In today’s blogging business, ranking high on search engine result pages (SERP) is important to how successful your website, brand, products, or services will be. This is why webmasters make it their business to optimize for search engines.
One way of optimizing has been technical optimization for on-page or off page. Much of the time, more focus and priority have been given to off-page optimization, especially with regards to backlink building.
Yes, link building, which is an off-page technique, will do your web pages a lot of good and help your website rank better. However, there are important on-page techniques that add value to your web pages and also help you rank better.
For SEO to work out fine, on-page optimization is important as it is one important point where your audience interacts much with your website.
On-page or on-site SEO is a way of optimizing your web pages, so you can rank better on search engines and get more organic traffic. There are many aspects of on-page SEO which include optimizing your headlines, having relevant content, HTML tags, and so on.
As you prepare your content on your website, you will have decided on a keyword for which you will want to rank. You will need to get Google to understand how important your web page is and why it deserves to be ranked among the top pages of search results.
This might feel like a big deal for you; however, when you optimize your web pages, you will find those pages rank high on search engines, and like we already know, higher ranking can lead to an increase in organic traffic.
You must be wondering how optimization is done. Most of the SEO on-page instructions focus on optimizing for keywords and how you can strategically place them to pass on your intended meaning.
But Google has shown an understanding of keywords and how they relate with other words in their context. We will look at other aspects of on-page optimization.
1. Optimizing for the Search Intent of Your Audience
When you write content, you should be focusing on a niche and the audience in the niche. If your content is not what many people will be interested in, then it does not have much business ranking among the top results and Google will always fix you where it is certain you fit.
You should know Google will rank search results based on what users who place search queries are researching. Where the search intent is very clear, Google will rank results based on how close they come to what the users want.
For instance, for a query on how to make cookies; the query is very clear and Google can tell that the user will be expecting clearly-outlined procedures. So, Google will rank search results based on those that come closest to giving the users what they seek.
2. Get Your Pages to Load Fast
Can you just imagine what will happen if your site is selected by a user from all other sites shown on search result pages, and it is taking ages to load? After waiting for about a minute and it is still trying to load, what do you think will be the reactions of the users? Of course, they will quickly go back to the search results page and make another choice.
Even if you have great content on your site, users will rather pass on to another site that will load fast enough for them. Now, if a thousand people click on your link and find it loading very slowly, many of them won’t hang on if it does not ad immediately.
You may not even have up to five hundred patient people who will wait for it to load. Google has shown that 53% of users will not be patient for a page to load if it takes longer than three seconds to load. This supports several types of research that have shown that there is a positive correlation between page loading time and how your pages rank on Google.
This is also supported by Google’s mobile-first index showing that pages which load fast on mobile devices will get more ranking consideration. Above that, how would you expect your patient users to feel when they finally log on to your site? Will they be motivated to visit your site again once they leave?
This can cause you to lose even your current ranking. To avoid such a situation, you need to take the right steps to increase the loading speed of your site.
To improve your page load speed, check your web page the Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and you will see suggestions about the best way you can optimize for your pages to load faster.
You should optimize for page speed one page at a time. Ahref’s Site Audit can also bring up all your pages that have problems and then you proceed to fix them. If you have a problem with your page speed and you have a lot of images on your page, you can compress most images and remove irrelevant ones. You can also minimize HTML and use the text editor more instead of the visual editor.
3. Have Your Target Keywords in the Title, Meta-Description, and Headline Tags
It is important for you to place your target keywords in the right places for SEO. Keywords are important in helping your website rank higher. They also help to show that the page is an important page that has the content users have placed a search query for.
When you use keywords in your title and Meta descriptions, it becomes very easy for your user to know that they can find what they seek from your site. So it will be considered among the best matches for ranking in answer to that user’s query.
However, you need to be careful, so you don’t stuff your content with so many keywords. Sometimes, too, you should use the synonyms of your keywords.
Look at the right places suitable to have your keywords and fix them there. Make sure they reflect in the title tag, Meta description, and H1.
4. Keep Your URLs Short and Descriptive
From your URL, your audience should be able to tell what your site is all about.
The users can directly know from this URL that it is a site that deals with yoga exercises and this particular page deals with stretch exercises for pregnant women. So if a user types in the query “exercises for pregnant women”, it will not seem out of place if the page with this URL comes up among the search results.
It will be more likely for the user to visit this page because, from the URL, it is clearly shown that it may contain the information the user is seeking. As you can see, the descriptive URL also contains targeted keywords that also increase the chances of that page ranking high on search engines.
However, if your current URL does not allow for such descriptive URLs, you may wish to restructure your site in order to add keywords to your URL. You can also make your URL as short and interesting as possible. Research has shown a positive correlation between the number of characters in a URL and how the page ranks.
5. Optimize for the File Name and Apply Descriptive Alt Tags
It is important to use alt tags to describe what your image is all about. Sometimes, an image can fail to load but the text description will be available for the audience to know what it contains.
You should describe your images well enough in the alt text and the image file name. You may even wish to include some of your target keywords. It has been shown that there is a correlation between how you use keywords in alt tags and how your page will rank on Google. However, many websites in the top 10 pages don’t have their alts filled in.
The HTML syntax for alt tags is;
<img src=”wambugu-super-variety-apple.png” alt=” A picture of Wambugu super variety of apple.
When you use alt tags and the images are loading very slowly, it has already recorded which images are being expected to load. Also, having these images on your website can help you get many clicks from your audience.
So, it is important you use descriptive alt tags and file names for your images as it can help your page rank better on search engines.
6. Make Use of Schema Markups
When you use schema markups, it increases the chances of more click-throughs for your page. A lot of people are first drawn by things their eyes can immediately take in. When you add visuals to your site such as images, star ratings, or reviews, the click rates of your pages on search engine results pages tend to increase.
You can mark up specific mentions of places or objects, book titles, price, ISBN, and many more. The schema may not be a direct ranking factor, but it helps Google understand what the content of your pages is all about.
And then it can easily tell how relevant or otherwise your content is and it will help target the right audience better and even help you rank higher.
When you use the schema markup, make sure it is relevant to the pages for which you are using it. Look at top-ranking pages from other websites for your primary keywords and see if their pages used schema markup. If they did, then it will be good too for you to use it on your page.
7. The Relevance of Your Topic to Your Audience
Google also works with phrase-based indexing and co-occurrence to identify how relevant your content is, based on how the words and phrases relate and co-occur with each other. There are words that usually go together.
For instance, when you are typing a message on your Smartphone, your device will present intelligent options of what the next word should be, and based on your choice of words, it will produce more words that are likely to co-occur with those words.
Such information can help Google make intelligent guesses on how important your content is to users. Note that these words are not synonymous with keywords but are often found alongside them. You can research on co-occurring words for your keywords that will increase your page ranking on search results.
You can use the Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to achieve this. This tool will show you semantically-related words that can give more understanding and relevance to your page and help it rank better for target keywords.
8. Use the Simple and Plain Language for Your Content
How you present your content is important to your audience and search engines because it will determine the kind of information or understanding derived from your content. User signals are one of the factors Google will consider as it ranks your site.
If your content is difficult to understand, your audience will leave your page as fast as they got there and look for other pages with easier content to understand. This will send a signal of poor user experience to Google and it will affect your ranking.
To give your audience a pleasurable user experience, you need to write in simple and easy grammar such that they can easily follow your topic. Make your sentences and paragraphs as short as possible and also make sure you are communicating with your audience when they read your content. There are tools that can help you achieve this like Hemingway.
On-page SEO focuses on what the users want from the internet. If you are not focused on satisfying user intent, it will be difficult to optimize your pages enough to rank on search engines.
But when you optimize for on-page, you will be able to improve on how your website will rank on search engines. It will also demonstrate that your website has a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and users can have a pleasurable time when they visit your site.