On-Page SEO: The Ultimate Guide

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the bread and butter of any good SEO strategy.

It’s easier to implement on-page changes and get more immediate results compared with off-page techniques, and arguably it’s an area you have more direct control over, so it’s always the best place to start when you’re looking at improving your search engine ranking and gaining more organic traffic.

Let’s delve into the specifics of on-page SEO, and look at the dos and don’ts.

What’s the Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO?

On-page and off-page SEO might sound like technical terms, but actually, they’re quite self-explanatory. On-page SEO should be thought of as anything you can do on the pages of your website to improve online visibility and rankings, while off-page SEO is anything you can do outside of your website to boost SERP rankings.

On-Page SEO Examples

  • Content
  • Keywords
  • Internal and external linking
  • Meta descriptions
  • Titles tags
  • Page speed
  • Headers

Off-Page SEO Examples

On-Page SEO Strategies

On-page SEO is essential for every business that wants their website to rank well on search engine results pages.

So according to my very complex and specific calculations… that’s pretty much everyone.

On-page SEO strategies are designed to make it easier for users to find your website with the help of search engines, and one of the best ways to do this is by improving the user experience. Since search engines prioritise UX, it makes the most sense to focus on this above all else.

This works for your website on two levels, because users will return if they get a good user experience, and new users will find you if Google recognises the good user experience and consequently ranks it highly in SERPs.

To improve your user experience, and implement other on-page SEO strategies to help gain more traffic, you can:

Write for Your Audience

Search engines should be thoght of as tools that work for those inputting search queries. They want to provide results to users that are the most helpful and the most relevant to the search query. Therefore, to rank well on SERPs, you should write content with your target audience in mind, rather than focusing on what you think search engines want.

By creating high-quality, useful, or interesting content for the reader, you will by default be creating content that search engines deem suitable results for users.

On top of this, you’ll also want to consider keywords.

Research and Implement Keywords

Keywords are an important part of any on-page SEO strategy.

They let search engines know what your content is about and therefore enable it to be served to users when it matches relevant search terms.

Researching keywords will help you determine what type of content to create by revealing what search terms are popular, and how difficult it is to rank well for those search terms. Once you’ve settled on your keywords, you need to use them in your content.

Stuffing pages full of keywords is not beneficial, and actually, search engines will penalise you for this. Instead, use keywords naturally within your content and ensure your sentences make sense.

Your keyword should feature in the title (H1) of your page’s content, as well as in the first paragraph, and subsequent headings.

Structure Your Content

Web page content should be structured to make it easier for search engines to scan, and this also makes it more user-friendly for human readers.

Increasingly short attention spans mean that long essays and difficult-to-digest material are the enemy of a well-ranking website. Instead, break your content up into manageable paragraphs or short sections that are easy to skim read, helping users to quickly find the information they are looking for.

Improving user experience in this way can go a long way to making your website be viewed more favourably in the metaphorical eyes of the search engine.

Using headings and subheadings will break your content down to make it more search engine and human-friendly. Headings (H1) are the headlines of your content, while subheadings (H2) should cover subtopics. H3 subheadings can be used to look at your subtopics in greater detail.

Personally, I would not advise going beyond H3 as it tends to complicate the structure of a website.

Include Internal Links

Internal links are hyperlinks within content that point to other pages on the same website.

They are useful for helping search engine crawlers find and index more pages from your website, and they also work as signals to help search engines determine how the pages in your site relate to each other.

Both of these factors contribute to helping a website rank better on search engines. Internal links also serve as a way of helping users find more relevant content, and ultimately keep them on your website for longer.

Include External Links

External links are hyperlinks within the content of a website that point to other websites.

Using external links in your content is an excellent way to build trust between your business and your users, by referencing reputable sources. Including external links can help your website rank highly in search engines because it improves user experience while also building authority.

When including external links in your content, be sure to only use recognised and respected websites, and avoid stuffing the content with links because this can look spammy and be off-putting for readers.

Optimise HTML tags

Your HTML tags, such as title tags and meta description tags, can be optimised to improve your on-page SEO.

Title tags should be relevant to your content and include your main keyword, while meta descriptions should tempt potential visitors to click through to your site.

If your HTML tags aren’t pertinent to your content, search engines will create their own, or they may overlook your site altogether.

Update Your URLs

URLs help search engines understand what a page is about, and therefore with an optimised URL your page is more likely to be considered for a relevant search query.

Often, websites will automatically create their own URLs for new content, so it is imperative that you change these before new pages are published. Avoid whole sentences, publishing dates, and random numbers.

Instead, incorporate hyphens to separate words so they are more easily readable, use your keyword, and ensure the URL is relevant to the page.

To Sum Things Up

On-page SEO is what most website owners or developers concern themselves with when they’re optimising a website. It forms the foundation of any good SEO strategy, and it covers a multitude of areas.

If your site is lacking in any of the on-page SEO areas mentioned above, it’s time to delve deeper into that area and see what changes you can implement to improve your SEO game.

Since this process can be time-consuming, it’s always helpful to have an SEO specialist on hand to keep things running smoothly. Get in touch today.

Karli Edmondson-Matthews

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