Spending time optimising your on-page SEO can help you rank higher in Google's search results, drive more traffic to your website, provide a better user experience & ultimately - encourage more people to convert! But what is "on-page SEO" and how can you use it to help your website perform better? We spoke to our team of SEO experts to find out. So, if you want to start making some noticeable improvements to your on-page SEO, just keep reading.
What is on-page SEO?
Your website is made up of various front-end elements (that users can see and interact with), and back-end elements (that are important for Google's bots to read). On-page SEO is the process of optimising all of these elements to get the best results from your website.
On-page SEO includes elements in three main categories: written elements (the content that's displayed on a page), HTML (elements in the source code such as title tags), and site architecture (elements that make up the website such as URLs).
Here's a comprehensive list of the front and back-end elements you should take into consideration when you're improving your on-page SEO:
- Page content
- Titles & headers
- Meta descriptions
- Alt text on images
- Internal links
As you can see, there's a lot to take into consideration when it comes to on-page SEO, but don't be put off by this. Taking the time to improve all of these elements on your web pages will boost their performance and make them more valuable to you in the long run.
Optimising your page content
The written content on your web pages should be crafted so that it's engaging for your readers and drives a conversion - but that's not all. Your content needs to include valuable keywords so that Google's bots know what to rank your web pages for. Finding a balance between keyword-rich and engaging content is vital if you want to improve your on-page SEO.
While there are countless ways that you can improve your page content, we've listed a few best practices that will help you make significant improvements right away.
1. Target one or two valuable keywords on each page
2. Incorporate a range of long-tail and short-tail keywords into your content
3. Make sure that keyword placement is natural and not too frequent
4. Write for a specific buyer or client
5. Actively solve a problem that your customer might be facing
6. Include a clear call-to-action
7. Write content that's engaging so that people will share & link to it
Spend time researching keywords and topics that your customers will search for when they're looking for your product or service. Then, optimise your content to include a range of relevant keywords (to satisfy Google) and to solve problems that your customers might encounter (to satisfy the user).
- How to Choose Keywords for Your Content
- What Kind of Content is Best for SEO?
While you might think that a page title is a simple element with little consequence, you'll be interested to learn that your page titles can have a significant impact when it comes to on-page SEO! Titles tell your users and the search engines what they should expect to find on your page, so they need to be highly relevant to the rest of the page content.
The title of this blog will appear in the source code like this:
<title>On-Page SEO: Everything You Need to Know</title>
It includes the keyword on-page SEO and explains to the user that they'll find everything they need to know. It's keyword rich & concise - which is what you should be aiming for on every page.
Another important part of your on-page SEO is your headers. These are the 'titles' that you incorporate throughout a page to break information up into smaller sections. These should include 'body tags' which tell Google what type of heading they're looking at <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc.
As a general rule of thumb, each page should include a single <h1> header at the beginning of the page, a number of <h2> headers to show smaller relevant sections throughout the content, and some <h3> headers (where relevant) to define smaller sub-sections of information.
Organising your content in this way helps both Google & your users to navigate through your content easily. They can jump to relevant sections & find what they're looking for much more easily when you've got relevant headers in place.
Top tip: Try to include the most valuable keyword in your <h1> and use other, related keywords in your <h2> and <h3> headers.
Meta descriptions are not visible on the front-end of your web pages, but they are an important part of back-end on-page SEO. They provide a short summary of what can be found on a page and are often (but not always) shown under the title in Google's search results.
They're likely to be the very first thing that a user reads when they're researching for a certain product or service and they help to determine whether someone clicks through to your website, or not - so it's important that you get them right!
Above, you can see the meta description that we've written for our own website. As you can see, we've included a handful of keywords that are relevant to our services such as bespoke web design and cardiff-based development, but we've also included some important information for users who might be looking for a web design quote.
For example, users can see that we have over 10+ years of experience and that they can see examples of our work and get a free quote if they'd like to. All of this information gives both Google and potential customers a good overview of what they'll find if they click on (or crawl) our website.
Top Tip: A good meta description should be 160 characters or less. Be sure to include your most valuable keyword & a call-to-action.
Behind every image you see online, there should be an optimised image alt-tag. Google's bots can't physically look at the images on your web pages (because they don't have eyes...) so we have to tell them what the image is showing using alt-text.
Alt-text is also important for people who are visually impaired, because the software that they use tends to rely on alt-tags in the same way that Google does. It reads the alt-tag out to the user to describe what's happening in a given picture.
Here's a photo that we might include on a web page that offers dog walking services in the city. Let's say the page targets the keywords such as city dog walks, city dog walking services.
What would an optimised alt-tag look like for this image? Well, an alt tag should be descriptive but concise & should include the page's main keyword (if it's relevant).
So, here's what a good alt-tag would look like:
alt="dog walker in the city"
and here's what a bad alt-tag would look like:
alt="man walking a big pack of dogs through the city on a wet day"
Yes, the second one is more descriptive, but it doesn't really include the keywords for the page and it's far too long! Keeping the alt-tag concise and keyword-rich is the best approach if you want to improve your on-page SEO.
When you create internal links on your website, you're pointing Google and your users to other, relevant content within your website. These hyperlinks can help retain users on your website for longer and can help Google's bots crawl your website faster & more efficiently.
You might have noticed that we've included a few internal links earlier in this blog, showing you "How to choose keywords for your content" and "What kind of content is best for SEO". These internal links are valuable to you - because they help you read more about the topics we've discussed - but they also show Google where other relevant pages can be found & crawled.
Ultimately, internal links make a page more useful, which in turn, improves its chances of ranking highly in Google search results. Be mindful when you're drafting any content and see if you can add a few links to other pages of your website to make the page more valuable.
So, there you have it. If you've been wondering how you can help your web pages perform better - these on-page SEO tips are sure to help! If you'd like our further help with your on-page SEO, why not enquire about our SEO services?