On-Page SEO: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to SEO

It’s no secret that search engine optimization has changed and due to the constant evolution of search engines, outdated on-page strategies won’t be sufficient anymore. Back in the day, you could get away with just adding a few keywords into your content. But now, the relevancy and keyword-based algorithms that Google uses to evaluate and rank pages are much more complex.

SEO strategies are focused on ranking higher in search engines and one of these techniques is On-Page SEO optimization.

On-page SEO is an integral part of the whole website SEO (search engine optimization) process. You need to follow certain SEO techniques to help optimize your blog/website so that search engines can understand it better and also rank it higher up in the SERPs, thereby generating more organic traffic.

The good news is that on-page SEO is not a complicated process, but easily one of the most important parts of content marketing. It’s the gateway to getting your content in front of users, growing your brand, and maintaining a loyal customer base.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about On-Page SEO. Follow these guidelines whenever you create new content and improve your search engine rankings.

Content outline 

  • What is On-Page SEO?
  • What are the key elements of On-Page SEO?
  • How to create an SEO friendly content: A holistic approach.
  • Our Final Thoughts.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO (also known as “on-site” SEO) is the act of optimizing different parts of your website that affect your search engine rankings. It refers to any changes you make to your website to improve its visibility. Your website’s appearance on search engine results pages is determined by several ranking factors including site accessibility, page speed, optimized content, keywords, title tags, etc.

On-Page SEO is all about optimizing the stuff that you have control over and can change on your website. It also means making sure your website has a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

The ultimate goal of on-page SEO factors is to make it easier for crawlers to understand what your page is all about.

With on-page SEO, you can convey information about your website to search engines by providing context about it. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to improve your search engine rankings.

Why is On-Page SEO important?

On-Page SEO helps search engines analyze your website and its content to determine if it’s a relevant result for the search query.

Part of this process involves looking for keywords. While Google still looks for keywords in your content, keyword stuffing is no longer effective because it ruins the user experience.

Google’s algorithm is continually being updated to better understand a searcher’s intent and also provide search results that meet that user’s needs. As Google’s algorithm develops, so should your website.

This is why on-page SEO is important. Without it, your site may miss out on opportunities to rank for search queries specific to your business. And without an SEO strategy, your site might get pushed down the search results by competitors.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the elements of on-page SEO.

What are the key elements of On-Page?

We’ve compiled this simple (but actionable) list of the 10 essential elements of On-Page SEO. You will need to work on optimizing all of these on every page on your website to have the greatest impact.

  • Title Tag

Your title tag act as the first signal to search engines and to potential visitors what your page is all about. They should be a precise description of your page’s content. This is a heavily weighted on-page SEO ranking factor as search engine crawlers largely consider title tags when determining a page’s relevancy to a search query.

Here’s an example of a page title in the search engine results pages (SERPs)

Research has also shown that users only read around the first 11 characters of content when scanning a list of items.

Follow these steps when optimizing your title tag.

– Ensure that your target keyword is included in the title tag;  the closer your target keyword is to the beginning of the title tag the more weight it has to both users and search engines. Additionally, using keywords relating to your business in your title tag might also help your website appear on the SERPs when a user searches for something related to your business (or industry).

– All your pages should have different title tags;  this may be especially applicable to e-commerce websites that have lots of similar products. The more specific your title tag is the more relevant traffic you’re likely to receive.

– Be mindful of the length of the title;  it’s best to keep your title between 50 to 60 characters long. Anything longer than that and you run the risk of having your title getting truncated in search results.

  • Meta Description

Meta description can simply be described as the short paragraph under the title tag that shows up in search results.

Although it’s not as powerful as the title tag, it’s still a significant factor in your website’s search ranking.

Here’s what a meta description looks like in the SERPs.

A good meta description can help improve the Click-through rate (CTR) thereby driving more traffic and conversion to your site. Be sure to add your keyword in your meta description.

Google typically displays 150-160 characters of a meta description before they’re cut off. It’s important to keep them long enough to be descriptive and enticing but short enough so users can read them.

  • Page URL

Your URL is the location of your webpage on the internet and a significant piece of the puzzle that search engines need to understand your website. When it comes to on-page SEO, having a clear and simple URL structure is important. Ensure that your target keyword is also included in the URL.

Google recommends “organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans”.

Here are two on-page SEO examples of good and bad URL structure:

Good = https://example.com/7-best-karaoke-machine-in-2022/

Bad = https://example.com/shop/products/23682sndy28.html/

You can see that the page in the good example is about karaoke machines. In the second example, it could point to the same page but you would have no idea it’s for karaoke machines. Search engines wouldn’t know that either, which would make it difficult for them to trust your content.

  • Heading Tags

Heading tags are HTML elements that are used to identify headings and subheadings within your content. They descend in significance from H1-H6, with H1 being the most important on-page SEO factor.

Your H1 is the main heading of your content. For example, the heading of this page is “ On-page SEO: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to SEO”. Headings and subheadings also help to organize your content and make it easier to read which improves user experience.

You want your headings to introduce what the next section of content is about. The more specific you get the more specific the heading tags should be. Use H2-H6 tags where reasonable.

  • Image ALT Tag

ALT tags (alternative tag) are used within an HTML code to help describe the appearance and functions of images and other media on your page to both users and search engines.

Search engines not only read website content, but they also “read” images. Assign ALT tags to every image used on your website to make it search engine friendly.

Image optimization has many advantages, such as:

– Improved user experience;  visually impaired users using screen readers can understand what an on-page image is all about by reading the alt-tag.

– Faster page load times;  ALT tags are used in place of an image if an image file isn’t loading.

– Additional ranking opportunities (show up on Google Image Search).

  • SEO Content

All of the elements mentioned above are helpful, but in the end, the most important on-page element that will affect your rankings is the content.

Quality writing with proper keyword placement will both reassure the search engine’s queries and match the needs of users.

There is a strategy behind writing good SEO content – and it is more than just keyword research and fill in the blanks.

Content that is optimized for SEO should also:

– Be interesting and cover information that people want to read about.

– Encourage engagement with readers so they interact with the page or click on other pages within your website.

– Be something that people want to link to and share on social media.

– Be original – you should avoid using duplicate content on your website.

  • Internal linking

This is simply a link from one of your pages that links to another page on your website. Internal links help search engine crawlers find more related content to a page. This relevancy helps them better understand the general focus of your website.

In other words, ensure that your website visitors have access to all relevant information about a topic at their fingertips, so they can keep reading on without feeling lost or misguided.

This engagement keeps them on your site for longer, which is another positive signal to Google that they like and trust your content because of the increased time spent on your website by the user.

Internal linking also aids with the flow of link juice. For example, if one of your website pages has a higher authority than another, and they both relate to topics of similar nature, it is best to link those pages together to boost the ranking of the page with lower authority.

  • Page speed

Page speed has become a major ranking factor used by Google. There are plenty of studies that show how longer loading times lead to more people abandoning the page before it ever loads.

A few seconds have a major impact not only on your rankings but also on your site’s ability to make conversions.

Google prioritizes pages that load faster by ranking them higher to provide the best experience for their users.

It is best practice to keep your site loading in under 3 seconds. There are several ways to decrease your site load time. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to analyze your page and get some optimization suggestions.

  • E-A-T

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, or E-A-T for short, is a concept that Google uses to rank the quality of content on pages and websites.

Google has always put a premium on high-quality content. It wants to ensure that sites that provide high-quality content are rewarded with higher ranking, while sites that create low-quality content get less visibility.

- Expertise means having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular field. It’s evaluated primarily at the content level.

– Authority is about reputation, particularly among other experts in the industry. Simply put, when others see an individual or website as the go-to source of information about a topic, that’s authority.

– Trust is about the legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the website and its content. When evaluating trustworthiness, raters check for some criteria, including whether the website states who is responsible for published content.

    • User engagement

Enhancing your website’s on-page SEO elements is only half the battle.

The second half lies in making sure that users will not bounce – but instead, they’ll continue viewing and interacting with your content thereby increasing the dwell time on your website.

Google analyzes reader behavior to determine how engaged they are with your pages. If they’re engaged, it tells Google that your content is high quality, interesting, and trustworthy to real people.

On the other hand, if it doesn’t engage with your audience, Google will assume its low quality or not what users want to see for a given search. They will reduce the ranking of your page over time if it is not fixed

To increase user engagement, focus on aspects such as mobile friendliness, site speed, user experience, and content optimization, among others.

How to create an SEO friendly content: A Holistic Approach

Most times, people assume that ranking in searches only involves simply researching keywords and building links. Yes, they’re important but they shouldn’t be your only focus.

Ranking higher in Google and attracting qualified and long-term traffic requires a mindset shift. This is where Holistic SEO comes in.

What Is A Holistic SEO Approach?

A Holistic SEO approach focuses more on how people engage with a particular brand, product, and service – which will eventually be the main factors in how these businesses will be ranked by the search engines.

This can be done by creating your website content to help the visitor become more interested in what you are offering. The better experience they have, the more likely they will travel down the conversion funnel and be converted from a visitor to a customer.

A holistic approach also entails presenting the relevant content, not only about the targeted keyword but also about all the related keywords to that targeted keyword. Generally, Google understands all these search intents and populates the SERPs according to that.

How Holistic SEO works

These holistic activities deliver a better online experience for users and also fulfill their needs and what they are seeking in real-time. They are as follows;

-Holistic SEO caters to the Specific Needs of Search Users

Holistic SEO makes use of long-tail keywords to cater to the specific needs of search users. Studies have shown that short-tail keywords (those that are only composed of 1 to 2 main words) are characterized by high search volume but low ranking potential.

On the other hand, long-tail keywords (those that are made up of more than 2 words which may include the main keywords and descriptive words) have lower search volume but greater ranking potential. This is because they cater to the more specific needs of search users – and are more likely to provide the answers they need.

– Holistic SEO Applies a Semantic Approach to Link Building

Unlike the traditional SEO which focuses on obtaining as many links as possible from any accessible source, link building will be performed holistically and semantically.

Link building strategies will be as natural and organic as possible, emphasizing social relationships which are now fast evolving as some of the most important factors that will matter most in semantic search.

– Holistic SEO Focuses Strongly on Content Marketing

In Holistic SEO, providing high-quality content is the main marketing drive. Content is your main portal for engaging with your target audience, which would in turn help with building your brand.

Good content is not for blogs and articles alone, as even popular e-commerce sites like Amazon are publishing detailed and informational buying guides.

Regardless of your niche, writing a few informative posts or buying guides for your targeted search users can help boost your site’s conversions and authority.

– Holistic SEO pays more attention to Brand Acceptance

Traditional SEO is focused more on generating traffic and optimizing websites based on keywords. However, it is not concerned with whether the generated traffic buys in or accepts the brand and business.

In Holistic SEO, conversion optimization and brand acceptance are integrated with SEO and other digital marketing strategies to attract highly targeted traffic that accepts the brand and is more likely to convert as leads or sales.

In conclusion, using the Holistic SEO approach helps you provide a better shopping experience for users visiting your website.

Our Final Thoughts

SEO is not a one-and-done deal. It’s something you should continually improve on. Keep track of these on-page SEO techniques and see how they help you drive more organic traffic and build a loyal visitor/customer base for your website.

We hope you enjoyed this article about On-Page SEO and you’ve also learned how to properly optimize your pages, so both your users and Google loves them.

To learn more about SEO (search engine optimization), check out Ultimate SEO Guide.

Have some questions? Please leave a comment below and we’ll respond to every one.

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