On-page SEO

Taking a look at Internet Live Stats [1] shows that there are well over 60,000 Google search queries submitted every single second. Naturally, high traffic volume and overall domain authority are almost always high-level priorities for those who want the general search exposure to capitalize on Google’s mind-blowing search rate volume. The ways that elements on your webpages are organized and formatted, known as on-page SEO, undoubtedly play a major role in general search exposure ranking growth; however, your digital marketing journey likely won’t just end in the general arena.

For smaller websites without oceanic budgets to burn, specific exposure gained by ranking for portions of the website’s content is equally if not more important than just general exposure; if this is the case for you, then on-page SEO is even more crucial for you.

On-Page SEO is specifically one of the things you'll need most of all if you want to be an organic search presence powerhouse. By sharpening your on-page SEO, you’ll always have a clear point of perspective on just how search engine-friendly all your website's content really is. While social media doesn’t play very strongly into this topic, this section will refer directly to everything we covered at the beginning of Section 5 about organic search and local search specifically.

Break Down Your Top 5 Targets for Keyword Optimization


Think of all the strongest potential search queries you want people to find certain pages on your website with; whatever those are, consider putting them in your list for potential keywords to target down the line without immediately committing to them. Before you get too gung-ho about committing to a certain keyword for your on-page SEO campaign, you have to do the right research to know what’s worth investing in optimization for.

Equally important to identifying your focus keywords is to make sure that the page designated for it is the only one that it’s used on. If you want Google to rank you for certain keywords, you’ll be wise to do the best you can making sure that the usage of these keywords is as exclusively pinpointed to the specific pages made for them as possible.

It might sometimes be impossible not to repeat certain primary keywords on multiple pages, but at the very least, be mindful of when this is unavoidable and consider exploring alternative synonyms to lower the incidence of repeating.

Strike a Keyword Query Balance Between Broad and Narrow

When it comes to making sure that you have really targeted the right keyword to do justice to your goals, it pays not to be a one-stop shopper. You may have found a keyword that seems to have the volume you’re looking for, but when it comes to keyword volume, bigger is not always better.

A broad keyword may have a much bigger traffic than others, but as a tradeoff, it may take much longer to generate results with. On the other hand, a narrow keyword with less raw traffic potential could actually be a fair exchange for lower competition and thus a swifter pathway to profitable results. Keywords with less traffic and competition can also oftentimes be more affordable to optimize for, resulting in more leftover capital to tackle the tougher keywords.

Broad keywords are stronger, but they're also harder to rank for on average. Even your domain name will factor into on-page SEO. Older websites have more of these in their domain names. Categories, pages and post names are better when assigned full keywords.

Your URL quality benefits from strong and relevant keywords just as much as the content on the page below it. For example, if you were a dentist who wanted a certain service page on their website to rank highly in the general search engine listings for ‘Dental Implants’, you’d want to make sure that “dental-implants” is featured prominently in that page’s URL like so:

www.domain.com/dental-implants

If you’re more on the local search-oriented side in your on-page SEO campaign, then you’ll want the specific location to be just as clearly visible in the URL for your local business pages as the services would be for a general search campaign. Let’s say that you’re not just looking to rank highly for “dental implants”, but the search engine results specifically presented to those who want dental implant services in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Your idea URL would likely look something like this:

www.domain.com/dental-implants-manhattan

www.domain.com/dental-implants-brooklyn

Manage your Meta Metrics Closely


Your meta title and meta descriptions matter in a big way. The meta title yields additional useful SEO ranking juice that the algorithm will love while the meta description can entice potential visitors to click through more frequently. Make sure that your meta description fully matches what your page has to offer. You can use the meta description as smooth form of sales copy to compel clicks by advertising the value within the page.

In 2016, 600px became the new main search results area width[2]. Because of this, you can now use a title of 70 characters instead of the former 50. Between 4-8 words or 60-70 characters is a good meta description zone to aim for.


Simultaneously Satisfy Human Site Visitors and the Algorithm


On-page SEO is about both the search engine's algorithm and the users liking your content. Your pages must load quickly. No matter what your business’s category is, speed is crucial. Apart from loading speed, the key is to strike a balance between novelty and relevance. The owners of web pages should be incentivized to link to your page as an authoritative source of information on its topic.

Properly executed on-page SEO targets all the media elements on your webpage. Images, videos and anything else without text should be perfectly easy for the search engine algorithms to identify. Since the search engine algorithms depend on alt text and alt tags find out exactly what images are, you’ll want to make sure that they’re all as accurate as can be. Never underestimate the power of alt text and alt tags to give your images more "presence" and SEO power.

Make Every Element of the Page Relevant to its Mission

Your landing pages should each have an extremely prominent and specific premise. Every landing page needs to be tailor-made to accomplish a specific mission that doesn’t take much guesswork to find out.

Both the meta title and the H1 main title, for example, are much more potentially powerful when they begin with the page’s focus keyword. If you can position the focus keyword at the front of the meta title and main title in a grammatically correct way, make sure to take advantage of that opportunity.

Think about using some strategic modifiers in your title to make it pop out more as a long tail keyword. Make sure to use strong outbound links whenever you can do so within reason, but be sure to stay conscious of just how much positive clout the things you link to really have.

Make sure that you get as specific as possible when it comes to the copy in your website that describes the services you provide. Even though it may be a little bit of a pain at first, you will absolutely thank yourself in the future for making sure that every single distinct service and product that you offer has its own page.

Choose Your External Content Connections Carefully

If you’re not sure that you can put 100% of your trust into any website you plan on making an outbound link to, you can add rel="nofollow" to the end of the link as a signal to search engine algorithms that you don’t want your reputation directly tied to it when they’re crawling the page.

It seems like an obvious point to make, but if you have other people leave a guest post on your blog with a byline, make sure that their content is in good standing! Any outbound links on your site, even if it's to a guest poster's website, need to lead to websites with high-quality content win favor with the search engine’s web crawlers.

Always Optimize the Overall Page Structure

After taking care of your keyword mapping priorities, you need to make sure that your structure does justice to the research you’ve done on what to optimize for. Much like a portrait, the best practices for page structure depend upon the proper construction to lead the viewer towards what you hope captivates them enough to keep their attention.

Page structure alone is a dense topic that undoubtedly could constitute hundreds of research hours all on its own, but to keep things basic, the following are some of the most important parts to include in your page structure chain.

  1. An H1 heading to emphasize importance and purpose
  2. A clear summary of what type of value the page visitor should expect to receive
  3. An initial call to action that primes the visitor into an action-oriented frame of mind
  4. Relevant subheadings to provide context and improve overall readability
  5. Images and videos to improve your content with better engagement and dynamism
  6. A final call to action that capitalizes on the sustained attention of whomever makes it all the way to the end
  7. An overall word count -at least 500- that does proper justice to the topic at hand without being too exhaustive of a read

This page structure guide from Backlinko [3] can serve as a powerful reference point for knowing what strong page structure truly looks like and how to replicate it every time.

Keep a Long-Term Master Plan in Mind

Now of course, this topic can't be ethically taught without a disclaimer that one-page SEO is not a magic bullet. You can't sit back with your collection of shiny keywords and expect them to make profit rain down from the digital heavens on your website like some kind of Willy Wonka fever dream.

Before you even start the on-page SEO campaign, visualize it more as one piece in the overarching puzzle of your digital footprint-making trail then the end-all be-all solution to all of your marketing goals.

Make Strong Moves After Making Initial Impressions

It is true that 90% of Internet users start their quest for information with the search engine, but at the same time, almost none of them are going to make their final decision on what to invest in just based on what page they land on first.

Good on-page SEO may be good enough to get a foot in the door, but if you want your prospects to rush through that door en masse and feel like staying forever, there's a bit more to the process. Now’s a good time to talk about what off-page SEO can do for a well done on-page SEO strategy.

Takeaway Bullets

  • Break Down Your Top 5 Targets for Keyword Optimization
  • Strike a Keyword Query Balance Between Broad and Narrow
  • Manage Your Meta Description Metrics Closely
  • Simultaneously Satisfy Human Site Visitors and the Algorithm
  • Make Every Element of the Page Relevant to its Mission
  • Choose Your External Content Connections Carefully
  • Always Optimize the Overall Page Structure
  • Keep A Long-Term Master Plan in Mind
  • Make Moves After Making Initial Impressions

[1] 1 Second - Internet Live Stats, www.internetlivestats.com/one-second/#google-band.
[2] “Google continues testing new search results interfaces, including wider & card--Styled results.” Search Engine Land, 19 May 2016, searchengineland.com/google-continues-testing-new-search-results-interfaces-including-wider-card-styled-results-249971.
[3] Brian Dean Last updated Aug. 04, 2017. “On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page (2017 Update).” Backlinko, 4 Aug. 2017, backlinko.com/on-page-seo.