Google crawls the page in a pattern and will put more emphasis on the words that appear early on the page. This is one of the first steps to optimize your content for SEO.
Keep your Blog Title in H1 tag
There are a lot of opinions and debates about the use of header tags in SEO. But, it seems like the use of header tags has always been vital to On-page SEO.
The H1 tag is like a mini title tag.
While most blogging platforms like WordPress keeps the title under H1, some sites without CMS would require you to put the code for keeping the title in H1.
The title tag should contain your target keyword and it must be written in a natural language. Google understands that, if you are trying to optimize for SEO, then the title of your blog post will be relevant to your target keyword or query.
Keep subheadings as H2 or H3 tags.
H2 tags act as the section of your content. To make it scannable and easy to read, you should break up your content into different sections.
The sub-headings can be used as H2 and H3 tags. H3 tags break up the content further.
Now, there is no evident proof that if it helps with the page rank, but it can definitely make the readability clear and easier for the readers as well as the search engine robots.
Keep your content informative and keyword rich
As the old cliche says, 'Content is king'.
Content is the most important part of any website. It’s the only thing that your visitors will read and it’s also what search engines use to determine your website's authority.
The content should be of high quality and informative. It must have a natural language to make it readable by humans as well as search engines.
Google algorithm updates have now laid more emphasis on the quality of the content along with its depth. High-quality content consists of the natural languages, related keywords, and the relevant information around the target keyword.
In short, Google values the content that follows the BERT guidelines, E-A-T, and the NLP (natural language processing) like processes to make content relevant.
Optimize Title and Description Tags
The title tag and description tags are the most important SEO elements. According to Google, the title tags still help with rankings.
It is highly recommended to optimize these tags for better visibility on search engines. The use of keywords in both Title and Meta descriptions has been found to increase the CTR of the webpage.
Meta description might not help with the rankings but it definitely boosts the page CTR as the searcher will get to know more about what content is about.
Pro tip: Use title tag modifiers like “best”, “guide”, “checklist”, “fast” and “review” to create long-tail versions of your keywords.
Write SEO Content
Writing content that is on point, is informative, and helpful for your target audience is the best way to ensure that your content ranks well. This process goes well beyond using keywords on your page.
Search engines reward websites that provide useful information and solve searchers' problems.
In addition to that, a site that provides valuable content is more likely to be crawled and indexed by search engines.
To rank well in Google for certain keywords, you have to provide value.
If your website is just a blog with nothing of value on it, then there is no point in trying to rank for that keyword.
Your page has to be EXACTLY what a Google searcher wants. You have to show them exactly what they are looking for.
The more relevant the content is, the better your chances of ranking well on Google.
Optimize for CTR
Optimizing for your CTR (Conversion-through rates) can boost the search engine rankings and bring in more traffic to your site.
A question-based title tag was found to have a higher CTR as compared to the generic ones. Furthermore, a longer title tag with more keywords also had a higher CTR.
Here are some quick tips to increase the page CTR:
- Add Year and month tags to title tags to make it look updated.
- Use schema markup to appear in rich snippets.
- Add power words or emotions to the title tags.
On-Page UX Signals
Well, Google now pays more attention to the User experience than any other thing. How well your content is optimized for the searchers?
Is it easy to read for your searchers?
Does your site give a good experience to the readers?
The first step is to make your introduction readable and intriguing enough. You would want to evoke the reader's interest and answer the questions that your searchers are looking for.
Secondly, make your content as easy as it can be to read and skim.
No one wants to read long paragraphs. Hence, the best way to skim your content is by using the images, bullets, and various H2 heading tags.
Do not forget to make sure that your readers are involved with you. Open the comments box for suggestions and opinions and make it an active community to increase user retention.
Advanced On-Page SEO Tips
Apart from the old-school,SEO tactics, the SEO pros have also found some modern On-page SEO elements that might be crucial for ranking.
The rise of voice search has brought about a whole new meaning to SEO.
It now means the keyword you are looking for may not be in your site's content, but it is instead being uttered by a human who may have found what you're looking for on another site.
One of the best ways to optimize your content for voice search is by using the FAQs page.
Page speed is a very important factor in ranking on Google. The faster your site loads, the better it will rank.
Use Google page speed insights or GTmetrix tool to test for your page speed and the issues with your page.
Images are a major part of the On-Page SEO. Images help search engines to index your page and provide better visibility to the content.
Including the exact keywords or a mix of keyword variations in the image alt texts may help with On-page SEO further. The alt text should be as descriptive and keyword-rich as possible.
Make sure the image size is not large enough as this may affect the page speed.
SEO is a constantly evolving field and there are many ways to get ahead of the competition.
The best way to do this is by staying up-to-date with all the latest SEO tactics, including On-Page SEO.
By using these tips, you can improve your site's ranking on search engines like Google and Bing.