On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, is the practice of optimising individual web pages in order to improve the ranking of a page with search engines. By optimising a page, the end goal is to gain more visits to your site and ensure that the traffic that does come to your website is as relevant as it can be. On-page refers to content of a page, both front facing as well as the html code, that can be optimised. While off-page SEO refers to links and other external signals which occur off the page you are trying to optimise.
On-page search engine optimisation is particularly important, because it is an aspect of SEO that you have complete control over. If you own a website, you can control the technical aspects of a site as well as the quality and quantity of content. If you also have control over the look and feel of your website, you will be able to improve the site for your users which could improve the performance of your site further. What’s good for your customers is good for Google.
What are On-Page Ranking Factors for SEO?
There are many factors that go to improving your on-page SEO but they can be basically split in to three main aspects; front end content, technical parts and user experience. Below we’ll lay out the basic features you will want to optimise and how best to enhance them for search engines and users alike.
If you are sending users to your site but the content is not up to scratch then you will lose out on both customers and your ranking with Google. Although the quality of a text can be considered subjective, there are some key things that all websites such try to make perfect.
- The text should be relevant to the main focus of the page, pick one key topic for each page and stick to it
- The wording should be unique, you should not duplicate content from other areas on your website and you should not copy text from another website which could wind up giving you a penalty.
- The content should be well written with correctly spelling and grammar, this will ensure your website looks professional and is easy to read.
The text should be easy to read from a language aspect, but it should also be easy to following using visual clues. Use headers and small paragraphs to break up text and make it easier for your audience to digest. You should also include imagery where possible to give the reader a refreshing break, especially if there is a lot of content on a page.
Volume isn’t everything if you don’t have quality but making sure you have enough written words to please Google and other search engines is key. A page with too small a word count will be considered thin by Google’s standards and will make your page less likely to rank. It depends on your industry and company style, but we recommend a minimum of 300 words, while some pages would work better with 2000+ words.
If you are updating your website with news articles or blogs, then quantity can be important, but what is considered a better ranking factor is the frequency. Better to post one amazing piece once a week than posting five poor quality, thin pieces one week and then nothing for 2 months. Search engines rewards fresh, frequent content.
Title tags & Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta description tags are HTML elements that specify the title and purpose of a web page. These tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline and the description for a given result. The title tag of a web page should be an accurate and brief summary of a page’s content, while the description provides a bit more insight of what will be found on a page, should a user click through.
Although a smaller ranking factor but still a good guide to stick to, having urls that are easy to understand and that show hierarchy can give readers a better experience. If you look at the two examples below, you can see why a well-structured url is far more pleasant to view.
Poor URL Structure example
Not only can a structured url help your users navigate around your site easier, they are more likely to click on a link in SERPs that makes sense to their query. You can also include url structures called Rich Snippets which mean more of your website will be displayed to a user on a search.
As stated in the section about good content, images are an essential part of a web page for readers and for search engines. You can enhance them in line with on-page SEO practices by doing several small but significant optimisations.
- Make the file name of the image something relevant to the keywords you are trying to get the page to rank for, and make sure you use hyphens in place of spaces, e.g. example-photo.png
- Add an alt tag that describes in detail what the photo is showing, including relevant phrases that link to your targeted ranking. Alt tags are also useful for when user’s browser setting does not automatically show images and for users who have accessibility issues, they can use the information in alt tags to understand what is on the page.
- Make the image relevant to the subject of the page and upload the smallest size possible to reduce load time (another ranking factor).
We’ve touched on the more technical aspects of on-page SEO so far in this blog article and mentioned how a better user experience can improve your ranking. At Daffodil Marketing we believe that when you make your website design excellent for your users than you will be rewarded with a higher ranking on search engines. Below are some key elements to consider when building a good interface for great UX.
Navigation & Linking
Ensuring navigation is simple to use will guarantee your users will spend longer on your website and boost its performance appeal with search engines. Clear top-level navigation is important, but you should also consider where else on a page you can link internally to your website’s other pages. Links directly in the content, call to action buttons and quick links in the footer can all add to ease of navigation and will keep your potential customers reading for longer.
Layout & Hierarchy
Layout of content can be just as important when it comes to getting your point across to your readership and ensuring they read everything you want them to. As mentioned previously, breaking up a page with images, headers and paragraphs is the best place to start. It will make your page easier to read and will mean users are more likely to share your content with other people if it is well presented. Talk to a UX designer to get a better understanding of how users move through a site and to identify any pain points there may be on a page.
Want to know more?
If you are looking for more help in your SEO campaigns and want expert advise get in touch with the team. Call 0345 200 26 50 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We combine Search Engine Optimisation, content writing and User Experience design, so we can help you get the best out of your website.