Google processes over 100,000 searches every second. Out of the billions of searches made every day, how many does your business rank for?
It is no surprise that new content is generated by the second and consumers’ attention span is quite limited. The first five search results on Google account for 67.6% (slightly more than two-thirds) of all the clicks. The search results ranked 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%. This implies that most customers don’t bother looking beyond the initial few results. If your content doesn’t appear at the top, you will miss out on massive traffic and organic clicks.
Organic clicks generate better ROI than any pay per click (PPC) campaign. While good quality and value adding content is the backbone of genuine customer engagement, even the best content can get lost in the massive sea of information online. Therefore, to ensure you’re getting traffic on your website and returns on your investment, it is vital to be strategic and ensure your content is optimised.
In particular, on-page SEO (search engine optimisation) is a fairly simple yet effective method to ensure that your content is optimised. This article is your one-stop introduction to the fundamentals of on-page SEO. We’ll discuss what it is, why it is important, and how to improve your on-page SEO.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising individual web pages to rank higher in search engine results and earn more organic traffic. As the name suggests, “on-page” implies optimising various elements and information which appear on your pages, such as title tags, internal links, HTML code, URL optimisation, on-page content, and images.
The other alternative, off-page SEO, refers to optimising elements outside your website. This can include backlinks (other articles that link to your website or pages) or mentions on social media.
Google, accounting for about 92.48% of the search engine market share worldwide and 4.3 billion users, is by far the most popular search engine. Hence, if you want your content to reach the maximum number of people possible, you have no choice but to ensure that it is optimised for Google.
On-page SEO does exactly this. It helps Google understand what the individual pages of content on your website are about. If you design the elements of your webpage in a manner that makes them more recognisable to Google, your page is more likely to be listed higher in the search results. This means an increase in the number of organic clicks, leading to more conversions and revenue.
On-page SEO Vs Off-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to optimizing parts of your website that are under your control. This could include optimizing your title tags, posting relevant content, finding keywords with a high search intent but low competition, and increasing your website speed.
Whereas off-page SEO is the art of ranking higher on Google through activities done outside of your website. This includes writing guest posts on other websites, social media marketing on websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and getting inbound links from other websites.
Why on-page SEO is important?
As we have already discussed, grabbing customer attention is no easy feat. In fact, given the amount of content that is generated every day, ranking highly in search engine results is challenging. On-page SEO improves the chances of reaching your target audience in the first place.
Increases visibility and rankings
The most fundamental function of any SEO campaign is to improve your visibility and ranking. Visibility refers to your content reaching more people and ranking refers to how high your page is shown in search engine results.
Visibility and ranking are directly related to each other – the higher you rank on the search result page (SERP), the more likely people are to see your content. Given that most people do not look beyond the top few results, it is of paramount importance to ensure that you do everything in your control to optimise your page.
Increase web traffic
Improving organic traffic is one of the most cost effective ways to ensure that your content is reaching the right target audience. If your visibility and ranking are sorted, web traffic will follow automatically. Moving even one spot higher on the SERP can improve the click through rate significantly.
Higher traffic on your page also makes your content prime real estate. This implies you can generate revenue streams through advertising and other marketing campaigns. Hence, if you want to boost your web traffic, you should consider implementing the on-page SEO strategies discussed in the article.
Improve user experience (UX)
Of course, one of the best ways to improve UX is to ensure that your blog posts and web pages have value-adding content. However, apart from that, there are certain on-page SEO practices that can improve UX considerably.
The key is to improve the usability of your site. Ensure that your layout and structure are mobile-friendly, as an increasing number of people are now using their phones to access the internet. Moreover, some technical aspects of on-page SEO include increasing the page load speed and making your site more responsive. This reduces the bounce rate by making it more convenient for customers to access your site. Given the amount of competing content, the longer your page takes to load, the more likely customers are to leave, leading to lower conversions.
Better UX also implies visitors will spend more time on your page, check-out other content and articles you post, and generally associate your brand with a better UX.
Attract local customers
Local customers are one of the best ways to improve sales. If people engaging with your content are close to you geographically, they are more likely to make a purchase. You can use on-page SEO to improve your visibility to locals. Local SEO refers to the practice of refining your content to rank high for the online searches performed in specific locations.
This is especially important if you also have a physical store. You can increase the foot traffic to your storefront by ensuring your website and online content is location optimised.
Ultimately, the goal of all on-page SEO practices is to generate more sales or start a revenue stream. SEO content is more likely to attract consumers who need your product or service. Even if you’re not a retail business, you can monetise the high traffic on your page. In short, on-page SEO improves your ROI.
How to improve on-page SEO
Improving on-page SEO is not about any single element. It is a practice that encompasses multiple factors that all need to be optimised simultaneously. All of them work together to ensure the visibility and ranking of your page increase.
Any SEO practice starts with first understanding what search terms and search phrases your target audience is looking for online. This is known as keyword research. You can use various tools available online to conduct keyword research. Essential information that keyword research uncovers includes the volume of searches per month for these keywords and how competitive a specific keyword is.
Once you know your target keywords or phrases, it is generally considered best practice to mention them as early in your content as possible. Ideally, within the first 100-150 words or in the first paragraph. For example, if your research finds that the keyword is “marketing analytics” include it as early as possible.
Mentioning the keyword early also helps with developing a solid user experience (UX). Users want quick gratification – mentioning keywords early improves the chances that users will stick through the rest of your article.
Essentially, mentioning your keyword early allows you to make your topic and purpose clear from the beginning, for the search engine and your audience. Search engines look for keywords in your articles, which allows them to understand the main purpose of your article and make sense of the information it contains.
As you continue building your article, make sure you mention other related keywords (sub keywords), which further improves the search engine's ability to pick up on the context of the page. There is a thin line between keyword optimisation and keyword stuffing – inserting keywords too often and in irrelevant spaces can quickly reduce the quality of your content.
Title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags refer to the headline of your article or blog when it shows up on the result page. Every page has a title. On the other hand, a meta description is a short snippet of your page that appears under the title on the search page. While title tags are direct on-page SEO ranking factors, meta descriptions do not contribute to rankings.
However, both title tags and meta descriptions serve a similar purpose – users look at the title and description to determine if their search query aligns with your webpage's content. Both help users and search engines understand the purpose of your page.
A strong title tag and meta description imply that users are more likely to think your content is the answer to their search query. This encourages users to open your website, improving your CTR, which increases your web traffic.
If your page is missing a meta description, Google will make one for you from the first piece of text available on the page. However, it is always good practice to write your own meta description. No one knows your target audience better than you. By writing a strong description which your audience are most likely to engage with, you improve the quality and quantity of your traffic.
Structure your content using H1 and H2 tags
Structure is an essential component of SEO writing, whether for better UX or SEO. A long paragraph or a long article without any subheadings is difficult to read. Having a coherent structure for your article helps with getting across your point more clearly.
Google analyses your H1 to understand the structure of your page. Additionally, having a hierarchy in your content makes it easier for search algorithms to understand the structure of your text and its purpose. This implies that your content is more likely to get picked up and displayed on the SERP. Complex hierarchies, which include H1, H2, and H3, perform much better on search engines as compared to content with no headings or only H1.
Apart from SEO, structured content and headings also lead to better UX. Subheadings give a broad overview of what to expect from your article. Visitors can easily skip to sections most relevant to them, which is difficult to do when it’s just a giant wall of text. Search engines such as Google also prioritise content with better UX. Lastly, structured content is more mobile-friendly.
Add internal links
Internal links refer to linking your article to other content on your website. The best way to use internal links is to select relevant and strong anchor text in your article and link it to other articles on your site with the necessary information. For example, if you use some data or statistics, it is important to link it to the original source for authenticity. Linking is also important when you simply want to mention an idea and not necessarily discuss it in detail. Consumers can still click on the hyperlinked text to explore the topic further.
Linking internal articles allows Google to decipher your site architecture – how your site is organised and how the different content relates to one another. This allows Google to crawl your site more easily and improve the ranking of your content. Additionally, linking to internal articles improves the accessibility and overall engagement with your site as consumers can explore the content you have posted.
Optimise URL slugs
Again, the key is to let the search engine know what your page content is about. The more clearly you do this, the easier it becomes for the search engine to understand your content and rank it. A descriptive URL slug illustrate the underlying idea of your content, making it easier for search engines to pick up on.
Typically, search engine optimised URL slugs are shorter and rich with keywords. Be strategic about your URL slug, use pieces of information that your text is talking about in a manner that is enticing to consumers – hook their attention so that they’re more likely to click on your page. Google takes into account multiple URL factors such as URL length, path, keywords, and string.
Having an appropriate URL slug is also useful for visitors as it gives them a fair idea of what your article will cover. If their search needs match your URL, they’re more likely to engage with your page.
Optimise images and alt-text
Like most SEO elements, images help with SEO as well as with UX. Google also allows for visual image searches, which can sometimes be more easily discoverable than the page itself. Adding an optimised alt-text to every page image, allows search engines to see that image as a valuable and relevant part of your content. You can further optimise images to ensuring they load quickly on the page by compressing the image file size.
From the UX perspective, images make the content more enjoyable, engaging, and less monotonous. Pictorial representation of the underlying information or breaking giant walls of texts using images all add to a positive UX. Additionally, alt-texts increase the accessibility of your text as it allows visually impaired people to engage with your content more fully.
SEO image optimisation checklist:
- Make sure they complement the content of your article.
- Title the image.
- Use caption text if relevant.
- Name the image file descriptively.
- Compress images for optimal page load speed.
- Add images to your site’s XML sitemap.
How can Clear Click help?
Ranking high on the search engine results page SERP is a challenging task. However, on-page SEO practices are simple, cost-effective, yet powerful ways to improve the rankings and listings of your page. They’re simple because all the factors discussed are under your control. In a world where consumers don’t look beyond the top few results, it is critical to ensure your content is optimised. After all, your business will only grow if users engage with your content. On-page SEO helps with improving visibility, click-through rates, web traffic, and user experience.
While producing unique and value-adding content is the backbone of any customer engagement, it isn’t all that easy. It’s time-consuming and takes a lot of effort.
If you’re interested in discussing this further, book a call with our SEO team! We create bespoke strategies that are tailored to your business goals and the available resources at hand.