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On-page SEO: What Every Publisher Should Know About On-site SEO

by Patrick D
Create SEO-friendly web pages with our optimization tips

While proper keyword placement is essential, there are more important elements to on-page optimization.
This article explains overall website page optimization for publishers and website owners, what on-page SEO means, and how to optimize your website. Fortunately, you don’t need expert technical assistance to perform most of the on-page SEO techniques we’ve recommended.
Let’s get started with the basics.


Content

On-page SEO basics

On-page SEO, or on-site SEO, is a system of optimizing web pages for search engines and their users. Its sole purpose is to optimize your web page’s content to make it rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

Standard on-page SEO practices include creating valuable content and optimizing its title tags, meta-descriptions, internal links, and URLs.

Why on-page SEO is important?

Search engines like Google use several on-page SEO elements like its title tag, text & image content to determine if a web page is relevant for a target keyword.

Suppose the user query is about a specific breed of cat (Siamese cats), Google will show them web pages containing the most valuable content (pictures, facts, cat breed information) about this breed. So the first step to on-page optimization is creating SEO content.

Google organic search results for siamese cats

Creating SEO content

Before you perform other optimizations like keyword placement, you need to create content that search engines want to rank. Your web page’s content must be unique, relevant, valuable, and should satisfy several search intents about its targeted keyword. This section explains how and by what principles to create content that will rank high in search engines.

The four principles or content metrics you must abide by are Relevance, Clarity, Uniqueness, and Value.

Relevance

Relevance means aligning your content with search intent. It involves making sure that you’re creating the suitable content type, format, and angle.

Content types are classified into products, blog posts, landing pages, videos, and more. For example, the top search results for the query “AirPods” are eCommerce giants featuring thousands of product pages.

It is unlikely that you’ll crack google’s first page with a blog article about AirPods because the user intends to shop.

Content format relates to blog posts. Most blog posts are usually instructional guides, listicles, news articles, op-eds, or product reviews. For example, the top search results for the query “remove stains” are all instructional guides on removing different types of stains.
Another example is “best SEO tools” the top search results are all listicles detailing different SEO tools. Your webpage has a better chance at ranking higher if its content format matches what users expect. Trying to rank a listicle when users want an instructional guide is not very SEO-friendly.

Google organic search results best seo tools

Content angle refers to the unique point of your content, i.e., what makes it stand out. You’re better off writing an article with the title “How to make a banana pancake at home” or “Best used electric cars under 10k”. The “at home” and “under 10k” in both titles make them stand out from hundreds of similar blog posts on the same topic.

While it’s important to create content that aligns with search intent, you shouldn’t follow the crowd always. It’s always worth trying a different content type, format, or angle to get searchers’ attention.

Uniqueness

Creating Unique content means writing new and not just rehashing old information. When creating unique content, you must aim to introduce something no one else has talked about. For example, in this article, we talk about optimizing webpage content to satisfy voice-searched queries.

You can also introduce a new tip or strategy, new case studies, a streamlined process, and an updated list of time-sensitive topics.

Not only is it essential to give users what they want, but you should also give them what they are yet to discover. We’re not saying that every part of your content should be new; it’s pretty challenging to develop new content in well-known niches.

For example, you can create a unique product or category page by introducing better filters, product photography, and descriptions.

Value

Having unique content that satisfies search intent is a good start, but it’s rarely enough. You should analyze relevant top-ranking pages for your target keyword to better understand what your content should cover. Let’s look at how to do that.

  • Analyze common subtopics

Most web pages like this one break a topic down into subtopics with subheadings that provide quick insights into what users are searching for.

When writing this article, we discovered that top articles for on-page SEO guides featured the definition and processes of on-page SEO.

This is because most users want to know what exactly is on-page SEO and how to perform them. Search engines also know that web pages covering these subtopics lead to higher user satisfaction, therefore ranking them higher in SERPs.

  • Search for subtopics among keyword rankings

Use free keyword research tools like Keywordtool.io to find subtopics among top-ranking keywords. For example, if you’re writing a listicle about electric cars, long-tail keywords like best used electric cars 2020 is a fantastic subtopic for your listicle.

  • Search for subtopics among SERP features

Another useful subtopic source is the ‘People also ask’ (PAA) boxes on SERPs. For example, for the query electric cars, you can see that people also ask, “What is the best electric car for the money?” These questions offer insights into other things users want to know.

People also ask boxes

Clarity

Clarity is vital because unclear content is unreadable, which leads to higher bounce rates from your webpage. Here’s how to make your content clearer for users:

  • Use bullet points and lists to make your content skimmable.
  • Use descriptive subheadings for hierarchy.
  • Use images to break up bodies of texts.
  • Use simple words and avoid idioms and slang.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
  • Use larger text fonts with more line spacing.
  • Use bold and cursive to highlight important information in the text.

Write in a formal conversational tone to make reading your content interesting to read.

Optimizing content for SEO

Now that you understand how to produce quality SEO content let’s move on to content optimization.

Place headings and subheadings in heading tags H1, H2, H3

A pages’ heading tells search engines what each part of the page is about. So it is reasonable to include your keyword in H1 and H2 headings. Including target keywords in the title is one of the core principles of on-page SEO. However, you should keep your titles sounding natural, so use conjunctions and conversational sentences. Another tip is to place your target keywords in the first hundred words of your content.

Get the right keyword density

Keyword Density is the ratio of target keywords to ordinary text in the overall word count. The ideal keyword density is about 1-2% — your target keyword should appear about one to two times per 100 words. Over-optimization may lead to penalties from Google.

At this rate, the keyword appears enough times to tell search engines what the content is about.

Linking to relevant internal resources like similar blog articles helps visitors navigate your website and find more information.

Linking to external websites is a great way to make your content more valuable to readers. External links help visitors discover more about the topic and understand how your content is relevant to their questions.

We don’t mean that you should indiscriminately place external links all over your content. We recommend links to internal and external resources such as case studies, product recommendations, official newsletters, and related blog posts.

Use short and descriptive URLs

Short and descriptive URLs help users understand what a hyperlink is about before clicking. Your URLs should contain your target keyword for better optimization. For example, this article’s URL
https://blog.adsterra.com/on-page-seo/ contains the keyword ‘on-page SEO.

Any reader will quickly understand that the URL leads to a blog article about On-page SEO. Readable URLs also improve click-through rates.

Using short URLs is important because most search engines truncate lengthy ones in their SERPs.

Optimizing title and meta description tags

Writing a convincing and optimized title tag is important because it influences the web page’s click-through rates and ranking.

Ideally, your title tag should be the same as the page’s title, with the target keyword included in the first five words. The title tag should also be short enough—50 to 60 characters— because Google truncates lengthy title tags in the search results.

When creating title tags for similar pages, such as product pages, you should use the same pattern for them all.

A meta description is a descriptive snippet below the title tag on the search results page. Sometimes google generates meta descriptions from the webpage’s text content.

Meta description Adsterra

Meta descriptions are not a core ranking factor, but they’re still important because an attractive description can boost your click-through rates.

Here’s how to write a compelling meta-description:

  • Include unique selling points in your title—for example, free express delivery.
  • Satisfy search intent by providing more details in the meta description.
  • Address users directly using active voice.
  • Include target keywords in the meta description.

On-page UX signals

Recently, Google has incorporated User Experience (UX) Signals into their search algorithm. They measure how users interact with your web pages to help evaluate the page content’s quality.

User experience (UX) is perhaps the most important factor in on-page SEO.

On-page UX signals include click-through rate (CTR), bounce rates, and core web vitals.

Bounce rates refer to the time users spend on your webpage before leaving. A high bounce rate means that users spend very little time, which indicates a bad user experience.

A great user experience leads to lower bounce rates and higher click-through rates. Search engines reward websites with improved user experience by moving them up the search rankings. Higher search ranking leads to a bigger audience—and for publishers running ads on their web pages—that means more ad views and clicks from a new audience.

We’ve provided some tips on improving on-page UX signals:

  • Optimize images to reduce page load time. You can either install a plugin that compresses images or compress the images yourself before uploading them.
  • Make your page readable. Use contrasting fonts and avoid using very bright colors that could irritate visitors.
  • Embed videos from external sources instead of uploading them directly on your webpage.
  • Improve your website’s design by taking a look at better-performing competitors to see what’s missing.

Advanced on-page SEO tips:

Snippet optimization

Featured snippets answer users’ questions with short paragraphs pulled from one of the top-ranking pages on the SERP. They’re basically a SERP feature that tells users that your webpage has the answers they need.

Google's featured snippets

Getting featured on Google’s featured snippets is quite difficult, with no guarantee of success.

However, here are some basic steps to go about that:

  • Check if Google already shows a featured snippet for a query. That’ll help you better understand what kind of results users expect from the snippet.
  • Give the answer to the query on your web page. Make sure to use the right format— a paragraph, list, or table. For example the featured snippet for best free pdf compressor high quality is a listicle.

Use review or FAQ schema

Using different types of Schema such as review schemas can help you get Rich Snippets on SERPs. The most common and impactful schema types for Rich results are the review Schema and FAQ Schema.

You can check if your webpage’s Schema is set up properly using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Voice search optimization

Voice search optimization is now one of the most important topics in the SEO industry. It’s far easier to ask Siri or Alexa a question than to pick up your phone and type. Voice search started with smartphones but then spread to smart speakers and voice assistants like the Amazon Echo.

It is only natural to optimize our content for this new generation of search queries or risk losing out on its substantial organic traffic.

Here’s how to optimize content for voice search:

  • Optimize your content for featured snippets. A voice search study discovered that 60% of all answers returned from voice searches were gotten from a featured snippet result.
  • Restructure your content to include succinct questions and answers. Google prefers short and concise answers to voice search queries, and the average voice search result is only 29 words long.
  • Use conversational language. A conversational tone is a primary feature of a voice search query, and you must take advantage of that. Understanding the search intent is critical if you want to know how people are making voice queries.
  • Target long-tail keywords. The typical voice search is longer than text searches due to their conversational nature.
  • Claim your Google ‘My Business’ Listing. Most voice search queries include the phrase “near me,” meaning that users want results close to their location. Google My Business page tells Google and its users about your business’s location and working hours. When someone asks Google to display similar businesses in that area, your business could rank for that query.

Conclusion

On-page SEO is a broad topic, but we’ve managed to break it down into several core categories. Even a non-multipage website can thrive with these on-page SEO techniques while avoiding potentially harmful methods of getting fake traffic. It all boils down to improving your audience’s experience on your website.

Your goal is to make it easier for searchers to access your services, navigate your website, scan your content, surf between your web pages. Valuable content attracts more organic traffic that will reward you in the long term.

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