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On-page SEO is one of those phrases you will hear a lot of experts talk about that sounds very technical and the kind of thing that you might pay someone to do for you. It is a key way to bring traffic to a website, be it a blog, e-commerce or product site. And let’s face it, traffic has gone from being a bad thing that happened in your car to a great thing that gets you the customers or clients you need. But there are some simple techniques to manage on-page SEO that means you don’t always need an expert on hand to master – here are a few I’ve discovered while researching the topic.
What is On-Page SEO?
The aim of on-page SEO is to tell Google or any other search engine what a page is about. So, this might be the content of a blog post, a product or a service. It might be information about a location, such as shop or restaurant or even an event. This information connected what is on the page with people that are looking for that thing and works alongside off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is the external factors of the page such as inbound links from other websites, social media links and all the bits you can’t control. On-page SEO, on the other hand, can be controlled. So, it is the area to focus attention on as a blogger, website owner or operator.
On-Page SEO Checklist
But what are the factors that are used to rank a page and how can we make sure we master them to get the best results? Here’s a list of some of the most important:
Websites can look brilliant, use all the clever tricks in the world but if the content is crap, then the search engines aren’t going to pay it any attention. Content is what people are seeking and is therefore the most important part of the page. Each piece much aim to supply and demand and be linkable from other sources.
So, using this post as an example – you came here with the demand to find out about on page SEO and my aim is to provide that. If you find it informative, you might then link to it from your own site or share it on social media.
I recently looked at the importance of the title in writing a post and how you can use tools to get the best possible title. Titles are the second most important factor so their accuracy is crucial as is the use of the right kind of titles.
The URL is the name of the page within the structure of the website. A good URL shows the website as well as the keywords of the title or subject of the post. Avoid numbered URLs that don’t tell the search engine what the item is and keep them down in length, as if they are too long, part of the URL will be cut off and therefore wasted.
Therefore, a checklist of on-page SEO based on one provided by experts would look a little like this:
- Subject in the title
- Subject in the URL
- Subject in the alt attributes of at least one image on the page
- Mention the subject several times in the content
- Make sure content is unique and delivers on its promise
- Link back to the category and subcategory pages if there are any
- Link to the homepage (usually through a clickable logo or homepage icon on the top menu)
Tips to maximise each page
That’s the basics of the main areas that Google use to rate a page and to understand what’s on it. But what can we mere mortals do to make every page more attractive and understandable to the gods of search engine?
- Use keyword at the beginning of the title tag
Trying to get the keyword as near to the front of the title tag is important but not at the risk of making the title nonsensical. Don’t try to stuff it full of keywords that you want to feature in the article but instead focus on your most important one. According to Brian Manon, you must prioritise and choose. He recommends that you don’t force keywords in an effort to include more than one.
- Use keyword in H2 headings
Headings break up a piece and add structure to it. They also guide search engines to what kind of subjects are covered in the piece and therefore at least one should contain your main keyword. If you are using WordPress, you can use the drop-down menu to ensure that the H2 heading is indicated correctly and sends its little signal to Google.
- Use your keyword in first 100 words
If you use an SEO plugin such as Yoast, then one of the things that gets you a green light is using your keyword as near the start of the first paragraph as possible. You should definitely use it within the first 100 words to reinforce its importance.
- Inbound and outbound links
Links are crucial but need to be good quality. You also should link within your content to increase the standing of your page and to offer further reading for your visitors. Linking to good quality third party websites helps add credibility to the website and you never know, they might return the favour if you are quoting them in the article.
- Use keywords in the ALT settings of images
When you add a caption to your image, it tells the reader what the image is. But when you add keywords to the ALT box of the image, it tells Google what the image is about.
- The meta description
Again, using Yoast or its compatriots will give you a reminder to check your meta description or snippet. It will automatically take the first few lines of your article if you don’t specify anything but if you want to make a short sharp point, then customise it.
There are other things to do to boost your website that might not be exactly on-page SEO but don’t hurt. For example, we all want to be shared on social media so make it easy for visitors to do this. Prominent sharing buttons will prompt them to share the piece and get you that extra exposure.
While lots of images and interesting plugins in the sidebar are great, make sure they aren’t pulling the speed of your website down with them. Stats from Backlinko show that if a page takes longer than 4 seconds to load, visitors will be off and are unlikely to come back again. So, use tools to check side loading times regularly.
And while you are there, just double check your site is mobile friendly – can’t image there are many that aren’t with all the talk in recent times but you never know until you check!
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