The term on-page optimization or on-page SEO gets used a lot and may seem daunting to many people at first. In reality, On-page optimization is a simple checklist you can go through in order to ensure that your web page has all the required elements in place to rank for a specific keyword or keywords.
Keep in mind that one key factor in ranking your page is the time your visitors spend reading the content and bounce rate. This means that you should always craft your content with the reader as the first priority and search engines as the second.
On-Page SEO Metrics to focus on
Each page should have a title tag, no more than 70 characters and should contain the target keyword at least once. Titles help visitors and search engines determine what the page is about.
Meta Description Tag
While some search engines discount this tag, it is good to have as it dictates what search engines display as a preview to the reader.
For optimum results, we like to use this tag as a means to explain how the content is relevant to the keyword. That usually gets the highest clickthrough rate and the lowest bounce rate.
The title of the page is crucial when optimizing your page. That tells your visitor what your page is all about. If you are trying to optimize for multiple keywords on the same page (not recommended), I generally recommend keeping one main keyword and having the others as secondary.
Your page should have:
- No more than one H1 Title Tag;
- One H2 tag every 5-10 sentences, in order to make sure that your content is readable.
- The keywords you are targeting should appear in the H2 tags (as needed)
Images are very important to your content. We are becoming increasingly visual and will look for images as a means of explaining the content, or to serve as a temporary break from reading. You can use images to awake certain emotions in the reader, to provide them with an overall mood, or to trigger an emotional reaction.
Images need to have the following in common:
- ALT tag with the keyword (at least one image)
- Title Tag with the keyword (at least one image)
Since search engines start to use deep learning and artificial intelligence increasingly, make sure that the image you use, is actually of what you claim it to be.
The more you use the keyword the better, right? Wrong. If you over-use the keyword, you qualify for what we call keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing will get your post or page ignored completely from SERPs. This is where my first rule comes into play. Create the content with your user as the main priority. Referring back to deep learning, Search engines have made leaps and bounds into providing the correct results and content a user may expect and want to read when they search for something.
If Google notices that your users are staying on the page longer, and actually read your content and that the content makes sense, you will outrank someone using weird phrasing just so they can make a keyword appear x times.
Here is what to watch out for:
- Use the keyword at least 3-5 times per 400 words;
- Use it naturally;
- Use it within the first paragraph, if it makes sense;
- Bold it out a couple of times. This is so the user can find it right away.
Links are Google’s bread and butter, as well as Yahoo and Bing’s. If you mention a topic you discussed on another page, turn that word into a link. It will serve as an anchor towards that other post you published. Same goes in reverse: If you publish another post in the future linking explaining some ideas in more detail, come back and insert a link in your article.
It is also a good idea to insert one or two links to cite sources, explain terms etc. If you link outwards, try linking to high reputation websites, such as Wikipedia, to show Google you roll with “good company”
Whatever you write about, don’t forget to create a conversation.