On-Page SEO Techniques to Optimize Your Site
On-page SEO, sometimes called on-site SEO, is the process of utilizing optimization techniques in order to help individual web pages rank higher on search engines. You could be producing the best content in your industry but if you’re not optimizing your website, it’s not going to be seen by anyone. And the whole point of your website is to be seen, right? To attract customers, make conversions, and increase your presence in your field? Without taking advantage of on-page SEO, you will have a hard time doing any of these things.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the basic on-page techniques you need to optimize your site (that actually work)!
How to Optimize a Web Page Using On-Page SEO
When creating a web page, it’s important to keep these steps in mind for optimal SEO.
- When it comes to URLs:
The URL is at the very top of a web page and is likely going to be the only thing a user sees until the entire page finishes loading. They should be as short as possible without sacrificing any crucial information — shorter URLs tend to rank higher than longer ones for a number of reasons. They’re easier to share, copy & paste, and embed, making it easier for users to interact with your site and increase traffic. We recommend no longer than 115 characters in the URL including your domain name.
Another easy way to use on-page SEO in relation to your URL is to include the keywords. If a page is all about a certain topic, including that topic in the URL increases your chances of ranking higher on search engines because it reinforces what the page is about. For example, this blog is about on-page SEO, so we made sure to include that in the URL to make it easier for both search engines and users to understand what the page consists of.
- Optimize the title tag.
The title tag is an HTML element that gives a title to the web page. It also displays on search engine results pages (SERPs) to let the searcher know the title of the site they’re about to click on. Utilizing these practices will likely increase the click-through-rate (CTR) of your site, or the ratio of searchers who actually click through your site. If your title tag is optimized, it’s going to grab the attention of the searcher and improve your CTR.
To make your title tag stand out, always include the keyword you’re trying to rank for and try to put it at the beginning of the title if possible. For example, the title tag of this page is “On-Page SEO Checklist: X Ways to Optimize (That Work!)” If a searcher is looking for “on-page SEO” tips and this blog’s title tag didn’t include that keyword, how would they know this page would help them?
You also want to make sure the title tag is between 50-60 characters. If it’s longer than that, it will be truncated, or cut off, by the search engine when showing up on the results page. We also recommend including characters other than letters such as numbers, brackets, or parentheses, as they’re more likely to be noticed by a searcher.
Lastly, each page on your site should have a different title tag, as you want to make each page valuable in their own right. Never use duplicate title tags because that makes search engines think there may be duplicate content on those pages, and thus decreases the value and chances of ranking highly.
- Use headings and subheadings.
Using headings and subheadings structures your page and makes it easier for both users and search engines to navigate, improving your on-page SEO. The main topic of the page should be stated in the first header, or H1, and it should include your focus keyword to reiterate the topic. Subheadings throughout the structure will then be called H2s, H3s, H4s, etc, providing organization to your content.
- Write compelling meta descriptions.
Each page on your site should have a meta description, or a snippet that provides information on what the content is about. These are crucial to on-page SEO because they’re the short summary of what users see when scrolling through the SERPs that let them know what the page contains. These should be 145-155 characters and contain your focus keyword. Without a compelling meta description, it’s unlikely users will be interested in clicking on your link.
- Produce more quality longform content.
Search engines like Google and Bing reward quality content; you’re more likely to rank higher on the SERPs if your content is informative, relevant, and helpful to the users. With that being said, producing longform content is the direction everyone should be moving in because it’s generally more thorough than shorter pieces. Long gone are the days of posting 300-word blogs that answer very specific questions — you want to combine very similar content into longer pieces that address broader topics. In fact, the average result on Google’s first page is around 1,890 words.
Keep in mind that quality doesn’t equal quantity. While you want to write longer pieces, don’t sacrifice the quality of your message in order to hit a word count. If your content seems to be beating around the bush or droning on and on, don’t be afraid to cut out the fluff.
For more information on producing quality content using on-page SEO, check out our blog “Crafting Your Message: Using On-Page SEO to Create the Best Content”
- Use target keywords and LSI keywords throughout your content.
After performing your keyword research, you should have a focus keyword picked out that acts as the main one you’re trying to rank for. This is the keyword that will be featured in the URL, title tag, subheadings, and throughout the text. On top of that, take advantage of latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords, or keywords that are topically related to your focus keyword that give search engines a better understanding of what your content is about. For example, if you’re writing a piece of content where the focus keyword is “wedding dress”, you should sprinkle supporting keywords like “bridesmaid dress” or “bridal gown” to give more context.
- Include internal and external links in your text.
Internal linking refers to linking pages within your own website in your text so that users and search engines can connect them together. It helps search engines to index your site easier because you’re showing them a sort of page hierarchy, or flow of how to click through the site. It’s beneficial to the user because it provides them with additional information and guides them to different pages that could help answer their search queries. We recommend including between two and five internal links throughout the text and to link to pages you want to receive more traffic.
External linking, sometimes called backlinking, is to linking to pages on other websites, which is valuable because it provides the user with references. You want to link credible sources that can provide your audience with additional information, as that adds a credibility to your own content. In turn, other domains linking to your site increases your chances of ranking highly because search engines view your site as worthy of being referenced. Remember — search engines reward great content, so if other sites are referencing you it signals to them that your content is relevant and informative. Over time this will help you become a known reputable source in your industry.
- Make sure your design is responsive and readable.
Having a responsive and readable website is key for on-page SEO. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users or the fonts are too hard to read, people will immediately click away and you’ll lose conversions and customers. This will also increase your bounce rate, or the rate at which people click on your site and then click away. Search engines like Google will take note of the bounce rate and assume your site is not providing valuable information if users aren’t spending any time on the page after clicking on it. Make sure the design is able to adapt for mobile searches and has clear, easy-to-read fonts and font sizes so that everyone can see. Talk with your graphic designer to make sure your page is providing the best user experience possible!
The Importance of SEO
Optimizing your site for organic search is crucial for increasing a site’s visibility, driving traffic, and encouraging customer conversions. Hopefully this blog gave you some insight into what on-page SEO tactics you can use to improve your site, but if you need more information check out our free, downloadable SEO Guidebook. We’ll help you achieve search engine success!