There are only two major factors that you need to focus on to improve your website visibility in search engines. On-Page optimization and Off-Page optimization. Basically, on-page factors are those things that you can do to improve your ranking by adapting the actual coding of your site. This article is focused on on-page optimization techniques.
To make it easy to understand, these elements are considered as on-page optimization factors
- Meta Data
Search bots crawl and retrieve data using meta tags. Meta data is the first on-page optimization factor. Google has stopped ranking webpages based on keyword & description tags. But in order to increase web traffic, these tags should be optimized properly.
Title: First and Foremost tag that displays on the search result. Make sure your title tag is easy to read and does contain your main keyword of the page/article. A simple, visitor targeted title will improve your SERP ranking for that keyword. Stuffing keywords or usage of keywords that are irrelevant to your content is bad practice and results in lower search engine rankings.
Description: This is the tag that shows the relevancy of your webpage for the searched phrase. Optimize your description as if you are creating an advert for your paid marketing. Keep it less than 155 characters so that you leave room for additional snippets that Google inserts.
Search engines get results from various webpages based on various algorithms and “keywords” are one of the most important factors they use to retrieve data. Focus on these on-page optimization rules for keywords.
Main Keyword in H1 & H2 Tags
If your are optimizing for home page then it is really crucial to wrap your site title in h1 tag.
For article pages, use your main keyword in article title. Search engines read websites from top left to bottom right. If your main keyword of the website/article appears at the beginning of the page, it is highly possible to get higher rankings but of course it depends on other factors as well.
Good practice of using your main keyword in h2 tag is in sub heading of your website. For article pages, highlight your primary keyword in h2 tags.
Another good practice of on-page optimization is Italicizing or Bolding your primary keyword but don’t do it more than once.
Internal & External Linking
Internal links are the best, because these links will keep your visitors within your site no matter how much they click around. You can place links to your existing articles/pages when necessary. Your search engine rankings will increase if you have good internal link structure. The best way to link your posts/pages is by using related content right below your article.
External links are mandatory. You definitely want to have fewer externals along with internal links. Search engines rank website that has both internal and external links. Don’t worry about driving free traffic to external websites. Linking to authority sites will eventually increase your website rankings. Besides, if an external website has information that can help your visitors then you should use their links.
Quality and Unique content is the Major Factor in on-page optimization. Your articles should be more than 500 words for better SEO and sometimes your article word count needs to be more than 1000 words when you use competitive keywords. Good content will get returning visitors, increase search engine rankings and increase potential backlinks. Write long and informative content and combine all the above on-page optimization techniques.
Breadcrumbs helps visitors to easily navigate between pages or categories. Your breadcrumbs also appear in Google search results so that visitors can easily identify what category the page is from.
Keyword density is one of the key driving factors for effective SEO. Search engines look for various on-page factors to retrieve results from billions of web pages. An effective percentage of your article content needs to have the targeted/primary keyword. Content with good keyword density is the key to make your webpage more relevant to search engines.
Just because keyword density is important that does’t mean you can stuff your primary keyword in your article/page. I personally prefer a keyword density of at least 1% and I make sure my main keywords appear in the first 100 words. Use this tool to check keyword density of your content.
URL and Alt Tags
It is mandatory to include your main keyword in the URL to increase search engine visibility of your webpage. Don’t forget to fill up alt tag to every image on the website.
A site map is an XML file that contains all your pages and sub pages. You don’t need XML knowledge to create sitemaps. You can use this website to generate sitemaps and submit to Google Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console) and other search engines. Spider crawls websites and store static data. Your website crawl rate varies based on many factors. You can make Google bot crawl your website by fetching as Google. Don’t forget to resubmit your sitemap when new content is posted.
If you are using WordPress, then you don’t have to worry about sitemaps. Just install a sitemap generator plugin and submit the URL to search engines. I use Yoast plugin for content SEO optimization and of course to generate sitemaps. There are many SEO plugins for WordPress then why Yoast? I’ll soon post an article on that topic. These are the on-page optimization factors that you need to be concerned about.