On page SEO is one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to optimising your website to rank well in search engine results. Let’s take a closer look at what on page SEO is and how you can use it to benefit your business and brand online.
What is On Page SEO?
On page SEO is a very common practice and one that is usually undertaken by your webmaster or development team. On page SEO involves looking at all aspects of your website as a whole to ensure that all of the pages, titles, tags, content and overall structure are fully SEO optimised. This would mean making sure that your target keywords are found frequently enough throughout the site, as well as looking at the number and quality of inbounds links you have from other respected external websites.
Simply put, on page SEO investigates how well your website is working to promote itself from within. If this is done right, your website will rank quite well in search engine results pages. This will give you an edge over your competition and also help to boost your product sales and customer interaction.
What Are On Page Ranking Factors?
Your on-page factors of your website can affect search engine rankings, which is why it is important to know what they are, and how to correctly control them. On-page ranking factors are almost completely in your control. It’s about the content you publish, the links and keywords you use, your site architecture and more.
Similarly, you also have off-page ranking factors that refer to things you cannot directly control. Google relies on on-page and off-page ranking factors to determine how to rank your website within search engine results. Although your SEO strategy should contain a mix of various elements, on-page ranking factors are extremely important.
On Page SEO: The Basics
The importance of keyword placement
First things first, the most important thing to understand about on page SEO is that you need to give clear signals to search engines. You do this by making sure that you are using relevant keywords in specific locations on your website – in your URL, page title and throughout your content copy. It’s so important to do your keyword research so that you can find the best keywords to use on your page.
Google’s top on page ranking factors:
We’ll go through the top on page ranking factors and discuss how you should be using these factors to your advantage.
The title tag of your website is an important ranking factor. Title tags are also referred to as title elements and they are used on search engine results pages (SERPs) to display a preview snippet of what a website or page is about.
Here is an example of the code used for a title tag:
You should make sure that your page title is an H1 tag and should be visible high up on your web page. It not only helps with the visual layout of your content. You should also be sure to start the title of your page with your chosen keyword. Both of these things will emphasise to search engines what your page is about, enabling you to rank higher.
However, don’t just stuff keywords in your title, it should make sense and read well too. The title tag plays an important role in user experience. The title tag should be short and descriptive and should accurately describe a web page’s content. A title that does not match the page content will be off-putting to users and therefore Google.
Title tags are usually between 50-60 characters and as a guide, you should keep it under 55 characters. This is to ensure that it will display properly everywhere.
2. The URL
Your page URL is another important opportunity to signal to search engines what your page is about. Google confirmed that the first few words of your website URL carry more weight, it’s therefore crucial to use the keyword you want to target in your URL.
Your URLs should also preferably reflect the category hierarchy of your website. A good example of a URL would be:
The URL clearly shows the category hierarchy and this is a great way to tell search engines how your pages are working together. It gives search engines a good idea of what these pages are all about, without having to go through all the content to determine this.
An example of a bad URL would be: http://www.yourwebsite.uk/title/tt0468569/ as this gives you no indication as to the page’s content and the section of your website it belongs to.
3. Your page content
Last but by no means least. Your content is what makes your website and is the single most important factor to get right. It tells Google and other search engines what your website is all about.
It’s therefore important to use your keywords and phrases correctly within your website copy to signal to Google what your page is about. You should look to include one of your keywords within the first hundred words of your website copy. Throughout the rest of your copy, you should aim to use longer-tail keywords relevant to your topic. This will help your page rank higher for your main focus keyword and start to rank for other related terms.
Another thing to bear in mind is to ensure that your content is not too short. Aim for at least 1,500 words or more per post or page. Large amounts of content will make you appear to Google as an authority on a certain topic, and will also give you the opportunity to add more keywords to your copy.
However, to do really well in search engines you need good content. But what exactly is good content? From an SEO point of view, good content must be linkable and supply a demand.
This means creating content that is unique and valuable to users. Take a Wikipedia page for example. It offers unique content and that alone makes it rank well. It also provides a lot of in depth information on a specific topic. This means that readers will visit the page to find the information they are looking for.
If the content you create is valuable to people, they are more likely to share it with others – which will further boost the Google rank of that page. This means, however, that you need to make sure that your content is linkable. If you can’t link to it, search engines will likely not rank it, simple as that. This includes content that is only viewable after logging in or content that cannot be reproduced or shared.
These are the holy grails of on page SEO and are essential if you want your page to rank. Despite what you might read, no-one knows precisely which on-page ranking factors are more important than others; but these are considered to be accepted as crucial to your SEO success.
Ultimate On Page SEO Checklist: Further Refine Your On Page SEO
If you are looking to improve your on page SEO the factors above will get you 80% of the way to ranking well in search engines. However, to further optimise your page, our 21-point on page SEO checklist will help you push your page to the top.
1. Sort the basics
Really, we would expect that you have already set up basic accounts on Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Bing. You should also have compiled a list of the keywords you are already ranking for and some keywords you want to pursue using Google’s keyword tool.
2. Set up a Google+ page for your business
By doing this, you will build trust with Google and will enable you to rank for local keywords. You can also ask customers to write reviews of your business on your Google+ local page.
3. Claim ownership of your content
Linking your Google plus account to your content pages will improve your rankings as well as boost your click through rate.
4. Add your contact details
Make sure that your contact details are displayed prominently on each page. Include your telephone number and email address.
5. If your website is new, be patient
It takes time to gain authority and rankings. You need to continually work on all aspects of your SEO in order to achieve the rankings you want.
6. Create a sitemap and keep it in good shape
Sitemaps are important for both users and search engines to learn all about how your site is structured and how to navigate it. For search engines, it tells them which pages should be indexed and crawled. For visitors, it enhances usability, content findability, and makes navigation easier should your site be large enough to get lost in. If you use a CMS there are usually many plugins that can help you create your sitemap and submit it to Google and Bing on your behalf.
Be sure to double check your fresh content and make sure they’re on your site map – you wouldn’t want Google to overlook it.
7. Link to content
Make sure you link to relevant content pages from the main menu on your home pages. Try to allow visitors to find every page in less than three clicks.
8. Re-crawl your own site. Don’t wait for the Google bots.
Usually when edits are made to your website it can often take large amounts of time for Google to process it and take notice. An easy fix for this is to use Fetch as Googlebot, a feature of Webmaster tools. This allows you to tell Google not only to recrawl your site but submit content to index. This will enable your new content to be available to searchers faster.
9. Write more click-worthy titles
Aim to entice the visitors and gain more clicks through tweaks such as amplifying your unique selling points, your competitively low prices, or even mention your brand values. Here’s a handy guide on how to write your own SEO-friendly headlines.
Stuck on writing compelling descriptions? Jump onto Google, scan your competitors, and analyse their methods so you can gain some inspiration for yourself.
10. Create your meta descriptions
Write a unique meta description for each page. Ensure that your descriptions are not duplicate and add keywords in your descriptions to boost your page ranking. They should be 155 characters or less and persuade your reader to click on your link.
11. Remove duplicate content
Google can penalise you for having copied or very similar content on your website pages. Remove duplicate content on a regular basis.
There’s a wealth of free tools available online to find duplicate content, including Copy Scape, Siteliner, or even Google Search Console, and for the more advanced users there’s Screaming Frog.
12. Find technical errors
You can do find errors on your website with a tool such as Browseo. You can also find broken links with a tool like Screaming Frog.
13. Work on your page speed
People don’t realise just how important this is; Google wants to make a user’s experience as enjoyable as possible, so if your site loads quickly and easily, it’s a benefit in terms of SEO.
To test your load speed try Google’s Page Speed Insights.
14. How’s your robots.txt. looking?
15. Add a blog to your website
This will provide more content for your website and allow you to rank for more keywords within Google’s search results.
16. Create a content plan
Create additional content pages for your website on a monthly basis. This should be an ongoing effort to consistently improve your rankings.
17. Include multimedia within your website copy
Diversify your content and always provide great information to your visitors. Add videos, infographics, e-books, reports and more. You should also add an ALT tag and your keywords to image titles to help boost SEO efforts.
18. Include long-tail keywords
Don’t focus only on single keywords, but include longer phrase keywords as more than 40% of searches are made up of four or more words.
19. Make use of outbound links to high authority websites
When you create content you can help out other bloggers by linking to their sites. Only choose relevant websites to your industry and choose a site with quality content. If you feel that your readers will find another website or blog useful, don’t be afraid to link to it.
20. Get social media savvy
It’s important to realise that social media is here to stay. Social signals play an important role in ranking your website or blog – but the exact percentage is still unclear. But we do know that search engines take into account the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ that your content gets, as well as the follower or fan count that your social media profiles have.
You need to allow your visitors to easily share your content so make sure that you use social sharing buttons on your website. This also means that it’s important to create content that is interesting and users want to share with friends and co-workers. Be creative and share your blog posts on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You’ll also build your business’ brand at the same time.
You can use social media to promote your content and connect with friends and followers. You can even use social media as your customer support platform, as many big brands are starting to use social media for this reason.
21. Your website is never finished. Achieving greater rankings and maintaining them takes time. It’s an ongoing effort that you should never overlook and never stop working on.
You should also bear in mind that on page SEO isn’t the sole determiner of helping your page rank. Off page factors like what your competitors are doing and backlinks are also important. Take a look at our article to understand how off page SEO works and what you can do to improve it.
More On Page SEO Help
There are plenty of tools available that you can use to help you perfect your on-page SEO ranking factors. These include MozBar, Open Site Explorer and Term Target.
On-page SEO is one of the most important factors when it comes to optimising your website for search engines. It could, therefore, be worth your while hiring an SEO professional to conduct a website audit, find new keywords to target, or help you draw up a content marketing strategy – to name just a few services. Take a look at our services page to see how our SEO expertise can help you.
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