Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short) can be divided into two major areas:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
Both areas are crucial to the long-term success and online visibility of your website, so whether you have a new blog or a small business that wants to compete with bigger household names, SEO will be your best friend in helping you to conquer your competitors online.
However, it is important to remember that you can’t realistically achieve success with off-page SEO if your on-page SEO isn’t on point. Therefore, in this blog post, we are going to look at 11 popular on-page SEO practices that beginners will find useful.
1. The URL structure
The URL structure plays an important role in optimising the on-page SEO of your website. Ideally, the URL should be short, simple, and keyword-rich.
Google once confirmed that the first 3-5 words of a webpage’s URL contain more weight, so keep that in mind.
At the same time, try to keep it short and sweet. No one likes a 10-word URL.
In short, the URL structure should contain the following qualities:
- It should be short (3-5 words maximum).
- The perfect URL should have the target keyword (the primary keyword that best describes your page and that you are trying to rank for).
- It should not contain stop words (stop words are words like ‘in’, ‘and’, ‘on’, ‘a’ and many others).
- Strip your URLs with unnecessary folders and divisions, such as dates and categories.
Here is a good URL example to follow:
2. The title tag
The title tag is often considered one of the most important on-page SEO factors. It should have at least three qualities:
- The title should be interesting and engaging.
- It must contain the primary keyword that you are trying to rank for.
- The target keyword should be at the beginning of the title tag — the closer it is to the start the better it is in terms of SEO. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but starting the title tag with your primary keyword can help you when you are in a highly-competitive niche.
3. The H1 tag
It’s a small but important point to remember. The H1 (or ‘heading’) tag is the first point that Google will stop and look on your page as its the highest level tag that Google will scan to determine what your website is about. As such, the title of a webpage should be wrapped in the H1 tag and include your primary keyword.
Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress allow you to add an H1 tag easily, and add in other tags (H2 and H3 tags) within the page too.
4. The H2 tag
The H1 tag contains the title of the web page. On the other hand, the H2 tag contains the subheadings of the web page.
All the subheadings that your blog post (or web page) has should be wrapped in H2 tags. Moreover, at least one of those subheadings must contain the primary keyword you are targeting.
Ideally, the other subheadings should contain ‘LSI keywords’ (more on that in a minute).
5. Keyword placement
Keyword placement isn’t as necessary as it used to be a few years ago. However, it still helps if you can strategically place your keywords in a few “hotspots” without being unnatural or artificial.
Here are a few hotspots that you should remember during keyword placement:
- The URL of the page
- The title tag/H1 tag
- Sub headings/H2 tags
- The first 100-150 words of your web page
- The last 100-150 words of your web page
- Image alt text and file names (more on this further down).
6. LSI keywords
As you know, repeating keywords (increasing keyword density) is not liked by Google as well as other search engines. Stuffing a keyword too many times in a web page seems unnatural — and Google penalises websites that do this often.
So, how do you deal with the thread of penalty without losing any keyword opportunities?
The answer lies in the usage of ‘LSI keywords’.
LSI keywords are those keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword. However, it is important to remember that LSI keywords are not just synonyms.
One of the primary purposes of LSI keywords is to add context to your web page. You can also use LSI keywords to avoid keyword stuffing and repeating the same keyword over and over again.
If you want to learn more about LSI keywords, click here.
If you want to use LSI keywords, use this free LSI Keyword Generator.
7. Visual content
Visual content is equally important for SEO as any text placed on a web page or blog post.
High-quality web pages often use lots of images, infographics, screenshots, video content and other multimedia.
By adding visual content, you can increase the on-page time (the time that visitors spend on your website/each page of your website) and the engagement rate (the rate at which your website visitors engage with your website and its content).
All these factors directly improve your website’s search engine position.
However, when including visual content (like images), remember the following tips:
- Make sure that the images are web-friendly. They can’t be too big in size and slow down the loading speed of your web page.
- All the images should contain descriptive and keyword-rich alt text and file names. Alt text is shown when — for some reason — a visitor cannot see the image. With the help of keyword-rich alt text, you are not only able to clearly explain what an image is about, but you can also get some extra traffic via Google Images.
- What is more, Google reads the alt text and file names to help understand the topic of your webpage.
8. Internal links
Internal links are links that you create to other pages on your website.
Create contextually relevant links to other pages that might add value to your customers’ reading experience.
By having the right links, you can also pass some of the SEO juice to other web pages — which would also boost those pages in the Search Engine Results Pages (or “SERPs” for short).
A good on-page SEO practice is to have at least 3-5 internal links in an average-sized blog post.
9. Outbound links
Outbound links are the links that you create to other websites on the internet.
There are two major purposes of creating outbound links in your content:
- To link to other relevant and related pages on the internet so Google can figure out your page’s topic more easily.
- To provide your website visitors the best available content on a topic — even if it means redirecting them to another website.
To some publishers, outbound links may appear as a leakage — a waste of hard-earned traffic. However, it has been proven that pages with high-quality outbound links rank higher in Google’s search engine result pages than pages without outbound links.
A good strategy is to create at least 2-3 high-quality outbound links per 1,000 words.
10. Website loading speed
The website loading speed has quickly become a significant on-page SEO factor in the last few years. According to studies, approximately 75% online users don’t revisit a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
A slow-loading website not only affects revisits but it also directly affects search engine rankings and conversion rates.
11. The length of your content
Lastly, the length of your content matters a lot!
According to recent studies, Google prefers long-form content — as it is believed to be more in-depth, useful, and comprehensive.
Generally, 2000+ word blog posts work better — provided they are free of fluff content.
Long-form content has multiple advantages:
- Long-form content has a better chance of ranking for your primary keyword.
- Because it is detailed, it has a higher chance of ranking for multiple long-tail keywords.
- Long-form content also gets more social media shares, which increases its chances of getting viral.
- Long-form and in-depth content increases credibility and authority, which eventually translates into more leads and higher sales.
Final thoughts and summary
Whilst there are many things you can do with on-page optimisation, the 11 points mentioned above list, in my opinion, the best on-page SEO practices, and if you follow our guide, you will go a long-way to improving the SEO on your website overall. Of course there is a lot more to SEO, but to get the fundamentals right is very important.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us!