Here's What Really Matters in ON-PAGE SEO
ON-Page SEO is all about producing search engines and reader-friendly quality content. The blog posts that are SEO friendly, easy to read, engaging, satisfy user intent and are best presented with images and videos get a high search rank.
This blog post will explain why On-site SEO is so important, essential On-Page SEO factors, the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, why crawling is important, why keyword research is the key, and how to do overall on-page SEO for a new blog post.
There's a saying in the SEO world, "If you don't satisfy your clients, then someone else will.
Your competitors with established authority that produce SEO-friendly quality content will get the top spot in search results. They will also drive maximum organic traffic from Google and other search engines in your niche.
Hence, to get free organic traffic, creating content better than competitors, and gaining the confidence of Google and other search engines is essential. This requires both ON and OFF site efforts.
Writing for humans is a good SEO practice, but you should also include keywords in the important HTML tags to make the content search engine friendly. You must also let Google understand your content.
In addition, to get a high ranking in search results, you must take care of every type of SEO in letter and spirit.
Even after optimizing content with the help of onsite SEO techniques, you need to promote it widely to earn backlinks and attract new visitors.
The OFF-Page SEO tasks that you can carry out are promotion on social media, submitting content to various directories and bookmarking sites, writing guest posts, commenting on other blogs, and earning backlinks.
In addition to ON-PAGE and OFF-PAGE SEOs, you must also take care of Technical SEO and Local SEO to reap the maximum benefits of digital marketing.
In summary, On-site SEO activities include research of profitable keywords, optimizing content around those keywords, better interlinking, meaningful content hierarchy, anchor text optimization, content length, readability, etc.
When we search for something in Google, we attempt to frame a search query around core keywords that connect to the content of our interest.
When we click the search button Google presents us a list of links containing the best and quality content that meets our expectations. In this way, we obtain our desired content by expressing our search intent through these keywords.
We get satisfying results because these keywords or closely related words are also used by the writer in the content itself. Likewise, if you want to discover your content by your target audience, you must also build content around key phrases that are frequently searched for by them.
If your content is missing these keyword phrases or LSI keywords, then it will not rank high in search results. Hence, your blog post that is not SEO friendly, will not get enough organic traffic.
Therefore, before writing a blog post, you should pay attention to the following questions.
Do you know which search queries are entered on Google by your prospects?
Do you know which keywords your competitors are targeting to drive free organic traffic?
What search terms do your target audience frequently use?
What topics in your niche get most of your competitors' organic traffic?
What authoritative sites have established links between your competitors?
These are the basic queries for which you should find the answers before writing any piece of content. You can write tons of articles, but your effort and hard work won't pay unless you get free organic search engine traffic. Therefore keyword research is one of the main On-Page SEO steps.
From an SEO perspective, you always have to focus on the target audience and keyword research. This way, you will get leads that will benefit your business. Content that is SEO-optimized attracts the targeted traffic with a high conversion rate.
Although you can guess some of the terms, using keyword research tools will be more productive and beneficial. Automatic keyword research tools based on real search queries provide useful information that plays a key role in creating SEO-friendly quality content.
Therefore, knowing consumer behavior and search intent will help generate content that will be liked by users and search engines. Keyword research is one of the essential on-site SEO processes for creating optimized content.
When you just start your blogging journey, you must leave keywords that have a very high search volume and strong competition.
Ranking for these keywords is always tough because the competitors in your niche already have great authority and a strong backlink profile. Instead, you should look for profitable long-tail keywords that have comparatively reasonable search volume and lower competition.
Let's try to understand the target audience and keywords with an example of T-shirts.
Here are a few variations of search queries related to T-shirts that can be used by users while searching for solutions for their needs.
T-Shirt for summer
Half Sleeve T-Shirt
Full Sleeve T-Shirt for Men's
Half Sleeve T-Shirt for Gym
Half Sleeve T-Shirt for winter
Half Sleeve T-Shirt with Collar
Half Sleeve T-Shirt for Baby boy
Full Sleeve T-Shirt for women
More search variants can be based on comfort level, cloth, simple or printed, price, durability, etc.
Local clients can also use the name of the local town in the search query. Like “Good men winter T-shirt in New York”.
From the above examples of search terms, we can conclude that prospects are scattered according to their needs and pain points.
Thus, depending on the products and services you provide, you need to understand your target audience and the potential search terms they can use to reach you.
If you are only selling T-shirts for women then you need to be very specific while writing content. The term "T-Shirt" is very broad and generic. For a small business or a beginner, it is very difficult to rank for such a broad term. You need to use long-tailed terms that are very close to your customer search query.
Most importantly, using the term women in your content can help Google understand that your content is solely for women and not for men.
The more specific word like "Full Sleeve T-Shirts for Women", "T-Shirts with Necklace for Women" can be a good choice around which you can build content. But again, you must verify that these search terms have an appropriate search volume.
Use keyword research tools like Google Adword, Ubersuggest, Aherfs, and SEMRush to see search volume, competition level, and other useful information.
The important thing is that you should know your target audience, their needs, and the possible search terms they can search for. Use those keyword phrases through which your customers trying to find your business.
The focus of search engines is to provide a better user experience. Therefore Google awards high rank to those web pages that have high quality and engaging content.
Content that solves a problem and provides value addition to readers and is well presented logically outperforms other content in the same niche. This is where heading tags come in handy in framing a good structure of the blog posts and articles. The use of header tags makes the content more shareable on social media.
Heading tags help arrange content nicely that is easy to read and understand. The objective of these tags is to increase the readability, look and feel. The relevant information can be better presented in sections and subsections by using proper heading and subheading tags.
Moreover, these tags not only increase content usability but also give important insights or signals to search engines to discover relevant content.
For example, the H1 tag tells what the page is all about. So putting important keyphrases in heading and subheading can yield better SEO value. But again, it is the proper use and order of headings tags that matter for making web documents more search engine and user friendly.
Heading tags work in a similar way the book and its chapters are divided into small portions. Such presentation of information in a hierarchical manner makes reading more interesting.
Headings help readers to quickly scan the content. By looking at the heading they can decide whether they should go through the whole paragraph or not. In a similar fashion search engines also judge page content by scanning headings. Therefore it makes sense to include keywords into headings tags that can give hints to users about what is there in the paragraph.
So, if your page lacks proper structuring the users may not easily digest the content and may abandon the page before reading it completely.
There is great applicability of header labels. For example, if a reader loses concentration by scrolling through a large web page, it may easily return to the current paragraph by scanning the header tags.
Below are the proven SEO practices to make header tags both search engine and user friendly.
You can use a few or all six heading tags(H1-6) to divide the content of your webpage into topics and subtopics. The most important header tag is the H1 tag and it is also the largest text on the page.
The other important HTML header tags are H2s and H3s. They are used to break up the text into sub-topics. From an SEO perspective the first three tags H1, H2, and H3 are very crucial in comparison to the remaining H4, H5, and H6 tags.
Although you can use H4, H5, and H6 tags in your content whenever there is a need, optimizing them for SEO will not yield significant results.
Use the H1 tag for the headline of the blog post. By scanning the headline, users get the idea of what is there on the webpage for them. The search engine crawlers also look at this tag to understand the crux of the blog posts.
You need to include your focus keyword at the beginning of the headline. Do not overuse keywords. The text of the H1 tag should also look natural. The length should not be more than 50 characters. The best On-Page SEO practice is not to use the H1 tag more than once.
Header tags help in formatting the content and the division of topics into a hierarchical structure makes reading enjoyable. Hence the order of using header tags should be correct.
Put H3 tag within H2 tag and H4 within H3.
<h2>This is header 2</h2>
<h3>This is header 3</h3>
<h4>This is header 4</h4>
<h2>This is another header 2</h2>
<h3>This is another header3</h3>
It is not a good SEO practice to use target keywords in every header tag instead attempt to use semantic keywords. The use of semantic or LSI keywords does not make users and search engines uncomfortable.
Also, do not capitalize every letter of the heading and sub-headings. Text in all caps is not appealing to the eyes of the users. Just write the first letter of the words in capital letters.
A title tag is the most important On-Page SEO element which is also called by different names like SEO title, and page title. This is the title that is first viewed by users in the search results. It appears as a clickable link in blue color on the search engine results pages. Users decide if they must click or not by judging the text of the title.
They are less likely to click on a link if the title does not meet their search goal. An optimized SEO title can increase click-through rate and page ranking. Even if your page ranking is low, but Google finds that the title gets more and more clicks in SERPs, then it can enhance the ranking.
On the other hand, even if you have great content on the webpage, but the page title is not apt, it will not be of great SEO value to you.
So, titles help searchers quickly understand the content of the webpage and are also useful for search engines.
Hence SEO title tag should be optimized according to your target users and their needs. Before writing the title, you have to look up who you are writing a new blog post for and what problem you are dealing with there.
You must know the differences and usages of the title tag and H1 heading. A page title is displayed in search engine results pages, browser tabs, and social media shares while a post title(H1 heading) is displayed on the page itself.
When users are actually on the webpage, the title of the post (H1 heading) tells them what is in the content. Whereas the title tag helps users in search results to choose a link to click.
If you view the source code of a web page you will find that the title tag is defined within the head section while the H1 heading is included in the body.
Both these HTML tags along with the URL name play an essential SEO role and should separately be optimized with keyphrases to get more SEO value.
When we talk about the best SEO practice to write an optimized page title then it includes key factors like text length, clearness, conciseness, keywords, uniqueness, and duplicate titles.
First of all, every page on your website must have a unique title. The duplicate titles can also confuse search engines about the content on a website. Also, not all pages over the internet have an optimized SEO title. Therefore On-Page SEO audit has become essential especially for a big website or blog.
According to Google guidelines, the length of the title should be within 70 characters even including the white spaces. Users on mobile devices can face problems in reading titles that have more than 70 characters. You should also keep in mind the mobile SEO while optimizing the title tag.
So, you should make it clear and short and also include focus keywords at the beginning of the text. The long text is truncated by Google so it is wise to include the focus keyword at the start.
Maintain consistency while framing texts for both title and H1 tags. The headline should not completely look different from than title when users land on the webpage. Use the same focus keyword in both tags and at the same time, you can also make them a little bit different by including other close keywords separately.
What is internal linking? Internal links point to other web pages on the same domain. Both readers and search engines use internal linking to find relevant information. It is different from external link building where a web page gets a link from other domains.
Interlinking of pages has a direct impact on both user experience and crawling. The websites do not have an unlimited crawl budget, therefore it becomes imperative to optimize your site crawl budget for crawling and indexing.
Google follows links to discover new content on your blog. Internal linking helps Google to better understand the relationship between different blog posts. Linking pages to each other helps crawlers to find deep pages for indexing.
Since not every blog post can have a link on the home page itself. As the blog becomes old, the old posts are buried under the new posts.
But, with smart interlinking, you can arrange content on your site in a hierarchical manner and can make it possible for crawlers to discover even deep pages. It is another important On-Page SEO activity that you should take care of while writing the content.
Moreover, good website navigation plays an important role in engaging the visitors and taking an appropriate call to action (CTAs).
As we know that due to lack of time, huge data, and availability of options readers generally abandon the sites in the middle that are not user-friendly.
The majority of people don’t like to read confusing content and prefer to leave the site. Hence, the content should be presented logically that can appeal to most readers.
The internal links help in establishing a smooth flow so that visitors don’t get confused. The easy-to-read and actionable website increases the conversion rate and reduces the bounce rate.
You should prefer contextual linking because it enhances the overall user experience. Such links are both search engines and user-friendly. The readers may click on the contextual link to know the topic in more detail and can spend more time on your website.
The pages which are important and have good content should be available to customers with minimum clicks. The home page is the most important page that is crawled and indexed frequently. Therefore, the new blog posts should not be far away from the home page.
One of the On-page SEO factors you should focus on is link equity among web pages. It is nothing but spreading page rank across the important pages so that they can rank higher in search results.
Not all pages of the site have the same linkage equity. Internal links may distribute the rank of the page through the Web site. Generally, it is the home page where the page rank is pooled. Spreading page rank is in your control and you can strategically link high valuable posts from the home page.
For example, if you're running an e-commerce store, keeping all the products and services on a single page is not a good idea. Such non-hierarchical presentation of elements degrades the overall usability of the Web site.
Both users and search engines will hate it. Clients may not easily find the item they are looking for. What you can do is divide goods and services into categories and sub-categories hierarchically. Important product pages may be kept close to the homepage by only 2-3 clicks away.
Another important On-Page SEO practice that you should follow is choosing appealing and relevant anchor text for a link.
The relevant linking text helps search engines in crawling and can improve the page rank of the website. Instead of using terms like “click here” use anchor text that can better relate host page and destination page.
So what are anchor texts? They are the links of visible and readable characters which can be used anywhere on the web page to take the user to other sections or pages.
Why is anchor text important? When a site is information-heavy, it becomes difficult for users to locate the exact information they are looking for, therefore anchor text can be used to skip big data and direct them to the desired page or section.
The anchor texts save the user’s time and make navigation very easy. The anchors can be linked to texts, images, or other widgets like buttons.
Many webmasters insert the link of other websites which are useful for their readers. In this way, readers of the original website can get additional information or data if they want by clicking these links.
But the discretion of linking the destination page lies with the webmaster of a source website. Based on the requirement and relevancy he can choose different anchor text for the destination page.
When search engines crawl for page rank they see how and in which context the other sites are linking that page. Therefore anchor text is not just good for a user-friendly website but also plays an important role in search engine page ranking.
From an SEO point of view, you should use keywords in linking text but avoid stuffing. Using the same keywords, again and again, can give wrong signals to search engines.
The best SEO practice is to use text with long-tailed keywords that describe the target page in a better and natural way. Good relevancy makes search engines more sensitive towards the web pages and helps indirectly for better page rank.
For example, you are selling smartphones of different types with different specifications then long-tailed and good relevant keyword phrases can give a better understating of the content of your website. In this way, the search engines can prioritize the crawling and page ranking.
The anchor text can be used for artificial and natural linking. The artificial links are those links when webmasters use unethical practices like buying links for enhancing backlinks profile and using the same anchor text multiple times within one site even if linking was not necessary.
But nowadays the search engines have got smart and they see the overall context and relevancy of the linking. The unnecessary linking and the attempt to enhance the rank artificially can be checked by tools like Google Panda and Penguin.
So it is wise to link when there is a need or which can enhance the user experience. Even while linking the same page multiple times within one website it would be good if unique, relevant, and different anchor texts are used.
The anchor text should be understandable by the readers and attractive enough to lure them to make a click. Too much use of keywords can irritate readers and also be seen as spammy behavior by the search engines.
They should be short, descriptive, and relevant to the target page. Such use of anchor texts is called natural and best internal linking and can help in enhancing the page rank.
For example, you own an online store of multiple brands of smartphones and you have a dedicated page for each smartphone. Then this is how you can use anchor text.
<a href=”http://www.XSmartPhones.com”>Amazing X smart phone</a>
Here “Amazing X smartphone” is anchor text and “http://www.XSmartPhones.com” is the destination page where users can get more information about the X type of smartphones.
Did you know that Mobile optimization is more important than ever? The content you write for desktops is not necessarily compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Mobile devices are small in size, so text and widgets may not appear properly. Mobile optimization has become essential as more than 50% of web searches are carried out on mobiles than on desktop computers.
The content on a desktop may look amazing for reading but can cause viewing problems on small devices. For a user, it is difficult to operate on smartphones if widgets like buttons, input fields are not properly populated.
The readers might get upset with the bad UI experience and leave the site without taking any action. The high bounce rate may further negatively impact search ranking.
Google ranks websites low in search results that have poor user experience on mobiles. With increasing smartphone traffic the importance of mobile SEO can not be undermined.
Google has already come out with a mobile-first indexing feature. This means that while crawling and indexing Google will prefer the mobile version of the website if the mobile version of the site is available.
Even if a search is carried on the desktop device Google will use the mobile version of the website for indexing and ranking. So if your website is not properly optimized for mobile your website ranking may also suffer even it is accessed from desktop computers.
Therefore, before publishing any blog post make sure that it is optimized for mobile users.
The first thing that you need to focus on is responsive website design for mobile devices. This means irrespective of device size, the UI widgets, and content on the web pages will fill the device space without any distortion.
The other important SEO factor is the loading time of the site. Google prefers sites that load in less time. To find out if your website or blog is fast enough for mobile users Google has provided a speed test tool. (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/)
While you can manually test and see if everything is going well with your website on different mobile devices, but with Google's easy-to-use free mobile-friendly automatic tool, you can test mobile usability in seconds. Simply enter a URL and execute the test. It can immediately state if the page is mobile-friendly or not.
You can also use the Mobile Usability feature on the Google search console to see mobile usability issues.
Leaving images without proper naming is not good from an SEO perspective. Images are an important part of content marketing. Images help both readers and search engines.
They help in understanding the content in a better way and make reading more interesting. For example, digital marketers use infographics to explain a complex process in simple steps. Moreover, the share of images in core search results has increased in recent times. According to some reports around one-third of Google, searches are image searches.
Thus, not optimizing images would be a huge mistake for your SEO journey. Their Use alt text for images, bots do not scan images so alt text is important and crawlers use them.
Website speed is one of the main factors in search ranking. So before publishing a blog post you should compress images that are bulky in size.
8.Social Sharing Buttons
Either you are a small or big business presence on social media has become imperative. Social sharing buttons play an important role in maximizing the visibility of the content. They directly or indirectly improve the SEO of your blog.
Social buttons are an integral part of the content, their optimization is one of the ON-PAGE SEO factors. Not optimizing content for social media would be a big SEO mistake.
You need to make these buttons more visible, accessible, attention-grabbing, and quickly sharable.
They enable sharing of the blog post on different social media platforms. Your audience, on the relevant platforms, can easily reshare your blog posts without leaving your website.
With a large user base of social media platforms, social sharing helps in increasing online visibility, brand awareness, and targeted traffic. The ripple effect helps in getting tons of new visitors.
Blog posts that are more popular and highly appreciated by social media users do well in the search rankings as well. It is because the search engines consider social signals as one of the ranking factors.
Moreover, social media platforms provide an excellent opportunity for getting backlinks. Value-laden and high-quality blog posts can get backlinks. Such backlinks will not only drive targeted traffic to your web pages but also boost search ranking.
When it comes to optimization of social sharing buttons, their placement on the page, look, and size plays a crucial role.
Many users share posts only by seeing the catchy headline even without reading the whole blog post. The impressive social sharing statistics that are displayed on the social buttons also influence the decision.
For example, users are also impressed by the number of shares and likes. At the top of the page, such social proof would automatically develop a positive attitude about the quality of the blog post. And it is also easy for readers to find buttons at the top of the page. They do not need to scroll the whole page to share the post.
Although the top of the page is the ideal location, there may be many readers who would like to share the post after reading the complete post and satisfaction with the content. For such conscious readers, the bottom of the page is a perfect location.
So for better results, you should put 3-4 popular social media buttons(Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) at the top and bottom of the page. The other places where you can insert these buttons are the left side of the page and into the content(inline share buttons).
Since readers have a habit of reading content from the left to right side, buttons on the left side are also easily spotted by them.
Another growing trend in the SEO world is using inline buttons in the content itself. Many bloggers insert the CLICK TO TWEET button within the content so that when visitors spot some interesting line they can share it without sharing the whole article.
Recently Pinterest has emerged as a popular visual social selling platform and targeted traffic generator for bloggers. If your target audience hangs on Pinterest, you should not miss the opportunity of marketing and promotion on Pinterest.
But again, to get maximum visibility you need to use images that are optimized for Pinterest. And add a Pin It button on images so that visitors can share them on Pinterest.
The size of buttons also influences the actions of the users. Generally, the big-size buttons get more clicks. Moreover, on mobile devices, users may face usability issues if buttons are too small in size.
So, social sharing buttons make content sharing among multiple channels hassle-free, help in improving usability and overall SEO of the website.
What is a meta description, and how does it help in SEO?
Well, it is the Html meta description tag that is used by search engines to show the gist of a web page in SERPs.
However, it is the title tag that gives quick hint about the content of the page but meta description makes it more clear.
This is how it looks on Google:-
and the Html code for meta description looks like this:-
<meta name ="description" content = "It is meta description text that appears in Google search results.">
Although not every time Google uses meta description as a text for snippets in SERPs, but still in 30-40% of searches it uses text from meta tag.
So, it is important in many following ways.
First of all, meta descriptions let searchers know about the page in a more detailed way. It shows the users a kind of summary of the page.
Although Google does not consider it as a ranking factor, it indirectly influences the page ranking. Along with the attention-grabbing title tag, a compelling meta description entices people more to click on the website link.
Not only high click-through rate increases traffic to the website but also helps in improving the page rank. When a link receives a lot of natural clicks, Google can improve its ranking.
If the words used in the search query matches with keywords present in the meta description, Google will bold keywords and their synonyms in search snippets. This extra work of highlighting grabs the attention of the searchers and increases the click-through rate.
Also, whenever you try to share a blog post on Facebook or Twitter you will observe that along with page title, link, and cover photo, a short description is also automatically populated.
Social networks pull this text from the meta description tag of the page. Therefore to get more shares and views on social media you should write a perfect meta description for your blog posts.
Since description work as ad copy to searchers, so it should be optimized properly. Your aim of writing a good copy should be to make them click. It should include actional words that work as a call to action.
Include the main keywords that you have targeted in the content. The length should not be more than 160 characters. The text longer than this will be truncated by Google.
Proper structure of URLs and making them user-friendly adds SEO value.
A URL name that is easy to remember and has a focus keyword helps both users and search engines to better understand the content of the page.
Here are the best SEO practices for URL optimization:-
-Make URL name short that is easy for users.
-Do not use numbers and underscores.
-Use hyphens between the words.
-Include the main keyword in the URL name.
-Create meaningful directory structure.
-Avoid capital letters.
-And properly use canonical and redirect tags.