On-page Search Engine Optimisation is the process of manipulating web pages to improve their rank in search engines. The ultimate goal of on-page SEO is to increase traffic to your website.
In 2020, will be required to do more than a strategic placement of keywords to appear in top searches. Google search and indexing algorithms are becoming more intelligent. Hence, they understand semantically-related words and synonyms.
Figure out what searchers want
You cannot optimise your site if you do not know what searchers want. Small to medium-sized businesses should figure out the results searchers would expect to see on search engines. The marketing team can have this figured out by searching the results that rank for your target keyword.
For instance, someone who search ‘buy dog food’ must be looking for an ecommerce page. Therefore, a search engine will return pages of category and products. Do not place web pages where they do not belong as they won’t attract traffic to your site.
Maintain simple and readable content
Imagine this article was written using IT jargon. Chances are most people wouldn’t finish reading the first paragraph before leaving the site. Google uses behavior patterns of users such as dwell time on a page to rank websites. Therefore, complicated websites will get low rankings since people won’t waste their time reading stuff they cannot understand.
To keep your site informative yet straightforward, avoid using big words. For example, you can use ‘near’ instead of ‘proximity’. Maintain the website as informal as you can. Write how you speak and avoid usage of long sentences.
Place keywords strategically
Strategic placement of keywords is effective when used together with other methods. However, it might not lead to noticeable results if used in isolation. Businesses should still use this method as research shows there’s a small chance that pages could be ranked based on exact match of keywords. Also, keyword placement in the title and meta description show users that your site contains the information they are looking for.
However, using exact-match keywords may look like spam. For instance, having a phrase like ‘SEO tools free’ look weird and unnatural. Therefore, you should use keywords that makes sense, even if they are not an exact match.
Use descriptive alt attributes for images
Research shows that 8.1 million Americans have visual impairment. This translates to one in every thirty search engine users has color blindness or visual impairment and may rely on screen magnifiers or screen readers. Therefore, a web designer should use descriptive alt tags because the text will be displayed on the screen should the image fail to load or when a user is using a screen reader. Consider the following HTML alt tag.
<img src=“images/teddyBear.png” alt=“A picture of a cute teddy bear” />
Small to medium-sized businesses should give vivid descriptions of the images in the alt tags and names of the pictures. According to a tweet from John Mueller, alt tags are relevant when a site has lazy-loading images since the visitors will know what image will load when it eventually loads.
Ensure pages load fast
Whenever a page takes long to load, most people tend to leave the site and move on to other results that load more quickly. Google discovered that people hate slow loading pages and that is why they incorporated pagespeed in their ranking factors. Recently, Google started ranking pages based on the mobile page speed.
According to Google, 53% of users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Therefore, businesses should have a pagespeed of two seconds and below.
To improve page speed, small to medium-sized businesses can check their websites in Google PageSpeed Insight tools which will analyse the cause of slow pages and suggest ways to optimise the site. The process can be tiresome if the website has many web pages as Google’s PageSpeed tool can only check the speed of one page at a time.
Therefore, a business can consider professional tools such as Site Audit by Ahrefs.
To ensure web pages load faster, reduce image sizes or use plugins that compress images automatically. Also, you can get rid of useless HTML as every element has to load.
Use descriptive and short URLs
Users should be able to tell the information in your site by looking at the URL. Consider the following URL.
It is almost impossible to figure out the type of content in that site. Consider the following URL. Anyone can figure out what the site might contain.
Having descriptive URLs is essential for a website as searchers are prone to click on search results that best match their queries. In addition, descriptive URLs can include the keywords of your target audience. There is a small relationship between search engine ranking and keywords on URLs.
Sometimes it is impossible to create descriptive URLs. You should not restructure your entire website to include a keyword in URLs. According to John Mueller from Google, descriptive URL is a small ranking factor. Therefore, you should force it. In short, if you can, do it well and good. If not, forget about it.
Keep the URLs as short as possible. The figure below reveals that there is a small correlation between search engine ranking and the number of characters in a URL.
Increase topical relevance to ease crawling and indexing
Search engines such as Google can figure out the topical relevance of a web page through co-occurrence of phrases and words. For instance, Google can tell what a page with a title tag like ‘Best on-page SEO tips’ is all about. It is unnatural for a page with such a title to address other issues far from on-page SEO. It would be better if the page contains words and phrases that relate to those mentioned in the title.
Sometimes a company may be building a website for a domain they know nothing about. For instance, if you are optimising a site for a company that sells equipment for making beer, you may not have any idea that words like attenuation, all grain, and flocculation will increase topical relevance of the site. Therefore, it is advisable to conduct comprehensive research on the words and phrases that increase the topical relevance of a web page.
To sum up, on-page SEO is all about giving users what they are looking for in the most effective but straightforward way. It is also essential to incorporate strategies that are favored by search engines.