If your business has a web page, you likely already know and understand some basics of search engine optimization (SEO). How familiar are you with on-page SEO and its use to grow your site’s visibility in search engines? Did any of what we just said make sense or have we confused you? To clear up any misunderstanding, on-page SEO focuses on improving the quality of your website while off-page SEO focuses on leveraging other sites and places across the web to improve your position in search rankings.
The ultimate goal of using on-page SEO can be thought of as an attempt to make it easier for both search engines and users to:
- Understand what your web page is about;
- Identify your page as relevant to a search query (i.e. a particular keyword or set of keywords);
- Find your page useful and worthy of ranking well on a search engine results page (SERP).
What’s All the Rage About On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO adds tremendous value to your website and business by contributing to higher search rankings, improved traffic to your site and more conversions, or purchases of your products and services. The results of on-page SEO take time, but with a practical and manageable strategy, you can improve your online rankings and see your sales grow.
All Webpages Are Created Equal
No matter how plain or fancy, every website has the same basic features:
- The URL: this is the web address of the page.
- Title tag: One of the most significant on-page factors. It shows on all SERPs as the headline of a page. This tag tells people what your page or site is about.
- Meta description: A maximum 160-character summary of your page that lives in its code and shows up not only on SERPs but also when a user shares a link to your page.
- Supplemental title tags: The subheadings provide a further description of what’s in that specific part of the page.
- Body copy: The majority of the copy that appears on a page or the content alluded to by the title tag.
- Alt text: A simple description of an image that appears in the page code and is accessible to screen readers.
These common page elements are critical for communicating meaning to your site’s end user. More importantly, they are all ranking factors. When you optimize these elements to include keywords, both your website visitors and search engines will better understand how your page answers a specific question.
The Low Down on Keywords, Content and on-page SEO
In the past, on-page SEO has been heavily linked to keyword use. This often required repeated use of high-value keywords in several key locations on a website. It’s imperative to remember what key words actually are: content topics. In the past, a page’s ranking hinged on using the correct keywords in specific, expected places on a website. This was so search engines could locate and understand what your page was about. The experience of the end-user was insignificant. The only thing that mattered was ensuring search engines found your keywords and ranked your site as relevant for those terms.
Today, on-page SEO is an entirely different matter. It is critical when performing on-page SEO to ask yourself how relevant your content is to the intent of the end user entering the search query. This means on-page SEO is more about having a keen understanding of who your users are, what they're looking for and what topics, or keywords they are searching for. When you understand this, you are able to create highly effective and relevant content that fulfills the needs of the end user. A web page meeting these criteria will have content that is:
- Aligned with user search intent. The internet of today is all about delivering on searchers' expectations. If you don’t create and optimize quality content you won’t be able to survive.
- Unique. If your content is duplicated from elsewhere, whether from your site or someplace else on the internet, this can have an impact on your site's ability to rank well on SERPs
- In-depth. It’s a given that today’s content has to be in-depth and informative. If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘thin content’, this fun article, ‘Fat Pandas and Thin Content[ii]’ will give you a solid grounding and a few laughs.
- Authoritative and trustworthy. Your site must be able to stand on its own as a reliable resource for information on the topics at hand.
- User-friendly. Your content needs to be organized, easy to navigate, readable and not full of unwanted ads or affiliate links.
The ‘Other’ On-Page SEO
Now that keywords galore are swimming before your eyes, let’s take a deep breath and move on to the ‘other’ on-page SEO. There are several "keyword-agnostic" components to a website that influence your page's on-page optimization.
Some of these things include:
- The URL structure of your page
- The loading speed of your page
- The use of Schema.org structured data or another markup
- Links provided on a page: how many are there? Do they point to internal or external sites?
- How mobile-friendly is your page
These elements tie back to the same principle: create a positive experience for the end user. You will optimize your site more effectively if you create a highly usable page.
Just like a house or a car, your website is an investment. Like any investment, it needs regular maintenance and updates to ensure that it does not malfunction in any way. Learn how to ensure your website functions at peak performance. We offer website maintenance plans designed to take the worry out of upkeep.
If any of this has left you confused or asking more questions, who better to trust for the right answers than our experienced team? Rely on the knowledge of Alley Kat Web Consulting’s accomplished professionals. In addition to our design services, we offer web consulting that is tailored to businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations. Contact the professionals at Alley Kat for your FREE Needs Assessment!