SEO is a complex and ongoing practice for everyone looking to promote their website! There are many facets of SEO – content, off-page, and on-page, but perhaps the most complicated can be on-site SEO. Lucky for you, we’re here to help with 7 Great Tips for On-Site Optimization!
What is On-Site SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing website pages for the goal of ranking higher in search engine results. The primary purpose of proper on-site SEO practices is to increase organic traffic on your site. But how exactly should you go about optimizing your website’s posts and pages for on-site SEO? The majority of on-page SEO tips you will find elsewhere mostly focus on nearly exclusively on the placement of so-called “exact‐match” keywords on your page, like having your focus keyword in the title, focus keyword in H1, focus keyword in the meta description, and more tips focused on keyword density. Unfortunately, this kind of advice isn’t always relevant to the SEO game anymore. In 2020, Google is advanced enough to understand synonyms and similar keywords, meaning that you no longer have to pay extreme attention to the strategic placement of focus keywords on your site’s posts and pages. That being said, let’s let you in on some tips about on-site SEO – with the newest information available.
1. Optimize for search intent
“Search intent” is all about the why behind someone’s search query. When doing keyword research, try to think about why the person made this search?
Are they seeking to learn something, or are they looking to make a purchase? As Google’s aim is to provide users with the results that people will most want to see, you will want to make sure you are optimizing your page’s content for search intent, to make sure you are reaching your target audience through search engines.
Optimizing for what people are looking for will draw much more traffic to your site, compared to a website that isn’t user-oriented. Optimizing for “navigational intent” will serve to make sure that you have landing pages for your products, brands, services, and other items, including your homepage. You will want to optimize each page using your products and brand strategic positions like in the page title, meta descriptions, and subheadings (H2, H3, H4).
The success of Google as a business relies on providing the best and most accurate search result listing based on search intent. One only has to look at a smaller search engine like Bing to understand that when a search engine’s results are irrelevant, usage of that engine suffers. Therefore, it is in your best interest to optimize for search intent and benefit from Google’s optimal algorithm!
2. Page speed, page speed, page speed!
While this is specifically for files, you can use programs like Photoshop and PhotoBulk to compress your images.
You can also improve page speed by reducing the number of redirects present on your page.
Whenever a page redirects to another page, your potential user faces more time waiting for each HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your redirect pattern looks like this: “example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home,” each of those two unnecessary redirects will make your page load much slower.
One last thing that can have a significant effect on your page speed is to improve server response time.
Your server response time goes hand in hand with the amount of traffic you receive, the software your server uses, and the resources each page utilizes. If you are beginning to notice your server response time is one the slower side, taking the following actions may help! First, you can look for performance “bottlenecks” like slow database queries, issues with slow routing, or a simple lack of page memory.
3. Use short and descriptive URL’s
Links that are long and wordy may not benefit your page’s SEO as much as you think. In fact, one of the factors Google and other search engines consider is the presence of your focus keywords in a succinct URL. While it may be challenging to create a descriptive but short URL, it is essential to do so for a couple of reasons. To demonstrate, one of the reasons that you see “bit.ly” on nearly every linked social media post nowadays, is because of the comprehensive data that Bitly provides in the form of “live click data”.
Live click data includes the webpage, the link where the link was clicked, and the geographic location, and more! This type of information is invaluable to a variety of interests, from webmasters to other businesses, as it shows where customers are coming from, what interests them, and when they are clicking.
This type of information, which comes from short URLs, helps companies to produce better items and webmasters to create more targeted content. Short URLs are important solely for the fact that you can fit more links and content in less space!
Short URLs to your posts and pages are especially important in regards to social media promotion. For example, a tweet can describe and then link to a webpage in under 140 characters, while a full URL might not fit in the original tweet.
The other reason a short URL is important is because of sharing. With the increasing use and reliance on texting and mobile Internet use, it is so much easier to share a short URL! As social media platforms and mobile Internet becomes even more popular, web sharing of URLs will only increase, and short URLs are becoming more important every day!
4. Alt tags are your friend!
Alt text was created to make web pages more accessible: its primary purpose is to describe images to visitors who cannot see them. Despite your best SEO efforts, you may be missing out on one other aspect of on-site SEO and organic traffic generation: your web page’s images. Using your image’s alt text to your advantage can help boost your on-site SEO more than you know! In 2020, Google SERP’S show just as many image results as they do web page results. In fact, Google will often show images before text-based results on SERP’s, like in the example below.
In fact, Google’s highly recommends using alt text to your SEO advantage. An article published by Google “Google Image Best Practices” has a heading that says to use descriptive alt text! This is no coincidence: Google assigns a high value to alt text when crawling pages. The algorithm uses it to determine what is present in the image and how it applies to the webpage itself. This is why RankMath SEO (read more about the RankMath tool here) has a feature that pushes you to have at least one image with an alt tag that contains your focus keyword.
When creating your alt text, you will want to be specific in describing the image, and you will also want to keep your alt text fewer than 125 characters. This is because screen-reading tools will stop reading alt text at this point, cutting off your alt text at less than ideal moments when reading this description for the visually impaired.
5. Using schema markup
We cannot stress enough how vital a schema markup is for your web pages! A schema markup makes it much easier for search engines to properly sort and categorize your site’s content. Using schema microdata to markup your pages can also be used to display “rich snippets” (read more about Rich Snippets here of your content in prominent search engine SERPs. Contrary to popular belief, Google’ algorithm does utilize schema markup to display rich snippets.
Using a schema markup tool is not only extremely easy but very valuable as well. You simply pick a category for the page you want to be analyzed, enter a URL, and you’re off!
All you have to do is go down the line of information that the schema maker asks for (it will ask for a name, logo, address, phone number, email, and URL, the rest optional). Once you are finished highlighting all your schema markup information, you are ready!
Clicking on the red “Create HTML” button will create a custom schema source code for your web page.
When you insert this schema code into your source code, Google’s algorithm and others will be able to see your schema for your page, and your SEO has a chance of increasing! Simple, right?
6. Aim for both variety and quality in internal links
Internal links are just as relevant as external links. These links are essential in helping search engine algorithms to understand your site’s structure and layout. A well thought out internal linking structure (in regards to SEO) can significantly help search engine algorithms find and index the key pages on your site. In Google’s own words, “Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.”
Using optimized internal links is the best way of allowing Google to “discover” the most important content on your site, or the content most valuable to your potential visitor.
While internal linking structures are fundamental to big search engine algorithms, they also help establish authority on your site and between your pages, subsequently improving your SEO rankings. Win-win!
How effective your internal link strategy is all determined by an algorithm known as PageRank (also known as PR), which goes through your pages and assesses the quality and importance (or the authority) of each of your pages and applies a numerical value to it.
There is no real way to know exactly where your site stands with PR, as Google disabled the PR SEO bar plugin a while back, but you can make sure you stay on Google’s right side by making sure your internal links are plentiful and of high quality.
7. Strategically place your focus keywords
While you should aim for an adequate keyword density on your web pages, where you place your focus keyword is very important. While using tools like RankMath SEO and Yoast SEO can help you figure out where to put your focus keywords to obtain the highest SEO score, it is also essential to know where to put your keywords for planning purposes.
First, you will want to choose a focus keyword that hasn’t been used on another post or page on your site (or else you are just competing with yourself in the SERPs). You will also want to use your keyword in the first paragraph of your content and make sure it is a good length. Generally, the longer your keyword, the fewer competitors you’ll have compete with in the SERPs. It is also beneficial to place your focus keyword within the meta description, in the subheadings (H2, H3, H4) and in the SERP title of your page – this is perhaps the most important place your keyword should be, for on-site SEO purposes.
While keyword placement is important, so is keyword density. Strive to utilize your focus keyword at least three times within your page’s or post’s content. RankMath SEO will give you a keyword density score based on your focus keyword and may advise you to use it more if you have longer than average content. For example, a good keyword density in your post or page is 1-2% of the material.
SEO is the bread and butter of a successful and well-marketed website. While a site’s total SEO score is based on off-site, on-site, and content SEO, on-site SEO is more important today than ever! Contact TKD Design for help establishing good on-site SEO practices. Call today!