People have increased their focus on off-page SEO in the past few years.
But without optimizing your onpage SEO elements, off-page SEO won’t do much good either.
So how do you do that?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing the structure and content of a webpage that can help improve a website’s search engine ranking and gain organic traffic.
It sends out several signals that help search engine crawlers understand the meaning and context of your pages.
If you had asked me a few years back, I would have suggested focusing mainly on the strategic placement of exact‐match keywords on your page.
It includes optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. That would have been it.
But Google keeps evolving, and its latest agenda is to understand a user’s search query and provide the most relevant result (more on it later).
Let’s look at some of these important elements of an on-page SEO. Pay close attention and increase your ranking and conversion.
10 Most Effective On-Page SEO Tips
1. Start with competitor research
Once you have identified your keyword, you need to analyze the websites that rank for those selected keywords.
The quick way to do that is by running your targeted keyword on the OnPage Champ tool.
It will scan the top 10 results for their on-page SEO parameters.
The idea is to understand what the competitors are doing to rank on the top.
Adopt those insights and even do better than them to gain a competitive edge.
Simply enter the keyword and target location, and you will be able to see into the structure and content of the top-ranked page.
Let’s say you run the search for ‘Best Split AC.’
Notice how they have placed the keywords in their URL, headings, and meta description.
It’s important to note that even though a page might be optimized for a specific keyword, it can rank for other keywords too.
2. Focus on search intent
Let’s say you want to buy an AC.
Your first instinct would be to type keywords like ‘Buy split AC’ or ‘buy AC online.’
But in case you are confused about which AC to buy, you will try to search for ‘best split AC in 2020.’ Isn’t that correct?
Search intent is about understanding why the users are making a search query in the first place.
Google aims to deliver results that match users’ search intent (be it informational, transactional, commercial, or navigational).
If you look at the results for ‘buy split AC,’ Google shows up product pages.
But if you check the result for ‘best split AC for 2020,’ it offers pages either with buying guides or review articles.
In cases where the user intent isn’t clear, you don’t have to rely on guesses.
You can always check on Google what type of content is currently ranking for your target keyword, i.e., is it a product/service page or a blog post.
Within OnPage Champ, you get the information as part of every SERP Audit, as shown below.
3. Refresh your old content posts
Google loves fresh content.
Content that has been published recently has an increased chance of ranking on top than the old articles, especially when the topic keeps getting updated frequently.
Don’t believe me? Alright.
Look at this example.
When you search for ‘best SEO tools,’ you will notice all the top results are usually published within a year or so.
Of course, you can try to create new content every day. But it can take up a lot of time and effort.
The best tactic is to update your old content. It will not only take less time but also deliver faster results.
But you still need to prioritize certain blog posts over others. Focus on search queries where Google needs freshness.
For a lot of topics, time changes quickly. The information that was right today might be completely different after a few months (just like the example we took above).
So, don’t let your old piece die. With a little update, you can continue to drive massive search engine traffic with your old content itself.
Schema tags are added to your HTML to help search engines better understand your page. It enhances the information that is being displayed.
Here’s an example of a movie review with Schema tags:
It gives out rich information on ratings, genre, release date, and runtime, thereby grabbing users’ attention.
This results in better search results and increases the Click Through Rate (CTR) of web pages in SERPs.
Caveat: Schema HTML markup may not be a direct ranking factor. But if you are ranking within the top 10 results, then you should definitely add it to your page.
5. Optimize your images
Images are important for presentation purposes. It helps drive better user engagement, thus improving your chance of ranking.
But the problem is that search engines can’t read images, and sometimes, it might even slow down the page loading speed.
Using proper keyword-optimized image title and alt-text can help both the user and the search engine understand the context of the image better.
Here’s the HTML syntax for alt tags:
You can read more about image SEO best practices in this blog post.
6. Work on page load speed
Almost half of the mobile users leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
If you want to offer a seamless browsing experience to your website visitor, you need to improve your page speed.
In fact, page load speed is one of the most important ranking signals used by Google search bot.
Here are a few tips that you can use to improve your page speed:
- Use a Content Delivery System (CDN)
- Resize your images
- Minify CSS and JS
- Use lazy load for Youtube videos
If you wish to have in-depth details, you can check our actionable guide on how to speed up your website loading time.
7. Follow proper content structure (H1/H2/H3)
Structured content refers to the logical separations within the content to make it easily readable.
Optimizing header tags can help you provide a good structure, which, in turn, makes it skimmable.
Today, an average user reads just 20% of your web page. That’s true!
If you want to catch your user’s attention, publish clearly formatted blocks of content.
Every content piece should have only one H1 tag that describes what the post is about.
H2 tags can help break the post in most important points, which can then be followed by further subheadings structured across H3-H6.
Here how it looks like:
Bonus: Include your focus keyword in the H1 tag, and then use related keywords in the subheadings.
8. Focus on long-tail keywords
Remember we discussed that Google is now focusing more on user search intent to deliver relevant results.
Well, long-tail keywords are how users interact with search engines now.
Users generally tend to ask long and detailed questions rather than using one- or- two-word phrases.
It offers them relevant answers to their queries.
Let’s say you are doing your home renovation, and you want to paint the wall.
If you search for ‘wall paint,’ Google will show you all types of colors.
Whereas, when you enter a long-tail keyword like ‘dark red wall paint,’ it specifically shows you different shades of the same color.
Clearly, Google is trying to match the results to the exact phrases now.
So, if you want to improve your rankings, then focus on long-tail keywords and strategically place them in your content.
I have even shared the seven most popular ways you can find long-tail keywords in my blog.
9. Follow the standard keyword practices
This is the base formation for your on-page optimization.
No matter how much Google evolves, the strategic placement of keywords on your page will still hold significance.
Make sure to include the focus keywords on your blog title, page URL, meta description, and the content body.
This is important because it helps searchers decide if the page is relevant to their queries or not.
Let’s say you want to buy Microsoft Surface Pro —
When you search for it, you will notice how the top results have tried to include the keywords in their title, URL, and meta description.
And if you look more closely, not all of them include the exact-match keywords. Yet, they are ranking on the top.
Google is now smart enough to understand synonyms and LSI keywords.
That means you don’t have to make your page look spammy by including exact-match keywords. Phew! That was some relief.
10. Give importance to readability
Let me get this straight.
If a large chunk of audience clicks the back button immediately after landing on your site, Google is going to see it as a sign of a low-quality page.
This is known as the ‘dwell time,’ and Google, along with other search engines, uses it to evaluate a site’s content quality.
You can increase your dwell time by using short sentences and paragraphs, publishing long and informative content, and avoiding jargon.
When you keep your content subtopics short and follow the head tags structure, you automatically increase the readability of your article. Make sure to include high-quality images and videos to make it visually appealing.
Your ultimate aim should be to enhance users’ experience. Begin by reducing popups on your site. Most users find it extremely annoying.
Having a responsive design and creating mobile-friendly content will also help you attract more users.
On-page optimization is a lot more than just placing the keywords strategically.
I’m not saying that keyword optimization is not relevant anymore. It still is.
However, to get some real results, you need to pay equal attention, if not more, to users’ search intent.
This article is an attempt to cover the most important onpage SEO tips that you should follow.
It’s now your turn to optimize your content.