8 Best Practices for Optimizing Your On-Page SEO to Rank Higher
Analyzing and optimizing your website pages for search engines is important for getting the website traffic you need. On-page SEO includes all of the on-page elements that contribute to how your pages are perceived by search engines and therefore contributes to how well a web page is ranked in search results. Any improvement to your on-page SEO will result in better rankings and therefore an increase in how often your website gets found, directly translating to a boost in website traffic. The term, on-page SEO, refers to content as well as HTML code. Your website performance will impact your business success, so it is well worth the effort to optimize each page. You want to think of your website as a virtual storefront—increased traffic results in increased shoppers. Your website's pages should be considered like your best employees, working for you 24/7.
When blogging or publishing new content on your site, it is very important to start out with a strategy. You should keep an updated tally of the views, keywords and inbound links for each of each page and optimize those pages accordingly. Monitoring your website's performance is crucial to inbound marketing success, because it helps with every step of the inbound methodology: attracting the right visitors to your website, engaging with those visitors, and delighting them into being customers and promoters of your business. You want to optimize your pages for search engines so they can understand who you are, what you do, and what you are writing about. At its core, website optimization is simply about ensuring that your website gives you every possible advantage by speaking clearly and effectively to search engines and in a language that search engines reward. You will also want to optimize your site for people and website conversions.
You may already have published a fair bit of content on your website or blog before establishing your SEO strategy. Don't worry. That content can be optimized into highly performing pages too. It will be necessary to conduct an SEO audit for the pages that already exist. Start first by optimizing your most visited pages, as this will give you the most benefit for your efforts. The audit will also help uncover other potential problems such as duplicate content. A proper SEO audit will check whether your site is being blocked by search engines, make sure that your XML sitemap is working, monitor and improve site performance, spot and remove internal duplicate content, and check your site's popularity and trustworthiness. With the correct steps, website optimization on your existing page will make your website as functional and effective as possible.
TIPS to Increase ON-PAGE SEO
You have complete control over your on-page SEO. On-page SEO techniques work in alignment with your keyword strategy. In order to achieve high-performing website pages, you need to ensure that you are tracking the right keywords for your business. Keywords and SEO go hand-in-hand. Once you have determined what keywords you are trying to rank for, on-page SEO tells you where to add them. The techniques listed below helps you place your keywords where they need to be in order to maintain high-performing website pages.
1. PAGE TITLES
Titles are the HTML element used to describe the topic of a webpage. You'll find them in the title of a search engine result page and in the top bar of an internet browser. Search engines give your page titles significant weight in determining your ranking. They look at the title as an indication of what the entire page will be discussing and therefore you must include at least one keyword in the title. Your title should be less than 65 characters including spaces to ensure that it doesn't get cut off on search engine results pages. Place the keyword nearer to the beginning of the title. Technically, Google measures titles by pixel width, not character count. They recently increased the pixel width for organic search results from 500 pixels to 600 pixels which is approximately 65 characters. Every page needs a unique title. Also, titles have an impact on click-through rates (CTRs) so an optimized title is both search friendly and click friendly.
2. PAGE URL
Keywords should always be included in your URL. The words in the URL should be separated by hyphens so that they can be found by search engines. Make them user friendly so a visitor has a good idea of where they are on your website. You can eliminate little words like "a" and "the." When it comes to blogging, the URL should contain your blog title in its entirety. This also makes it easier for both the user to find what they need in a vast database of thousands of blog posts.
3. PAGE HEADERS
Using keywords in your headings is important as visitors are more likely to stay on the page if they can quickly see the words they were searching for. Keywords in headings also help with search engine rankings. Using H tags, or header tags, is also important for consistency. They are typically the largest font on a page and are what most people's eyes are drawn to first. If somebody is visiting your website via a Google search, this text is quite important for them, as it shows that they are indeed on the page that they intend to be on. Use H2 headers when your page has multiple sections and H3 headers for subsections. Separating text with white space and creating numbered and bulleted lists are also best practices for SEO optimization.
4. CONTENT OR BODY OF YOUR PAGE
You want to make sure that the content in the body of your page is unique and relevant and that it includes keyword phrases. Do not overuse your keywords. Overusing keywords (keyword stuffing) results is being punished by Google plus people don't want to read content that seems repetitive. Aim to use the keyword phrase no more than 3 to 4 times in a way that is natural. Also use some synonyms.
Make the content of your page easy to read. This helps with the user experience and is also rewarded by Google. Make your paragraphs 2 to 4 sentences long as lengthy paragraphs tend to lose readers. As previously mentioned, also use bullet points or lists where appropriate as readers prefer to scan information. Numbered lists help you rank for Google’s featured snippet which is the bolded top search result that comes up when users type in questions.
5. INTERNAL LINKS
Use anchor text to link all new content to at least 3 other pages on your blog or website. Go back to older content and find relevant ways to link that content back to your new page. Anchor text are words in coloured font that form the link. Make sure you use keywords in anchor text. For example, if there is a link on your page about graphic design, the linked anchor text should be "graphic design" and not "click here" for examples of your graphic design. Internal links are important because they help strengthen the keywords used in the anchor text. The links also allows users and Google to navigate through your website, and tells Google that the linked page is relevant for that keyword phrase.
6. META DESCRIPTION
Descriptions, or meta descriptions, are shown in search results right below the title and URL. Your meta description is important because it shows up in a Google search. It pulls traffic to your site by boosting click-through rates. It is easy to see how a good meta description can increase your CTRs. Meta descriptions are key to getting users to click through from a search engine results page (SERP) to your website. Meta descriptions should use keywords wisely, but more importantly, your meta description should include a compelling pitch. It should describe what a user will find when they get to your website. Your meta description should be 50 to 160 characters. Lastly, avoid quotes and non-alpha characters in your meta description as Google will ignore those.
TIP: Page-load speed also impacts your rank. You want your website page to load in less than 1.5 seconds. Google added page-load speed as a factor in its ranking algorithm. If your page takes more than 1.5 seconds to load, it will hurt your ranking position. The images you choose to include should have a low pixel count to reduce loading time.
7. ALT IMAGE text AND title TAGS
An alt text tag is the description of each image that allows web engine crawlers to understand what the image is. All images should been assigned appropriate alt tags. Use hyphens instead of underscores to separate the words and never use non-alpha characters (such as $, %, &). Google uses alt text tags in the same way that visually impaired people use them—as a way to comprehend images. Google's algorithm is unable to see or understand the image itself without an alt tag. If someone is using a screen reader, they will be able to hear what that image is.
An alt image title tag, on the other hand, is shown when a user hovers their mouse over the element—kind of like a pop-up.
You should include a keyword phrase in the name of your image to make it SEO friendly. All alt tags should be both simple and descriptive. Image search is pretty common so you can pick up traffic from there.
8. CALL-TO-ACTION BUTTONS
Make it easy for your visitors to contact you or to get more information. There should be a CTA on every page. This acts to engage and delight potential contacts with extra content.
If you have a marketing platform, such as HubSpot, you can use the Optimize option for on-page SEO. It will help by telling you what on-page SEO best practices you have met and what best practices are lacking. While search engine rankings are algorithmic, a good rule of thumb is to always think of the user experience. The ultimate goal of search engines is to deliver the best possible results to their searchers. If you keep that goal in mind with your SEO strategy, you'll be more likely to make good choices.Think about humans first and search engines second and you will be rewarded.
Getting found online is more than just creating relevant, useful content. Content that is properly optimized, keyword-rich and helpful enough to generate lots of shares and inbound links will help you rise to the top of search engine results, bringing you more traffic, more leads and more customers.