What is On-Page SEO?
The process of on-page SEO involves optimizing individual web pages via traditional SEO methods. Strong on-page SEO practices have the potential to improve both your brand’s performance and your customers’ experiences. Optimized pages achieve a higher degree of visibility than their ignored counterparts. That means audiences can find what they’re looking for (information, products, services) faster.
Differentiating between on- and off-page SEO is simple
- On-page SEO centers around optimizing a page’s content and HTML source code
- Off-page SEO centers around optimizing links and other external signals
As Google’s search engine ranking algorithms become ever-more complex and convoluted, on-page SEO offers marketers a reliable spot to land. There’s always a benefit to cleaning up your content and HTML; no need to worry about shifts in trends or algorithms.
Each step of the on-page SEO process looks different. However, you should circle back to the same concepts and questions at each turn to ensure your efforts and messaging are consistent. Determine which queries you’re hoping your content will satisfy. Keep these in mind as you optimize. Then, revisit your content afterward. How relevant are the changes you’ve made to the query?
If the answer is “very,” great! Move on to the next step. If you’re a little less confident, don’t despair. Sit back, get creative, and take another crack at things before circling back to the question. Creating content that suits searcher’s intents slowly transforms into a matter of second nature over time.
Your Checklist for Starter On-Page SEO
Check page speed
If you’re nervous about dipping your toes into the water that is keywords, HTML, and content, this is a great place to start. Assessing your site’s speed and making improvements don’t involve any creative thinking. It’s a great way to ease yourself into the on-page SEO process.
Your page’s loading speed impacts both search rankings and reader satisfaction. It really is an ideal issue to tackle first– your website will get a boost in ranking and your readers will be happier. Conversions can drop as much as 7% from a page response delay of a single second.
There are a number of free speed test tools on the web. Take your pick and get down to business. You can even check your competitors’ site speeds to determine just how important doing your own optimization may be.
- Eliminate useless HTML
- Reduce image sizes
Optimize your content (and focus on keywords)
Include keywords within the body of your text as often as possible without making your messaging seem forced. It’s better to leave a keyword out than to let one turn great copy into confusing garbage. Fuss with sentence and paragraph structure and don’t be afraid to get creative– just understand how to recognize a lost cause when you see one.
Make sure the content you’re providing offers some value to your readers. Whether it’s educating them about an abstract concept or detailing something more obvious, focus on clear and consistent messaging. Aim for respectable word counts (anywhere from 600 to 1,000 words make for easily-digestible content; some readers tend to stray if you push things above about 1,000).
Place keywords thoughtfully
You likely already know that the keywords you’re targeting should be in your copy; but did you know there are a few others places they should go, too?
You should place your target keyword in your title tag, meta description, and H1 tag. Sound like gibberish? We’ll explain:
Meta title tags are HTML elements
- Displayed on search engine results page as a clickable headline
- Crucial for improved usability and SEO rankings
- Should be accurate, targeted, and concise
Meta descriptions are HTML elements
- Roughly 165 characters (known as a tag in HTML)
- Summary of page content
- May appear in search results as a “preview” if the searched-for phrase is in the description
- Unlike Meta Titles, the Meta Descriptions do not affect your SEO rankings in the SERP’s, yet they are crucial for User Click Through Rates.
H-1 tags are HTML elements
- First header visible on a page must be specified as an H-1 tag or first “Header-tag” in the pages backend code.
- Often used for the title of the page
- Formatted differently from other page tags
- Helps search engines understand the hierarchy of importance of your page content and it’s contextual meaning.
- (It’s also important to have subheaders specified as H-2, H-3, and H-4 in order of importance, with the most important being higher up)
Optimize your image file names and alt tags
Alt tags are HTML tags that describe your images. In the event that your image fails to load or a reader needs the assistance of voice reading software, alt tags will provide an explanation of the image. Shoot for short and accurate descriptions to minimize HTML clutter and increase readers’ understanding.
If you’re able to include keywords here, excellent; if not, that’s okay too. Taking these steps primarily serves to streamline the user experience and help search engine crawlers by providing more content to search.
Clean up your URLs
URLs likely aren’t the first things that come to mind when you’re thinking about optimizing your content. If you aren’t familiar with digital marketing, it might even seem silly. URLs just sit in a bar at the top of our computers and help us visit sites, right?
They actually do much more than that. Search engines analyze your URLs just like they do the rest of your content. If your pages are linked in full elsewhere, readers will see them before they ever get to glance at your content. Crisp and informative URLs are important for establishing authority and achieving great search engine rankings.
There are a few best practices that you can rely on to guide you through the process:
Use only standard characters
- Letters, numbers, and dashes (no underscores!)
Keep it under 80 characters
- Many search engines truncate after 76 characters; keywords can get lost
Include target keywords where possible
Describe the page accurately
Don’t use capital letters
- Most URLs don’t; you’ll stick out– and not in a good way
- URLs are case-sensitive and this can impact search engine results
How Vigor Seorchers Can Help
For nearly ten years, the Vigor Seorchers team has been dedicated to helping businesses attract consumers and drive profitability. Whether it’s through SEO, online reputation management, or killer branding, we know what it takes to net you the results you’re after.
We’re a full-service digital marketing and design agency committed to delivering ethical and efficient work. We seek to serve our clients through conflict-free communication and innovative digital strategy. The result? Killer, content-driven work that brings in results. Looking to learn more? Help us help you! Fill out our free Discovery Form today to determine whether we’re a good match for you.