By Beth Meakin
When it comes to optimising your website for search engines and increasing your visibility online, on-page SEO is a good place to start. The on-page SEO process involves optimising your site for both human eyes and search engine crawlers, through methodical page content and meta-data. As every part of on-page SEO is completely up to you, you need to carry out extensive research to ensure all aspects are covered.
In recent algorithm updates, Google has become increasingly more sophisticated with its SEO factors – focusing its eye on relevance. If you put effort into each of the on-page, off-page and technical SEO elements, you’ll see a boost in traffic and engagement.
So, what are the main on-page SEO elements and how do you optimise them?
Meta tags are used to provide search engines with information about the page – so can be considered as perhaps the most vital aspect of on-page SEO. To be effective, they should be highly relevant to the page, written properly and feature your target keywords. Google looks at your meta tags when it determines your ranking for particular queries, and compares them to the rest of your content on the page to determine relevance.
The title tag is the most important meta tag. It’s what users see in the search engine for both organic and paid results, and the words that appear in the tab at the top of your browser. Google looks at the title tag when it determines your ranking for particular queries, and compares it to the rest of your content on the page to determine relevance.
A meta-description should explain what users will find on the page. Although it’s not a direct ranking factor, search engines will still use this to determine the contents of the page. Its use is mainly for the user – a well-written meta description with a call to action will increase your chances of conversions.
Your page should include multiple heading tags to help organise the content and help readers distinguish the different sections. The most important is the h1 title, of which you should never have more than 1 on any page – you should include a primary keyword into this tag. You should then include multiple h2s and h3s for use as subheadings.
Your images’ alt text is the written copy that is ‘attached’ to an image on a webpage, and tells search engines what the image is about. Now that Google delivers just as many image results as they do text-based results, you could be missing out on another source of organic from your images. This tag also helps screen reading tools to describe images to people with visual impairments.
Your page URL should be short, concise and easily readable for both search engines and humans. Some CMS’ like WordPress pull together their own URLs from your H1 tag, but you should optimise these for maximum effectiveness.
The best ways to create SEO-friendly URLs are to:
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are words and phrases that have a high degree of correlation to your target topic, which Google’s algorithm uses to help determine relevance and quality to a given search term. In a nutshell, this means Google checks your webpage for words that should appear alongside a certain keyword – so users can find what they’re looking for, not just what they searched for.
For instance, if someone Googles “where are the best hot wings in Derby” – when the topic is “best hot wings”, Google will expect to see words such as “chicken”, “bbq” and “spicy”, because these will be the words used in some users searches and on high-ranking pages about hot wings. Sites which mention this is in passing may not contain these words, but a site with a focus on these keywords, as well as numerous positive reviews containing them, is likely to appear…
Internal and external links carry a lot of weight when it comes to effective SEO. They help users and search engines to navigate between different pages on your website, increase rank, and benefits user experience. Although acquiring external links is part of your off-page SEO strategy, internal linking involves on-page focus and should be one of the biggest parts of your strategy.
Internal linking involves hyperlinking keywords to other relevant pages on your site, helping Google to determine whether your website is valuable. Not only do they strengthen your keywords, they help Google navigate your website, absorb information and potentially rank it higher on the results page.
As well as optimising your image alt tags (as explained earlier on in this post), you should aim to make the file size as small as possible without losing quality. This will reduce the chance of a sluggish site, and prevent Google from penalising you for it. As well as this, the file name of your images should be relevant and readable.
Example of a bad filename: image(12422i).png
Example of a good filename: on-page-seo-graphic.png
It’s not a secret that Google has started to favour sites that are optimised for mobile. Your site must be readable, navigatable and work seamlessly across devices such as mobile and tablets, as well as desktop if you want to do well in the search results. There are a lot of technical SEO elements to make sure this is achieved (like site speed), but it does include on-page design and content too.
If you would like help with your on-page, off-page or technical SEO as part of a results-driven SEO strategy – get in touch! With our expertise and skills, we can help your site reach a new level of performance.