On page SEO
Keywords in a crucial places. "10 things to watch out for"
I would describe on page SEO as the optimization of a webpage by inserting the text of your choice (keywords) into crucial places. Keywords in the crucial places give Google relevant signals that help it to understand your website. You can insert keywords into the text itself, titles, image file names, subheadings and other places. Google reads these keywords to determine what your website is about and how relevant is it to a search query that someone just typed in Google.
On page SEO or on-site SEO means optimizing your website content for search engines and humans with keywords. On-page SEO deals with where and how to put keywords on your webpage to satisfy Google and people alike. Other standard SEO umbrellas are technical SEO, content SEO, off-page SEO and local SEO. There is no clear distinction as many specific SEO elements are intervened and connected.
Is on page SEO important? Super important. Google states in its How Search Works report that relevant Keywords that appear in the headings or body of the text are the most basic signal that the content matches the search query. Even though Google has smartened up from understanding only single keywords to understanding and evaluating context, single keywords are still super important to attract the search engines.
What is great about on page optimization? You have full control over how you optimize your website and it’s relatively easy to do since you don’t need any specific advanced skills.
What is on page SEO and why is it important
On page SEO mostly refers to inserting keywords to various important places around your web pages to give Google clear and important signals about what your webpage is about.
For example: If your title tag and H1 tag contain your main keyword. If some of your H2 and H3 tags contain your main keywords and related keywords. If your image’s alt texts contain your main keyword or If your keyword has increased density compared to other keywords, this gives Google the basic and important signal that your whole article is about that main keyword.
Not optimizing your website for keywords will result in Google not ranking your content for those keywords. On site SEO is a basic direction that shows Google where to look for relevant content. Giving Google directions and helping it to do its job is always beneficial for your website.
What does on page SEO include
- Keyword research: What are people searching for?
- Title tags optimization: Match intent, keywords, title and webpage
- Content. Alpha and Omega of SEO
- Meta descriptions: You must convert your audience here
- Heading tags: Structure is super important for humans and robots alike
- External links: Citations of authority
- URL: Try to match the keywords
- On page user signals. People determine what they want
- Images: More content, more work
- LSI content. Create concepts
What are keywords
Keywords are the main search terms or phrases that people are typing into Google (search queries) and you want to rank for. They describe the content and the topic of your webpage.
There are two basic groups of keywords.
Head keywords are usually one or two-word broader terms. They have high search volume and high competition (it’s hard to rank for them) and usually buyers’ intent. Example: Mountain bike
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases. They have lower search volume but also lower competition. Example: Top ten mountain bike trails on the North Shore
Why are keywords important for on page SEO
Keywords are the most basic and important on page SEO element. They help search engines to define and understand your webpage. Using the keywords in the right places will help Google match your webpage/search results with a specific search query.
How to do a keyword research
- Understand your target audience, their goals, problems and what are they searching for
- Use one of the many keyword research tools. I use ahrefs but great alternatives are SEMrush or KW finder
- Input some of your relevant keywords into the keyword research tool to get much more related and suggested keywords.
- You can also use ahrefs to analyze your competition to see what keywords are they ranking and try to compete with them.
- Pay attention to two important factors. Search Volume and Keyword difficulty. Try to rank the ones that have the most search volume but lower keyword difficulty. 0-20 keyword difficulty is optimal for new websites. With more content on your website, start to target more difficult keywords.
- Export your keywords and organize them based on common topics.
Titles or title tags
What are website title tags?
Title tags are the HTML elements that specify the title of a web page. They are found in the head section of the page’s code, and they usually look something like this: <title>Page Title</title>. The title tag is one of the most important on page SEO factors.
Why are website titles important?
They are important from 2 perspectives. SEO and marketing perspective
Crafting amazing titles is essential to any form of marketing. I’m sure you have heard David Ogilvys quote that 80 cents out of a dollar should go to crafting a perfect title. The title is the first information people will see. They help people determine what your web page is about and its relevance to their search query. Write powerful titles to grab your readers’ attention and compel them to read your content.
The title is the first information people will see. It will determine if it is worth it for them to continue engaging with your content. Writing powerful titles to grab your readers’ attention and compel them to read your content is an absolute must.
Webpage title importance as a direct on page SEO factor has diminished. Instead, titles have become a vital UX factor that indirectly influences on page SEO. Saying that. Title tags are still a strong SEO factor.
They tell search engines how relevant your page is to a search query. Your webpage titles are one of the strongest on page optimization signals that help search engines determine what your webpage is about. Google uses title tags to determine the page’s topic, which influences your website’s SERP position (Search Engine Results Page)
How to write great on page SEO titles for your webpages
Take the top 3-7 most relevant and searched keywords for your web page. Identify the repeating single words. Create the webpage title out of them. Keep the top phrases together and towards the front. Write in logical conversational English. Do not repeat words. Try to get single words that create a phrase that is already together
What is the difference between title tags and H tags (heading tags)?
- Titles are part of the HTML document’s head section and are not shown on the web page itself, only in the SERP.
- Headings are part of the body of the webpage, which makes them visible on the actual webpage. Headings structure your webpage and are part of the content.
- Even though both have a different purpose, titles might be the same or very similar to H1 (headline1) tags.
How to find the title of any webpage?
Why is this important? Well, maybe you want to spy on your best competition. If they’re ranking at the first spot, there s got to be something good about their webpage title
Right-click on a webpage and select view page source. Look for title tags <title>______</title> at the top of the page in the head section. Everything between these tags is the title of the webpage.
Optimize the format of your titles
- Capitalize the first word in the sentence. You can as well capitalize other important words.
- Don’t use all CAPS. It’s hard to read, and the capital letters are larger, which poses a limitation on your title. You can capitalize a word to emphasize it.
- Don’t use a period at the end of the title.
- Use punctuation to separate the title visually or put emphasis on the important word. You can try blockquotes
Keywords use in E-commerce page/category/product titles.
Write most unique aspects of the page in the beginning. Start with a product, follow with a category and then the brand name.
Keywords in local search
Similar to E-commerce, write specific aspects in the beginning. Start with a specific location or industry before the title. Have the user intent in mind
Is Google replacing or ignoring your titles?
- There may be cases when Google decides to extract the title from the first few paragraphs of your content and replace your original title.
- Remember that Google wants titles to describe the content of your webpage accurately.
- Align your titles with the content of your webpage.
- Avoid keyword stuffing and avoid using variations of the same keyword.
Title tag TIPS
- Create a unique and powerful title for each web page on your website
- Make sure your titles are descriptive and accurately reflect the content on the page
- Keep your titles under 60 characters but use as many characters as possible
- Research your target keyword and your direct competition. Try to get inspired by their titles
- Use standard marketing practices for writing titles.
- Format important words. Make them bold pr uppercase
- Don’t add your brand name to your title
- Make your titles attention-grabbing
- Use clear and simple language. Clarity is the ultimate goal of all your copy and content writing.
- Understand and match search intent. what do people expect when they search for a specific keyword?
- Use natural language
- Place the keywords in your title organically
- Don’t stuff keywords
- Align your titles with the content of your webpage. They need to be relevant to the page content. If you don’t meet people’s expectations that you set up with your titles, they will bounce.
- The title should convey the message of the webpage clearly and concisely.
- Use numbers in your titles. This will draw the attention of the reader.
- Use dates in your title to point out that your content is up to date. Google as well as people prefer fresh content.
- Use power words to influence people to click on your title.
- Use the curiosity gap to tap into what your readers know and what they want to know
- Be specific
- Be helpful
- Be fresh and new
- Use “How to” headlines. People always want to know how to do or make things.
- Flag common mistakes. Stop saying this in your job interviews
- Ask questions. Do you have a problem with dry skin?
- Give readers a solution to a problem their facing. Try our full natural shampoo
- Use odd numbers (7 is psychologically considered the most positive number). Numbers stand out and are very specific. Both factors tap into the cognitive bias of human nature.
- Understand your target audience and their search intent
- Use a call to action to encourage people to open your webpage.
- Be actionable.
- Write benefit-driven titles. Use words that show people the benefit after opening your webpage
- Address your specific audience. Know who they are and what they want
- Create curiosity
- Create urgency
- Use punctuation in your titles
- Leverage emotion
- Use power words
- Look at paid ads websites titles and get inspired
- Format the important words in your title. Make it attention-grabbing,
- It needs to be descriptive and clear for the people to understand what your website is about in the first 3 seconds.
- Use title modifiers like guide, fast, top etc that will help you rank for long-tail keywords
What do I mean by content?
By content, I mean the text that is on your web pages or blog posts usually accompanied by images or other graphics.
Why is this important?
Google is a westerner and it reads from top to bottom, left to right and gives more weight to what comes earlier. Logical, right?!
How do you optimize content?
Use your target keyword once in the first 100-200 words of your blog post.
Keywords by themselves are not an as strong factor as they used to be in the past. However, If your text contains 1000 different words, how will Google know what is your text about? You need to give Google subtle signals about what your content is about by strategically inserting specific keywords multiple times. You have to use the keywords that you want to rank multiple times.
So what should be the keyword density? 2-3 times per 1000 words. Or, let me introduce you to a great solution. Surfer SEO. This great tool will tell you exactly, how many keywords you should use based on what your ranking competition is doing.
Remember that keyword stuffing can get your website penalized, so use keywords in a natural conversational manner. Focus on a topic rather than on separate keywords and create contextual content. If you have to insert more keywords, create more paragraphs where you can use them in.
Keywords give Google subtle signals about what your article is about.
What are meta descriptions?
Meta descriptions are HTML elements that offer a brief summary of your web page. Think of them as subtitles that provide additional information to your webpage title. It is the text shown on the search engine results page right under the URL and title of the webpage.
You can see meta descriptions on the SERP even before you click on a website. Meta descriptions are not a direct SEO factor but they can increase the likelihood of people clicking on your webpage if done right.
Why are meta descriptions important?
Meta descriptions and titles are the first pieces of information a person gets about your webpage. They have the power to persuade users to click on your website as well as deter them. Well-written, engaging, accurate and relevant meta descriptions will increase the traffic to your website. And more visitors means better conversions and positive signals for Google. This is the place where you need to convince your searcher to follow through and click on your website.
How to write persuasive meta descriptions?
Meta descriptions don’t hold much SEO power so focus on writing them for people. Persuade them to click your website.
Know your target audience, know their search intent, and know your brand identity and your brand voice. Your meta description must resonate with your target audience first. It is them that you are trying to attract to your website. Craft your content to give a solution to search intent and meta description to support the content.
- Use standard marketing practice of writing powerful titles that people read.
- Write a description that is appealing and interesting.
- Focus on customer experience first.
- Accurately describe what the webpage is about
- Write a unique and exciting description.
- Avoid being boring by using an active voice.
- Clearly state the benefit and the value of the content.
- Align the description with the content of your page.
- Use keywords, but use them in the natural flow of language. Google highlights them too
- Use structured data, and they might show up in your meta descriptions.
- Use your brand voice.
- Include a Call to Action.
- The official Google length of meta description is 160 characters. Still, experiments have shown that Google might not always trim it if it’s longer. Focus on user experience rather than length. State the essential facts in those first 160 characters.
- Show specifications like price, location, tech specs or manufacturers. People almost always look for specific things.
- The meta descriptions should be related to the topic of the page. If they don’t correspond to the content of the page, the reader may go back to your website. This bounce-back can negatively influence your ranking.
- Research your competition and see what meta descriptions they have. Go to google and type list: yourcompetitorswebsite.com and check out their meta description.
- Use target keywords in your description. Match the search keywords with the meta description keywords to show the visitors that your webpage is relevant to their search intent.
- Make sure that the content of the webpage is relevant to the meta description and the user search intent
- Follow social media accounts and web pages in your niche and pay attention to trends. You should take advantage of trending keywords, terms and topics when writing your meta descriptions
- Make sure to regularly research and practice writing meta descriptions.
- Make your meta descriptions specific. Google users are trying to find answers to a specific problem. Give them a specific solution.
- Update your meta descriptions on older content
- Meta descriptions are more of a copywriting strategy than on page SEO process
Heading tags or H tags
What are H tags and why are they important?
Heading tags are HTML tags used to identify headings and subheadings within your content. Typically, there are six different heading sizes ranging from H1 to H6. Search engines use these tags, or rather the information contained in them, to understand the structure of your content and give it weight.
Heading tags are important because they give structure to your content and make it easier for users and search engines to read and understand. They also help break up your content into manageable chunks, which can improve both the user experience and SEO.
H2, H3, and H4 sub headings with relevant keywords can provide more context to the main keyword in the H1 heading. Headings are very useful to expand the context of your articles. Google themselves said that H tags and H1 tags help it to understand the page structure.
How to optimize your headings
Use a standard marketing strategy for writing amazing titles. A webpage title is more important for Google bots. But Heading tags or H tags are more important for people so you can take advantage of your copywriting and title writing skills
Having said that, you still need to use keywords in your headings.
- Find frequently repeating single words among the top 3-7 KWs and use them in your headings and subheadings
- Keep the top phrases and words together and towards the front
- Write in logical conversational English. Keep the natural language flow
- Do not repeat words
- Your H1 tag should expand the keyword-focused title with a copywriting and human element
- Think in terms of structure. The main idea behind headings and their depth is to create a text structure that we and Google can better understand.
- Format H tags with different font sizes, colours or decorations so humans have an easy time visually understanding your content as well.
Where do you physically optimize them?
Let’s say you’re editing your WordPress website in Elementor builder. Just choose a heading and select an appropriate H tag from the drop-down menu.
Outbound or external links
What are external links why are they important?
Outbound or external links are hyperlinks that direct visitors from your website to another. Think of external links like this. When you were writing your college thesis, you were quoting and using citations from other authoritative books and publications to give your own work part of that authority, expand the context of your own thesis, and give readers an option to read the primary sources if they desire more detailed information. External links work the same way.
Reboot has conducted a study that showed that Google ranked pages with outbound links as relevant and quality webpages better than the ones without outbound links.
Because of these three reasons, the use of outbound links is a widely accepted on page SEO practice, as they provide context, and attract authority.
How to do it?
Use a few words or a sentence in your text as anchor text that will link to another website.
- Link only to highly relevant and high-quality websites
- Avoid linking to too many sites. Balanced it out between providing users with additional resources and overwhelming them with too many options
- Use keyword-rich and relevant anchor text. It should be descriptive and relevant to the page you are linking to.
URL or website address
What is URL and why is it important to optimize for on page SEO
URL is the website address. https://vancity.media us an URL. https://vancity.media/blog/technical-seo is an URL too. See above how I added technical SEO to the URL of a blog that is about technical SEO? Keywords in URL are one of the important on page SEO signals that Google uses to understand what your page is about.
How to optimize the URL
Make it short and sweet
Find frequently repeating single words among the top 3-7 keywords
Use 3-4 words max
Do not repeat words
On-page user signals
What are they and why are they important
User signals are user actions on your website that Google evaluates. Do they dwell on your website for a long time? GOOD. Are they bouncing back right after they clicked? BAD
Google’s how search works document states that it uses these user-generated signals to determine how relevant are their search results. If a lot of people are bouncing off your website right after they click it, Google evaluates your webpage as not relevant and decreases its ranking.
How do increase these positive website visitor signals?
Use standard marketing techniques like powerful titles, highly relevant and converting CTAs. Make your website readable, enjoyable and engaging. Use various formats like video, images or infographics. Offer experience, not just information. Make your website fast. Structure your content with Heading tags to make your content easily readable. Big walls of text are discouraging to read and people simply skip them.
- Use informative headings and subheadings
- Use a lot of bullet points
- Short clear and informative paragraphs
- Use short and simple sentences. Write like for an 8-year-old
- Include subtopics
- Use simple vocabulary
Don’t make your webpage just a text. It is your online store. It needs to be an awesome experience for all your website visitors.
Why are SEO-optimized images important for your website?
Your website needs images. And these bring some opportunities but also a few worries. So what you should do with the images on your website?
- Optimize the image size before you upload them to the website. Images can be large files, that take some time to load. But you know that site speed is an important ranking factor. Try to get all your images under 250kb before uploading them to your web
- Optimize images after you upload them. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that will optimize your images.
- Use only original images. Original images strengthen the trust and uniqueness of your brand and business which means more conversions and more positives signals for Google. Additionally, this experiment by reboot showed that google increased the ranking of websites with original images compared to the stock ones.
- Optimize image file name. Keep it short and sweet. Use keywords but don’t stuff
- Optimize image alt text. Accurately describe what is happening in the picture with a natural-sounding language. Use keywords but don’t stuff. As you guessed correctly, keywords send signals telling Google what your page is about.
LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing
What is it and why is it important
LSI keywords or Latent Semantic Indexing are keywords closely related to your focus keyword (they are not synonyms). It’s a way of representing relationships between concepts in a piece of text.
LSI keywords create a context around your focus keyword. If “How to make cold brew?” is your focus keyword. LSI keywords would be boiling water, coffee machine, coffee-producing countries, etc. Remember that Google wants to understand the context of your page, not just read keywords.
Google is using the words that people frequently use together to evaluate content. The larger context you will create around your focus keyword, the better chance of Google understanding the topic of your content. LSI increases the context of your webpage. You shouldn’t have any problem including a lot of LSI if you write a long-form content
How to find LSI keywords
Ubersuggest by Neil Patel, Keyword Tool or LSIGraph is a few examples that you can use to generate LSI keywords. You can find more on LSI keyword tools in Brian Deans’s post on LSI
Use your LSI throughout your content in paragraphs but also in titles, heading tags, and alt text. Your goal is to create content with context. Content should give overall information on the topic rather than a single keyword.
If you want to improve your website ranking and visibility, on page SEO is a great place to start. By inserting keywords in strategic places on your web pages, you can send important signals to Google about the topic of your webpage. This, in turn, can help improve your website ranking and bring more traffic to your site. Contact us if you need help implementing effective on page SEO techniques for your website!