SEO stands for “search engine optimization” which is the process of increasing your website traffic through search engine results. On-page SEO refers to optimising your website to invite more traffic whereas off-page SEO refers to optimising off-site content such as social media and link-building.
SEO helps increase visibility of your website by ranking it higher on search engine results. When someone types a phrase into a search engine, the search engine outputs webpage links in order of how much it thinks it suits your needs based on the phrase. How common is it for you to click on the second page of a Google search result? SEO aims to put your webpage at the top.
SEO can be increased at various levels and can be influenced by the simplest things. Here are a few pointers for how to improve your on-page SEO:
Pick a keyword or phrase
Think about your webpage. Who is the target audience? What do you expect them to type into a search engine? If your target audience is people who search for weight-loss diets perhaps they may type “keto-diets”, “paleo diets”, or “diets to lose weight”. In order for search engines to recognise your webpage as one that fulfils the needs of the searcher, your page will be recommended to them. Consider synonyms as well.
Each page should have one specific topic that viewers will actively search for. The keyword or phrase that you pick should revolve around this topic. The main aspect influencing on-page SEO is how closely everything else on the page relates to the keyword or phrase. Like writing an essay, emphasise your keywords.
Be smart about what keyword or phrase you target. It needs to be relevant to the page. If you were searching for cute dogs and a page about the industrial revolution came up, would you click on it? Search engines don’t expect you to and thus won’t recommend those pages to you no matter how many times they mention cute dogs.
Additionally, search engines will recommend pages that are specifically about cute dogs rather than cute animals in general. The keyword or phrase also needs to have a large search volume. The less people searching for a phrase, the less target audience there is to target. Which would you expect to get more search results: “heart attack” or “myocardial infarction”? They are both the same thing, but a larger majority of people would google the former.
Carefully consider the content of your page
The content of your page should revolve around your target keyword. However, there needs to be real content there. Typing out your keyword over and over is not good for your on-page SEO. Search engines like Google have developed algorithms to detect what is called “keyword stuffing” and tends to negatively rank sites that employ this technique.
Additionally, consider introducing your keywords and phrases at the beginning of your page. If you are reading a page about keto diets it would be weird to not mention it until halfway through the page. Make it known from the very first paragraph what your page is focusing on.
Your site isn’t the only one in a vacuum. Think about the competition. They are most likely also utilising on-page SEO in order to increase their traffic. If your page is just like any other, what reason does Google have to rank you higher than another site? Your page needs to add something to the topic that other pages do not. If there is a viable reason to click on your pages rather than others, your search result rankings will increase.
Competition doesn’t just refer to other sites. In fact, your own pages can compete against each other. This is referred to as “keyword cannibalisation”. Basically, search engines will prioritise one long page that contains all the information over two shorter pages about one topic.
Connect your pages with links
A good way for search engines to tell how good a page is is by checking what other pages they link to. Not only do links provide a better user experience by making it easier for them to navigate or learn more about a concept that a page is referencing or not particularly about, but it also gives credibility to your pages in the eyes of search engines.
Links can allow pages to sort of “share” SEO. The linked page can give more weight to your page in SEO rankings. Linking to pages within your site allows your pages to create a network of SEO. Assuming all of your other pages are optimised, this can give credence to your new pages. Linking to other websites also allows this to happen, but don’t link to just any website. The outbound link needs to go to a page that is relevant to yours and comes from a site with more “authority”. In that way, more popular sites can “share” their SEO authority with your page.
Search engines rank pages by analysing them with “crawlers”. These crawlers are not human and can’t parse everything that isn’t explicit. This includes links. In order for crawlers to find and recognise these links the link needs to be direct (not hidden by scripts) and in the main body of the page.
When implementing links, don’t put them anywhere. Not every word needs to be a link to something. Too many links will overwhelm viewers. Links should only link to pages that are related to the keywords and topic or, at the very least, a related topic. These links should also be placed on words that have a relation to the keyword of the target page.
Entice users with your headlines and meta descriptions
Headlines are defined by search engines as words surrounded by a heading tag (H1, H2, etc.). If you use WordPress, the title of the page is automatically enclosed in an H1 tag. The headline is usually the name of the page that is found on the search results page. It is the first impression of your page that searchers have that will hopefully entice them to click on your page. Search engines also take into account the relevancy and specificity of your headline so consider the words carefully since they contribute a big amount to your on-page SEO.
Make sure to include your target keyword or phrase in the headline. This is important for direct search engine ranking in terms of keyword targeting. Then, make the headline as enticing as possible. This is to improve click-through rate. If the page includes topical information, include the year in the headline to let searchers know the information is current. Try including words that conform with the extended search results. “Rose petals price” may be part of the extended form of “rose petals” and “what is…” is a perfect preamble when writing about complicated topics.
Typically in the search engine results listings, beneath the headline one would find the page’s meta description. Google states that these do not influence on-page SEO, but it may influence the click-through rate and thus influence search engine rankings indirectly. Make your meta descriptions interesting. It needs to entice searchers to click on the page itself. Showing up on the first page of search engine results is great but you also need to convince people to actually click on your page.