On Page SEO is a major factor for getting good organic search engine results. In my blog post the ABC of Search Engine Optimisation, I talked about the three most important elements of SEO. They are: Links, Keywords and Tags (code).
On Page SEO is about Keywords & Tags
On Page SEO means optimising your web page for a certain keyword or keyword combination.
You do this by making sure these keywords are used in the URL and in the most important SEO tags.
Google uses more than 200 factors to determine the value of your web page. This specific algorithm is a secret, but we do know which factors are of major influence:
Important On-Page SEO factors
- Domain: having your top keyword in the root domain is a great way to optimise your website for that keyword. For many marketers however, this is not possible, because the root domain is already yourcompanyname.com. Also, you are likely working a Keyword Strategy that contains more than one word
- URL: of major importance! You need to use your keywords in the URL of the post
- Title tag: also of major importance. Google uses the keywords in the title tag to know what a page is about. And the title tag also shows in search engine result pages (SERPs). The title tag is a meta tag. And is not actually visible on the webpage
- H1, h2, h3 headers: the importance of the H1 seemed to have decreased a little recently. However, headers are a great tool to help Google tell what the content on your web page is about! The headers are in the code of your web page, but are also visible as actual headers in the copy of your page
- Meta description: this is not important for search engine rankings. But! The meta description does show in your search engine results pages (SERPs). That means if you write a great one, you can help people click through
- Keyword density: using your keyword once on the whole page is not enough. The use of your keyword needs to ideally be somewhere between 2 and 4% of the total of copy. But above all, keep your text writing natural
- Alt-image tag: this tag is designed to let users know what the image is about. It’s recommended to also put your keywords in the file title of the image as well as in the Alt-tag of the image. Helps with SEO.
- Bold, italic and underlined for keywords. I’m not such a fan of this, because it makes your blog posts quite messy. Also, underlining keywords makes them look like they are hyperlinked. Still, a header in bold won’t harm your SEO chances!
- Length of the text: Search engines like a lot of relevant text. For maximum SEO impact it is recommended that a post has at least 500 words of text
- Keyword in first and last phrase: Google loves this. When the keyword is in the head as well as the tail of the post it tells Google the entire article is about this keyword
- Keywords meta tag: this used to be important, but not anymore. Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag anymore to rank pages. But other search engines still do to a degree. In other words: it doesn’t hurt. So go ahead. Fill in your most important keywords and some contextual keywords. Max 10. Make sure all these keywords are actually in the body text.
On Page SEO and Linking
What you do with your links inside your blog posts can also impact the ranking of your page. It’s recommended that you offer at least one internal link to another article in your website.
Also offering an external link to a credible, trusted, high authority website (for instance Wikipedia) can be a good idea. This makes Google trust your content more because you are quoting a trusted online source. (I leave the discussion regarding ‘nofollow’ out of scope for this article.)
On Page SEO: A last note
After reading this article, you might be wondering how heavy you must optimise your page. Questions like: how many words to use, how many keywords, how many italic words, et al.
I will write a separate post about how far you need to turn up the volume of your On Page SEO.
For now, follow these basic rules and you are well on your way with On Page SEO!