Ranking high on Google search pages is synonymous with SEO. And efficient on page SEO strategy is essential for every business that relies on the internet for marketing – and let’s be honest everybody does. In fact, we would go so far to say that every business with a website should make search engine optimization part of their growth strategy. On page SEO is especially important for companies whose profit margins are heavily dependent on e-commerce. And as you know, getting to the top of the pile can be challenging because you are competing for the same spot with hundreds – if not thousands; of other websites that are trying to do the very same thing.
So, how can you stand apart from the crowd? What strategies, techniques and processes can you employ to not only rank towards the top but to remain there for good? Let’s start this discussion around the different types of SEO and how they synergise into a complete SEO plan.
What are the 3 Components of a Successful SEO Strategy?
Search engine optimization really encompasses the above 3 essential elements. The first – technical SEO is performed by the various Google robots that decide the ranking of your website among its peers. It is often the task of the website development team to index a website to this technical standard, ensuring the Google crawlers can identify your website with all of the associated pages like about us, contact us etc.
Your Expert Guide to On Page SEO
On page SEO in this mix refers to the settings and configurations that can be applied to a website in various ways to improve ranking factors. This we will discuss in detail. The last component – off page SEO involves the techniques that are used outside of a website to improve its visibility on the World Wide Web. This is covered in another discussion: Best Link Building Strategies for Organic Chemistry.
At the cornerstone of any SEO campaign is on page SEO. As Google rankings are based on quality, merit, social proof, and authority; we bring you the following 9 on page SEO optimisation techniques.
1. Invest in Quality Content
The SEO factor can make a website with good content even better. But, a website with poor content cannot be saved – not even with good on page SEO. Much of the content on a website or the company’s blog gets created in order to inform, retain and convert customers. It thus stands to reason that good content will draw better customers and add value to the overall experience.
What can be considered good content?
- Originality is the priority – It’s good to create content (articles, text, images, videos, presentations, infographics, comments etc.) from scratch with a specific purpose and target market in mind. Copied or rehashed content will simply not do.
- Content on multiple websites – If you publish the same content on another website, carefully consider if it is suitable to your website as well. Often content that appears in multiple places will indicate plagiarism (even if you have written it yourself) so do be mindful of duplication. A canonical tag can create a workaround for duplicate content however if it is necessary.
- Use Text wisely – When publishing non-text content try to add text as much as possible. If you post videos and other images add text to describe the content and be sure to include a few strategic keywords as well.
- Research and create content that is useful. Accuracy of content – especially if it is technical in nature affects your readers; do not underestimate them. To keep search engines interested, keep your readers interested with posts that add value.
- Size and frequency – Long articles are proven to rank better than short articles. Not only will comprehensive articles impress Google, but it will also help your company build a reputation of quality and trustworthiness.
2. Optimise Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Another very important factor for on page SEO is creating page titles and meta descriptions for your page that are short yet informative. In essence every search engine ‘reads’ website pages to understand what it is all about. This information is provided in the page titles, meta descriptions as well as the headings and content (text, videos and images).
The optimised meta description above is an example of how using our top tips can aid your website pages in looking professional and great. For meta description, the numbers of characters (including spaces) for each post must not be more than 160. Unique descriptions also ensure you get the message across without delay. Adding a call to action such as ‘Contact us for a consultation today!’ is also a splendid idea to get on page click through to your articles and pages.
Tips for page title and metadata optimisation:
- Use unique titles – Each page must have a unique page title to help search engines and readers alike understand what the page content is all about.
- Use keywords at the beginning of each title – If possible, structure page titles in such a way that search engines understand straight from the start what keywords a particular page is targeting. On a side note; be careful of keyword stuffing. If keywords do not fit in the beginning of a page title (as it often does) try to fit the target keywords into the title in the most sensible manner.
- Add target keywords to meta descriptions – The same keyword rule applies to meta content. Search engines search both title and meta content, so adding these will ensure your content is found to be relevant and appealing.
- Keep titles short and descriptive – Google can display up to 60 characters in a title line of search results. It is ideal to keep titles below 60 characters in order to display a title completely for optimal usability. Otherwise, titles appear incomplete (Google adds dots at the end of a title string like this….) and your message can potentially be lost.
- Use power words and numbers to enhance your message – Google says that titles with power words such as ultimate, top 10, amazing, checklist etc increases their click-through rates. We think it also makes titles stand out more and entices readers to investigate further.
3. Content SEO and Keyword Targeting
Users of the internet typically type keyword combinations into Google search fields in order to find the websites and other related content they are looking for. Thus the importance of including the right combinations of keywords and phrases in your content to give your website pages the best chance at making a grand appearance.
In addition, there are 3 other methods that you can employ to gauge which keywords to optimise on in your content. These are called LSI keywords, and since the introduction of Rank Brain topic relevancy has surpassed keyword relevancy. What this means is that in order to make your content more relevant to broad topics, you need to enrich your content with LSI keywords.
The 3 features to take advantage of (courtesy of Google) includes Google suggest, People also ask and related searches.
Many users take advantage of Google suggest when searching the web. The idea is for Google to intuitively provide possible options related to a particular topic. These make for great LSI keyword collections. Below is the Google Keyword Suggest Tool in action when typing SEO tips in Google search.
People Also Ask
Typical questions appear that Google rates as relevant to a particular search. These are good candidates to use in your sub-headings. Herewith a People also ask content tool example on the same SEO topic.
At the bottom of the search results, Google shows you a list of related searches. Keep this in mind as possible keyword combinations that compliment your topic for current as well as future use on the same subjects. See below a Google Related search example on a similar SEO topic.
4. The Importance of Headings and Page Formatting
Think of headings like road signs. They indicate the direction you words are traveling in and keeps readers informed along the way. As users tend to skim headings to get the gist of the content, so it’s a good idea to use headings to entice the reader to investigate further. Headings are also essential for on page SEO. Every page requires at least one H1 tag. In WordPress the title of a page is automatically wrapped into H1 tags.
Guidelines for working with headings and content formatting:
- Put keywords in headings and subheadings as Google indexes these in searches as well.
- Use sentences in subheadings instead of single words. Not only is it more descriptive of the content but it will most definitely keep readers on your pages for longer.
- Make sure text is readable by using Bold, underline and italics to highlight the important parts of a page.
- Use a readable size and line spacing to make text easy to read.
- Break content into small paragraphs. A good readability guideline would be approx. 200 words per paragraph with an appropriate heading.
- Use lists to break content into smaller readable points, especially when the topic under discussion is technical in nature.
- You can also break large quantities of content into more manageable sections with the use of background colours.
- Lastly, use CSS styles instead of manual font and size formatting. This will ensure responsive consistency irrespective of which device is used to read your website pages.
5. Optimise Images and Multimedia Elements
Just like the paragraph formatting tips above, images can be used to divide content into smaller parts to make a page easier to read and understand. Often users will decide on whether they will read the content of a post based on the image that accompanies it.
Best practices for using images:
- As images can add to the loading speed of a page, ensure that images are optimised for web use. This means small file size without compromising on the quality of an image or photograph.
- Consider the use of a content delivery network if you have a lot of images in one page. It improves page loading speeds considerably as images are hosted and served by a number of servers instead.
- Use original images. Originality – like content stands out and gives your web page its unique style. If you’re using images from the web be sure they are not right protected and be sure to give appropriate credit to the source.
- Use alt tags and file names to inform search engines what the images (and the content it is associated with) is all about. It is good on page SEO practice to use target keywords combined with your company name for images respectively.
6. Enhance Page URLs
As the URL of a page gets identified permanently by Google search engines it’s importance is paramount. Also known as a slug, the URL of a page is its unique identifier and carries its own essential on page SEO benefit. As with page titles, successful URL’s are short, descriptive and includes the target keywords. Good URL’s should be less than 255 characters and include hyphens ‘-‘ to separate words. Below is a good URL example by Zapro Digital.
These are some examples of good URLs:
These are examples of bad URLs:
Webpage URL basics:
- Employ a proper website taxonomy. Imagine shopping in a store full of items without any categories. It will be messy, and it might take you ages to find the item you are looking for. Well just like you would categorise items in a store, like bakkery, butchery and cleaning products for example; you need to employ categories in a website to identify topics that belong together. This will make your content considerably easier to locate and index.
- Add a breadcrumb menu. Breadcrumbs are really useful for visitors to navigate the various sections and pages of your website. And remember, always provide a clear and concise way for visitors to get back to the Home page.
7. Link The Pages of A Website Internally
Search engines typically follow links (internal as well as external) on every page to get a better idea of how they relate to one another. Internal links can typically be found within the content of a page and is the practice or referencing other relevant articles, pages or sections that are similar or based on the same topic.
Internal links can also include a typical call to action, for example: Contact us ← for a free quotation.
The benefits of internal linking include:
- Cross-referencing content in various different sections of a website allows for search engines to validate a page’s authority.
- Link to different articles within a blog structure makes search engines aware of that content and thus makes it more discoverable.
- Adding links to other relevant articles also keeps users informed and allows for them to visit multiple pages and also remain on your website longer.
8. Make Optimal Use of External Links
External links is also a way in which Google establishes page authority. External links can be used to support the content of your website, and although many webmasters advise caution, it is an essential on page SEO ranking factor. According to Yoast (in our opinion a trusted authority on the matter), external links – also called outbound links; matter in SEO because they connect the web. “By doing so, we create a web that expands and expands, from one related website to another”. We do advise you to be cautious however. Do not allow external links to drive traffic away from your page. In short; use links that are relevant and supports your content in a positive manner.
9. Speed and Mobile Friendliness
Last but not least, and probably 2 of the most overlooked factors must be considered. Statistically speaking more than 60% of internet access is done via mobile and 94% of people will leave a website if it is slow or unresponsive within the first 30 seconds. Did you know that Google favours mobile responsive websites more than their counterparts? Be sure that you optimise the speed and accessibility of your website in your on page SEO strategy.
Here is the take away’s to achieve high visitor retention, search placement and website user interest rates for longer:
- Invest in responsive web page designs and functionality to ensure retention at all times.
- Test your website on multiple devices, especially on mobile phones of different kinds.
- Test your website speed regularly and implement strategies to either improve the speed or keep it functioning optimally.
Invest in the right tools for the job, for example; Google PageSpeed Insights.
In Short Conclusion
SEO as a topic is expansive and involves much much more. With this guide we aim to help our readers understand the essentials of on page SEO techniques. We think that everything you do on your website should at least adhere to the guidelines discussed here as a solid foundation for SEO for your business and beyond. But Wait! That’s not all. Subscribe to our Blog to get all the latest insights into all thing digital. And don’t miss our follow up on off page SEO – there is still so much for us to discuss.