If you create content as a way of attracting your target audience, it is important to have a solid understanding of On-Page SEO and how it can positively impact your website's ability to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
On-Page SEO refers to any action you take for optimising individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.
There are a number of different factors that can influence your On-Page SEO, from basics such as including a compelling title tag, a click-worthy meta description, an attention-grabbing header tag, and the use of the right keywords to adding some advanced elements such as schema markup.
In this guide, we will dive deep into each of these topics so you can optimise your web pages and posts for better search engine visibility and ranking.
On-Page SEO is important because it helps you get found by potential customers! And, if your content is well-optimised, it can also help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can ultimately lead to more website traffic and conversions.
One of the most important aspects of On-Page SEO is choosing the right keywords and using them in the right places within your content in a way that is both strategic and relevant.
Your content creation process should start with solid keyword research, and it can be extremely helpful in determining which phrases and terms are most likely to be searched by your potential customers.
A simple Google search can reveal a lot more about your competition, the type of keywords they are using, and most importantly, similar keywords or topics potential customers are searching for.
For instance, say you are a parenting coach and want to create content around the topic, then Google's 'People also ask' section is a goldmine when it comes to finding topic ideas, keywords, and even subheadings.
Once you've identified a few target keywords, be sure to include them in the following elements of your web page:
The title tag is the brief text description that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when your web page comes up as a result of a search query. It should be clear, concise, contain your target phrases, and most importantly, summarise what your page is about.
Tip: Longer titles tend to get cut off by Google, so do your best to describe your page within 55-60 characters.
I call the meta description your 3-second elevator pitch! It is that longer text description that appears right below the title tag in the SERPs. This is your opportunity to give your potential reader a more detailed overview of what your web page is about and why they should click through to it.
As with the title tag, be sure to make this inviting for your audience to click. Include your target keyword(s) in your meta description as Google tends to highlight the matching keywords, giving your readers more confidence that the page has what they are searching for.
Tip: It is a fact that Google rewrites meta descriptions 60%-70% of the time to best suit the searcher's query. So don't worry if this happens, just focus on creating a compelling meta description that accurately reflects what your page is about.
Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are used to structure your content and make it easy for readers (and search engines) to understand. They usually appear as headlines and sub-headlines within your article or blog post. When using header tags, be sure to include your target keyword(s) in at least one of them.
Tip: There's much debate about whether the number of H1 tags is a ranking factor or not. Google has clarified that their search crawlers don't care if you have more than one H1 tag and it doesn't affect your rankings.
That being said, I like to structure my content so there is one H1 tag which I use as the headline of the page, and subheadings as H2. This gives your content a logical structure.
Use this handy tool to check your header tags.
The main body of your content is where you'll really get to showcase your expertise on a particular topic. In order to optimise this section for On-Page SEO, be sure to include your target keyword(s) throughout in a way that flows naturally and doesn't feel forced. If you try to force it, your content is going to sound unnatural. This is called keyword stuffing, so try to avoid it at all costs.
Let's now go beyond the basics. Here are a few more ways to make your content stand out and give your On-Page SEO an extra boost.
This will make your content more scannable for readers and easier to digest. No one reads entire blog posts in one go, people typically skim and scan a page for certain words, phrases, and headings. Once they find them, they then have a thorough read. So by using shorter sentences and paragraphs you make it easier for your readers to scan your content. In other words, don't provide walls of text!
A wall of text that no one is going to read:
Not only will this help break up your text, but it will also make your content more engaging and visually appealing, helping you make your point more effectively. Plus, search engines love rich media!
And, some types of visual content (such as infographics) tend to get shared more often on social media, which can help increase your reach and amplify your message.
Tip: Try to include descriptive ALT texts for your images.
When you cite statistics or include quotes from other experts in your industry, be sure to link out to those sources. This not only helps validate your content but also shows that you're doing your research and that you're up-to-date on the latest industry news.
TIP: Just be sure to open external links on a new tab.
More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet, so it's important that your website is optimised for mobile devices.
A mobile-friendly website will provide a better experience for your visitors. Not only that, since 1 July 2019, Google has only used mobile-first indexing for ranking and if your website and content aren't mobile-friendly, you might miss out on a lot of Google's love.
Tip: Use Google's mobile-friendly test tool to find any potential issues with your mobile responsive site.
Ernest Hemingway was known for his simple, straightforward writing style. And while you don't have to go to extremes as he did, try to avoid using unnecessarily complicated words and sentence structures.
Not only will this make your content easier to read, but it will also show that you're an authority on your topic.
Tip: I use this free tool called the Hemingway App to simplify my writing.
Make it easy for your readers to share your content by including social sharing buttons on each page of your website. The more people who share your content, the more exposure it will get, which can help increase your traffic and reach. Your content aka your masterpiece needs all the help it can get to reach more eyeballs!
If you are on WordPress, there are plenty of social sharing plugins available.
One of the most common On-Page SEO mistakes is having long, complicated, non-SEO-friendly URLs. Not only does this make it difficult for people to remember your URL, but it also makes it more difficult for search engines to index your pages.
Instead, try to keep your URLs short and sweet while still including your target keyword(s). For example: www.example.com/on-page-seo-guide
Internal linking refers to the act of hyperlinking to other helpful pages on your website. By including relevant, keyword-rich links to other pages on your site, you can help improve the user experience.
Internal links are critical for On-Page SEO because they encourage visitors to stay on your site for longer, demonstrating to Google that it's valuable and useful.
It also helps Google absorb more information about your website, which might help it rank higher on search engine results pages.
TIP: Don't go overboard with internal linking. A few strategically placed links will do.
If you want people to trust you and your content, it helps to include some social proof. This could be in the form of testimonials, customer reviews, or even social media buttons that show how many people have shared your content.
Including social proof might assist improve conversions and make individuals more inclined to buy.
I typically aim for around 1,000 words per blog post. However, there is no magic number when it comes to the perfect content length. That being said there is a correlation between longer content and higher rankings, which indicates that Google prefers to rank longer content higher than mini-posts. But don't just inflate your content just for the sake of creating longer posts, think of longer posts as a way to comprehensively cover a topic.
By tracking your On-Page SEO progress and performance, you can see what's working and what isn't, and make adjustments as needed. This will help you improve your search engine ranking and visibility over time!
Now that you know the basics of On-Page SEO, it's time to put what you've learned into practice!
Start by auditing your existing content to see where there's room for improvement, then make a plan to optimise your web pages for better search engine visibility and ranking. With a little effort, you can see some real results from your On-Page SEO efforts.
Have any other tips for improving On-Page SEO? If so, share them in the comments below.
PS: Are you receiving FREE publicity opportunities, straight into your inbox?