On Page SEO refers to the process of optimizing each page of your website in order that they are indexed properly by Search Engines and are ranked higher. On Page SEO is an integral part of the overall practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engines like Google continue to try and improve the process by they show the most relevant web pages based on user queries. Over the past few years, Google has released several updates to their search engine algorithm, of which Penguin – Panda and Hummingbird were the biggest.
These updates changed the way on page SEO was being done. The focus changed to relevancy and quality as opposed to primarily keywords to determine the rank of a website.
Key updates that impacted the way on page SEO was and is being done now
- Penguin algorithm: Sites that had purchased links or have acquired low-quality links through places such as blog spam, low-quality directories or link badges and infographics could find their sites no longer ranking for search terms.
- Panda algorithm: The purpose of Panda was to try to show high-quality sites higher in search results and demote sites that may be of lower quality.
- Hummingbird algorithm: Google changed the approach of Google search fromkeyword-oriented searches to intent-oriented searches
Google wants users to be happy, when they visit your web page. And, the only way that Google will know that your site users are satisfied is when they’re engaged. How long do they spend reading your content? The given factors are important to consider optimizing on page SEO for your website or blog.
1.Relevant Content is key for good on page SEO
Content is the backbone of a thriving business and on page SEO is the backbone of content marketing. You must have probably heard the saying, “Content is King.” Before being heard by you, Bill Gates made this prediction long back in 1996 and it’s as true as ever today.
But, there is a way more to successful content marketing than just “building content.” You have to publish the kind of content that will drive traffic and grow your business online.
According to a recent Google Algorithm, the articles that provide value will be rewarded with higher rankings, while those that bring nothing will have to work a bit more. For example, affiliate sites having poor content quality have fewer chances to be ranked high in Google, (Affiliate websites are the websites having advertisement banners) compared to websites that are publishing detailed tutorials and guides.
If you want to rank high, make sure your articles and content on your website are worthy and really address the informational needs of your visitors. Good Quality content helps you to create digitally engaged brands with your consumers.
Some of the really handy tips to explore while deciding the content for on page seo are:
a.Content length is important
The length of your content is really important. Many studies have proved that longer your content is, the better it will rank in Google search engine. Needless to say, your content has to be useful to the readers.
When it comes to content length, there are different alternates. One thing is certain, the days when 500-600 words articles were enough are long gone. Quantity is passé, it’s the time and place for quality!
SerpIQ has analysed top 10 results based on content length of article and
results speak for themselves:
b. Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can be your worst nightmare, avoid them. Google’s bots are analyzing your website day & night and look for duplicate content. If you have similar articles or paragraphs with what’s already indexed, there is a chance Google will label your content as spam and take action against it. However, if you have more than one paragraph of duplicate content, avoid being penalized by Google’s filters. You can use one of the free tools available at smallseotools.com to avoid content plagiarism.
You might be thinking, posting new content is only one way to signal Google freshness. However, there are plenty of things that you can do with already published content to make it more up-to-date.
Get inspired from Brian Dean from Backlinko (http://backlinko.com/), he has only published around 30 posts in 2 years. Yet, he keeps all of his posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information whenever he finds. While it is important to publish regularly, but still you can get great results with posting once a month, as long as your content is useful and in-depth.
c. Create Content that drives traffic
Your on page content should be:
- Interesting to read
- in-depth and well-written
- Written keeping the user in mind
- Able to solve a problem
- Easy to share
- Optimized for a specific keyword
Content develops a line of communication between you and your customer. Effective communication increases customer retention by 88% and boosts brand awareness by 87%.
On page SEO begins and ends with the user. No one should build a site for search engines, sites should be built for people. After all, search spiders will not write a comment, subscribe to your list or buy your product. Only your users can do that.
User optimization answers well to all search users’ questions with easy to read content, not merely targeting their keywords. For example, if customers are searching for “English Speaking Course,” then here is the bad way to write your headline and introduction:
Easy English Speaking Course For Those Looking To Learn English Speaking
Do you want to join English Speaking Course that will make you speak fluent English like an American or a Britisher? Well, this English Speaking Course will definitely guide you on the right path, so you can master English Speaking in 2 months or less.
The above headline and introduction is not optimized for the user. The keywords are stuffed ( i.e there is way too much density of the keyword in the content and in such cases Google will consider it as keyword stuffing) and the article introduction is confusing.
In order to help you understand what user optimization is all about, let’s write a better headline and introduction, while still targeting the keyword “English Speaking Course:”
Best English Speaking Course That Will Turn You Into a Pro
What is the best way to learn English speaking at home? Many people prefer to read books, but there is a better way. Take some English Speaking lessons from a professional who knows what he is doing. I don’t want to flaunt my English Speaking Skills, but trust me; I can help you master the art.
Can you see the difference? In the second illustration, the main keyword phrase appears once in the headline and once in the introduction. Moreover, the opening does not promise anything that sounds too good to be true. Definitely, the audience will understand second article better, because it is optimized for them.
Remember that when it comes to user experience, use of keywords is not the major factor. But, the critical issue is addressing the user’s intent – in other words, the reason why the user is searching for that particular keyword.
d. Maintain Content Freshness
The percentage of content, within a page, that remains fresh, has a positive effect on the site’s rankings. Google takes freshness very seriously. In April 2012, freshness was one of the Google’s algorithm ranking factors that affected 35% of search queries
Aged content helps in other ways, while duplicate content gets penalized. One can refresh content with some new statistics to give the spiders something to latch on to.
Now, Google prefers fresh content, breaking news or any other recent content updates that deal with trends.
Freshness as a ranking factor is not at all new. Even before the Document Scoring Based on Document Content Update, the Google’s engineers filed a patent in 2003, the Google search engine had scored content based on freshness for many years.
Naturally, some search terms or keywords require fresh content or insight. For example, when you’re looking for a hosting coupon code for 2015, it would be utterly useless to find a coupon code that was generated in 2013 or 2014 and was only good for those years.
The categories of keywords that will most likely require fresh content are:-
- Recent events or hot topics or news
- Regularly recurring events where topicality is very important for the users
- Frequent updates on specific domain information that has changed.
Below are 10 ways Google may determine the freshness of your on page seo content
All images courtesy of Dawn Shepard.
1. Freshness by inception date
Earlier, a web page was given a “freshness” score based on the inception date, which decays over time. This freshness score may boost a bit of content for certain search queries, but degrades as the content becomes older. The inception date is mostly when Google first becomes aware of the document, such as when Googlebot first indexes a document or discovers a link to it.
2. Amount of change influences freshness
The age of a webpage or domain is not the only freshness factor. Search engines can score regularly updated content better due its freshness factor differently from content that doesn’t change. In this case, the amount of change on your webpage plays great a role. A minor change made in a blog will receive lower ranking on search engines in comparison to the blog in which large amount of change is made.
3. Changes to core content matter more
Changes made in “important” areas of document signals freshness differently than changes made in less important content. The former can be called as SEO optimized content rather than latter one.
4. The rate of document change:
Let’s understand with an example – a document whose content is edited more often is scored differently than a document whose content remains static for an extended period of time. Also, a document having relatively large amount of its content updated over time might be scored differently than a document having a relatively small amount of its content updated over time.
The daily newspaper is the best example of this, it is updated every day and has a high degree of change.
5. New page creation
In-spite of revising individual pages, fresh websites often add completely new pages over time, mostly in case of blogs. Websites adding new pages at a higher rate, often earn a higher freshness score than sites that add content less frequently. This is a good on page seo practice to follow.
6. Rate of new link growth signals freshness
If a webpage sees an increase in its link growth rate, then this indicates a signal of relevance to search engines.
7. Links from fresh sites pass fresh value
Links from sites that have a high freshness score themselves can raise freshness score of the sites they are linked to. So it is important to link your article with the content that is already doing well on search engines.
8. Traffic and engagement metrics may signal freshness
This is strange but that’s true, when Google presents a list of search results to users, the results the users select and how much time they spend on each one can be used as an indicator of freshness and relevance.
For example: If users consistently click a search result further down the list, and they spend much more time for that page than the other results, this may mean the result is more fresh and relevant.
9. Changes in anchor text may devalue links
If the subject of a text changes dramatically over time, it makes sense that any new anchor text pointing to the page will change as well.
Suppose, you buy a domain about racing cars, then later on, changed the format to content about baking cookies, over time your new incoming anchor text will shift from cars to cookies.
In this instance, Google may determine that your site has changed a lot that the old anchor text is now stale & devalue those older links entirely.
10. Older is often better
Google understands the newest result is not always the best. Consider a search query for “Magna Carta”. An older, authoritative result may be best here.
In this case, having a well-aged document may actually help you.
Google’s patent suggests that they determine freshness requirement for a query based on the average age of documents returned for the query.
So, in order to build a SEO optimized content.. Follow three rules:
- Be fresh.
- Be relevant.
- Most important, be useful
Content engagement drives better on page SEO
The term “engagement”, in this context, means the state of interactivity. In true sense, the test of high-quality content is the engagement that it creates. When you are conscious of engaging your audience, you’ll most likely create right content for them. Search engines just love this.
According to ReelSEO (http://tubularinsights.com/video/insights/), 70% of marketers optimize their videos to fetch higher rankings on search engines. And, they usually experience huge engagement on their videos.
A recent report from BI Intelligence analysed that Snapchat is a smaller network than WhatsApp, even then users spend more time on Snapchat. Furthermore, the report also revealed that 60% of social media time is spent on tablets and smartphones, not on desktop computers.
Brandon Dennis, of Scotch and Smoke Rings , improved his Facebook (www.facebook.com) engagement by 200%, using Buffer. He developed such focused news that his audience enjoyed, further shared it with them at the exact time they wanted.
By being regular with right social media timing, he increased interactions on Facebook from 150 per day to over 700. That’s a 367% increase in engagement. That’s one of the ways to improve
Content writing tools specially for the blogs
An integral part of on page SEO is of course the content. You are required to give full attention to it. However, you need to automate some writing tasks. As early as you will get a topic to write about, more quickly you will write about it and share. If you want to increase your website’s search rankings, then you have to be regular in posting blogs for your website as speed matters. Some of the best tools to speed up your content creation are:
i). HubSpot blog topic generator: It is one of the great content writing tools. When you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about on your blog, don’t panic, just enter a few nouns or seed keywords. Then, click on “Give Me Blog Topics!”
HubSpot will automatically generate 5 blog post headline ideas or prompts that will keep you busy for a week. If you want, you can tweak the headline ideas or, if you’re short of time, just use them as they are. I find that the prompts are usually attention-grabbing and prepped for search engine success. Have a look at the given results
ii). nTopic: Relevance is a key ranking factor. If you want to make on page search optimization a lot easier, then your inbound links, internal links and especially your content, all must be relevant to your topic. Link building is another important search engine ranking tool and is a good on page seo practice.
However, if you’re not sure whether the topic or keyword that you want to write a post on is relevant or not, nTopic.org (http://www.ntopic.org/) is a simple SEO tool that you can use.
On the homepage, plug your blog URL and topic (e.g., social media marketing) into the appropriate boxes. Click the “score” button.
Page Titles for on page SEO Optimization
Title tags (https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag) define title of your webpage or document. They’re mostly used to display preview snippets of your web pages. When you’re writing a title tag, it should be clear, short and descriptive but don’t duplicate content from the page content.
Your page titles are one of the most important SEO factors on your site. Each of your pages & posts should have its own unique title, that includes main keywords for that page.
For example, you can write a blog post about how to improve Communication skills that you have tried. It is therefore vitally important that you include “Improve Communication Skills” within your post title, may be “Improve your English Communication Skills” or “Good Communication Skills”, etc.
With this, whenever someone searches for How to improve Communication Skills in a search engine, your post has a good chance of showing up because you have included those keywords
The ideal length of a Page Title is 50 – 60 characters. If your title tag exceeds 60 characters, Google will only show the first 60.
Title tags are the online equivalent of newspaper headlines. They are what shows up in the tab of your browser whenever you open a new page. If the title tag is not defined, then H1 tag is considered as the Title tag, which stands for heading of the first order.
Every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google.
Header tags (h1)
are an important on page SEO factor because they’re used to communicate to the search engines what your website is all about. Search engines recognize the text in your header tags more important than rest of the tags. This starts with h1 and works its way down in importance to the h2, h3 and so on. These tags help you support the overall theme or purpose of your page.
However, you can’t just throw in whatever content you want into these headers. It’s important to utilize your header tags with short-tail as well as long-tail keywords. As search engines crawl your site, they will pick up the headers and recognize keywords you are using as important.
How to use h1, h2 and h3 tags?
While header tags extend to h4, h5 and h6, but we’re only going to focus on first three header tags since these are the tags that carry most SEO value. Now, you can’t just insert your header tags anywhere and expect to see results. Header tags have their own place on a webpage and have to be used in a proper order starting with h1.
The h1 tag should contain your targeted keywords, ones that closely relate to the page title and are also relevant to your content. The h2 tag is a subheading and should contain similar keywords to your h1 tag. Your h3, is then a subheading for your h2 and so on. Think of them as a hierarchy based upon importance, the above being more important than the below.
Make sure that your header tags are readable and grammatically correct. Just stuffing your h1, h2 and h3 with keywords is not going to help your cause. In case it’s not done in a desirable manner, Google will immediately recognize and assume you are trying to manipulate them – Your content will be discarded then & there!
Search engines use these headings to determine what is important within your content. That’s why keyword rich headlines are far more useful than generic ones. You need to write keyword rich headings in the order of priority like – H1, H2 and H3 title tags. They are used by various crawlers to differentiate important content.
Let’s understand with an Example – how to use h1, h2, h3 header tags:
Suppose there is a write – up based on Social Media
Social Media Platforms
<Introduction of Social Media Platforms>
Why are Social Media Platforms important?
<Uses of Social Media Platforms>
How to leverage Social Media Platforms?
<Tehnical Aspect of Social Media Platform>
This post or blog will help you understand how to use your header tags. See below:
- My h1 = <h1>Introduction of Social Media Platforms</h1>
- My h2 = <h2>Why are Social Media Platforms important</h2>
- My h3 = <h3>How to leverage Social Media Platforms</h3>
As you can see, h1 is used to capture overall theme of the post since it represents what’s most important. Then, h2 as a subheading is used to reinforce h1 and overall theme. The same can be said about h3 and how it relates to other headings and overall theme.
Header tag is a key component for on page SEO and can help improve your rankings on search engines. Do check your pages now and see if you’re using your h1, h2 and h3 correctly!
Not only do they help format and structure your content and give your readers easy reference points, but they also affect SEO.
H2, H3, H4 and further subheads have less SEO power compared to H1-tags, but still matter and should therefore be used.
Plus it’s one of the easiest SEO wins you can get in WordPress.
Have you used any H5 or H6 lately? Alright, using an H4 could be useful if your text is longer than 1,000 words and you want to add an extra layer in the page structure. And H4 could be used for footer or sidebar headings that do not include that keyword you want to rank for, but any other utilization of these headings seems unnecessary. Funny thing is that a lot of themes did not pay that much attention to these headings as well, sometimes making H5 text smaller than paragraph text.
You must style them in a way to make them look more important than regular text, but don’t overdo this. These headings are mere extras, used in early days of the internet, but more useless these days. To be honest, you should get rid of at least H5 and H6 altogether. Using three, four headings at most are enough to build a right structure.
Role of Meta Tags in on page SEO
For each of your pages, you can include a set of keywords in the form of meta tags. These should be all the relevant keywords of your content, which you would have researched previously.
HTML Meta Tags are officially page data tags that lie between open and closing head tags in the HTML code of a webpage.
The text in these tags is not displayed, but conveys browsers or other web services specific information about the page. Simply, it “explains” the page, so that a browser can understand it.
This is how a Meta description mostly appears in the organic search listings:
The Meta description is something search engines use to gauge what topic you’re writing about and the exact audience that they should send to that page. So, make it descriptive and short, not more than 160 characters. There is no need to stuff keywords in your Meta description which would work against you anyway.
If you’re a WordPress user, then writing your Meta description is quite easy. Install All-in-One SEO Pack, then set up title tag and the meta description all at once. See the corresponding result on this screenshot:
Optimized Meta description results can never be cut off and end with “…” or seem like they end mid-sentence. They also often mention their keyword up front.
When writing it, you should keep searchers in mind, much more than search engines
Importance of maintaining URL Structure for good on page SEO
Along with smart internal linking, SEOs should also make sure that category hierarchy of the given website is reflected in URLs (http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/URL).
The following is a good example of URL structure:
This URL clearly shows hierarchy of information on the page. This information is used to determine relevancy of a given webpage by search engines. Due to hierarchy, engines can deduce that the page doesn’t pertain to history in general but rather to that of the history of Kurti & Skirt Designs. This makes it an ideal candidate for search results related to kurti design history. All of this information can be speculated on without even needing to process the content on the page.
The following is really a bad example of URL structure:
Unlike the first example, this URL is not reflecting information hierarchy of the website. Search engines can analyze that the given page relates to titles (/title/) and is on the IMDB domain (https://domaintyper.com/domain-names/top-level-domains/new-gTLD/IMDB-domain), but cannot determine what the page is about. The reference to “tt0468569” does not directly infer anything that a web surfer is likely to search for. It indicates that the information provided by URL is of very little value to search engines.
URL structure is important because it helps search engines to understand relative importance and adds a helpful relevancy metric to the given page. It is also helpful from an anchor text (http://www.wordstream.com/anchor-text), perspective because people are more likely to link with the relevant word or phrase if the keywords are included in the URL.
For better crawling, including search engine friendly URLs for each of your pages is highly recommended. Shorter URLs perform better in search engine results, however that is not the only factor.
URLs including targeted keywords, also perform better. The location of these keywords can also be a major influence. For instance – site.com/keyword would perform better than site.com/365/738/subfolder/keyword etc.
The Keyword Density you have will impact your SEO optimization
Including relevant keywords throughout your content is very important, as it helps search engines work out on what your content is about. However, try not to excessively repeat and overuse keywords just for search engine robots. This can make your site being banned from search engines. To avoid this, try to keep your keyword density to roughly 2-5%. If you find this hard, then get out a thesaurus and broaden your writing vocabulary. Following this way, you are still writing about the same thing, without risk of being banned.
Using images within your content is an outstanding way to make your site look more visually appealing and break up boring chunks of text. You can utilize images to help improve your site SEO. All your uploaded images should have titles, so you should treat them just the same as your page titles. Including relevant keywords can help people find your site when searching on Google Images.
You can also include Alt Text (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/alt-text-alternative-text) and Descriptions for your images, to make them more useful for SEO.
Alt Text is necessary to make Google spiders identify images. Google spiders are not able to view or understand the image. The Alt Text gives them the necessary information. You could have an image of the White House and an Alt Text indicating that it it the Grand Canyon- and Google will presume it to be the Grand Canyon.
Internal Linking boosts your on page SEO
Generally, people think that only links that count are those from other websites. While these links are important, but these are not the only important links!
Placing links to your other website pages, is a great way of improving your site and used properly, internal links can be a useful weapon in your on page SEO arsenal. Not only does it make much easier for your visitors to navigate around your site & find all of your content, but it also ensures that your site gets properly crawled allowing search engines to find all of your pages. It also helps to build relevancy of a page to relevant keywords and phrases, while also helping to increase the Google PageRank of your pages.
There are innumerable methods that you can use to improve your internal linking structure. The main being; content links and permanent navigation links.
For bloggers, content links are really useful when used properly. These are the links that are placed within your article posts, and redirect people to other relevant pages on your site. For example, there is a post focusing increased traffic to your site, at that time readers may also find post on ‘What is SEO‘ useful when included within your article. Perhaps other people are just starting off on digital marketing and want to learn more or others may be interested in a specific subject matter like what webmaster tools are.
Another critical factor in SEO optimization is Website Speed
Google has indicated site speed as one of the important signals to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as whenever it will consider page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.
Page speed is also important to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates & lower average time on page. Longer load times negatively affect conversions.
The best on page SEO optimization you can do is make your site mobile friendly
Let’s face it, if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you lost.
HTTPS and SSL
Google announced that security is now considered a ranking signal and this will impact your on-page SEO. There are 2 common security protocols:
HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTPS
& SSL (Secure Socket Layer). https://www.digicert.com/ssl.htm
Both of them work and are worth considering, even if they won’t up your SEO game too much. Moving from a non-secure connection to HTTPS or SSL is a bit of work, but worth your time. If you are starting out with a new domain, consider purchasing it as an option from your domain registrar or web hosting service.
Good Crawlability of Content
Crawlability describes search engine’s ability to access and crawl content on a page.
If a site has no crawlability issue, then web crawlers can access all its content easily by following links between pages. However, broken links or dead-ends might result in crawlability issues – the search engine’s inability to access specific content on a site.
On Page SEO plays the most important role in your SEO work
As we showed earlier in this blog, unless you make the fundamentals of your website strong and solid, your SEO efforts are not going to work. Good SEO practice starts from making sure that your website has high quality content, relevant tags in place, is fast to load, responsive across all devices and constantly updating itself in terms of freshness and relevancy.