The level of importance on-page optimization takes in the wider SEO picture is hard to gauge. While Google and other search engines are reluctant to give too much of their algorithm away, it is clear to see that backlinks and off-page factors are vital for any competitive search term. On-page factors, though, still play a big part, helping the search engines to understand what your content is about. Additionally, on-page optimization is relatively easy to get right, requiring minimal effort as you post new content. So what are the major on-page factors you should be focusing on?
Your title tag will often just be the title of an article or post, but you can alter this for SEO purposes. The title will appear in the search engine, so it needs to be readable and eye-catching compared to competing sites. Try to include your main keyword at the start of the tag if possible, though you can still often rank if you don’t follow this exactly. You will occasionally see sites ranking without the keyword in the title, usually due to the quality of backlinks they receive. Google is able to understand the content of a page without specific keywords, but you improve your chances of ranking when you make it clear.
URLs are most effective when they are short and readable. Both the search engines and visitors respond better to concise URLs, with the addition of your main keyword wherever possible. Platforms like WordPress allow you to edit your URL quickly, so make use of this facility to craft a short line about the article.
H1 and H2 Tag
Most metatags have lost their power, but H1 and H2 tags can still be used to provide relevancy to your content. These heading tags indicate important parts of the content, so adding your keyword or related phrases can help you rank. Avoid overusing these tags, though, as it could suggest you are trying to gain an unfair advantage.
Links play a vital part in ranking a site but are also crucial in on-page optimization. Internal links are used to structure a site, using keywords to link to an appropriate page. The obvious example is Wikipedia which gains great authority by internally linking between the most relevant pages. Additionally, you should link out to relevant sites, indicating you are providing references and citations that help improve the experience for visitors.
Older websites can suffer when viewed on a mobile device, leading to a poor user experience. There can even be problems with newer sites, particularly if you don’t have a responsive design. Google are penalizing sites in their mobile search if they are not providing a mobile-friendly service, so ensure you test across a variety of devices.
SEO has evolved from a single page targeting one or two keywords to a single page potentially ranking for a host of search terms. Google can understand the link between keywords at a far more advanced level than in previous years, so it is worth creating articles that can rank for various long-tail searches. You don’t need to stuff a list of terms into your content, but instead develop articles that provide useful information and can be considered authoritative.
Social media can help content go viral, leading to shares and reposts. While social likes and retweets might not rank an article by themselves, they help to show the popularity and authority of your content. Use social sharing buttons across your site, making it as easy as possible for a reader to share your content across their various platforms.
On-page optimization is something that takes little effort to get right but might be the difference between a top ranking and relative obscurity on a lesser page. Optimizing each page also helps you rank for a variety of keywords, with certain terms you weren’t actively targeting bringing in consistent traffic. While you still need to focus a great deal of attention on off-page factors like backlinks, following a simple formula when you post new content puts you in the best place for success. There are many elements that go into an SEO campaign, but a big piece of the puzzle is remaining consistent and focused every time you update your site.