On-page SEO is easily the most important, long-term means for getting your site to rank in Google. You don’t need pages and pages of information, analysis and hours of training. You only need to know a few on-site optimization techniques and to be able to implement them consistently throughout your site.
We have spent years implementing on-page SEO for clients and enjoying the success that comes with ranking in Google through basic and advanced on-page search engine strategies. Here, we distill the 7 most important website SEO strategies. Strategies that deliver website design and content that Google rewards and which site-users appreciate.
On-site or on-page search engine optimization means developing a website that:
Taking this basic definition of on-site SEO and applying it to each area of your site is the art of on-page search optimization.
Here are the 7 most important on-page elements that you should apply your search engine optimization strategy to.
Many site developers and SEO agencies spend a frantic amount of time trying to unload a bag of golden keywords. Keywords do matter. Google reads your words and uses them to determine the purpose of the site.
But Google is also interested in the quality of the overall content.
So, do your research, but keep it simple.
Pro-Tip: The best way to find out which pages are optimised in a way that Google rewards in its rankings is to search Google. Forget all the technique. Type in the thing you want to find and go and examine the pages that appear in the top five results. These are sites that Google is rewarding. If you want to compete, you need to imitate them - then go one or two steps beyond.
As a general rule, use your most important keyword (the basic purpose of your page) early on in your content, whether it’s the URL, title, meta tags or alt tags in images. Also, be sure to use naturally occurring variations. Google gets variations in natural language and so you should use it.
Take a look at on-page optimization task number two. Notice the natural way that the URL’s are structured and the way that they naturally incorporate the most relevant keywords for the site as well as each page.
Your URL, or web address, should reflect the exact nature and purpose of the page you are building.
For example, service pages that promote “dental hygiene” should include the phrase in the URL itself.
The structure of your URL should be as simple and as clear as possible.
Pro-Tip: Google grades the importance of words from left to right. So, the words you are wanting to rank for should be at the start of the structure when it comes to your URL. This is not so critical for the body of the text, but very important for page titles and URL’s.
At this point, keywords and keyword research are not the most important thing. The most important thing is to state what your page is actually about in the most natural and common way so that a user could tell what was on the page by the URL alone.
Inner pages that publish articles and other content should be kept equally simple and straightforward. Your use of keywords should flow naturally from the purpose of the page.
Your website should be mapped out from the beginning with your subject matter (keywords) in mind so that each URL is unique and logical.
This will also inform your menu structure later on.
Headings and titles are read by Google in order to understand the main idea, as well as the subsequent (and related) topics within the main idea.
Just as Google reads left to right and orders the earlier words in a URL as more important, so too with titles and headings. Google considers the title most important, followed by the sub-headings that follow.
To help structure this both for users and Google, the H1-H4 structure is typically used in order.
Pro Tip: You do not (and probably should not) need to use every conceivable heading style. The important thing is to keep the structure consistent across the site.
Don’t be too concerned about keyword research. Your keywords will naturally appear through these headings.
<H1>A Guide to Dental Hygiene</H1>
Your sub-heads might look like this (or be entire articles themselves)
The important thing above is to avoid switching up and down in your use of titles. Don’t move from H2 to H4, then up to H1, etc. Make the title and subtitles logical and sequential.
When setting up your site, do not neglect the importance of proper image attributes. While Google is learning to read images more and more, it still relies on image tags and image data, written into the image file, to determine the subject matter.
Alt tags and title tags should be optimized using naturally-related keywords They should not be stuffed with the same phrase over and over but should genuinely reflect the image content and purpose.
For an easy-to-use site design platforms like WordPress, this is as simple as entering in the appropriate phrase into the image properties screen or text editor and would look something like this:
<p><img src="https://images.dental-floss.jpg" alt="How to floss your teeth" title="Best Teen Flossing Techniques" width="800" height="533" /></p>
Don’t be lazy about this. Optimize every image you can for the page it appears on.
You should be optimizing all kinds of rich media, including video, infographics, charts, drawings and more.
As noted above, your actually written content should follow a natural sequence, from title to subtitle, from heading to the subheading.
The flow of content should be equally natural in the body of the text. On-page optimization for the body of the content includes:
One way to think through your content optimization is to ask, “Is it easy to read”? Is it engaging? Is it spaced well for online viewing?.
The use of bullet points, summaries, numbering and proper paragraphing are all things that Google looks at to determine the quality of the page beyond the actual words used.
Pro Tip: Remember, Google is in the business of satisfying user queries with reliable results. Think about users and you will be thinking line with the kind of on-page optimization that Google rewards the most.
Google notices the company you keep. Many people are under the false impression that to link out is to rob yourself of DR (domain rating) or DA (domain authority) or, what used to be called, “link juice”.
There is some truth in this, but it is a qualified truth. Just as Google gives priority to the first words in a URL and titles, so it will invariably give priority to the first outbound link, a second outbound link, etc.
For that reason, you should link to a relevant page on your own site before you go linking out to other sites. Google treats your internal links as outbound links and counts links as votes. A vote for your own page first makes sense.
Beyond that, be generous and link to authority sites where it is relevant and feel free to cite authoritative sources.
When linking internally, try and keep your links highly relevant and heading in one direction. Creating a content hub will help you achieve this and increases the authority of your most important pages over time.
In short, you want to be seen and associated with the right crowd. Continuing our examples within dentistry, it makes sense for you to link out to high-authority medical institutes and brands. It doesn’t make as much sense linking your site to a site that sells mouth guards for footballers.
Users love fast sites which means Google does too. All of your other on-site attempts and search engine optimization will fail to bring results if your site is slow and sluggish.
Keep your site fast by:
Google’s Page Speed Insights for mobile and desktop can also help you identify loading and presenting problems for your website’s pages.
Implementing these essential on-site SEO steps can have a dramatic impact on your site in only a matter of days.
Once you have understood these 7 essentials for optimizing your on-page content and website, it’s time to get to work. Here is a complete checklist to get you started with your on-site optimization efforts that will get your site indexed and ranking in Google in no time at all.