What is On Page SEO
SEO has many components to it and sometimes learning SEO can be a bit overwhelming. Before you know what On Page SEO is, you should have a pretty good understanding of what SEO is. On page SEO is the process of optimizing elements on the actual site one is trying to rank. The list of on page elements include:
<body>, <div>, <p>, <span>, no tag
<img src="https://www.example.com/example.png" alt="Keyword">
Learning On Page SEO is generally the first step to understanding how to become an SEO practitioner. Much has changed over the last decade and it will continue to change as technology advances and search engines become more intuitive. For the beginner, however, here are the key on page SEO concepts you should grasp.
Title tags are the most important ranking element on a page. Your content should be relevant to the title and the primary keyword being targeted.
- Character Count: 512 pixel limit typically ranging between 50-60 characters. Keeping your title under 55 characters will ensure a 95% chance that your title will not be cut-off. Use a title tester tool to be sure.
- Keywords: Use the most relevant keyword you are targeting for the page being optimized, placing it at the front of the title.
Google’s 2014 Redesign: Before and After, by Dr. Peter J. Meyers
- Character Count: In most cases search engines cut meta descriptions off at 160 characters.
- Keywords: Use the most relevant keyword you are targeting for the page at the beginning of the meta description and use a secondary supporting keyword somewhere within the meta description.
- Exceptions: There are some exceptions to the 155-160 character count rule. This article explains the concept more in depth: https://moz.com/blog/i-cant-drive-155-meta-descriptions-in-2015
Try Out This Meta Description Writing Tool
Meta Keywords isn’t a ranking factor anymore. Today, meta keywords only gives your competition more visibility into your SEO Strategy, which is why I typically don’t recommend using meta keyword tags.
- Character Count Recommendations: 50-95 characters. If your URL is 100+ characters, there is probably an opportunity to rewrite them and gain value.
- Friendly URLs: Make urls readable instead of using dynamic parameters.
One way to qualify a well optimized url is asking yourself a few questions:
- Are my keywords in the URL?
- Do I know what this page is about by reading the URL?
- Will I be able to see the full url within Google’s search results?
- Does the context of the URL entice the user to click?
- Structure: Best practice for structuring URLs is to format them consistent with your site architecture, while still consolidating them into the fewest number of folders possible.
Rand Fishkin of Moz, provides a good example best practice:
- Exclude Stop Words: Search engines ignore stop words (and, or but, of the, a, in, etc), therefore it is not necessary to include them. They simply take up more space that you could be using to include more important keywords.
- Avoid Keyword Stuffing and repetition:
- Geo-Targeting URLs for local businesses: I’ve found that including the name of the location within the url still works well. Let’s take a look at the top ranking pages for the term “Engagement Rings Houston.”
Top 3 Results in Order of Rank:
While some of these urls may not include the keyword, “Engagement Rings,” they all include the term “Houston,” indicating that other offsite and on page relevancy factors are attributing to their higher rankings.
- The title of your page should be within the H1 heading. Your H1 heading should be at the top of your page before your sub headings and paragraph content.
- Using Semantic Structure: H2, H3, H4: Keep your topics and ideas structured with headings using these tags.
- Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Keyword stuffing can get you penalized. Keep your keywords broad and include multiple variations throughout the content.
- Include Semantically Related Keywords: Google’s algorithm is highly focused on conversational search. Everyone queries using their own vernacular, and many more searchers use Voice search. Most people speak differently than they write, meaning that Google has to be able to still generate relevant results based on the user, regardless of the style of language they use.
- Use the exact matching keyword at least once in the document text.
- Avoid too many internal links on a page. This can lower the quantity of link juice distributed to each page. This results in each page having lower authority and less ranking power individually.
- Use keyword within Image Alt Text.
- If you have video content, host it yourself. I wrote a more in-depth article on this if you’d like to know more.
Search Types and Content Types
In 2015, Google launched Search Console, previously Google Webmaster Tools. One of the key changes they made was segmenting search types based on the types of content:
- Web Search
- Image Search
- Video Search
Each search type drives traffic individually. They even have their own ranking results.
- As you can see, my average Web position over the last 30 days is 9.4, with 162,939 impressions and 10,511 clicks.
- The average Image search position is 112.5 with 12,488 impressions and 45 clicks.
Having this insight is powerful because it enables me to the types of content I need to be focusing on the most.
Anchor Text and Interlinking
- Only link to pages that are relevant to the anchor text you are using. Don’t link to a page just because you’re trying to rank it. Only do so if it is going to enhance the experience of the user.
- Ensure that your interlinking structure is consistent with the site’s architecture. You can establish your architecture via interlinking; however it is important to keep track of your links using a spreadsheet or diagram to maintain structure.
- Distribute link juice using links: Some internal pages will have more inbound links than others. This creates an opportunity to rank other relevant pages.
- Consider using no-follow links when needed. If you have a ton of outbound links on one specific page, you may consider using no-follow. This allows you to still distribute link juice to other internal pages you want to stay authoritative.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
Latent semantic indexing is the a method of programmatically connecting related terms together to better match the intent of a user’s query. Let’s use the query “Apple” for instance. How would Google know what type of apple you are looking for? Are you looking for an Apple computer? Apple fruit? This is where LSI comes in.
Semantically related terms to the word Apple computers would be terms like iPod, iPad, Macbook, Mac, Spotlight Search, etc. Notice these words are not synonyms. They are not to be confused in any way with Synonyms. They are simply terms that can be tied to the primary keyword.
When performing a Latent Semantic Analysis, there are a few tools out there that can help you.
- SEMRush – SEO Ideas tool (You have to create a project and begin position tracking first)
- Google Trends https://www.google.co.in/trends/
- LSI Graph http://lsigraph.com/
Keyword Shi**er http://goo.gl/Pe4AEq
- Ultimate Keyword Hunter http://ultimatekeywordhunter.com/
- UberSuggest http://ubersuggest.org/
- Keyword Tool http://keywordtool.io/
- Keywords Suggestion Tool http://theseotools.net/keywords-suggestion-toolOn Page SEO Tools
Free On Page Tools
- SEO Site Checkup
- SEO Chat
- Website Grader – Hubspot
- SEOQuake – Chrome Extension
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Audit Tool
When it comes to SEO Houston can be a very competitive market. You should get in touch.