You might have heard the term SEO but a lot of you want to know, “What is on-page SEO?” On-page SEO is the practice of individual webpages in order to rank higher in search engines, earning more relevant traffic. On-page refers to the content and HTML source code of a webpage that can be optimized, versus off-page SEO, which refers to links and other external signals.
One of the biggest factors that Google makes as it becomes more sophisticated is relevance. How relevant is your page or content to the search query? Google doesn’t want to give its user a bad experience by showing a page that has nothing to do with what they were wanting.
Think of it like you’re at a restaurant (Google), you order a hamburger (search for local hamburger restaurant) and the server (search engine) delivers a taco (local taco restaurant). Tacos are still delicious but it’s not what you ordered. Get the point…
With how fastpaced the world operates today, it takes a user about 50 milliseconds (ms) to form an opinion of your website. Even scarier is the average of 6-8 seconds before a visitor leaves your website. The more relevant and interactive your website and content are, the more the visitor will engage with your site. It’s all about the visitor’s experience.
What You Need to Know about On-page SEO
There are more companies now than ever before. It seems like everyone is blitzing to either launch a new online business or carry expand their business to online sales. Google averages over 40,000 searches every second, which equates to 1.2 trillion searches worldwide per year.
What are you doing to optimize your online presence so your brand’s voice can be heard? It all starts with the basics. You can’t plop your brand-new dream house on a piece of land without drafting the blueprint and then building the foundation. On-page SEO is the foundation for your SEO campaign. On-page enhancements will provide peak performance to your website which will result in greater visibility to your target audience.
Over the years, Google SEO has changed quite a bit. We’re currently working with ranking algorithms that include Hummingbird, Panda, Rankbrain and semantic importance within the page.
One of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO is meta tags. Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content to search engines and crawlers.
Meta tags provide more relevance syncing between your content and a search query searching for similar content. You will get higher rankings if the relevance of your meta tag matches the user’s satisfaction.
The most important meta tag we’ll be discussing is your title tags. These tags have a drastic impact on your search rankings and are visible to the average user searching Google. The words will appear at the top of each tab in your browser for both organic results and paid ads.
The title tag explains what the page is about. Google and other search engines look at the title tag and compare that to the rest of the content on the page.
If you’re working inside of Wordpress, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. The SEO plugin allows you to create a custom title tag within each page very easily. Make sure to keep your title tags descriptive and short.
Think of this as you standing outside next to your competitors with billboards in your hands. What would yours say about your webpage versus your competition? Make sure to add in your relevant keywords and location if you’re a local business.
Search engines determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value through your meta description. More importantly, the meta descriptions explain what users will find on the page.
When writing meta descriptions, keep in mind quality is still king (or queen). A very well written meta description can generate higher rankings in the search results, which will create a higher click-through rate for the user.
We recommend keeping your description between 165 and 175 characters long.
Add in your brand’s name, a keyword or two and what users will find on the page. This could be the first interaction visitors will have with your brand. Make it a great experience.
Heading tags are a necessity for any success with on-page SEO. Your landing pages and blog pages should include multiple heading tags, ranging from the H1 to the H6. The most important heading tag is the H1.
The H1 heading is usually the page title or name of the page or post. On a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. On a product page, your H1 would be the name of that product.
As you write your content, you can also use the H2 and H3 headings to introduce different sections of your page or content. An H2 heading is like a chapter in a book. The section you’re reading now is an H3 heading since it’s a sub-section of a chapter (H2).
It’s extremely rare for most content to get ‘deep’ enough to need the use of H4 tags and beyond unless you’re writing extremely long or really technical content.
Authoritative Content Importance
As we mentioned earlier in this blog, Google is looking to match its user to relevant content to provide a great experience to its user. Your content should clearly explain what you’re offering or what the page or post is about.
The internet is now more cluttered than ever, which is having Google constantly updating their algorithms.
You have to make sure you’re taking the time to write quality content that your target audience finds useful otherwise you’re being drowned out in the noise. You need to stand out from the competition with quality content. Content will always be king (or queen).
SEO and content creation do a lot of overlapping and they’re both needed to create an industry-dominating SEO campaign. After all, they compliment each other.
When creating content, don’t just write to write. You need to write being “the authority” in your field. You should relate to your readers so they feel safe and comfortable with you before ever making a decision to spend money on your products or services.
You want to focus on providing tons of value to them before ever swooping in for the sale. They can go to a used car lot for that type of experience.
If you want to improve your on-page SEO and increase your organic traffic, content must relate to a user and either provide value or offer a solution to their problem.
Internal Links and External Links
Links are detrimental to the success of your overall SEO. Earning high-quality links from authoritative domains will strengthen your SEO by a long shot. We’ll go into more detail when we talk about off-page SEO.
Internal links throughout your site and blogs will deliver a better user experience for your visitors and will also enhance your SEO.
Internal linking to other pages of your site will strengthen the keywords and have Google determine where to rank a particular keyword. The crawlability of your site will improve drastically when you internally link your pages, products, categories, and blogs. This will result in Google showing the site’s most important pages.
When you add a new link to your homepage, it becomes easier for Google to see that you’ve updated your site with new content instead of crawling the entire site again.
Internal links also provide a higher chance of your visitors to stay on your website longer. Google takes notice when there is more engagement across your site and relevant pages.
When doing internal links to other pages on your website, we recommend staying between 4-6 links. You want to make sure that these links open in the same tab so the user can see the flow.
When doing internal links to external websites, we recommend staying between 2-5 links. When these links go to external websites, you want to make sure they open up in a new tab so the user doesn’t leave your site.
When doing internal links, make sure you’re using anchor text that relates to the URL that it’s pointing to so you don’t get penalized by Googe.
Optimize Your Images for SEO
When choosing what images to use with your site page or post, make sure they are unique and page relevant. Users are much more likely to react to an image before they begin reading a post.
With how popular Instagram has grown to be, our society is trained to look at images first.
Same as social media, when using images on your site, make sure you’re using the highest quality possible. Google and other search engines prefer higher resolution images.
You always want to keep page speed in the back of your mind when adding in images. Scale down your images below a 150KB file size to ensure that it doesn’t affect your website speed in a negative way.
When adding in an image, you want to make sure that you always add in the image alt-text. An optimized alt-text gives Google another clue on what your page is about. The alt tag should be used to describe what the image is about so it’s visible by Google’s crawlers.
Optimize Page Speed for Google
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, it takes a user about 50 milliseconds (ms) to form an opinion of your website. Speed is in 2019 and SEO is no different. If your website loads slow or a page doesn’t load right away, a user will find a website that will.
Nearly all mobile users will leave if a site doesn’t load within the first 3 seconds. Google is even ranking websites higher that load faster.
As time goes on, if you’re not making constant updates to your website, it will start to get slower with time. Below are some tips on how to speed up your website:
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Minify and combine files
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Use WP engine for your web hosting
- Use a caching plugin
- Add expires headers to leverage browser caching
- Compress your images
- Clean up your database
- Compress your website with gzip
- Fix all broken links
- Reducing your redirects
- Minify your CSS and JS files
- Turn off all plugins you don’t use
- Minimize round trip times (RTTs)
- Put CSS at the top and JS at the bottom
If this is too technical, you can always get a FREE SEO Audit by our team to see what needs to be done to speed up your site.
In 2019, this seems like a given but you’d be surprised that many businesses don’t have 100% mobile optimized websites. For your website to be found relevant and your on-page SEO to make an impact, your website needs to be mobile-friendly and responsive.
A mobile-friendly website will give the user the same experience of your site no matter what device they’re using. At Avintiv, we custom develop our sites for all of the latest devices and web browsers to just ensure our clients are always giving their customers a great experience.
Google mentioned that starting July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for all new websites (new to the web or previously unknown to Google Search). Google is slowly notifying existing site owners that their site is having issues being seen.
As Google stated, “Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.”
If you’d like assessing how your On-page SEO is, use our FREE SEO Audit.