I am sure avid readers of my blog already know this about me – I love anything and everything pertaining to SEO. Apart from being my profession, there is just something exhilarating about conducting off-page and on-page optimization and watching the search engine ranking climb up!
Even if you aren’t like me, I am positive that you will acknowledge SEO’s importance. Unless you rank within the first five search results, you won’t be able to leverage the power of search engines. After all, according to Backlinko, only 0.78 percent of visitors click on second-page search results!
What does search engine optimization entail? The definition can be best summarized by a quote by Bruce Clay.
Search engine optimization does not specialize in tasks that will make pigs soar high up in the sky. Its real task is to dig deeper into the genetics of a website and re-engineer the essential elements until it transforms into an eagle. – Bruce Clay
But, merely knowing the definition of SEO is not enough. You need to be well-aware of the components within the world of SEO. Broadly, SEO can be divided into on-page and off-page optimization. Both are immensely important for the overall ranking of the page.
In today’s guide, I will be focusing on the importance and techniques of conducting on-page SEO.
Why should you care about On-Page optimization?
Let’s begin by understanding why on-page optimization is important.
According to Worldometers, in 2020, Google received over 81,000 searches per second! And yet, as reported by Backlinko, the first search result for each query alone gets over 32 percent of the total clicks.
And one way to get to the top is on-page optimization. Among the 200 factors that Google uses to rank websites, a major chunk of them pertains to on-page elements.
Every year, Google rolls out updates for its algorithm. While the actual changes are kept ambiguous, Google itself urges websites to focus on their content, thereby reiterating its importance. Additionally, as per the Content Marketing Institute, 57 percent of marketing executives also view on-page content development to be the most crucial tactic.
Why do search engines and marketers alike place importance on on-page SEO?
Well, this is because search engines analyze each website as well as its content to see if it is relevant to the queries it receives from searchers. Here content includes both those that are visible to the users as well as to the search engines. The results of this analysis effects ranking factors.
The algorithm automatically gives more weight to a website that it classifies as being relevant to the target audience.
Elements of On-Page SEO
Now that we know the importance of on-page optimization, it is time to delve deeper into the world of search engine rankings and optimization! Here are the key elements of on-page search engine optimization.
Accessibility simply means that a common user can easily perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with your website. It is not only important from the user’s perspective but from a search engine point of view as Google and other search engines give special marks for having an accessible and search engine friendly website.
Website accessibility at one end covers all the technical aspects of SEO that include redirections, canonicalization, dead pages, page response codes, warnings, and more. At the same time, Website Accessibility also emphasizes content-related areas like titles, descriptions, Meta’s, URLs, internal anchor text and more.
There are multiple tools available that can help you with accessibility, including Google Webmaster Central, SEOmoz Pro, Search Enabler.
Additionally, website accessibility also includes making the site usable by all, irrespective of their age, demographics, and co-morbidities. As revealed by the Pew International Project, a whopping 54 percent of adults with disabilities go online.
By using on-page web accessible features, you are likely to get in the good books of Google. Some ways you can do so is by:
- Using alternative text for images, where you describe each image in detail.
- Creating a clear heading hierarchy for easy perusal of the website.
- Writing descriptive call to actions.
- Optimizing for keyboard-only navigation of the website.
- Creating a consistent and simple on-page navigation.
- Using fonts, color scheme, and contrast makes the content readable for all.
XML sitemaps help Google bots and crawlers of other search engines to have a quick view of the website so that they can easily interpret your website and index it in the search engine result pages accordingly. If you are not good with creating XML sitemaps, you can check to take the help of XML sitemap generators.
Once a sitemap is added to your website, you should then update the Google website tool and include an XML sitemap link over there in order to increase the chances of getting your website crawled and index sooner.
To understand this technical element of on-page optimization, let’s take a look at Yoast’s XML sitemap. This sitemap has been created via the Yoast SEO Plugin. Here, you can see the index site maps, which help in making the structure of the website clear to the crawlers.
The presence of date with each index allows Google to know when each post in question was updated. Hence, whenever you update a post, Google automatically gets the information and crawls your updated content quickly.
All large websites can benefit from creating a sitemap. But, the question arises – which pages should you include in it? Begin by thinking about the relevance of the page. Don’t add thin fluff content on the sitemap. Instead, add those pages which you want search engines to crawl.
By far, one of the most important on-page SEO factor is your content. There is a reason why the cliché quote “Content is King” is used by marketers even today. Trust me; I am tired of the phrase too! But I can’t disregard its veracity.
There are two facts to content development – keyword optimization and relevancy of the content.
According to Ahrefs, 92.42% of keywords on search engines get ten monthly searches or fewer! And merely 0.16% of the popular words account for 60.67% of the total searches. Therefore, unless your content is optimized for the right set of words, your content won’t be ranked highly.
This is why keyword research is crucial.
Keyword Research is a complete process in which you collect a long list of key phrases, and after sorting it out, you determine a final list of phrases to target that is valuable and money-making for your business.
The idea is to find words that contain higher search volume and lower (comparatively lower) competition. In order to find an ideal list of keywords, you can take the aid of tools like Google Adwords tool, Google insights, keyword difficulty tool and maybe Google search.
Where Google Adwords can help you find high-volume key phrases, SEOmoz can help determine the level of difficulty. To verify the conversion value of these keywords, you can either use your Google Analytics or your gut feeling.
Gone are the days when overstuffing content with keywords would trick the search engine into ranking your content highly. Now, search engines have become eerily smart in figuring out which websites truly offer value to visitors and which don’t.
Therefore, quality content development is a pillar of SEO.
Conduct research on your target audience and try to understand the challenges they face as well as their desires. Proceed by molding your content accordingly. A great way to do so is by having a dedicated blog on your website.
This allows you to create long-form content, which, as per Backlinko, receives 77 percent more backlinks than a thinner piece of content. And backlinks are another crucial ranking factor! That’s right; everything is connected in the world of SEO.
Whether it be your website content or blog, every word you write should provide value to your visitors.
Let’s take the example of Au Fit Linens. The company sells items like bedsheets, pillows, and basically everything you would require for a comfortable night. The content on its website, whether it be the videos or the crisp, unique propositions and call to actions, follows the same theme of providing comfort.
Their blog, “Between the Sheets” (a great wordplay, by the way!), is also aligned with this trend. Here, the brand offers articles about improving sleep quality or how to revamp your bedroom etc.
Accessible, search engine-friendly website and great content are core foundations of the SEO process. When combined with powerful link building and social sharing, your website can get better visibility in search engines.
But, in-case you do not have your page optimized, even with the strongest link building and ethical, social sharing, you might not be able to improve your website visibility which may have a direct impact on a sale.
Therefore, make sure that you give your website the attention it deserves. Conduct an audit and see which elements of your website you need to work on. Fix the problems, and voila, you are halfway there. Now that you are done with ONE of the things you need to do for optimizing your business for search engines, you can proceed to off-page optimization.