You’ve got a great keyword in mind for which you want to rank.
You might even already have well-researched and value-adding content to back it up.
Now, how do you optimise the page so that Google and other search engines not only understand what the page is all about, but also realise that the page deserves a spot at the top of the search results?
Enter: on-page SEO.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the digital marketing practice of optimising a web for search engines like Google. It’s done so that search engines can find the page and register it for the keywords it’s trying to rank for. When done well, on-page SEO not only signals to search engines what the page should rank for, but it also gives readers a clear idea of what they should expect before clicking on the page. It also gives users a good browsing experience while they’re on the page or website.
Now that we know what is on-page SEO, let’s move on to another question that many website owners ask.
Why is on-page SEO important?
On-page SEO tells search engines like Google who you are, what your website is about and the keywords you should appear for on the first page of search results. Without on-page SEO, your site will end up buried deep down within millions of other websites or worse, it won’t be indexed at all by Google, making it basically non-existent on search results. Getting indexed by Google is crucial because when you get successfully indexed, you’ll gain more traffic and whenever you post fresh content, it will be discovered more quickly.
Without on-page SEO, neither Google nor any other search engine will be able to effectively crawl your website. Therefore, it won’t be able to send you any traffic. No traffic means no leads or conversions from your site.
As intelligent as the Google crawler bots may be, at the end of the day they’re still what they are — bots. The algorithm is such that each time a user makes a search query, the bots crawl through billions of web pages to identify websites or web pages that are most relevant to the search query. These crawler bots have to be told explicitly what keywords you’re trying to rank for, which means feeding them as much information as possible.
However, you shouldn’t focus too much on optimising web pages for Google’s crawler bots only. That’s not just what on-page SEO is all about. While, yes, the content has to be optimised for bots, it’s also important for your on-page content to be readable and valuable for users.
How exactly do you do this?
This brings us to our next section.
What are the important ranking factors of on-page SEO?
Have you ever heard of a free SEO audit tool? It’s pretty neat.
An SEO audit tool analyses your website’s performance and pinpoints which elements you need to optimise. It’s basically a detailed report with actionable insights on how to increase your site’s organic traffic.
In an SEO audit, these are the main aspects of on-page SEO that can have a significant impact on your overall rankings:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- URL Structure
- Internal and external link building
- Page Load Speed
According to Google Webmaster Guidelines, great content is still the first step in creating a Google-friendly site. That’s because Google wants to bring searchers to pages with great content, which is why sites with quality content simply rank higher. Producing content that users find valuable also demonstrate your Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (otherwise known as E-A-T), which is a big ranking factor.
The key is to provide high-quality and useful information, especially on your homepage. This will entice webmasters to link to your site and attract many visitors. To create an information-rich and helpful site, write pages that accurately and clearly describe your topic. Think about the words users would search for to find your pages and include those words when writing your content.
Title tags make the first impression to potential visitors, which is why they should be precise descriptions of the content of your pages. Search engine crawlers largely consider titles when determining a page’s relevancy to a search query, which makes them heavily weighted on-page SEO ranking factors.
Studies also show that users only read around the first 11 characters of content when they scan through a list of items. It’s best to place your keywords closer to the beginning of the titles for both users and bots. However, don’t stuff your title tags with multiple keywords. It’s not ideal for users and you’ll also get penalised by search engines.
In a nutshell, meta descriptions summarize a page.They’re the snippets of text that appear in the search results under your title. They offer users a brief explanation of your page and what they can expect when clicking your link.
Meta descriptions aren’t directly an on-page SEO ranking factor but well-written ones can increase a page’s click-through rate, which does directly influence rankings. That’s why meta descriptions should also include the keyword, so that when a user searches for a term, they’ll know your page has what they’re looking for.
A header tag is an HTML tag that establishes a heading and a subheading. Their significance as an on-page SEO factor descends from H1-H6.
Your H1 is your content’s main heading. For instance, this page’s heading is ‘What is On-Page SEO?’ It’s a great opportunity to provide search engines with some keyword rich context on what the page is all about.
Can you have more than one H1 tag? Google says yes, as many as you want actually, but keep in mind the experience of the users. Too many H1 tags can make the overall content structure messy, and readers won’t know what the main topic is.
Your URL is your web page’s location on the internet and a significant factor that search engines need to understand your website. It’s best to have a simple URL structure when it comes to on-page SEO.
Google recommends organizing your content in such a way that URLs are logically constructed and they’re intelligible to online users. In other words, both search engines and users should understand what’s on your page just by reading the URL. A good example would be: https://yourwebsite.com/womens/clothing/tracksuit.
Internal and external link building
Link building is a very influential part of on-page SEO that shouldn’t be neglected. Google can learn much about your website’s specific pages depending on where it links to. External links are like clues that tell Google about the industry you’re in, what solutions you offer, what problems you can solve and decide whether your site is relevant to a user’s search query.
As for internal links, a good internal linking strategy tells search engines the relationship between your content and what topics are important. For instance, which product pages are important? What article is the most relevant to a specific search query?
Page Load Speed
To give users the best experience, Google prioritises web pages that load faster. In turn, they rank fast-loading pages higher on the search results. They don’t want to direct their users to slow sites. This means that your site has to load quickly on mobile devices as well.
There are several ways to reduce your site’s load time. To analyse your page load speed and get some optimisation suggestions, you can check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
How do all of these ranking factors make on-page SEO important?
Now that we’ve discussed the major on-page ranking factors that you can assess in an SEO audit tool, how exactly do they establish the fact that on-page SEO is important? What benefits does on-page SEO bring to the table.
- Higher Rankings
Creating quality, valuable content and then optimising them with on-page SEO techniques can assist with ranking your web page higher in the search results.
- Advanced Crawl Rate
Effective on-page SEO helps crawlers and website analytic tools understand what your page is about and in what context it must reflect and rank on the search engine results.
- Enhanced Click-Through Rate
Optimal creation of meta titles and descriptions works positively towards gaining a higher CTR. Great meta descriptions always compel clicks.
- Boost in Organic Traffic
With high rankings, optimum crawl rate and better CTR, you’ll attract organic traffic without spending big bucks to promote your website and pages.
- Increased Conversion and Earning Potential
High rankings on Google, quality organic traffic and excellent user experience all result in increased conversion rates, therefore generating more sales and earnings.
- Brand Awareness
Higher rankings and increased organic traffic means more exposure for your website. They also help build brand equity and authority within your industry.
In conclusion, a good website isn’t one that just looks professional and pleasing to the eyes, but one that ranks well on search engines, attracts traffic and converts the traffic into leads and sales. With proper on-page SEO, you’ll have a good website that does all of that and more.