It’s 2019 and SEO is an altogether different ball game today than what it used to be 10 years back.
It’s not just about backlinks or keyword stuffing anymore. SEO is much more holistic today.
Despite that, a successful SEO campaign still starts with some important on-page SEO factors that you must optimize before you do anything else.
But first, the evergreen rule of SEO: Content is the King
Any successful SEO campaign starts with high-quality content. You have been told this multiple times.
While quality can be a highly subjective word, it refers to how well your content answers the user query, also known as intent-based content writing.
The answer has to be natural, fit for the consumption of a human being.
That’s the reason you often find a 300-word content ranking right on the top, while even a 3000-word content fails to make it to the elite spot.
If Content is the King, On-Page SEO is the King Maker
On-page SEO refers to the rules and principles that one must apply on the web page to rank higher in search engines.
While you may assume on-page SEO parameters to be technical in nature, that’s not 100% true (at least if you see them from the eyes of the marketer). In fact, I have categorized technical parameters separately under on-site SEO elements.
All these factors have just one ultimate goal: to help the user consume your content and get his query answered in the shortest possible time.
If your content can do that, Google will love it (and rank it right on the top).
So when it comes to any SEO campaign, your first step should be to optimize the page for multiple on-page SEO elements so that you have a solid foundation for your search campaigns.
Let’s explore some of the most important on-page SEO techniques that can ensure a high probability that your web page will rank high in the search engines.
9 Pointer On-Page SEO Checklist to Optimize for Improved Rankings
1. Page title
This is a one-liner description of your content and is visible to the user when he makes the search.
The page title is extremely important because it directly impacts the Click Through Rate of your page. More the CTR, the higher the page will rank.
Ensure you drop your main keyword in the page title, as close to the beginning as possible.
2. Meta description
While this is not going to impact the page ranking, the meta description is important from clickability perspective.
Always ensure you have your primary keyword or a close variant as part of your meta description, again as close to the beginning as possible.
This ensures your user sees your content as a possible solution to his query.
3. Page URL
Have an instance of your focus keyword in the URL, without using any special character, symbol, commas, etc.
Use hyphens (instead of underscore) to separate different strings. This makes the URL clean and easier for the user to guess the content on the page.
Heading tags are extremely important because they provide a logical structure to your content and make it skimmable.
There should only be one H1 tag, and it should summarize the content of your post.
Then comes H2/H3/H4 etc, tags which can be multiple in numbers but should be at the same logical level.
Consider the case of this post where all the SEO factors are put under the H3 tag because they stand at the same level. Do observe the content of other tags as well on this page and look for logical partitioning that each tag helps achieve.
Have your focus keyword in the H1 tag, and focus plus related keywords (or LSI keywords) as part of other tags.
Here an awesome video from Rad Fishkin, explaining the importance of HTML tags (including heading tags).
5. Focus keyword & density
Remember, on-page optimization is not about gaming the system. It’s about sending the right signals, both to the user and to the search engine.
Essentially, on-page SEO is all about optimizing your content to answer a particular user query.
For that, use strings (technically called keywords) that relate to the user query.
Use a combination of exact match keywords and related keywords, but don’t overdo that.
Ideally, an exact match keyword density of 1.5 to 2%, sprinkled with a few more LSI keywords is good enough to send the right signals to the search engines.
6. LSI keywords
LSI keywords are those strings that are contextually relevant to a user query.
For example, if you are searching for Windows (the OS), LSI keywords may include words like software, version history, features, computer, download, etc.
With RankBrain reading your content through it’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm, LSI keywords make your content look natural to a search engine.
7. Image alt-text
Search engines can’t read images. Writing proper keyword-optimized image title & alt-text helps both the user and the search engine understand the context of that image.
More than that, the right title and alt-text can help the user understand what the image wants to convey, especially in cases where the image may not load properly.
Images (and media) also help in better user engagement rates, thereby passing a signal to Google of high-quality content.
Interlink your website content so that the user can explore other areas of your website.
This results in generating higher engagement.
At the same time, also link out to high-quality authority websites.
After all, you are known by the company you keep.
Here’s a very good video from Neil Patel explaining the concept of link building.
Schema tags can help search engines better understand your on-page content.
By using schema, you give context to the small areas of your website which a search engine might have missed (e.g. your office address, your support number, your support email ID, etc.)
Google can use this to show specific information in case of a query and can help drive traffic to your website.
Understand one thing very clearly: on-page SEO is not a one time task.
You need to keep optimizing your content to gain and maintain your search ranks.
This on-page SEO checklist tells you about some of the most important on-page elements that you cannot ignore even if you want to.
While that can become a daunting task at a time, you can now use OnPage Champ to track on-page SEO changes made to any web URL and co-relate it with ranking fluctuation.
Not just that, OnPage Champ also helps you conduct entire on-page SEO competitor research at just a click of a button.
Try it out today.