What is On-Page Optimization?
On-Page optimization is a part of SEO . It is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher in the search engines, therefore earning more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized. This differs from off-page Optimization which refers to things you can do to improve search engine rankings that are not part of the website itself, including but not limited to: links pointing to your website, Social Media, and other external signals. The concept of on-page optimization has sometimes been made over-complicated, and though it is true that there are many steps to fully optimize each page of your site, we have simplified it to a step by step process that you can easily follow therefore yielding higher results and more traffic and profits.
Advice on On-Page Optimization
- The Content of the page. Good content supplies a demand for information. Your content needs to be readable and clear to understand. Some people try to do so much optimization to a page, that the original content looks like mush and is hard to read. Even if you get a decent number of hits to start, the search engine bots will penalize you because the viewers will not stay on your site long and bounce quickly. Also get a word count app to count the number of words on your page. Though, there is no limit or exact number for minimum word count for SEO optimized page and posts, ideally keep it more than 700 words.
- Use Keyword research tools. Whether online or a software, these tools can help inform you of the right keywords or key phrases to attack. Know your monthly volume and competition level of each key phrase. The higher the competition level, the more time and money you will need to spend in order to move high in the search engines.
- Use SEO-Friendly URLs. An URL is the address or Phone number if you will, that connects the viewer with the web page. Search engine bots now look at the url to rank your page. Lets first look at two bad example of an URL
- The first part “yoursite” is fine. In the first example, there were many folders “365”, “738”, “subfolder”, and “sales” all making a very very unnecessarily long URL. The second url makes no mention as to what the webpage is about. Now here is a good example:
- yoursite.com/keyword – It is as short as possible. It is precise, and it says exactly what the site is about. To the search engines, this is a SEO friendly URL
Advice on On-Page Optimization part 2
- Start the Title With your primary. Keyword – Also known as the H1 tag or heading tag. Wrap Your Blog Post Title in an H1 Tag – The H1 tag is your main “headline tag”. Include your target keyword in at least once subheading H2, H3, and H4. Not only does this help with rankings, it also makes your site content easier to read. Use Headings and Subheadings to keep your content easy to read. A Meta title is less than 65 characters.
- Meta Description. Many people forget to include Meta descriptions for their pages. A Meta tag is code that the Search engine computers “Bots” can see. It is not actually seen on the viewable part of the page. However, the bots do use the Meta description and compare it to the content on the page. Therefore, make sure your Keyword, Meta Description, and content are all in sync. These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content, as these are used within the search results when your page is listed. Meta Description has to be descriptive, up to 150 characters and unique for each page.
Advice on On-Page Optimization part 3
- Consider adding modifiers to Your Title. Using modifiers like “2016”, “best”, “guide”, and “review” can help you rank for long tail versions of your target keyword.
- Use Responsive Design. Responsive designed websites make it easier for consumers to see content. Many believe that Google started penalizing mobile unfriendly sites in 2015 and the trend looks like it will continue more into the future.
- Use Outbound Links. Probably the #1 mistake that websites make. They are afraid to lose traffic so they fail to provide links to other sites that are relevant. Google and other search engines us outbound links to help verify that your content is indeed relevant to your keywords. Do not get crazy on your outbound links, this looks “spammy” 1 -2 per page is sufficient.
Advice on On-Page Optimization part 4
- Use Internal Links. Internal links are links that send the visitor to another page on your site. This not only increases your rankings, it also guides the visitors to relevant content within your site. Use 2-3 internal links in every post.
- Boost Site Speed. Search engines including Google now measure site speed. As one of their criteria’s to ranking online. You can boost your site speed by using a CDN, compressing images, and switching to faster hosting. A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other Web content to a user based on the geographic locations. When a person in China want to look at a page Hosted in the middle of the USA, the distance adds to the site time. Therefore a CDN, copies your site to multiple servers around the world and will send the client to the one closest to them. There is also an additional layer of protection in that if one server is down, the signal will then go to the next closest one as to avoid downtime
Advice on On-Page Optimization part 5
- Compressing images. Colors, dots per inch (DPI), and file type have a huge effect on image load speeds. For more info please visit our page on image optimization
- Properly tagging the image. Bots cannot see images, they see descriptions of the image though. This is called meta tags that you specifically add to the image. Use ALT tag to describe the image. This helps search engines understand what the image is about.
- Use descriptive filenames. Don’t just name your image ‘image1.jpg’ but try to use descriptive filenames, for example ‘Medium-dress-shirt’. Do you notice the dashes between the words? This allows the bots easily recognize the file name. Just like any page or product, the image should focus on a single keyword, and have the file name relate to that keyword
- Alt text shows alternative text if the image does not load. To the search engine bots however this is probably most useful data for images. This Alt text provides an additional layer to prove that your content is most relevant therefore giving you a higher ranking
- Relevant Videos and images with proper tagging. Using images and videos within your content is a great way to make your site more visually appealing and break up boring chunks of text. However, Search engine bots cannot read images without tagging the image with relevant text.
More Advice on On-Page Optimization
- Keyword Density. Including relevant keywords throughout your content is very important, as it helps search engines figure out what your content is about. Try to keep your keyword density to roughly 2-5% of the total word count of the page
- Don’t use Cheap Hosting services. It can slow the speed times because of used memory. Make sure that you are not pushing your hosting servers too hard.
- Add some flavor on some LSI Keywords. LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are basically keywords that are directly related to your primary keyword. This is a somewhat new concept that has gained a lot of steam recently. The bots look for similar keywords as a way of proving that your content is valid and accurate. Do not use any LSI keyword more than 1.5% of the total word count.
- Use Social Sharing Buttons. Make it easy for people to share your content. Social sharing buttons encourage distribution of your content across multiple platforms, which can send signals to search engines that your content is worth ranking, is valuable, and is worth noticing.
Plan to succeed from day 1
- Don’t forget to add product optimization keywording to all of your products too. This will direct traffic to the product itself plus provide a way for you to attack additional keywords or phrases that you missed. Each product is in itself a seperate web page. Therefore, take advantage of the opportunity.
- Breadcrumb. A breadcrumb is also important for all your pages because it allows users to navigate your website in a structured way since they always know where they are and how deep below the home page. A Breadcrumb is an order that ranks the categories in an easy to understand order. It looks like this:
- Clothing>Mens>Shirts> -Breadcrumbs should not be more than 3 layers deep. Too many layers makes it harder to find your content.
Continued advice on On-Page Optimization.
- Flesch Reading Test. This determines the ease to read a certain piece of text. Higher the score an article gets in Flesch Reading Ease Test, the easier that article is to read. A score of 60-70 is considered ideal score. Even though you are very creative with your wording, do not make it complicated reading.
- Crawl Error Resolution. In the process of doing on-page optimization to attract the attention of search engine spiders, there may be a crawl error encountered. This can be found on Bing or Google analytics. Crawl errors are dead links that goes nowhere. These dead links penalize your entire website. Check often for crawl errors.
- Use Structured Data Markup. Giving search engines as much information as possible about your site and the information it offers can only enhance your performance, so it’s become key for pages that want to outrank their competition to use structured data markup (also known as rich snippets) to enhance their search engine listings.
Advice on On-Page Optimization in conclusion
- User Sitemap and robots.txt file. One of your options in the main menu should be the User Sitemap and Robots.txt file. These are html files that represents the structure of your website. A sitemap is a map that lists all of your pages in an organized way that makes it easy for the bots to crawl around your site. A robots.txt file tells the bots what can be searched, and what should be excluded from searching. A good example of what you would want excluded from search would be employee documents or inner office related content that requires an employee user name and password.
- Update content on a regular basis. Page updates are also documented with search engines. Content must change as time goes by due to new information for a great number of reasons. The older your page becomes without any updates, the less value it is to the search engine robots. It is wise to review your web pages on a quarterly or semiannual basis. Add an “updated on “date”” somewhere near the top of the article to show your viewers and the bots that you reviewed the content for validity recently
Softwares that can help you with on-page optimization
- All In One SEO Pack. A free plugin for WordPress users that also offers some premium features for a fee. The free version is still extremely impressive. The app does much of the on-page optimization work for you, and then easily teaches you how to do the rest.
- Yoast SEO. Also a free plugin for WordPress users. This tool analyses every pager, product, and image for on-page optimization. This is a very good out of the box app that requires very little technical skill to operate.
- The SEORCH Crawler. Works for any website. You can analyse a complete website and it will email you results once complete. Each page is analysed for content, broken links, keywords, and technical factors.
- SEO Powersuite. The King of all the paid Software’s. This one however is worth every penny. 5 software’s in one that will help you with both on-page optimization and off-page. When used in combination of one of the top 3 plugins, this will make your rankings skyrocket.
- Copyscape. A free plagiarism checker. Enter a URL to detect stolen or duplicated content and to verify that your content is original.
- txt Generator. A freeware utility that makes the creation of robots.txt files fast and easy to follow.
- Word Counter. A free tool that counts the words on a page