Let's picture an inbound marketing strategy as a sandwich, and in this sandwich we have the SEO ham, the Local SEO cheese, on-page SEO mayo (or mustard depending on your taste buds), and other yummy toppings. A sandwich is only perfect if it has all the key components. In the same way, if something is missing from your inbound marketing strategy, you are missing out.
For this reason, we are talking about on-page SEO because there are a whole bundle of ingredients involved in making it so tasty for your SEO strategy!
Keep reading if you want to know why on-page SEO is worth your time, what factors you can't leave out, as well as a bundle of great tools to help you along the way!
Why You Need On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing site pages to rank better and get more relevant traffic from search engines. It includes both the content and HTML source code of an individual page. On-page SEO helps with both user experience and helping search engines understand your relevance. It lets search engines know who you are and what your ranking should be. Without it, your website is almost invisible to search engines and thus consumers as well.
A well kept website provides material for search engine crawlers to read, identify, and organize – This is how search engines rank your pages. On-page SEO makes certain that nothing prevents you from ranking higher on search engines. For example, Google's crawlers do not classify your website as valuable if it's not properly kept up.
How Search Engines Rank Your Website
Search engines like Google have crawlers, or spiders, that build an index to provide searchers with a ranked list of websites they regard as the most relevant and popular. The actual process is quite simple and having an understanding of it really helps with comprehending on-page SEO.
1. Crawling and Indexing
Search engine spiders crawl the world wide web through interconnected links to explore all of the intertwined pages online. Once a page is found, the spiders read the code and store any useful information in a large database.
2. Search Engines Answer Questions
Google and other search engines were created to answer questions. To answer questions, search engines collect information from their big database of documents. They choose these documents by how relevant and popular they are for that given search.
Basically, the more popular a page is, the more authority it has and the more valuable it is to search engines. This is where algorithms come in because they pick out the most useful and popular pages. To decipher the good from the bad, search engines use ranking factors.
These ranking factors which make up the algorithm is not completely understood because Google doesn't announce them all and they are always evolving. Below are the factors that are tried and true in the SEO world.
1. Website Speed
Page speed refers to the total amount of time it takes for a web page to fully download all of its content.
It's crazy when you think about the fact that a 1-second delay can cost you a 7% conversion loss and 11% less page views. For companies like Amazon, a 1-second delay can lead up to a loss of $1.6 billion every year. Keeping up to date with the speed of your website is crucial!
You don't only have to worry about your bounce rate, you want site visitors returning to your website again and again, especially if you run an e-commerce or focus on blogging. Did you know that 40% of site visitors will leave a page if it does not load in less than 3 seconds? Even more, 20% of that exact traffic will leave for every additional second. Can you imagne the loss of visibility for a 5-second delay?
Page speed is crucial for SEO because websites that offer a better user experience are ranked higher in SERPs. Google's algorithm is a tough b*tch and there is no way of getting around it! You see, Google's main concern is user experience so if you are providing a better experience than another website, you are sure to rank higher.
Here's How to Get Better Page Speed
There are at least 50+ blog posts out there telling you how to get better page speed, and if we are being honest it can get overwhelming. I want to take that stress away by showing you a realistic and efficient way to begin improving your page speed.
See Where You Need Fixing
Use a tool like PageSpeed Insights from Google to see where exactly your website needs modifications. This way, you won't worry about unnecessary problems that don't relate to your website.
The tool is easy to use and, for beginners, its a great way to begin improving your page speed. Here are some common modifications you may need to do to your website.
Compress Your Files
One thing that every website owner should be doing is compressing their files. The bigger a file or image, the more time it will take to load your web page and the more dissatisfaction with your site.
claiming the resources to load your site takes power, it demands loading every image and page element and then managing heavy HTML and coding. Every time a site visitor arrives, the process happens – and its long!
Browse caching remembers the previously loaded resources so that it doesn't have to happen every single time for a visitor. For example, if a site visitor goes from a product page to your homepage, all of your data will be remembered.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google created project that improves mobile page speed. It provides a cleaner experience and removes features that don't run smoothly on a mobile site. It produces a simplified version of your website that looks and runs much better on mobile devices.
2. Mobile Optimization
You have to meet Google's very clear-cut algorithm requirements if you want to rank well in SERPs. Although it is not completely clear what these requirements are, there are a few that are well-know, including mobile optimization.
Basically, Google ‘puts you in timeout' if your website is not optimized for mobile devices. In fact, in 2016, 48% of consumers began their mobile research on a search engine, so their results are controlled by search engine algorithms. To have good SEO, you have to be on Google and other search engines' good side.
Mobile optimization refers to guaranteeing that your website has been made for all types of devices including phones, laptops, and desktops. It includes creating a satisfied user experience on all devices.
Consumers move from one device to another during their buyer journey. For example, someone looking for a new printer could make their initial search on their laptop, do a bit of research on their phone later that day, and then make a purchase on their tablet that night. Consumers require websites that are optimized for any device they choose to use.
If your website isn't optimized for mobile devices you are at risk of your website sitting at the very bottom of SERPs and/or people leaving your site shortly after arriving because your pages are not readable on small devices.
Even more so, in 2016, Google announced that 51% of smartphone users have found a new company or product after making a search on their phone. Website optimization is pertinent if you want to succeed!
Features of a Mobile Optimized Website
The page speed section, previously discussed, works just as well in this section. For mobile devices, you can use Google Search Console to get a report and status updates.
You should check your load time per page because they all contain different features that look and load differently on diverse devices.
Responsive and Adaptive Websites
When creating your website, you have to keep in mind that it needs to look good and work great on all types of mobile devices. To do so, you should pick between a responsive or adaptive design.
This type of website design changes your page layouts depending on a device's screen size. The shift in screen size will make the page's design arrange itself for the best user experience – the design pattern changes. When using this type of design, you need to know what your site user wants and needs so that they love their overall site usage.
With this type of website design, you create preset layout sizes for every device screen. When someone uses your website from a mobile device, your website chooses from the set of layouts which best fits the screen. The change in layout size has no effect on your website's design. With an adaptive design, most website creators and owners create a design for each of the six common screen sizes (320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, and 1600 pixels).
Choosing Your Design
When deciding on what type of design most suits your website it is best to think about your site users' actions when on your pages. A responsive website design is a favorite with new websites because it is the simplest to create. All it does is take the one design you create and change it depending on the screen size.
With an adaptive website design, you work a bit harder but the outcome is that every device has a custom screen design best fit for its functions. With this type of design, you can also add features that play with the device's functions like touch screen.
I wish I could tell you which is the best option, but in the end it depends on your own situation. It's on you to know your website's objective, its users' needs, how it is used, and which devices are most often used. By understanding these factors, you can more accurately decide what website design to create.
As we have previously discussed this, I will not go into depth again, however, here are some things to keep in mind when optimizing your images.
To begin, changing the size of your image file doesn't affect the actual look of your image. It is only changing the size of the file and how much space it takes on your pages code.
Next, a great strategy to compress images for mobile devices is to use media queries. They are a CSS technique which allows you to set a minimum and maximum size range for your images.
Also, to compress your images onsite, you can use a plug in like Imagify.
major ranking factor is user experience, if people are not happy when on your website you can't reach a sufficient popularity level to rank on search engines.
For the best user experience, every website should have a live chat. It's a great way to get recommendations and allows site visitors to ask you questions directly. Engaging with your audience is so important and allows users to get fast and insightful answers. Also, it provides you with insight on where your website may be lacking in information.
Furthermore, eliminating pop-ups is another great way to increase user experience on mobile devices. No one likes them as they are annoying on small screens and the exit button is hard to locate. I get why they are there, it's a great way to get people's attention and some valuable information, however to save on annoyed site visitors, use CTAs instead. You can get the same message across without hurting user experience.
3. Website Security
This algorithm requirement is pretty much self-explanatory, people don't trust websites that aren't secure because of the many stories of hackers and internet dangers. So, most definitely people will not stay on your website if it isn't HTTPS.
Furthermore, in 2014, Google initiated “HTTPS everywhere” and stated that secure websites would get an advantage with SERPs. The response was much smaller than expected and now any page without an updated SSL certificate is labeled as unsecure and will not rank in search engines.
To get an SSL certificate, most people go through their website host, these companies usually disable the option of doing it yourself – independently.
If you decide to do it yourself, you can use Let's Encrypt, a free platform which does all the work for you. You can also get a certificate through Google Cloud but you will have to do most of the work yourself.
Keywords are one of the most important factors in on-page SEO. I cannot stress enough how if your keywords are wrong, everything else I will discuss is ineffective.
How to Find Your Keywords
conceive a list of all words connected to your niche, you can do so by going on Google and finding popular topics, looking at what your competitors use, and by trying a couple keyword generators.
when you think about the keywords you're using, are you certain that they are relevant to your websites content? Will people find what they are looking for on your website with those keywords? Will the traffic that your keywords bring in push you closer to your goals?
The keywords that you use have to reflect more than the term you want to rank for, they have to match your viewers' needs and actions as well as your conversion goals.
If you feel that your keywords are insufficient, no worries, you can always push forward with a little (or alot) of work!
A great way to see which keywords work best for your audience and website is to create sample campaigns using different variations of keywords.
You can buy sample ads from Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter to see how well your keyword(s) do. You can track the impressions and conversion rate for each keyword until you have reached about 200-300 clicks. With the data you acquire, you can more easily know the value of your keywords. Make sure to look at the cost per click (CPC), total value, and annual profit.
Make sure to keep an eye out for any changes in keyword trends and how your audience responds to your specific keywords. You don't want to fall behind what is popular, the best tactic is to ride the wave of trends as that is where the highest concentration of you audience will find you.
5. The Slug
No, this is not a slimy thing that crawls around in the dirt, it is the last part of your URL and describes your page's content. You should make sure that your slug contains your keyword and doesn't contain any stop words.
Also, it's important to know that changing a published page's URL will create a 404 Error page. To prevent people from landing on an empty page, you need to redirect the old page to the new one using a 301-redirect. If you are using the premium version of Yoast SEO, all URLs are automatically redirected. If not, you can use the WordPress plugin called Simple 301 Redirect.
6. Body of The Text
As you write your content, make sure that you use your keyword(s) naturally. This means that you aren't keyword stuffing, where you place your keyword as much as possible to amp your SEO. The outcome will be disappointing as search engines detect keyword stuffing and don't like it!
The best way to use your keywords is mindfully as you keep in mind the reason you are writing in the first place; for you audience to learn and enjoy their experience doing it!
A quick tip I can give you is that keyword density is a great way to be mindful of how write. Typically, you want to have a 0.5% to 1.5% keyword density, if you go higher, you have used your keyword too often.
If you are writing and you feel that your keyword doesn't fit with the context, you should rethink the keyword you are using. A keyword is no good if it isn't relevant to your content, even if it ranks really well on search engines for its popularity.
People love visuals, we see it everywhere from billboards to social media, visual content has a huge influence on user experience. Visuals are also great for SEO, not only because people will stay on your page longer but because with on-page SEO, you are linking your keyword to every single image you upload.
That's right, you cant just simply upload a picture and move on, there is a process of optimization to follow! To begin, as I mentioned before, you have to compress you image to make the file smaller. Then, you have to optimize the image's file name so that it includes your keyword. Lastly, you must put your keyword in your image's ALT attribute. Et Voila! You have an optimized image that is ready to gain you SEO points.
Quick Tip: Never upload an image that is wider than 1980px by 1240px because it will increase the loading time as the image is too large.
8. Title Tag
The title tag is the very first thing people see in their SERPs, so you want to catch their attention. For SEO reasons, you should try and always put your keyword as close to the front of your title as possible.
Another key factor here is that your title needs to be 100% relevant to the content on your page. The worst thing is landing on a page with expectations about the content and finding out the title was misleading!
9. Meta Description
After the title tag, the meta description is the next thing people will look at. Within your meta description there are a few key factors you should always include;
- You keyword should appear within the first 60 characters.
- Use a call to action (CTA) like ‘click here' to persuade people to click on your page.
- Write a clear and concise description about the content of the page.
Headings are important for a couple of reasons. To start, they organize your page's content for a better user experience. It's hard to keep people's attention, especially online. Headings help keep your audience's attention as it guides the eyes to continue reading and shows how far there is to go.
Furthermore, headings are another indication for search engine crawlers to know what your page's content is about. For this reason, you should try and include your keyword in headings as often as naturally possible.
Breadcrumbs are a discrete on-page SEO factor because though it is a small detail, it can really make a difference. This small feature shows search engines the structure of your website in an adept way.
What's more, breadcrumbs allow site visitors to easily navigate around your website. For example, a site visitor may find one of your blogs through Instagram, click on it, and read your post. From there they can navigate through your breadcrumbs to find other related topics and more!
As you may have noticed, there are many factors that come into play with on-page SEO, every single one of them is pertinent if you want great on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is one of those things you can't ignore if you are trying to increase your search engine ranking. It would be like making a sandwich without mayo, it's missing something crucial!