Good on-site SEO means you want to make sure that you’re targeting the right keywords, using a consistent format for all page titles, creating engaging content, boosting your site speed, and making your website mobile-friendly (among other important steps). Below are 9 small things you can do to improve your on-site SEO.
Titles and Meta Descriptions
This would be the first thing most people would think about, and they also happen to be the most important factors (on-page) for you to rank for. For this reason, if you are unfamiliar with SEO, you may want to consider a professional SEO agency at the beginning. The HTML Title element is one of the most important on-site elements. A lot of ranking factors are based around it. It’s generally seen as best practice to keep your title length under 70-75 characters. Google has mentioned that anything below 50 doesn’t have an effect on CTR. So it’s best to keep your title under 70-75 characters, but not less than 50.
One important thing worth mentioning here, which ties in with the meta description section later on in this article, is how well these titles and descriptions match the content. You want to make sure relatively early on in the title (before the first 50-55 characters) that you include your primary keyword. It would be best practice to place it as close to the beginning of the title as possible, but not at the cost of user experience or confusing users.
Meta descriptions are also very important. They are the short paragraph that is displayed under your URLs in search engine results pages (SERPs). Google, along with some other engines, now displays three snippets of text from your page to represent your content whenever it’s mentioned on SERPs. You can control how these snippets are formed via meta descriptions, so it’s important to have a well-crafted meta description that both users and search engines will benefit from.
Optimize Images and Alt Tags
It is vitally important to have your images well indexed by search engines so that they can be displayed in SERPs. Search engines are able to crawl images, but they have no way of knowing what they actually are unless you tell them. You can do this by including valid alt text (descriptive tags) for your images.
Google has mentioned that having valid alt tags on your images gives them more data and a better understanding of what the page is actually about. It’s also worth mentioning that various other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing use this information to display an image preview in their search results pages (SERPs).
The general rule for alt tags is the more descriptive it is, the better. A lot of images these days get no alt tag at all. Make sure to get the most out of your images and give them descriptive alt tags.
Keywords in URLs
One way to make it easier for search engines to understand what a page you’re linking to is about is by including keywords in your URL. While Google has mentioned that keywords in URLs do not affect rankings, it is still best practice to include them.
A well-optimized URL should include a root keyword, secondary keywords, and a top-level domain (TLD).
Root keywords are included in the main URL path. You want to make sure that whatever makes sense for your content is included in your URLs, but you also want to make sure that you do not go too crazy as it can confuse your users.
Secondary keywords are included as subfolders or file names. You generally want to include some secondary keywords in those locations as well, so long as they don’t create an overly complicated URL structure. Both secondary and root keywords are an important part of on-page SEO and should be considered carefully when making URL decisions.
Optimize for the Right Keywords
When deciding on what keywords to focus on for your site, it’s important to understand that you can’t just focus on a single keyword. You need multiple keywords. Search engines rank sites based on the authority of a domain and its backlinks, so if one page has lots of good links from other good domains but only focuses on one keyword, it will be outranked by a website that has less authority but also focuses on multiple keywords.
In addition to this, you want to focus on the right keywords. This is part of what makes a successful SEO campaign a long-term investment. You don’t just want any kind of traffic; you want targeted traffic – people who are genuinely interested in the product or service that you’re offering. So it’s important to target keywords that your audience is actually searching for. If your potential customers are not typing those keywords into Google, you’re only wasting your time and money by targeting them.
Use a consistent format for all page titles
What this means is that you should use the same format for all of your page titles. Your root keywords should be placed at the front, followed by any secondary keywords. There are no limitations to how this string can be formatted, but it’s generally a good idea to keep it short and sweet.
Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors, so it’s important to get this right. There are some great tools out there to help audit your SEO processes as you go to make sure you are doing things right.
Use a sitemap
Google recommends using XML sitemaps, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl your entire website. You don’t want to leave any pages or links out of your XML sitemap because that’s essentially like telling Google not to index them. There are also other search engines that use XML sitemaps, so you want to make sure that you have an appropriate format for all of them.
Create Engaging, In-Depth Content
A regular content creation schedule is important for on-site SEO, but even more important is creating quality content. If you are constantly creating new content, but each piece of content is light on the details and covers only a small part of the topic you’re writing about, it will be hard to attract links. You want your content to be engaging enough that people share it out of their own accord.
You can write engaging content by writing for human beings rather than algorithms and by doing your research beforehand. If you don’t have time to conduct a thorough investigation, then it might be best to leave that content out of the equation.
Make sure that your content is as detailed as possible and that any keywords you’re targeting are included in context as much as possible. You can also include some secondary keywords or root keywords wherever it makes sense in the process.
Boost Your Site Speed
Site speed is incredibly important for good SEO because it makes a big difference in the user experience. If your site takes too long to load, then people will leave and go elsewhere. You don’t want that to happen, and search engines know it (which is why they’re putting more emphasis on site speed as a ranking factor). If you are buying website themes, some are more SEO optimized in this way than others.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
More and more users are browsing the web on their mobile devices, so it’s important to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. If you have a responsive website, then this should be fairly simple.
If you don’t, there are plenty of things you can do in order to optimize for mobile devices. For example, you can use HTML5 or CSS3 to make your site more responsive. You can also resize images and videos so that they don’t look too stretched out on a mobile device (if you’re using an image as a background, for example).
These are some of the most important on-site SEO factors. They all play a role in improving your rankings, and you should be taking advantage of them as much as possible. Put these tips to good use, and you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.