If you are for a no-bullshit guide to on-page SEO in 2020, you have come to the right place. In this guide, you are going to acquire different on-page SEO skills to improve your overall SEO campaign and get the ranking your website deserves.
Everyone’s dream is to have their online content rank at #1 spot on the search result page whenever a search about their business is triggered. To archive this, businesses and website owners optimize their online contents in such a way that they will be loved by human and search engines.
That’s where On-page SEO comes into play.
Our previous guide to SEO mastering made it clear that the most important elements of SEO are the on-page elements. They can make or break your overall SEO campaign. If there is any skill you have to acquire to become an SEO expert, let that skill be on-page SEO skills.
I am going to reveal different on-page SEO secrets that most top businesses use to rank on the first page of search result.
Heck! What is on-page SEO?
In case you are hearing this for the first time, on-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is the practice of optimizing your online contents so that people will love to read them, and also, for search engines to rank them on their first page of search result whenever a search related to your business is triggered.
In short, any SEO practice that has to do with the content of a website (usually stuffs you can control) is what we call on-page SEO.
For example, you have control over the quantity and quality of your web pages as well as the structure and architecture of your website. The practice of improving them is called on-page SEO practice.
Types of on-page SEO.
On-page SEO can be classified into two types:
- Content-related on-page SEO
- Technical SEO
As the name implies, it is the optimization practice that has to do with the content of your web pages. For example, blog posts, product page, landing page, etc.
This is where you are given a chance to flex your muscle because you have full control over these pages. You have the opportunity to optimize them in a way that both searchers and search engines love them.
Content-related on-page SEO includes:back to menu ↑
Writing Good quality pages
Search engine loves contents a lot. But it’s not all about quantity. Quality matters!
Whether you are writing a blog post, a product page, or any other kind of online content, you should be able to answer the questions of your audience as well as telling search engines what you are doing.
How to create good quality content?
Start by understanding your audience.
Here is the truth, you are not creating contents for search engines, you create them for people who need them. They are your audience.
If you do not know what these people are looking for, how on earth are you going to answer them?
There is something you need to do to understand what these folks (your audience) are looking for, it is called Keyword Research.
When someone is facing a problem that they need answers to, their number one go-to resource is a search engine. When they hit the search page, they type in some keywords, then search engines return the best answers to their questions.
Those keywords are what you need to research in other to understand what problems they are facing.
What’s Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of discovering new keywords that people type into search engines like Google and Bing while searching for information.
It is a compulsory first step in every SEO campaign.
Doing keyword research will give you a good insight on how frequent people search for a keyword, plus, how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword on the search result page.
There are different keyword research tools (both paid and free) out there than you can use to find new keywords. Read Tonexseo’s exclusive guide to keyword research.
Correctly using keywords within your contents:
Having discovered new keywords, the next thing is to write contents and optimize them around those keywords.
Keyword placement is a very important on-page SEO practice. Doing it wrongly will affect your SEO effort and cost you time and money.
Using keywords multiple times around on your web pages will tell search engines what your content is talking about.
Here are the most important places to place your keywords:
- Meta title
- Image “ALT” tag
- First Paragraph
- Last paragraph
- Heading tags
- Within the body of your page.
When keywords keep appearing on the above-mentioned places, it helps search engines to understand what that page is talking about.back to menu ↑
Writing “SEO Friendly” Title tag and Meta description
Both the title tag and Meta description (most especially, the title tag) should be paid close attention to. They improve or kill your SERP ranking in the long term.
Meta title and description are both so important elements of on-page SEO. Even if you have written the most amazing content, it won’t rank well if your title tag and meta description is a mess.
According to MOZ, the Title tag is the second most important on-page SEO factor after the content itself.
That shows how important they are, even as little as they may seem to be.
Writing an SEO friendly title tag and meta description is not always easy among SEOs. It is one of those instances where you need to write impress both search engines and the general audience. And it can be tricky.
In short, you have to craft a headline that will make search engines happy as well as entice human to click through and read the rest of the content.
The title tag and meta description is what searchers see when they land on the search result page. They should be as descriptive as they can.
How to write an SEO friendly title tag and description
Depending on what you use to create your website, the process of creating a title tag and a meta description may differ.
For example, if you are using WordPress (self-hosted), the whole process becomes super easy for you compared to other CMSs.
Traditional HTML websites will have to get their hand dirty with codes.
For WordPress users, you can install Rank Math SEO plugin.
Rank Math is a free powerful plugin you can get a lot out of. It is great for creating title tags and meta description.
First, head over to plugins > add new
Type “Rank Math” into the plugin search bar.
Next, click “Activate”
Now the plugin will add additional SEO friendly tags on your WordPress website’s HTML.
The last thing you will need to do is register with Rank Math and connect your site to get even more features unlocked.
Once everything is set up, you can now easily add a title tag and meta description to any page of your WordPress website.
Right at the post/page editor, click on “Edit Snippet” at the right side of the screen, there you can adjust both title and description.
If your website is not hosted on WordPress, you can find a way to edit the core HTML of every page of your website. Add the following line of codes right after the opening <head> tag:
<title>HTML Elements Reference</title> <meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials">
Title tag: On-Page SEO best practice
1. write a curiosity headline: Take a look at this headline from John Caples;
The headline says; “they laughed at me when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play!” what happened when he started to play? you may have to find out!
The truth is that, when you get curious over something, you won’t rest until you see the end of it. it happens to everyone, even your targeted audience.
Here are some examples of curiosity headlines:
_______ ways to work less than 2 hours a day and still earn $______
_______ Weird tricks to get more _______ in just _______ days
How a ________ minutes video generated ________ in _________ days [Get 199 list of Curiosity marketable Headlines]
2. The title should not be too long: According to Yoast, the title should not be wider than 600 px. If it exists that width, Google will cut it short, and the display on a search result will look like this:
Instead of like this:
3. Use your focus keywords on the title tag and meta description: Focus keyword on both title tag and meta description makes a great impact. Not only will search engines understand a big deal of the content, but searchers also will keep clicking through to the read the rest of the content.
Imagine searching for a keyword, let’s say: “Online Marketing”, and end up getting a result about weight loss.
I bet you are not going to click on it.
But if it contains the keyword, “Online marketing” or any closely related keywords like “Digital marketing” and “Internet marketing”, you are more likely to click.
4. Use Numbers on the Title tag: Numbers attracts attention. The reason why listicles still get a lot of traffic is that they contain numbers in their title.
One of my favourite bloggers, Baren Dunlup publishes a lot of listicles on his blog. He recently shared how he was able to increase traffic to his blog using listicles.
If you are writing a listicle kind of post, using numbers on the title tag will increase your CTR. Instead of writing, “Sure ways to improve website speed”, you should write; “9 sure ways to improve website speed”back to menu ↑
Image optimization is one of the important factors of on-page seo. If they are not well optimized, they will negatively affect your overall website seo.
If you want to obtain a good ranking, you should be sure to optimise your website for speed (I will talk about this later).
Images and other Medias contribute hugely to slow loading website, thereby negatively affecting both user experience and Ranking.
Even though image are highly recommended, using un-optimized ones will rather do you more harm than good.
What the heck is image optimisation?
Image optimization simply means the process of reducing an image size without affecting the quality. And also, using appropriate images that will not break the content of a webpage or distract people.
Hey! Image optimisation is also about SEO. Using the right image title, describing the purpose of an image using the ALT tag, etc.
Image optimization: On-Page SEO best practice
1. Use a relevant image title: If you are running an e-commerce website, you should know that images are what people look at before scrolling down the product description.
Writing a good image title will tell search engines and searchers more about the image. Instead of using titles like “IMG0620”, you should use something that names the product like this one “Samsung Galaxy s10”.
2. Don’t forget the ALT text: Image Attribute is the next alternative to the image itself.it is not always visible to on a webpage, except when the browser fails to load an image.
Search Engines crawl both text and Images. In the case of images, they use the image alt tag to understand the content of that image.
Here is an HTML source code of an image:
<img src="/image-source.jpg" alt="Image altribute" width="449" height="377" title="Title">
If you are using a CMS like WordPress and Blogger, then it is super easy to add title and alt text to an image. Just upload an image and edit the property.
Pro Tip: Use your Focus Keyword on the Image attribute text.
3. Follow one image dimension rule: there is no ideal image dimension. What really matters is the file size (in KB). However, it is important to follow a certain rule when using images on your website.
Smaller images always have low disk size. They will not only reduce your page load time, they will also save you a lot of disk space.
4. Reduce the size of your images: while uploading images to your website, make sure its file size reduced to the minimal. Ideally, between 1kb and 11kb. You can do this by compressing the image using your favourite online image compressors.
If you are using WordPress, install a free plugin called reSmush.it. It reduces the file size of your images without affecting the quality.back to menu ↑
While we talk about SEO, your site navigation structure has a huge impact to bounce rate. If your website users can find what they are looking for within a few clicks, they will leave your site. That’s a bounce!
Google counts bounce rate as a negative factor. And if visitors don’t stay long on your site, Google assumes it is of low quality even if it’s not.
The navigation structure of your site might be the cause.
Google’s own quality guideline for content creation states that every page of your website must be easily accessed. That will not only help visitors find what they are looking for. but also, it will help search engines discover new pages.
If you have two articles on your website, and one is talking about Cats while the other is talking about Dogs, you can link to Cat’s article from Dog’s article in as much as they are both domestic animals.
How to make sure your site have a clear navigation
- Add a Navigation Menu at the top of your website.
- Link out to important pages of your website from the footer section
- Add “Posts Related To” at the bottom of every single post/product page
- Enable Breadcrumb
- Link out to related articles within and outside of your content
The permalink structure of your website is as important as every other element of On-Page SEO. It is the address by which people access your online content. You should make it clear and easy to remember.
URL Optimization Best Practice:
1. URL must be short and readable: Here is the thing, if a URL can’t be read by humans, then search engines cannot also read them. And that’s a problem because read URLs as they would read the content of your website, to enable them to understand the content and connect you to your target audience.
If URLs are randomly generated, it pisses both search engines and Users off!
Take for instance, you want to buy a product, say, Amazon Echo. Which of the following URLs are you going to click?
A huge number of people will click on the first URL, including myself. Simply because it readable, and also contains the keyword I am looking for.
2. URLs should contain Keywords: Just like the example above, if that URL does not contain that keyword “Amazon Echo”, I will be having doubts whether or not it is the right place to visit.
3. Do not use underscores: You are left with two options when it comes to adding space between words in the URL.
You can either use underscores or hyphen.
There has been a lot of debate among SEOs about using hyphens or underscore until Google reveals what’s the best option.
So, it is a no-brainer, User hyphen.back to menu ↑
Handling 404 Pages
You have probably seen them multiple times. They are HTTP response code that tells when a resource doesn’t exist.
they are really annoying. When you land on a page that is already making sense to you and found a link to another page that should help you in some ways, you click on the link only to land on a 404 error page.
404 errors can kill your overall SEO strategy. You should take good care of them.back to menu ↑
How to handle 404 error
If you are a WordPress user, Rank Math SEO has a built-in function for monitoring 404 codes on your site. Head over to plugins > 404 monitors and you will see all the URLs that returned 404 code.
Then you can decide what to do with them.
If you are not a WordPress user, then you can use a free tool called Broken kink checker.
There are two types of 404 errors:
- Onsite (Internal) – when it occurs within your domain.
- Offsite (External) – when it occurs outside your domain. I.e. when you link to a resource outside your site that does not exist.
They both can hurt your site’s SEO.
Handling 404 error is simple. You only need to find them and point them to an existing web page.back to menu ↑
Technical SEO refers to the practice of improving the technical aspect of a website in order to attract love from both users and search engines.
Google and other search engines rank a website based on different factors. Most of these factors are based on user experience, like mobile-friendliness, site speed, page load time, etc.
They are all as important as the content-related on-page SEO. If you ignore then, they will cost you a lot.
Technical SEO includes:back to menu ↑
Website speed optimization:
This is the process of improving your website speed by reducing the page load time. According to marketingdive, 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if your site doesn’t load within 3seconds.
So, if your website is that slow, even at 4 seconds, people gets frustrated and move on to another alternative site.
Wondering if your website is fast enough? Check your website speed.
Not satisfied with the result? I will tell you how to improve.
How to optimize your website speed
1. Choose a Good Host: If your site is hosted on a slow server, it will have a negative impact on your website speed. You should choose a web host that has a very fast server like siteground.
Siteground is a cheap web host with lightning-fast servers spread out across four continents, and they all utilise the google cloud platform.
2. Route through CDNs: Instead of loading resources directly from the Server, content delivery networks (CDN) like Cloudflare caches your website and deliver your content to your visitors through the server closer to them.
Cloudflare is a free CDN that can be used by any one. Siteground and some other host makes it easier to activate Cloudflare service right from their dashboard.
There are also other paid CDN servers out there that works better and faster that Cloudflare, they include:
- Google Cloud CDN
If you are a WordPress user, you can install W3 Total Cache plugin and follow wpbeginner’s instruction on how to configure it.
4. Enable Lazy Load Images: Images takes a lot of space and of course a lot of time to download on a visitor’s browser. Fortunately, lazy load images will allow the rest of the page content to load completely while the images gradually load on the background.
Some website themes come with this option, but if yours doesn’t, you can install a plugin on your WordPress site.
5. Compress Images: Images are larger than Palin text, which means they can take a longer time to load.
Increase in load time also results to decrease in website speed, so you should reduce the size of any image you use on your website. This can be archived by installing smush.it on your WordPress websites.back to menu ↑
You may have a very beautiful website on a desktop screen, but what about mobile devices?
According to perficient, 53% of internet user access the web through their smartphones. So if your website is not optimised for mobile devices, 53% of your website traffic will suffer a terrible user experience. Trust me, that’s not something search engines don like.
In fact, according to Google, mobile friendly sites will receive a significant reward. They made it known on a blog post where they stated:
“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps.”Google
Is your website mobile friendly? Let’s find out.
Google has a free tool to check a site’s mobile-friendliness. Put in your website URL and run a mobile-friendly test. If the result is not satisfying, i.e. if your site is not mobile-friendly, then you should get a mobile-friendly template from ThemeForest.back to menu ↑
If your website is not indexed, it can never show up on search results. As a website owner, it is your duty to make sure your site is ready to be indexed.
Wondering if your site has been indexed? You can find out by conducting a simple search on Google using site:domain.com
Google will display all pages of your website that has been indexed.
To check if a particular page has been indexed, add the full path URL like this: site:domain.com/page-name
If you can’t find it on google, then extra work is needed from your side.back to menu ↑
How to get a website indexed on search engines
Naturally, Google and other search engines will find and index your site, provided they have access to it. This usually takes a lot of time, especially if it is a new website.
Fortunately, you can tell Google and other search engines about your site and request it to be indexed.
Google has a free tool called Search Console. This is a tool that will help you monitor the performance of your website on SERP.
Anyone can use this tool, and it’s free. Just Sign up to Search Console using your Google account.
Once you have claimed your property, it is now time to add a sitemap.
A sitemap acts like a roadmap of all your website that leads Google and other search engine to all your important page. It allows search engines to easily find all the important pages of your website even if our internal linking structure is not good enough.
Here is our own sitemap generated by Rank Math.
If you are using Google’s Blogger, you won’t have to worry about creating sitemap as google already adds that to your blog. Just add /sitemap.xml to the ending of your BlogSpot URL.
WordPress websites can easily generate a sitemap once Rank Math SEO plugin is activated. Head over to Rank Math > Sitemap and enable it.
Once you have your sitemap activated, head over to search console and click “Sitemaps”.
Next, put in your sitemap and click save.
Once that’s done, google will periodically search for new pages using the sitemap you provided.back to menu ↑
Driving traffic through SEO doesn’t have to be difficult. People make it difficult because they are focusing solely on SEO, but that doesn’t make for a well-rounded internet business.
The key to SEO today and for the future is this:
Create quality content and focus on On-page SEO elements.
If you simply do that, your business will grow! You’re building multiple traffic streams, making your business more brand-able, and will ultimately increase your SERP rankings at the same time.
Thanks for reading. Please let us know what you think about this post. Use the comment section below.