How to Optimize Your Content for On-Page SEO
In the world of marketing, the topic of content optimization has ruled supreme for quite some time now — and, as you likely already know, content optimization is a large topic comprised of many smaller (but crucial) pieces. On page SEO is one of these small, yet mighty parts of content optimization that is not to be overlooked and should be a critical part of your overall SEO strategy.
But what is it, exactly, and why is it so important?
Defining SEO Categories
In general, the most effective SEO tools fall into three, distinct categories:
- On-page SEO. This encompasses elements of your site’s content that you can control from your website with the end goal of helping search engines better understand and rank your content in Google’s search results. These are elements such as html and source code structure, site content (blogs, page content, etc), title tag, any meta description you may use, target keyword or keywords, URLs, internal links, and so on.
- Off-page SEO. Conversely, off-page SEO are tactics used outside of your website, including backlinks or sourcing from affiliate pages.
- Technical SEO. Technical SEO are tactics that affect how search engines, like Google, access and index your site. This include how fast your site is (i.e. site speed optimization), mobile optimization, site architecture (i.e. how easy is it to read and navigate), and more.
Why is On Page SEO Important?
As most marketers know, Google’s approach to page ranking is complex, but SEO is the language search engines converse in, and so it’s really important to get it right. More specifically, on page SEO is a dialect that lets search engine crawlers determine if your website is aligned with a user’s search intent and ultimately, satisfies their quality baseline for user experience.
As we reviewed above, there are separate SEO categories to take in consideration, but truthfully, if your on page optimization is weak, the other considerations likely won’t be enough to make up for it.
So, what on page SEO factors make a difference when it comes to search intent and how can use these on page SEO elements to improve your performance when it comes to satisfying those oh-so-finicky search engine bots?
On Page SEO Checklist
When it comes to acing on page SEO, here’s a helpful guide that can help improve your ranking factor:
Craft high-quality content
Creating high-quality content goes way beyond just your artfully written blog post. In the realm of on site SEO, quality means doing your keyword research and honing in on your target keyword and other relevant keywords. This does NOT mean you should resort to keyword stuffing, or, in other words, loading your meta descriptions or onsite content with keywords in order to gain an unfair advantage. This is automatic red flag in the world of the search engine bots and considered cheating. Therefore, you’ll want to maintain an appropriate keyword density while ensuring that your written content aligns with the search intent of your target keyword.
You’ll also want to make sure your content is unique, offers variation, and includes multiple types of media, such as blog posts, images, videos, and so on.
Consider your titles
Your page’s title and all other title tags are more important than you think. You’ll want to make sure your titles and title tags are relevant and include target keywords. In fact, your keywords should appear within the first 100 to 150 words…so making sure your page title works double duty is often an effective strategy. If possible, make sure your titles are catchy and unique, of course, while staying on topic.
Craft clear URLs
As a rule, Google likes page URLs which are a simple as possible and, once again, are relevant. In short, you want to craft SEO friendly URLS. What does a friendly URL structure look like and how do you create SEO friendly URLs? Well, let’s take a look:
Say you’re a pastry chef and you have a website that’s dedicated to baking recipes
An SEO friendly URL structure might look like this:
While, an unfriendly URL might look like this:
Streamline your meta descriptions
As a refresher, a meta description is the brief description, or featured snippet, that appears underneath your site or page when it appears in a Google search. Often, a user will decide whether your content is relevant to their interest based off a meta description, so it goes without saying that it’s very important to make sure your meta description is not only accurate, it’s clear and concise. When writing and editing your meta descriptions it’s a good practice to ask yourself:
- Does this match search intent?
- Does it use active voice?
- Is it an optimal length?
- Does it include your target keyword?
- Is it unique?
Include internal and external linking
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to different pages within your website. These help search engines understand your overall site structure and how each page on your website relates. They also help search engine crawlers to discover new content on multiple pages and navigate to new pages while signaling increased value.
Meanwhile, external links help build trust and can enhance the overall user experience, which can have an impact on your ranking factor.
Pro-Tip: You may consider submitting a sitemap (an XML file which lists all your site’s most important pages) to Google. This can help them find your webpages more easily. Especially if you have a lot of pages or they are not well linked.
Consider your structured data
How you structure your content on your site is another important navigation tool, not only for search engines, but for your users as well. On the backend of a website, structured data appears as HTML which communicates to Google as well as other search engines what information is what, and what portions of that information that should display.
These embedded tags of code, or markup, helps Google create more relevant results… so if your structured data is wonky, the harder it is for Google to read your content and assess its value, and therefore, the more difficult it may be to rank well for specific searches.
Today, many website builders have this baked in, including all the necessary html code structures and content organization hierarchies (e.g. h1 tag headings). But, it’s still worth it to assess your web pages using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to get a feel for where your own website stands.
Test your page speed
Page speed is one of the most overlooked SEO factors, because while you can have the prettiest, most content-optimized site around, if the load time is too long, it won’t matter, because no one will stick around to find out. These days, time is of essence, attention spans are limited, and statistics show that we have around 15 seconds, at best, before losing our audience. Improving your load times has a direct impact on your user experience, conversation rates, as well as your SEO rankings.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can help you improve your site’s load time and address factors that may be slowing it down such as:
- Image-heavy content
- Inefficient data structure or code density
- Poor caching, and
- Ad load
Looking for help with organic SEO or local SEO?
Our digital marketing partner and SEO guru, Local Blitz is a pro with a wide variety of marketing strategies and game plans. If you’re looking for help with your local search engine optimization or want to dabble in Google Ads (or social media ads for that matter), Nick Bennett at Local Blitz is one of the co-founders and happens to be one of our fav people. Give Nick a shout and tell him we sent you.