On-page SEO focuses on optimizing your webpage content for users and search engines to improve your site's visibility in relevant searches. Two examples of On-page SEO are creating rich content and using relevant title tags and headings.
All efforts you make to improve your website experience for your users are on-page SEO. 70% of marketers believe SEO is more effective than PPC or having a click-through rate (CTR) of 43.2%.
In a survey, 57% of marketers said on-page SEO development was their most effective way to drive organic traffic. On-page SEO is clearly very important and in this article, we'll look at some of the best practices for on-page SEO that are easy to implement and do not require any superhuman skills.
If you are new here or want to brush up on the basics, take a look at SEO 101. The on-page SEO journey starts with keyword research.
Perform a comprehensive keyword research
Keyword Types - There are two types of keywords: long-tail and short-tail.
Long-tail keyword (LTK): These are search terms explicit to your business or the products and services you offer. Generally, a search term with four or more words is considered a long tail.
Example: You run a bicycle shop in Austin for teenagers. Your best choices for LTK might be:
Bicycle shops in Austin for teenagers
Bicycle shops in Austin for 15-year-olds
Bicycle for teenagers in Austin
Short Tail Keyword (STK): Search terms with fewer than three words. They refer to broad topics rather than specific ones.
Let's take the same bicycle example. Some ideas for STK are:
Methods for finding keywords
Method 1: Find out how your audience is looking for you
Search for your business on popular search engines and ignore the ads
Scroll down and reach the bottom of the page
* Scroll down the search engine results page (SERP) until you reach the bottom.
At the bottom of the page, you'll find related searches.
Your audience are using these phrases to search for your business, so you can consider them for your keyword ideas.
Method 2: Take ideas from the top ranking sites
This is perhaps the best method for keyword research because you use keyword ideas that are already working well for others.
Search for your business area on a search engine.
Ignore the ads and look for sites that are at the top of the results organically.
You can see that some words are bold in the description for each website.
We have highlighted them in the image above.
Those words are keywords that help websites rank better.
Since these are keywords that are already working well, you can use them for your business.
Method 3: Take ideas from Google Suggest
This is a simple yet effective way to find long-tail keywords.
Type your business area in a search engine, but don't press the enter key.
See which keywords the search engine shows you.
Take relevant ideas from the suggestions and use them for building your keywords list.
Method 4: Use a keyword tool
You can find solid keywords for your business and their search volume and competition level in keyword tools.
Google Keywords Planner (part of AdWords) is one of the most reliable tools for keyword research.
Tools like word tracker (a free keyword research tool) allow you to find keywords and their ranking for different search engines.
You can see the keywords and their search volume in the above image.
Choose keywords for your business that have a high search volume and medium competition.
NOTE: Long-tail keywords (focused keywords) may not have a huge volume of monthly searches as they are more unique to your business or niche. However, over time search engines will associate the LTK with your site and improve the volume based on users' searches.
Create a keyword list
A keyword list should contain all the keyword ideas taken from multiple sources. You can view all your keywords in one place and place them in blogs, articles, headings, and other parts of your website to draw more relevant traffic to your pages.
An ideal keyword checklist should tell you the keyword type, source, search volume, and competition.
You can find the volume and competition of a keyword from other sources like related search and Google suggestions, by searching for it in a keyword planner tool.
This helps you view all keywords from multiple sources in a single space, so you can plan your keyword placement even better.
Tired of bicycle examples? Let's look at something else.
Zoho Marketing Plus is a unified marketing platform for creating and managing content pieces and promoting them on social channels. Users can also run campaigns, manage social media, engage with audiences and measure progress, all in a centralized platform, without wasting any time setting up third-party tools or toggling between multiple tabs.
Page titles and descriptions
The page title tells the search engine what the page is about, and the content on your website is relevant to users' search queries.
Page titles are visible only on SERP and not on web pages. Search engines like Google display the first 50–60 characters of a title, including space and symbol
In the screenshot above, you can see the page title and meta description (underlined)
The page title should contain the most important keyword for your website's SEO as this helps search engines to identify the context of the page.
The page title should convey what the page is about in a short sentence (fewer than four or five words) as this helps users to understand whether your page is relevant for them.
In the example above, Unified Marketing Platform is an LTK and the headline clearly indicates it is for digital marketers.
NOTE: 36% of SEO experts think the page title is the most important element of on-page SEO
The meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of what the page is about. The ideal length for a meta description is between 150 and 160 characters.
Meta descriptions with keywords help search engines to understand the content of the page.
The meta description plays a critical role in improving your page click-through rate (CTR).
You can see the meta description on the search engine results page (SERP).
You can also see the full meta description of each page by viewing the page source.
Tips for writing a meta description
Keep it compelling and relevant.
Avoid duplicating meta descriptions from other pages.
Use STKs or other relevant keywords in the meta description to improve your relevancy rate.
You can use tools like character counter to track your meta description length while writing it.
Heading tags, also known as H1/H2 tags, are like subject lines for your web pages.
Heading tags give your content structure and tell search engines what each particular paragraph is about.
Use your keyword phrase once in your H1 tag.
Use H1 tags on pages you want to attract traffic to.
Use H2 through to H6 tags if you have subheadings.
Here is the H1 tag for Zoho Marketing Plus.
The keyword "Unified Marketing Platform" is used in the H1 tag.
The heading tag also explains what the paragraph below it is about, giving a clear signal to search engines and users.
An alt text describes an image in the HTML code to search engine crawlers and visually impaired users who are using screen readers so they can understand what is in the image.
You can see the name of the file in the HTML code. This describes the image to search engines to make the crawling process faster.
Creating rich content
SEO and content are directly related. The quality of your content directly impacts your SEO score. That's why content is always king. Rich content reflects your expertise on a particular topic or niche, which helps you gain the trust of your prospects and convert them into customers. When your content starts attracting more users, search engines recognize you as a leader and will rank you at the top of the search results for relevant queries.
Tips for writing better content
Write content that appeals to the interests of your target market or answers their questions. Keep your content interesting, informative, and better than your competitors'.
Use the long-tail keyword in headings and throughout your article to let both your audience and search engines know what is it about.
You can use three to five short-tail keywords here and there in the article. Beware of overusing keywords as this not only turns off your audience but search algorithms can penalize you for keyword stuffing.
Remember, you write content to add value to your audience, not only to build your SEO score.
The average content length of Google's top position article contains 2416 words. So creating rich and detailed content should be your top priority for improving your on-page SEO score.
Famous search engines like Google constantly update or changes their SEO algorithms but no matter what, rich content has always been a key factor when it comes to on-page SEO.