SEO campaign can be done properly in one way only- by mastering both on-page and off-page optimization. If these two are not in harmony, then the campaign won’t flow and the website would have bad rankings. But, what is the difference?
Off-page shows the degree of authority and popularity and on-page optimization is about describing what is the site about. The first one is all about links and link-building and the second is about keywords, meta-tags, visual content in general. So, you can see that they function on totally different pages but also can’t work without each other.
Which one of those two should you pay attention to more? Definitely on-page, through which you can speak the programs and search engines language. Also, you have a chance to make the site user-friendly, what is extremely important for the functioning. On-page optimization is something you encounter first, and only after that, it comes off-page. Sometimes small business website owners use on-page optimization only, it is more than enough.
The great thing about on-page optimization is that it can be modified easily by yourself or by coding. In the past years, Google tried to make the rules much more strictly as the main requirement is quality. It takes much more time and effort to rank high in search engines. Site owners just have to think, or at least try to think, like Google does.
The main goal is to:
- get higher rankings
- attract more traffic to the site.
As we said, you are in charge of what is posted there. Relevant answers to users’ questions will boost the number of visits in a short period of time. Besides the quality of the published content, you can manage technical issues also. Combination of these two makes on-page optimization.
If you are looking through this topic technically, WordPress and Yoast plug-in (shows the power or each page) are the tools you need to try. They affect code quality and will fix eventual problems about whom you didn’t even know they existed, for example, issues with titles, tags, images.
As we said, on-page is connected to keywords. Sometimes, used keywords are not sending the right message, which will have a negative impact. Try to picture the topic with easy to read and understandable words. Giving the right information is the best marketing for you. Ever heard of keyword cannibalization? This is the term that explains optimizing more pages with the same keywords- avoid this. Adding modifiers can help a lot. Probably you ask yourself now what are these? Modifiers are a help for the keywords, added in order to reach to the most relevant results. Try adding words like- best, designer, how to, for beginners, etc.
You can’t offer what you can’t have, and when it comes to having a website, you have an obligation to proffer to the users as much content as possible. Users would be enchanted if they find an answer or a solution to the problem on your site, but this story can go further. Reading a post about the topic they want to know about more will lead to reading the suggested topics also. That is exactly what you need to do- exhaust the topic! That way, the users wouldn’t want to enter the other sites as the experience with you is positive.
Suggested topics are usually expressed in internal links. As their name says, internal links exist on your website, taking the users to another page. Even If there is a navigational menu, somehow it is much easier to click on a link than searching through the site how to find it. Never underestimate the power of the internal link, but also don’t exaggerate with linking.
There is a bunch of tags on each website. We will list some of them:
- Meta tags
- Title tags
- Heading tags
These are the terms you have to be familiar with, as they are the base of the work. Going from the most important ones, let’s explain the meta tags.
Meta tags do basics of on-page optimization. As we said earlier, this kind of optimization speaks about the purpose of the site/page, giving some closer information. This is what users encounter at first. Some of the meta tags lost their importance with time, but many of them are still functional.
The most important tag is title one. It is contained of words which appear in the head of users’ browser. Google likens title tag to the content of the page and grades the quality. What they recommend is that the title tag is short, going up to 70 characters per page.
Believing that the right keywords will do the job is often wrong. Of course, the title tags need to be eye-catching, but unlike before, now users spend more time reading the descriptions before entering the site. Thus, clicking on the first showed results on Google is left in the past. That part of the article they see on the results page will determine if they will enter or not. They look for the most convenient section to click on. In some cases, users will click on the link, but shortly after will move on, which will only harm your site.
This content is very often extracted by Google but you should always make a version of the meta description which shows best what is inside the link. Do it for every single page on your site, pointing as much as you can. Well written meta description is a certain way to stand out from the competition. Most recently, a new trend appeared in meta and you won’t believe what is it! Those are emojis. The irresistible yellow signs can actually contribute to your site rankings. *They really draw attention, don’t they? *
Click through rate is impendent to this description which is usually marked in bold format. CTR is an important factor when it comes to rankings. Really helpful tool for meta descriptions is Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider. It helps you check all the pages on your site, their descriptions and length. Optimal number of characters by users’ choice is between 165 and 175 for desktop and mobile version.
Here is a little trick to make your page appear even more attractive. Depending on website content and the business, owners can add review ratings, event calendars, featured snippets. Ever seen those and wish for the same? The answer is- Schema, vocabulary for the HTML to make the page appear more interesting and eye-catching. Schema can also refer to page type, which divides pages as articles, reviews, business, organizations etc.
This is your chance to shine, to express what you are offering to the users in a couple of words. Especially if you are new in this business, there has to be something that will draw attention. Make the description so good that it would be impossible to resist it. These factors are all up to you, a part of the on-page optimization.
Some site owners wanted to go a little bit further. Instead of putting the site/page description only, they make links to different pages on their site, such as blog link, business inquiries, employees etc. All of this, in order to attract more visitors, and what is the most important, it pays off. Trying to give as many detailed picture as possible to the potential visitor is the best road to making the optimal site.
The last, but not least is the heading tag. This kind of tags leads to different compartments on a website, going from h1 to h6 tag. Remember that only one h1 tag is recommended, while the other h tags can be in plural. Avoid using the same h1 tag on several pages because this puts Google in the confusing position, where it wouldn’t be clear how to rank pages with the same h1 tag. H2 and h3 tags are used for sub-headings.
Good way to emphasize some part of the text is to use bold, italic or underlined fonts. Simple forms seem sometimes boring to the readers, as all they see is a plain text. A sentence which expresses very important or useful advice should stand out from the rest of the text- put it in a frame, color it differently, enlarge the font. Anything that crosses your mind, but always with style. The overall look of the page and the text make great impact on the users’ impression, so invest some time and creativity.
What else is important to know?** The structure of URL address (Uniform Resource Locator)**. The correct SEO URL structure is ordered like this: the main category, sub-category and the name of the article. Google search engines won’t recognize a value if it can’t be easily concluded what the page is about. The point is that the reader can assume whether the page contains the right answer without even loading it.
As you can see, URL structure should be concise and follow the page content completely. To get a better ranking, try making shorter URLs, which are also much easier to share. Separate it with hyphen sign, not with underscores. Simplifying URL makes it approachable to people, but to the search engines too.
Factors that have an impact on the on-page optimization are:
- page content
- structure of the URL address.
All these main factors should work harmoniously, but there are some more details you need to pay attention to if the goal is to make the best possible outcome- ranking on the first page.
Images and/or videos are usually neglected part of on-page optimization. First of all, they shouldn’t increase the time needed for loading the site. When using a lot of visual content, try with Content Delivery Network- service that speeds the process of loading when there are many pictures and videos. The alternative to CDN is compressing images or using catching plug-in.
The point is to put an image relevant to the text and original one. You can easily download a picture from the internet and use this one, but that’s not the point. Make some effort to get an image taken for the purpose of the page and the article.
Optimize the size of the image that it fits perfectly in the page ambiance. Too large images will only distract the attention from the text, as if it is not of a good quality. The size in bytes is recommended to be smaller. Writing a short description is always better than leaving the plain format such as for example, image.jpg.
In a world of Androids and IOS, it is almost impossible to imagine a site which doesn’t have a mobile version, in other words, which is not mobile friendly. More than a half of website traffics is made from a mobile device. So, why would you ignore this fact and work with less than 50% of your website potential?
Speed is also an important factor so try to build a strong and fast-opening page. You can do this using the right server, VPS for example. Shared servers will affect the speed negatively. Light theme plus caching mechanisms will ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Let’s say that you have a website with a lot of published articles. If so, then an audit should be performed. Audit will help you by giving you some hints on how to make the site SEO-friendly. Maybe some search engines blocked it, or your XML sitemap isn’t working, or you have duplicated content. These issues would be discovered soon with the audit.
Here we come to the download speed. Download time should be 4 seconds maximum, as nobody likes to wait. If it is more, the users won’t be pleased. How do you fix it? By changing the host or compressing the images. To keep people coming, improve the speed in every aspect, both site and download.
There are more than 2.5 billion social media users. This fact tells you a lot, as every website owner can take advantage of it. Having social media share option is a must on every article/blog page. Content shared on social media gives an instant impression of quality. Someone with a number of followers and shares would tickle the interest of potential visitors.
As you can see, many things with on-page optimization are expressed in numbers. The next one is word count. When publishing a post, you have to please some particular criteria. Seems like users like text longer than 500 words. But, is it really enough to explain the topic? Of course not. So, let it roll to about 2000-2500 words.
The importance of the first paragraph is huge. When entering the page, this is what the users will look at first. If the introduction is thin and doesn’t wake up curiosity, they will bounce off the page. This is harmful for you, so try to convince them to stay. By tackling the attention, they would have a need to read it through well, getting to know some useful information. Some kind of a secret ingredient is needed in the first paragraph.
Even if everything seems right and the site is doing well, don’t let yourself in. There is always something you can work on. Check some Webmaster tools, especially Google Analytics, which enable the site owner to see his page the same way as Google. Google search console is also great choice.
A simple tip, but very often underrated, is publishing a fresh content. Visitors crave for newest information, give it to them. A weird, but true fact, is that people read more in time of holidays, so prepare some articles to publish then, it would be great for the site traffic.
Organization is the key to everything.
Are these information easily found on the site? *Is there a drop menu? *
The design and overall look also matter. If the users can’t manage how to surf through the pages, they will go off it. Make the most important content stand out a little bit more.
People use different kinds of tactics to play the system, like hiding keywords. They put a text, color it and then put the same background color, or hide it behind the images. This is a very imprudent move to make, as everybody should know that search engines are very insightful.
On-page SEO optimization is a lot to handle, even if it doesn’t look like that at first. Google is making sure that only the valuable websites survive. Like in the natural cycle, only the strongest will make it through. What the strongest in SEO means? It means top-notch quality, readable content supported by images and videos, well-written meta descriptions, links to similar topics and site speed. These are the factors that affect users’ experience.
Google will identify possible mistakes you make and if needed, the penalty would follow. But, Google is not the one who assess your website, those are the users. You or your SEO agency/team are in charge of what is happening on the site. Go through most important factors that we enumerated in the text above and maximize the website’s impact and rankings.