On-page SEO, also known as On-site SEO, simply put, is a way to optimize the elements in and on a website to garner more attention from the search engines. And eventually, rank higher. It is without a doubt one of the best practices to adhere to in this often confusing world of Search Engine Optimization. On-page SEO, when done right, helps search engines interpret page content and its relevance to the end user before serving it up on the top results. To the uninitiated, it may seem like a daunting task, but it is in fact one of the easiest concepts to grasp. Which is why, we’ve summed it up in 40 Best On-page SEO Practices to help you understand it better. Take some time out to go through them before you sit down to write.
Keywords | The Key to Super SEO
1. Start with a thorough keyword research
Before you start writing, it is important to know what you are going to be writing about. That’s where Keyword Research comes in. It helps you get an insight on what the audience is searching for on search engines. Try and strike a balance between a keyword’s competitiveness, relevance, and popularity. Generally, a highly competitive keyword is also the one toughest to rank. Choose accordingly, your primary and secondary (related) keywords. It is the first and foremost step on Best On-page SEO Practices.
2. Assign a primary keyword to each of your website’s pages
After you’ve zeroed-in on the primary/target keyword search phrases, it’s time you assign them accordingly: only one primary keyword search phrase per page. But make sure you never to assign the same keyword phrase to any other page on your website, as it will lead to keyword cannibalization. Creating confusion and forcing Google to pick and choose between multiple pages (with the same keyword) on whom to give preference. This will have a negative impact on your SEO score.
3. Always include the Primary Keyword in:
• Page Title – Place the primary keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
• Meta Title – Simply put, they are headlines that appear on the search page. Include the primary keyword to help crawlers understand your page better. Keep this title to 60-70 characters. And again, try including the primary keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
• Page URL – Just don’t forget to include the primary keyword in the URL (slug) and remember to keep the URL at less than 125 characters. It appears directly below the Meta Title on the search page.
• Meta Description – This appears directly below the Page URL. And just like the Meta title, try including the primary keyword as close to the beginning of the description as possible. And also, write the description up to 320 characters.
• Image ALT Text – Always include the primary keyword in the ALT Text of an image on your page. This sends signals to the crawler about your page and also describes the image if it doesn’t load by any chance.
• At least One Subheading – Last but not the least, place the primary keyword in at least one of the subheadings to further support your primary keyword and make best use of the best on-page SEO practices.
• First Paragraph – Including the primary keyword in the first paragraph of the page itself helps search crawlers understand what the page is all about right from the very beginning.
4. Maintain the optimum keyword density
Keep using the primary keyword throughout the content of your page. Most SEO experts believe the keyword density to be around 1-2%, which means once or twice every 100 words. While this is still not an exact science, it is advised you use caution while placing the primary keyword. Do not get overboard and avoid keyword stuffing. Rather, let it flow naturally. Let your primary keywords be well-placed and not be abused.
5. Assign and include secondary (related) keywords to each of your website’s pages
Secondary keywords are phrases and terms closely related to your primary keyword. Add them to give crawlers some extra context. Search crawlers also pick up the content placed around the primary keyword. Help them understand your page better by assigning secondary keywords or related keywords to each of your website’s pages. Include them in the body of content too. Best On-Page SEO Practices dictate that pages with both relevant primary and secondary keywords rank better than pages that just use primary keywords.
On-page Content | Optimize to attract Search Engines
6. Write for the cause not the word limit
Not always can a topic be fully explained in about 300 words, which is the bare minimum you should aim for as far as the best on-page SEO practices are concerned. Remember, it is more important to fully flesh out the contents of the article, and it is likely to rank better. Don’t restrict yourself to a word limit and end up giving your readers a half-baked piece.
7. High-quality, high-value content will take you high places
Begin sharp, hold your ground in the middle, and end strong. In between, try and speak directly to your reader. Avoid jargons or industry slangs. Use bullet points. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Avoid passive voice. It may seem overwhelming but you will get into the groove in no time. Google, after all, loves to show the best of stuff up front.
8. Plagiarism is a strict NO-NO
It is downright unethical and frowned upon. By doing so, not only are you cheating your readers, your competitors, but also lining yourself for search penalties by showing a general disregard for search engine guidelines. Fresh, unique content is the first and maybe the most important rule for a strong on-page SEO and one of the best on-page SEO practices. Remember the first two tips, right?
9. It is important to regularly publish new content and refresh the old
No matter how unique, high-quality and high-value content you offer your readers, it will all be an exercise in vain if you do not keep at it. A website that publishes fresh content regularly will rank higher than the one that is less-active or dormant. Similarly, updating existing content every now and then will alert search engines about the activeness of your website.
10. Avoid duplicate content within your website
To rank or not to rank your page, that is the question the search crawlers will face if they find duplicate content within different pages of your website. So make sure no two pages on it have the same content. This will have a negative impact on the overall SEO of your website.
11. Avoid duplicate SEO Meta Titles and Descriptions
It goes the same way as the above mentioned point. Just don’t. Always write a unique Meta Title and Description for each of the pages on your website. Do not even use the same phrases, in part or in full, from other pages. Most importantly, for better On-Page SEO and ranks, keep the Meta Description between 140 to 160 characters.
12. Images, Graphics, and Videos will do your ranking a lot of good
Good content amplified with appealing pictures, graphs and graphics, and videos tend to draw in both in high numbers, the readers and the ranks. Be sure to compliment your content with relevant images for a strong On-Page SEO. Remember, it’s in the nature of search crawlers to return the best information as top results.
13. Rename the Images and write that Alt Text
And this is the key to improving your chances of showing up in the top results as it sends bonus signals to the search engines. And also one of the best on-page SEO practices you can stick to. Rename those images before uploading. Keep the file name short, with your primary keyword in it. Also, write those Image Alt Tags you’ve been leaving always leaving blank. Describe in short the scene in the picture. Again, with the primary keyword in it!
Readability | Pure and Simple wins the Ranks
14. Pen down the content in the most natural way possible
Think of how you’d have a conversation with a friend you’ve known all your life. You will be comfortable, at ease, you will be yourself. Just translate that in your copy; it’s the most natural way of going about business. And a sure shot way for search crawlers to read it and then serve it up top on the search pages.
15. Organize and streamline your content in the easiest way possible
Neatly organized piece of write-up is easier to read, scan, and review for both people and the search crawlers. Use small paragraphs and headlines and subheads. Use bullet points and serial numbers. And use bold fonts and italics wherever necessary. Not always but exercise intuition and good judgement.
16. Write as if you are reading a bedtime story to a 7-year old
You are not preaching to the choir; you are not writing a thesis. Avoid jargons and the need to sound fancy. The easier your copy is to grasp, the higher it will rank on the search pages. Think of how you’d narrate a story bedtime story to a 7-year old. Keep it simple, keep it engaging, and keep it smart.
Link-building | Your Strongest Link to Strongest SEO
17. Each page of your website must have links
Including links is one of the most important aspects of the best on-page SEO practices. Links allow your reader to steer across your website and discover more about what all you have to offer in terms of products or service. The same goes for search crawlers. Always put relevant links strategically placed in the main content as well as at the end of it.
18. But too many links on one page can be counter-productive
However, stuffing the page with too many links will confuse the readers and the search crawlers. Both will find it difficult to decide which links to prioritise and which to let go. This will result in a drop in search rankings. Balance it out.
19. Link to pages within your website
It’s important that you link one page of your website with the other pages within your website that are interlinked or interconnected in terms of information. Thereby making it easier for readers to navigate properly and look at the bigger picture. Internal links also send signals to the search crawlers and help your website rank better.