Many small business owners fall into the trap of thinking they’re done with on-page SEO after sprinkling keywords here and there on their site. However, that’s a dire mistake that can end up costing vital traffic and conversions that a business needs to succeed online.
About 60% of users who are searching for something specific online will click on one of the top three search results shown. That means if a business isn’t ranking near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), then they’re missing out on a *lot* of clicks. And those missed clicks mean a loss for page views, subscriptions, sales, and repeat business.
What Is On-page SEO?
Sometimes referred to as on-site SEO, on-page SEO is the practice of optimizing various web page components to rank higher in search engines. The different on-page SEO elements include both written content and the HTML source code.
This type of SEO is known as “on-page” because the optimizations made on the website are visible to visitors or bots on the page. Learn more about off-page and technical SEO and how they overlap and differ from on-page SEO.
Why Is On-page SEO Important?
A great on-page SEO strategy will help make webpages more valuable and usable. In turn, this helps to improve its ranking and visibility in search results on search engines like Google. Essentially, on-page SEO optimization is meant for both human eyes and also search engines.
On-page SEO Factors to Optimize
When looking at on-page SEO, it’s important to know that the various elements to optimize can be classified under three distinct categories.
Content elements include different aspects within both the website copy and content. Essential content elements that should be optimized include:
- Content – Users want high-quality content that is relevant to their search query. When crafting content, be sure to stay on topic, consider the buyer’s journey, target researched buyer personas, and aim for conversions by incorporating calls-to-action.
- Keywords – Conduct keyword research to target high-value keywords with low difficulty scores. Aim for long-tail keywords, as these have a click-through rate of 3% to 6% higher than generic searches. Keywords should be placed within the page titled and wrapped in an H1 tag, as well as sprinkled throughout the copy itself.
- Quality images – Any images used should be high-resolution and preferably as original as possible.
Don’t forget to also look into the source code of the website. Optimizing these key elements will not only help to organize content on the website to make it easier for readers to find content relevant to their wants and needs, but also help search engines understand the context of the content and rank it accordingly.
The different HTML elements that should be attended to are:
- Page titles – Otherwise known as title tags, page titles are one of the more important SEO elements around. The page title is responsible for informing both visitors and search engines alike what type of content is on the page. The page title should be wrapped in an H1 tag, include the keyword, and stay under 70 characters.
- Headers – The most common headers found on a website are H1, H2, and H3s. The page title is most often wrapped in an H1 tag, while primary headers are H2, and sub-category headers are H3. Using these tags helps to organize content and also tells search engines what part of the content is relevant based on the user’s search intent.
- Meta descriptions style=”font-weight: 400;”> – Short descriptions that detail information about the page’s content. The meta description appears under the title in search results. Keep the meta description under 160 characters and include the keyword.
- Image alt-text – Think of image alt-text as SEO for the image. It can help tell the search engine what the image is about. In addition to that, in the event that the image on the site page fails to load or the user is using a screen reader, the alt-text is what will appear or be read aloud to the viewer. Keep the image alt-text under 125 characters, use the keyword, and be as specific as possible.
- Structured markup – Marking up the website source code can help search engines find and rank the content. Structured markup is important for featured snippets.
Site Architecture Elements
The parts that make up the website and site pages are the site architecture. Optimizing the site architecture is paramount because it is what can help search engine bots crawl the website and rank every site page.
Some of the site architecture elements that should be checked include:
- Page URLs – To keep the site organized and consistent, using keyword-rich page URLs is important. The auto-generated URLs that are comprised of random numbers and letters thrown together are worthless to SEO. However, a URL that is specific and includes a keyword goes a long way toward helping a site page rank.
- Internal linking – To create a helpful roadmap for users that leads to other relevant information, internal links are incredibly useful. Using internal links throughout the website can help keep users on the site longer, which then tells search engines that the content is valuable.
- Mobile responsiveness – An important ranking factor is how fast a website loads for mobile devices. The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool can help determine the responsiveness of a website.
- Site speed – Multiple studies have shown that if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, users are more likely to bounce. A business website must be able to load fast if it wishes to stay competitive. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can analyze a site page and give a performance score and suggestions for how to improve the loading speed.
On-page SEO Is the Starting Point
In order for a website to rank high in the SERPs and gain new leads and conversions, the importance of on-page SEO cannot be understated. There are multiple factors that must be optimized to help users find the content they’re interested in and to assist search engines in crawling pages.
However, be sure to not stop at on-page SEO. There’s also off-page SEO and technical SEO that must be seen too as well. Once these different types of SEO are all taken care of and working in unison, that’s when a website can expect to see continuous organic traffic, high rankings in the search results, and earn clicks and conversions.