Being one of the first results of a Google search can be a game changer for your brand. The impact that being #1 in targeted keyword rankings can have on your bottom-line cannot be expressed. But how do you step-up and become the leader of the pack?
The crux of the matter is that by improving your on-page SEO, you can improve your search rankings. If you increase the number of people who discover your business, you can increase the number of prospects you have. More leads being generated equates to more sales. Sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it?
What is On-Page SEO?
Search engine optimization involves using techniques to improve a website’s visibility and rankings through organic search results. Similarly, on-page SEO refers to optimizing the pages on your website to gain relevant traffic from the search engines. That includes both content and the coding under the hood.
Search engines have complex algorithms to determine search rankings. They take into consideration hundreds of different factors to decide on a rank. Obviously, you can’t control all of them, but there are a few that you can work on to improve your rankings.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important ranking factors, why they matter, and what you can do about them.
Highly Effective On-Page SEO Elements
1. Title Tags
Your page titles play a significant role in determining your rankings. Each page and post should have a unique title that includes the primary keywords for that page or article. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of your title, the better. But more than that, it’s important that the use of the keyword is natural.
The length of the title is equally important. Ideally, you should keep it between 40 and 70 characters. Any longer than that and it will probably get cut off when turning up in the search results.
2. Meta Descriptions
Many people often forget to add a meta description to their pages. They’re a great place to add relevant keywords to your content. While it may not directly impact your rankings, they do improve your click-through rate (CTR). This, in turn, can have a somewhat modest impact on your rankings.
Give some thought to what might compel a reader to click on your result over others, and frame a meta description based on that. Try to keep it under 160 characters preferably.
3. URL Structure
When choosing a URL for your page, be sure to use the keywords you are targeting. In fact, 63% of the best sites, across industries, have keywords in their domain URL. URLs should be search engine friendly as they ensure better crawling. Shorter URLs are also likely to perform better than longer ones.
It’s better to use words and punctuations in the URL over codes. Session IDs have been known to add to content duplicity thereby affecting rankings. You can add cookies to your site to help reduce this problem.
4. Body Tags
It’s advisable that you break up your article into smaller sections and paragraphs to make it easier to read. These sections can each be given a separate heading to make the content more structured and easier to consume. You can make use of H1, H2, H3, and other such tags here.
Providing a hierarchy to the page’s content tells search engines which segments have more importance. Again, keyword-rich headlines will prove to be more helpful than generic ones.
The importance of including relevant keywords throughout your content cannot be stressed enough. They are the key to letting search engines know what your content is all about. But keep in mind that excessive use of keywords can be just as harmful. Remember to use variations of your keyword as well.
Leverage tools like Google AdWords to see what keywords are trending in your domain. It even does a comparative keyword analysis and makes suggestions on phrases you can use.
Image via Google AdWords
6. Optimized Images
Images are a great way to make your pages visually appealing. Use your focus keyword in the image file name, title, description, and alt-tags. Ensure that you use proper captions with the images as well.
Image optimization will help you rank higher in Google Image Search, thereby increasing site traffic. It will also help you reduce page load speeds and considerably improve your conversion rates. You can use tools like TinyPNG to create optimized versions of the images you plan to use.
Image via TinyPNG
7. External and Internal Links
It’s imperative that you have both internal crosslinks as well as outbound links to improve your SEO.
You can improve the chances of a search engine finding you by linking your page to other pages on your website. One way to do that is to refer to other articles you may have written in your present one. This helps enhance user experience and keeps them engaged for longer periods by providing more content to consume.
Use outbound links to articles or pages of other websites to establish your site’s credibility and authority. The Reboot marketing firm found a positive correlation between SEO and outbound links. Ensure that you’re linking to relevant content and pages that have a high Domain Authority to get the most out of this tactic.
8. Page Load Speed
A website that loads quickly is essential from both a user and website owner perspective. Users are more likely to stay if a web page is quick to load. A delay of even one second can result in an 11% drop in page views and a drop in conversion rates by 7%.
Make use of resources like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to track the performance of your website and derive actionable insights.
Image via Google PageSpeed Insights
Search engines like Google measure bounce rates and dwell times when determining your search rankings. A few easy ways to improve page load speeds are:
Minimizing HTTP requests
Reducing server response time
Enabling compression and browser caching
9. Social Sharing Buttons
Social SEO is all the buzz these days. Social media is a staple marketing tool and brands should be making the most of it. By adding social share buttons, you enable visitors to amplify your brand’s message. They are a simple and effective way to boost site traffic and page engagement.
10. Monitoring Results
No matter what changes and optimizations you make, it’s important to gauge your performance and check your results. You can’t boast having an effective on-page SEO if you can’t track the results.
There’s a lot more to on-page SEO than just publishing relevant content and having links in your articles. As a marketer, you’ll have to account for other factors too, like the ones discussed above. Once you get your on-page SEO game on-point, you’ll see marked differences in your page performance and site traffic.
These techniques will help build the value of your pages and the relevancy of your internal pages for particular keywords. If you have any points to add, then we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.